Rick’s Gentleman’s Express Blog

Motorcycle news and opinion

All cruisers all the time

without comments

This thread was originally posted on this site’s forum and is being re-cycled here…

Exploring our new location here in the beginnings of Southwestern Ontario has me visiting any bike shop I happen upon. I recently stopped in at Brantford Motorcycle, a Yamaha dealer in the city of the same name, and The Power Garage, also a Yamaha dealer, in Woodstock.

Both places were full of cruisers — most of which I can’t tell apart — with a smattering of sport bikes to appeal to the younger crowd. Brantford Motorcycle did have a couple of FJR’s and an MT01.

In talking to the staff, I learned that cruisers are pretty much all they sell nowadays. In fact, the manager at Brantford Motorcycle remarked that if someone had predicted ten years ago that Yamaha’s top selling bikes would be air-cooled V-twins one decade into the 21st Century, he would never have believed it. The crossed tuning forks company has always tried to be on the leading edge: 5-valve heads, hub-centre steering.

Perhaps it’s the nature of the roads around here which tend to be of the rolling country variety through green fields and woods. Not really the typical haunt of the highly strung sportbike. In fact I have found that roads through wide open spaces have a sedative effect.

Then there is the age angle, as riders are getter older and less apt to want to wail on an R1 or Hayabusa.

What ever the explanation, much to my chagrin, it appears that the cruiser thing is not going away any time soon.

Even more cruisers…

I stopped in at another local motorcycle dealership here in the outskirts of western Ontario to actually look at bikes. (Sorry, all you potential buyers in Toronto that have no dealerships within an hour of your home).

I visited Cycle One, a Kawasaki dealer in Woodstock, Ontario. A very friendly place with a line-up of motocross bikes outside and a row of heavyweight cruisers inside. The very helpful young man working sales asked if I needed any help. I told him I might be in the market for a new bike sometime soon (not really true, but I wanted to see how I would be treated) and being new to the area was in to look around.

He asked: “Do you think you would be buying a cruiser?”

I told him that no, even though I am too lame for a full-on sport bike, I wouldn’t be caught dead on one of the two-wheeled barca-loungers they had on display. He did admit that it took a “certain type of rider” to enjoy a cruiser. He looked up a price for me on the new Concours they had next to a Versys.

Here’s what I’m wondering. Are cruisers selling because they are all that’s available anymore, or are they selling because they are perceived as less threatening by middle-aged newbie riders?

I must say that over the last few years, as cruiser sales have taken off, I have lost interest in new models and/or attending new bike shows. My wife is often amazed at the amount of trivial information I have retained about all sorts of bikes: “that has to be an 1100 ‘Wing because it still has the larger diameter front wheel”, or “wow, a Honda CX Turbo, I can’t tell if it’s the 500 or the 650 because the guy repainted it red and they never came in that colour”, or “that’s the UltraGlide because it has those little clear air deflectors on the sides of the fairing”, etc.) I must say that as the big imitation-Harley cruiser trend has gone on (and on) I no longer have any such interest in bike details and furthermore can’t even tell one brand from the next, nevermind the models.

Have cruisers killed motorcycling for me?

Comment by Slo…

I understand your sentiments and like you I really don’t understand the reason why cruisers are so popular. The thing is the dealerships are full of them and, as far as I can see, these are the bikes that are keeping these shops in business. On the road you’ll see them everywhere and their numbers outstrip any other type of bike out there, so their riders can’t all be wrong. Or, perhaps, it just could be that the whole world, except you and I, has gone crazy.

Slo

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May 22nd, 2011 at 10:05 am

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