Cruiser bikes have been a popular motorcycle style in America since the 1930s. Popular American cruiser brands include Indian, Croker, Excelsior, and Harley-Davidson — the last one having dominated the North American market with their big-bore V-Twin cruisers.
But why are cruisers so popular? There are many factors, including pop culture, the history of Harley and Indian and a swarm of large motorcycling events. Many fell in love with the cruiser after watching the terminator ride a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy or the FXR chopper in Pulp Fiction.
That said, not every cruiser will give you days of joyful, satisfying riding. Some will be a nightmare to own and ride for various reasons, or simply fail to meet your expectations. Here are a few bikes you will regret buying.
10 2014 Honda CTX1300
The CTX1300 came powered by the iconic V-four from the excellent ST1300, so expectations were quite high. Add the dual exhaust, and you might buy the CTX1300, hoping to get the muscular response of a power cruiser similar to the Yamaha V-Max. Instead, the engine received a different camshaft, valves, throttle bodies, compression ratio, and a lower rev range than the ST1300 with a 7,000rpm redline.
Once you hop on the bike, you realize the CTX1300 is an expensive but tame bike that lacks the charisma factor of the ST across the powerband. Also, the windshield is low and gusty, and there is no cruise control on board.
9 Victory Vision
Victory Motorcycles did a commendable job when it comes to luxury touring bikes, and the Vision wasn’t an exception. It provided top-tier performance, came with advanced technology goodies, and was great for long trips. But the Vision isn’t a bike for everyone, and it is easy to buy it only to regret it later.
The bike is a mammoth, weighing up to 891 pounds wet. You will get comfort equivalent to a car, but if you are not used to a big bike, it will be a lot to handle. Also, there are reported issues with the cooling that resulted from its futuristic styling.
8 2004 Kawasaki Vulcan 2000
The Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 is far from a bad motorcycle. The looks, function, and engineering were on point, but the issue was with its bloated weight. Fill the five-and-a-half-gallon tank, and you will be piloting an 820-pound monster. Just lifting the thing off the side stand will save you a trip to the gym.
The big 2053 V-twin was the biggest at the time, and the 121-lb-ft of torque at 3200rpm was all the rave. But then you had to upshift constantly to avoid the low 5200rpm rev-limiter. While the seat was just 27 inches away from the ground, shorter people still struggled to keep their feet on the ground thanks to its massive width.
7 1998 Victory V92C
Victory has a reputation for building well refined and crafted bikes, but the V92C is quite rough around the edges, especially the gear changes, which all sound forced. Even the paddle shifter automatic transmission option takes a few seconds to register a gear change request, although it is much better than the manual.
The early model V92C engine has reliability issues, and the bikes are quite noisy and shaky at highway speeds. Also, note that the 99-00 and 2001 models had recalls thanks to transmission failure.
6 Harley-Davidson Street 750
The Harley-Davidson Street was the American manufacturer’s failed attempt at making a naked/sporty cruiser. The result is one of the worst made bikes of the last decades. The power from the 750cc engines is decent enough to get the job done, but that is about where the good stuff ends.
The cruiser and café style blend doesn’t seem to work with this bike. Owners have complained about the power of the front brakes and their lack of feel. You are better off with better sporty roadsters like the Yamaha Bolt R Spec.
5 Honda Fury
Honda’s move to mass-produce the Fury angered custom chopper builders, who argued that choppers must be individualistic and reflect on the rider’s persona. Regardless, the Fury has sold as one of the most affordable chopper bikes you can buy. The problem is that the Honda Fury is more beautiful than comfortable.
No bike in Honda’s lineup has a wheelbase as long as the Fury’s, with 71 inches between the axles. The result is poor handling and impracticality, which goes against Honda’s ethos. Regardless, it is a reliable bike that is easy to work on.
4 BMW R1200C
Although the BMW R1200C featured in a chase sequence in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, it wasn’t enough to ensure the bikes’ survival and suffered an untimely death. The American market just wasn’t ready to buy into a boxer-powered cruiser.
The R1200C handled well but was not the fastest cruiser you could buy. It is a solid bike, but it is relatively ugly and an acquired taste. You will either love it or hate it. However, BMW’s latest attempt at a cruiser in the form of the R18 looks promising.
3 2005 Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe
The Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe is a great bike for touring and is comfortable for long-haul trips. It is also nimbler and sportier than a true touring bike, which is a good character for those who wish to throw their big bikes around the twisties to spice up their trip. However, the bike’s problem is with its twin-cam engine.
The engine’s cam chain system uses plastic shoes that are bound to wear out over time and, if not detected early, can lead to engine damage. The bike’s niggle is the lack of a lasting fix, unless you conduct a complete gear drive change.
2 Boss Hoss Big Block Limited SS
If you thought the six cylinders in a Honda Goldwing or V6 Horex were a little too much, then you haven’t heard of Boss Hoss and their motorcycles. Precisely the Big Block Limited SS, which came with a 6.2-liter V8 powerplant. These are figures that would feel at home in a muscle car.
With an absurd 445hp to play with, this bike is simply pointless. You will probably never get a straight road section long enough to enjoy a fraction of the power. Regardless, it’s nice as a bike to flex your muscles and earn you that extra street cred.
1 Hyosung GV650 Aquila Sport EFI
The Hyosung GV650 is quite reasonable if you are learning your way into motorcycling. They are cheap to buy when compared with Japanese or American cruisers. But, once you have gained the skill, you will always want to hop on a bike with a little more oomph. Also, the earlier models had reliability issues, and after fixing one too many parts, you will wish you spent the extra buck on a premium bike.
The bike has little to no resale value. You will likely recoup more from a cheaper used Japanese bike than you would after using it for one year.
These sportbikes might look cool at first glance, but you’ll soon grow tired of them and wish you never bought one in the first place.
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