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Do mid-size cruisers really have enough power?

Discussion in 'Cruisers' started by snowy, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. Before starting my rant and getting flamed, let me just say for newcomers to riding bikes, much of this may not be relevant.

    Having ridden a number of mid-size cruisers recently, I must question the old power question. Although they seem reasonable under the limited test ride conditions, I'm wondering whether I would quickly get fed up and be in a position where I want to upgrade within 6 months and in the process lose thousand dollars in depreciation and be offered some ridiculous trade-in value. The mere fact that I stated they "seem reasonable" rather than "bloody fantastic' after getting off a new test ride, immediately raises alarm bells for me.

    I guess it's all relative really and from whence you come. For me, being used to large sports bike power, it probably won't matter what cruiser I ride, I am never going to get anywhere close to what I'm used to. I understand that fully and am comfortable with this and I recognise that ridiculous power is not what cruising is all about, but I still get this gut feeling, that the power of a mid-size cruiser may not be the best choice for me.

    I love the look, feel and agility of the mid-size cruiser and lets not forget the terrific value, but I while test riding I couldn't help concluding how much bloody better these bikes would be with a few more horses, not many, just a few without any other changes. Keep the same brakes, tyres, suspension etc, just get a few more horses.

    It would seem that with the current bunch of cruisers, there does not seem to be a compromise, you either go all out for a big heavy less nimble brute that costs twice as much or have to settle for a mid-size that is brilliant in all areas, but a bike that to me feels slightly underpowered. Am I missing some cruiser that is in the market place that fills this void?

    I often see in the posts here and elsewhere when people upgrade, they usually get a bigger more powerful bike and such behaviour is no doubt just a natural progression, the point being here that taking all other factors into account including the type of riding that is undertaken, it appears that horsepower is a significant factor. Its very rare you see someone comment that the bike is too powerful for me.

    Soorry for the longish post guys, comments sought and welcomed.
  2. There is only one solution to your dilemma, get an M109 :cool:
  3. Yeah funny ya mentioned that, you must be psychic :)
  4. You've answered your own question...
    Yes they have reasonable power
    No you do not want just 'reasonable' power but you want that extra

    don't be ashamed of wanting more than you need. Bikes are about passion
    and fun and the (unnecessary but great) joy of riding. If we all bought
    the reasonable minimum, we'd all be driving a Daewoo Hatchback.

    Why would you ever have upgraded to a big sportsbike in the first place
    if you didn't want more than the "efficient minimum" provided by your 250?
  5. The HD Dyna is my idea of a powerful mid size cruiser. YMMV.
  6. In a logical world, 800 or 900 cruisers have more than enough power.

    I had a M50 for a year, and it would do over 200 kmh, and you know what, anything over 160kmh is overkill anyway IMHO.

    But part of the attraction to riding a bike every day is to have that power.
    I use the M109 for commuting, touring, scratching, and everything else. It has enough power.

    It would seem that no matter how much power you have you will always want more. I am in the position where I sell (IMHO) underpowered cars every day to people, and justify it logically. But when I get on the 109, I occasionally want more, even then.
    I often tell people (because I sell small, low powered, low cost cars) to buy the smallest cheapest car their ego will let them. In a rush to show they have a little ego, they buy my car.
    You, and only you know what bike you want to buy. Is it worth $10,000 more?
    And no, I dont have the answers to those questions for you. I bought the M50, and determined after 6 months that my ego was bigger than that, and saved to buy the 109. Someone else, may move UP to the M50, from a postie bike, or similar, and of course, they would be in heaven.

    Without getting too deep, spend as much as you can the first purchase, or plan on upgrading soon.
  7. Snowy, you raise a number of good points ...

    I think it really depends on you the rider ... why you ride ... and what style of riding you enjoy ...

    Personally I can not understand why people would ride 1000cc sports bikes on the road ... once you get out of first gear you can loose your licence ... where is the fun in that ? ... I've said before that riding a bike at 90% can be more fun than riding a more powerful bike at 50% (legally). The road is not the place to learn how to handle a bike above the speed limit.

    For me I have gone with the M50 because it is light and nimble in the twisties, powerful enough so I can enjoy a few gear changes on the way up to the speed limit ... torquey enough to make me respect the throttle ... raw enough to require some skill to ease it into line ... and is quite happy to be at 110kph all day.

    Any more than that and I'd be looking at a sports bike and track days.

    The only reason I'd go bigger would be for more storage, maybe trailer towing for two up touring.

  8. They've got enough power for cruising... If you wanna go faster than that, you don't really want a cruiser. Look at them like old classic cars. No power, no handling, but they're big, they look nice and make you feel "cool."
  9. I seriously looked at the M109r.
    And the thing that put me off it was running costs.
    If you are interested in raw power over everything else but still want a mid size, it looks like either the Kwaka VN900 or reconsider the Yamaha XV1100 (which seems to be the smallest of the non mids).
  10. Thanks for the feedback guys, I hope I haven't been misunderstood here.

