The Cruiser Thread

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by JerryH, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. chiefrider

    chiefrider Chrome won't get you home

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    I have to disagree.

    Choppers

    It may be semantics, but true choppers these days are quite rare. A chopper is an owner-customized motorcycle with steering-head modifications to include more rake and that long front end. Lots of shops CLAIM they make choppers, but they are really CUSTOMS.

    I am not a big fan because this affects handling, but to some degree many cruisers try to create the chopper look.

    [​IMG]

    The positive thing about these factory cruisers is that they do usually handle better than the old-school choppers. That said, if the handling spectrum's ends are a true shed-modified Panhead chopper and a standard motorcycle, most modern cruisers lie closer to the Panhead chopper in handling characteristics, particularly in lean angle.

    Bobbers

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now, let's talk about Bob Jobs!

    Another owner customized motorcycle. Bob Jobs use stock frame geometery and have modifications to reduce weight and enhance performance.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    (don't be telling Sonny Barger that his Knucklehead Bob Job isn't functional)

    Like "choppers", there are a lot of customized motorcycles out there erroneously called "bobbers" or "bob-jobs."

    A well-set up and well ridden old bob job just might put a hell of a functional surprise on some of the overweight, sluggish and lean angle challenged modern cruisers.

    Function? HA!

    My $0.02. Carry on, now.

    Tom in Salem
    #21
  2. Bloodweiser

    Bloodweiser honestly

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    where is this logic supposed to take me?
    the sportster is a cruiser, but a sportster clone is not?
    #22
  3. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

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    The problem with choppers and bobbers is a lack of comfort, and no place to carry anything. My definition of a chopper is what Peter Fonda rode in Easy Rider. Notice it does NOT have a 300 rear tire. But those super high ape hangers would probably be about as painful as the low bars on a sport bike. Bobbers have those little tiny seats, and many choppers and bobbers are hardtails. I almost converted that Rebel into a bobber, after seeing a few on the Rebel forum, but didn't know what I'd do with it. I wound up selling it and buying a scooter.

    BTW, Sonny Barger, who lives about 20 miles from me in New River, AZ, is now 74 years old, and rides a Victory Vision. I notice there is no baggage on his bike in that old picture. No front brake either.

    The Vulcan 500 would make an excellent adventure bike, with a sissy bar/luggage rack, saddlebags, a tankbag, and a windshield. So would the S40/LS650, and the late Honda VLX600. You can even get a Motech centerstand for the VLX. For smaller people, the 250 class cruisers also make good long distance bikes. I had over 300 pounds on that Rebel, and it did just fine on the freeway.
    #23
  4. chiefrider

    chiefrider Chrome won't get you home

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    You've never sat on an old, stock "tractor seat" like you'd find on a true bob-job, have you.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Tom in Salem
    #24
  5. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

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    Bad choice of words on my part. Obviously the Sportster and Shadow are both cruisers. What I meant when I wrote that was they would not be my ideal choice for a long distance ride, loaded down with stuff. I also mentioned the Suzuki "M" series, to me they are more like muscle bikes than cruisers, and don't seem to be as comfortable or have as much room to carry stuff as most cruisers. That does not mean they are incapable of long distance travel. I've never ridden the Shadow or any of the Suzuki "M" bikes, but the Sportster is definitely way more comfortable to me than any kind of sporting oriented bike with low bars, which seem to dominate the Road Warriors section. People have crossed the country on hardcore supersport bikes, but I'm not one of them. For a long ride, I want comfort and carrying capacity, both of which most cruisers have in abundance. So while the Sportster and Shadow would not be my choice for a long trip, they might very well be perfect for someone else. I found the Rebel to be really cramped, but I'm 6' 220+, with a 34" inseam. A smaller person could comfortably ride a Rebel around the world.

    My main reason for preferring cruisers over any other kind of bike for long distance travel is comfort. For me, the trip would not be any fun if I hurt all over the whole way. Add their pack mule capability, and they are very hard to beat. I am definitely not putting down any stock cruiser. I've owned a lot of them, some better than others, but all good.

