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Cruiser motorcycle guide

Think about all the iconic motorcycle movie scenes you've ever seen, and pretty soon your mind is likely to generate alluring images of maverick drifters leisurely eating up the miles on large, noisy bikes. Easy-riding, low-seated, wide-handlebarred freedom; it's the kind of lifestyle that many of us dream of.

Does the thought of heading out on the highway get your motor running? If so, then perhaps this could be your ideal bike; here's a quick cruiser motorcycle guide.

What is a cruiser motorcycle?

Cruiser motorcycles are perfect for laid-back long-distance journeys, and are usually characterised by their upright-seated riding position, relative riding comfort, and large size (Triumph's Rocket III has a 2.3-litre three-cylinder engine and is the largest production motorcycle engine in the world, for example). They're not built for the track, and they're not recommended for scrambling over sand dunes.

And while cruisers are sometimes thought of as just long-distance mile-eaters, a premium model has such powerful low end torque that it can leap off the line when the lights turn green with the kind of thunderous acceleration that can curl toes. Cruiser motorcycles are so popular because they have presence, they’re powerful, and they’re perfect for stylish, cool, and confident motorcycling; from smooth urban riding through the streets to relaxing unhurried expeditions on long-distance road trips. The Bonneville Bobber, for example, is a Modern Classic motorcycle that offers more than a nod to a cruise-style ride and it’s no surprise that it has been Triumph’s fastest-selling motorcycle since it was launched.

Advantages of cruiser motorcycles

The best cruiser motorcycles are generally powerful and comfortable, usually with space for a passenger. They're perfect for long-distances, but of course cruiser owners are also often spotted chugging through city streets just for the sheer pleasure of the ride. Most cruiser motorcycle owners will invariably tell you that they're extremely fun to ride, and also (perhaps thanks to Hollywood) there's a certain undeniable level of 'cool' associated with them as well; consequently most cruisers will generate a bit of attention and turn heads, if that's your thing!

One of the other reasons many people give for buying a cruiser motorcycle, is that they do lend themselves to being personalised. Triumph's October 2017-launched cruiser-style Speedmaster, for example, comes with over 130 optional custom accessories from water-repellent panniers to a high quality touring screen that can be added or modified to personalise your ride with additional comforts.

Disadvantages of cruiser motorcycles

Ironically, the main disadvantages of a cruiser motorcycle are often thought of as its most exciting advantages; its size and weight.

Yes, cruisers are big, heavy bikes, but cruiser owners would argue that this is part of their allure. It's their size that gives them their undoubted presence, and it's also their size that allows bike designers a little more ergonomic freedom to provide the rider (and passenger) with a more comfortable seated riding position.

Are there any other disadvantages? Well, in all honesty, a huge cruiser motorcycle isn't going to perform well off-road, and you'll probably need a bit more space than you'd expect if you need to do a quick U-turn.

In practical terms, that heavy weight might only be an issue when you've stopped, so you should be aware that you will need a careful balance of physical strength and balance to avoid an embarrassing moment at the traffic lights.

Is a cruiser motorcycle right for you?

If you live for track days, or if testing your off-road limits is your thing, then you'll naturally be drawn towards different types of motorcycle.

But if you want a powerful, reliable and engaging motorcycle capable of providing a quick start and then a smooth and comfortable journey with bags of style, then a cruiser is a perfect road trip companion.

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