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An introduction to the world of cruising...

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by darklightBoy, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Before I could set forth and discover the world that is cruiser riding, I had to wonder about two things first. Number one - who in their right mind would give me the keys to their not-even-1500k-old Intruder to borrow while I waited to get my bike back? Number two - why, oh why am I about to ride a Suzuki?

    I did realise that I couldn't really complain about the latter given the former. After all, even a Suzuki is better than no bike at all, right? (I may still need convincing on this point.)

    So there I was, looking at the small-statured cruiser. The basically empty garage surrounding it made it look even more diminutive. Oh well, let's have a look then. Throw the leg over to get the feel of things and my first thought was "who makes a bike without footpegs?" Then I found them. Someone had decided to put them in a place where had I been on my bike, they would be attached to the front axle like stunt pegs. Same with the seat-handlebar relationship, if I assumed a similar position on the ZZR I do believe I'd have a spark plug up my behind. Good thing this wasn't my bike then.

    Eventually I geared up and headed off. Straight away I notice it's a comfortable bike to ride. Even for such a small bike, I fit on it well and it's a relaxed seating position. Which was good, as I was nursing a sprained wrist and a sore tailbone from the previous evening's indoor soccer match. The Katana I had been kindly loaned for Sunday/Monday hadn't been so nice to my injured ergonomics, so this was welcome relief.

    Slipping into my usual groove as I head down the road, I give the mirrors a quick check. Elbow in, turn head, wha? Where is....oh, there's the mirror. What's this? I can actually see behind me? Oh my god! People do know how to make bike mirrors that actually work! No effort needed and I could see properly behind me in both mirrors without needing to move my elbows or head at all. I like this!

    So, onto the ride. It didn't take long to discover why people call them "cruisers." The engine doesn't ask to be revved, in fact it does quite the opposite. The Intruder encourages you to change up early, letting the baby V-twin lilt along in a relaxed manner, using low end power rather than the screaming little powerplant of the ZZR that likes being over 8,000RPM. This bike doesn't have a tacho but I doubt it would even get to 8k. I swear it actually makes it up to the speed limits quicker and easier than the little Zed, but that could just be perception.

    If bikes have personality, then these bikes are the cool, laid back kids in school. They're not screaming their heads off demonstrating their speed or sporting prowess, they're the ones that chill in the shade with a relaxed demeanour. The bike really does coax you into relaxing with it. "Just chill," it says. There's no point trying to get it out onto the sports field, it's just not gonna happen. Instead, learn the way this bike wants to move along, enjoy the scenery and you start to fit right in.

    Taking corners on this bike requires a bit of style adjustment. There's none of this relatively quick counter-steering like on the ZZR. You've actually got to put some effort in and turn the 'bars to put it around the corner. Roundabouts get taken fairly easily while I'm getting the hang of it. Mind you, this isn't my bike so I'm not exactly planning on peg scraping. I'm intrigued to know how this would feel out through a twisty section of road.

    I'm starting to understand what attracts people to these kind of bikes. It's hard to go for a "relaxed cruise" on the ZZR. Even on it's scale of limited horsepower, the engine still wants to be revved, and it still encourages me to go faster. Days where I decide to "take it easy" usually end with me up near the front of riding groups, or in licence-losing speed territory. The little cruiser wants nothing of that. It's so easy-going on the road that you just can't see yourself hooning on it. It tames the animal part of you that wants to go crazy on the road.

    I could actually see myself (and a good-looking female companion :p ) spending a day on a cruiser just going for a relaxed country ride. Escaping from that frantic city pace to enjoy the twisting backroads and scenery in a different way to a sports/touring bike. One day I'd like to try touring on one. I've been introduced to the world of cruising, if only on a small scale, and I can see it's appeal.

    Would I buy a one? Not as my only bike. Plus, at the end of the day, it is still a Suzuki. Oh, wait, I'm talking about cruisers in general here. I've said for a while I'd like to ride a cruiser to see what it's like, and I must say I'm impressed. It really is a different type of riding to sports bikes. But really, I'm a semi-bogan hoon. I enjoy splitting the traffic, playing on the freeways and taking twisty roads on a bike suited to peg scraping and knee dragging (and yes, I'll get there one day).

    But having felt the relaxed manner of a comfy V-twin powered bike, just maybe one day...
  2. great write up mate. I'm yet to try a cruiser but I have a feeling I will have the same opinion. But I think it would be hard to give up the advantages of the CBR
  3. I am amused. :)

    Great writeup!