    As for choppers and bobbers, I have owned one chopper, an early '70s Honda 750 in an Amen frame with plunger rear suspension and a girder front end. The front end had so much rake it was almost impossible to turn corners, and the high ape hangers didn't help either. I bought it strictly for looks, and didn't keep it very long. That was over 25 years ago. No way could I ride that now. And no I have never sat on a bobber seat, so I can't say for sure what they feel like. I recently saw a guy at one of the local biker hangouts with a Harley bobber, with a small seat made out of diamond plate aluminum. I thought he was trying to show off how tough he was, and was probably in a great deal of pain. Or he rode it in from a block away. But since I have no experience with that type of seat, I can only imagine how they feel. The stock seat on my Vulcan 750 is the best stock motorcycle seat I have ever sat on, and the ergos are absolutely perfectly for me.
    #25
  6. sloryder

    sloryder Been here awhile

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    @ Hexnut. Which did you prefer, the springer or the glide front end?
    #26
  7. MariusD

    MariusD Been here awhile

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    Haha! This guy is funny... as if you cant have an amazing adventure on a cruiser. An adventure is what u make it to be. For you it clearly involves mud and dust, but dont forget some people do enjoy being comfy for thousands of miles on the slab.
    :evil
    #27
  8. Rollin'

    Rollin' does it come in black?

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    Also had a few adventures on my Victory Vegas ......

    [​IMG]

    and my Victory Kingpin -

    [​IMG]
    #28
  9. MariusD

    MariusD Been here awhile

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    Rollin:

    Which bike did you like better between the kp and vegas? Very curious.
    #29
  10. Eye of the Tiger

    Eye of the Tiger Adventurer

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    I have no problem getting my Harley muddy and dusty. It's just that it already scrapes the frame going over speed bumps, and the tires suck on anything worse than gravel.
    #30
  11. Rollin'

    Rollin' does it come in black?

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    For longer rides I would pick the Kingpin. The larger fenders really help when there is a lot of rain.
    #31
  12. pmelby

    pmelby Home Brew Adventurer

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    The problem with cruisers is that they put you in this position:
    6'-2" rider, 34" inseam, on your favorite bike the vaunted Vulcan750
    [​IMG]

    Lots of us don't like the foot forward, all weight on ass, sub 30" seat height, that all 'cruisers' offer.
    6'-2" rider, 34" inseam on MTS1200, no windshield needed, 6-800 mile days no problem
    [​IMG]

    So while you imagine that cruisers are the most practical, functional bikes out there, some of use disagree.

    Thanks to the motorcycle ergo website for the images.

    cheers,
    melby
    #32
  13. jersey jim

    jersey jim Long timer

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    That's great., glad you like to sit that way. In the 80's I thought my 900 Ninja was the comfiest thing ever with a position like that.

    But sitting in that position for a 600-800 mile day now would leave me unable to walk. My knees would lock up and be in agony (idiocy = bad knees).

    I can put in a full day of riding with a foot forward position with no problem.
    Maybe my butt has better padding. I do almost always replace the stock seat on my bikes, currently have a Mustang seat that fits like a glove.

    Not every body is built the same, or has the same needs. I don't ride cruisers (or hopefully a touring bike this or next year) to look cool, I ride them because they do things I want them to do. They are the most practical, functional bikes out there for me.

    I'd love to have a K1600 GTL but I know I couldn't ride a full day on it, so what's the point? I'll end up with an HD FL something or other or a Victory Cross Country Tour next. Because I'll actually be able to use and enjoy it for it's intended purpose.
    #33
  14. vicmitch

    vicmitch Been here awhile

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    What part of Adventure RIDER don't you understand? This is not "Adventure Bike" It's more of an adventure to ride a cruiser to South America than to ride a GS to Starbucks.

    Mitch
    2001 Victory Sport Cruiser
    2012 Suzuki V-Strom

    Riding the Victory to Mexico this spring
    #34
  15. Byork

    Byork Novice

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    I got a chance to sit on a lot of cruisers today at the Chicago Motorcycle Show, and let me tell you they were nice. I think I've decided I like the Vulcan 900 best. My fiance and I are talking about turning in the KLR for the Vulcan and starting some new longer adventures on a bike with a windshield. Not to mention the KLR's been hurting my knees (and I'm only 26 so that's probably not good).

    Anyway just mentioning this to let everyone know they should sit on as many as they can, because they all feel different no matter how much alike they look.
    #35
  16. Murphy Slaw

    Murphy Slaw Long timer

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    That bike seems to be well liked.
    #36
  17. Randy

    Randy Long timer

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    +1


    I agree 100%.