    Its not about going faster, but the peace of mind of having extra horses available on tap when required. I see the need for power not so much for pace, but moreso for safety, odd as that may seem. Others may see the extra power as deleterious to their safety.

    I am sure we've all been in critical situations where that instant throttle response and reserve power has helped avoid what may have been a clear and present danger. The reverse may also be true, it depends on the riders attitude, style, skill, experience and maturity. For me its an asset, maybe for others not so.

    Anyway thanks again guys, its terrific getting others perspetives. Often when you in the middle of somthin, is difficult to get clarity and for this I am most grateful,

  11. from my short experience on a cruiser, the bigger donk would only be benificial when a pillion is added to the picture.
    my mid size baby fits me perfect otherwise.
  12. Agreed Snowy, acceleration can get you out of trouble.

    Although with a larger bike at a cost of being less nimble and having more momentum to change line and brake. Add a rainy day to this and I'd take the M50 and downshifting for the same effect ... bearing in mind that in an emergency using engine braking you'd be near the right gear anyway.

  13. The 800 - 900cc cruiser will work like a horse all day. One thing i suggest is you get the thing breathing better, K&N Filter and either debaffle, or some non restrictive pipes. It made a heap of difference to pick up when i did these mods.
  14. Yep entirely agree here Mike and hence this conflict disparity between between big and bruteful and light and nimble, I guess either way you cut it, there will always be some type of compomise. I guess my issue really is about how great the compomise is rather than the fact that there actually is one. It just appears that there is a place for somthing in between that is just not in the market place...and may never be! I'm sure the manufacturers have done their homework and maybe there just isn't a decent target market to warrant changing the status quo. Maybe I'm out on a limb here or maybe the manufacturers all have shares in after market performance companies haha, don't ya just love these conspiracy theories! More likely that I'm out on a limb here.

    Maybe I'm just gettin too wound up, too feckin anal and lookin too hard at the whole issue. Its pleasing to here of your fairly positive responses in regard to these sized cruisers Mike. Like yourself and others, I just wanna enjoy riding, but at the same time still be able to have as much control over my riding environment as possible... don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about losing spontaneity or the thrill, but purely from a safety perspective. Power on tap is something I can have some control over( maybe not on this occassion given concerns raised), I regard power on tap as a fundamental safety feature and therefore I need to ensure I purchase the bike that will best fit this criteria, but also without compromising everything else like weight, handling and ridiculous amounts of dollars.

    Ah thats really great to hear Bluey, you have restored my confidence instantly. Heck I may just get one of these cruisers for the engineering challenge alone and see what we can do, as you rightly point Bluey out with a few mods. So hypercharger, pipes, rejet or remap really does make a "significant" difference?
  15. One comment that may or may not help you, I have noticed the midrange cruisers seem to keep their value :)

    So even if you get one and change your mind in 12 months, it may prove to be a relatively inexpensive upgrade :p
  16. I can't really talk because I haven't ridden anything very powerful. But even with my 650, in every day road situations you can feel the bike doesn't like not being able to stretch its legs. I imagine that feeling would be 10x worse on a litrebike.. I still want one though :LOL:
  17. Yep ... there does seem to be something missing in-between the M50 and the M109 ... although (maybe wrong) the M95 was not released here (OZ)? ... and same with other manufactures ... there is the Yamaha 1100 but it's lacking FI and water cooling ...

    The other thing is that a larger bike usually has more "safety" features ... twin discs on the front ... disc rear ... stiffer forks and suspension ... larger tyres ... not to mention weight can be an advantage with wind and bumpy mid corners ...

    The mid range cruisers are a compromise where every cent counts ... I'd like to see a disc rear on the M50 ... and I can see I'll eventually look at a PCIII with intake mods ... but in my eye it's unique look and balance of the compromises make it a very attractive package.

  18. I bought my VZ 800 (97 mod) and after 2 months and riding with sports bike I thought I needed more power and asked some suzuki dealers what I could do to get more power. Their answer was buy another bike. Not helpfull but it did get me to thinking was it more power I wanted or lower revs at higher speeds.

    I decided I wanted the speed with lower revs. The torques of the V-twin was enough to keep going up-steep hills in 5th without having to change down. Simple solution, change the 15 tooth front cog to a 16. This gave me the longer legs for my bike. Well I can now easily do speed and keep the fuel economy. I still cant keep up with the sports bikes but I can still have fun through twisty sections. I did not buy the bike to keep up with them but more for the comfort and feel.
  19. Yes the mods make a difference. Its all about getting them breathing and getting the air out .. :grin:
  20. Yeah this is the bloody attitude I seem to be coppin as well, "get another bike" its obviously too bloody hard...hell, I don't want another bike, I just want a few more bloody horses
    Yeah Wyvern, thats a really good idea a cheap way of gettin the feel of a sixth gear. the difficulty with the newer models is that they are shaft drive, so a little more challengin. There is a mod out to get gear ratio to around 3.00. Its a DJMod and this guy inthe states essentially grabbed some diff gearin out of a C90 and whalla, same result has what you've done. He's now making these things full-time and can't keep up with the demand...funny how problems often present opportunities for those keen enough to hava go.