What makes a great cruiser motorcycle? It’s a question that plagues us at times and we guess can’t really be answered.
When you take different aspects into account individually, you’ll have to consider comfort, style, presence and of course the engine. Separately, it can be a little easier to pick out a specific bike in each of these areas, but like all the greats, it’s about the all-round abilities.
We could say the Yamaha V-Max is the best based simply on its sheer power, but could you choose it over a minimalist Harley Davidson Street Bob in styling terms? It’s a hard call and so we’ve decided it’s just easier to come up with a top 5.
Harley Davidson Street Bob
Best start with one we’ve mentioned. The Street Bob has its origins in the post-war ‘bobber’ bikes. Ex-army bikes were given Ape hanger bars and cut down with low seats and really given a change. The current Street Bob, which was introduced by Harley in 2006, follows on in this vein, although in an even more stringent less is more fashion. Thanks to the low seat, huge tyres and wire wheels make this the epitome of minimalist cool.
Though there is an element of the sports bike in this, it is spiritually a cruiser – albeit a lightening quick one at that. The V Max is the result of throwing a 1679cc engine that produces over 200bhp into a bike that’s made simply to be astoundingly electrifying. It’s worth purchasing a Yamaha V-Max for the sheer punch in the chest the acceleration offers. It’s just an awesome machine.
Victory Hammer S
If you like being looked at then this bike from fledgling Hammer is the one for you. It’s a flashy beast with plenty of black throughout and absolutely beautiful wheels. It’s a tad sportier than the standard Hammer and it really has that ‘look at me’ aesthetics.
You often get the feeling that Triumph merely made the Rocket III because they could. This is an absolutely mental bike and comes with the sort of specs that make grown men weep. The 2.3l engine comes with the same pistons you would find in none other than the distinctly monstrous Dodge Viper – a car that is in no way subtle. Producing over 150lbs of torque this bike needed the largest rear tyre on a production bike, simply for pragmatic reasons. It really and truly is a bad ass bike – and we forgot to say that it looks great too. It does cost a pretty penny and you’ll be paying back the contact hire for a while.
Known as the Stratoliner in most countries (Midnight star in the UK), if you were o describe the VX1900 in one word, you’d probably use ‘big’. This is a lump of a bike that’s reminiscent of the Japanese custom to go large in recent years. It’s physically a big bike and also has seen an increase in displacement too. Don’t mistake the increase in engine size for mere boring out, it’s a high tech lump that’s very fast off the line.
These bikes are big, but they’re also exciting, exhilarating and any other word you can think of that begins with ‘e’ that conveys thrill.
Cormac Reynolds writes for UK car leasing company First Vehicle Leasing who provide a wide range of cars for contract hire.