    But don't mistake the "sporty" position of rearsets with the position of adventure bikes like my GS. The trouble with cruisers is that the seats are way too low, so that there's no way of putting the feet anywhere except out front unless you have your knees bent at a fairly sharp angle. Raise the seat up though and it then becomes possible to place the feet more below the ass or at least down below the thighs. That helps distribute the weight between the thighs and rear, and not focus it all on the tail and hip bones. It also allows you to shift your weight onto your legs so you can use your legs to serve as shock absorbers when needed. I rode my Sportster with the stock forward controls and it was absolutely horrid on really rough roads. And even on smooth roads it put all my weight on my ass instead of my thighs. Luckily, I'm not tall with long legs so the mids work for me and do help distribute the my weight better. Still nowhere as comfortable as my GS in that regard though. And you can still put highway pegs on the GS so you can stretch out the knees if you like.

    H-D was the mother of the modern cruiser. They have been steeped in tradition and have been putting form before function for years in order to stay with that tradition of days gone by, while other manufacturers have moved on with more modern designs that came after 1940. Many people do like the classic styling though, so it sells based largely on that more than actual functional superiority. Other manufacturers have basically copied H-D with their cruiser models in an effort to capture some of those sales. Even BMW tried it.

    Of course that's just speaking of the ergonomics. Other shortcomings can be found in suspension, brakes, chassis design and vehicle weight.

    Not that it's all bad though. The engine really is good for a street bike, IMO. And I can't deny that I do love the look of my 48! :D

    But, if I'm planning to put some serious miles on a bike, guess which one of mine will be staying in the garage?


    :1drink
    #37
  18. Rollin'

    Rollin' does it come in black?

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    Can't tour on a cruiser???

    Cruiser mileage -

    Victory Vegas - 48 states (8200 miles) in less than 10 days - 1500 miles in less than 24 hours.

    [​IMG]

    Victory Kingpin - 49 states (8800 miles) in less than 10 days, including over 5000 miles in less than 5 days -
    Full 16 day trip - 11,907 miles.

    [​IMG]

    Victory Vision - Key West, FL to Prudhoe Bay, AK - 7 days, 10 hours.
    Full 16 day trip - 11,197 miles.

    [​IMG]
    #38
  19. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

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    That might be a little uncomfortable, but I don't sit that way. I sit back against the rise in the seat, my legs are stretched out a few inches farther, and my arms reach a few inches more forward to the bars, though there is still a good bend in my elbows, so there is no actual weight being supported by my arms. And the biggest difference is that I have a Protac riders backrest to lean back against, to support my back. Sadly, Protac is going out of business, the owner is retiring. They make a great product, hopefully they will sell everything to someone else that will keep making them.

    Any riding position that causes my knees to be bent back more than 90 degrees will cause leg cramps, and the farther back and the higher the pegs are, the worse it gets. Some bikes have the pegs so high and so far back that your feet are almost vertical, with your toes pointing at the ground. I can't even get on a bike like that, let alone ride it. The Vulcan 750 also has the passenger pegs in a perfect position for someone my size to use, for a short break from the feet forward riding position if necessary. Even the passenger pegs are nowhere near as bad as the riders pegs on a sport bike.


    I have ridden KLRs long distances (though not to Alaska or South America) and they are not nearly as bad as a sport type bike. I found the seat to be the main problem. I currently have an XT225 that I have to ride some distance to get off road, the pegs aren't that bad, but I installed bars with 2" more rise, and that helped a lot. I also left the passenger pegs on (many remove them, the XT is not really capable of carrying a passenger) But I use them as a way to change the position of my legs on longer rides, to avoid cramps. They are not as comfortable as the riders pegs, but a brief change of position can help a lot.


    Nice to see someone else touring on a cruiser. Though I have seen plenty of people out on the highway with their cruisers loaded down. I don't think they are carrying all that stuff just to run down to the store.

    I'll bet a lot of people putting down cruisers have never put any serious mileage on one. I did put some mileage on a '94 Yamaha YZF1000 many years ago, when I rode it from Phoenix, AZ to San Francisco and back. I was in severe pain the entire trip, and the pain did not go away for days after I got back. I still think it did some degree of permanent damage.
    #39
  20. WalterDavis

    WalterDavis Adventurer

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    Early last year I bought a KLR as a do-it-all type bike and love it, but found that as a newer rider (had an old xt250 as a kid, but nothing really since) the KLR was sketchy for me on the highway. I started reading on ADV here, and went looking at a Super Tenere and ended up with a Stryker:huh Since the KLR will fulfill most my dirt trip needs, the cruiser will take care of my "road" miles.It feels a lot more stable at 65+, and with a pack to lean against I won't have any problems with comfort. It may not carry me down any singletrack, but since most of my trips are alone I pretty much stick to maintained roads anyway. And with the lower seat height, this FF can load up the bike and get on and off without ending up in 'Faceplant':evil
    #40