<— The sport bike experience
How does it feel?
As I did with the sport bike, I took it around the parking lot of Central Texas Power Sports to get a feel for it. Granted, I have been riding a cruiser for 6 years, but I wanted to do my due diligence, and this is a different bike.
On a cruiser you are sitting more upright, like when you drive a car or sit at a desk. The center of gravity is more in the middle of the bike and your weight is carried in the saddle. It is a comfortable position as well, but you can feel it in your deltoids, forearms and lower back if you aren’t used to having your hands extended and about shoulder height for any length of time, as well as gripping regularly.
Typically a cruiser comes with three foot control options: foot boards which support your feet for the entire length, pegs which support your feet at the point of controls or highway pegs which are attached to the engine guard and allow you to stretch your legs out in front of you. Most cruisers come with pegs, but more are coming out with foot boards. If you want foot boards, you can always acquire them as accessories. Highway pegs are also accessories that are easily acquired, but most often you would want them on an engine guard. I have seen them attached to the frame, but that brings your legs closer to the engine, so your legs will be hotter during a ride.
This bike came with foot boards, which is the same as my bike, so I didn’t have to get used to the pegs. I have had pegs before and, if you are not used to riding long distances, you will feel discomfort over time where the pegs rest against your foot.
This bike also has a windshield. My bike doesn’t, so that was a new experience. Having a windshield will help increase your endurance by you not having to take the wind directly on your face and chest. I can see where a lot of people like it, but I like the feeling of all that, so I go without a windshield.
How does it handle?
After the feeling of the sport bike, I felt sluggish. But, these aren’t designed to be rockets. The acceleration is slower, braking is slower, cornering is wider, but all of it manageable. It isn’t like you are going from street rod to a Red Ryder Wagon, more like going from a Ferrari to a Camaro. Yeah, they both are fast and handle well, one just more refined than the other.
As for acceleration: I used the same spit of road I tested the sport bike on when entering the highway and poured it on like I did the sport bike. I was on the highway, and just coming out of the merge before I hit 70mph. Like I said, you aren’t buying these to be aggressive, you buy on of these for long distance and torque.
The controls are bigger and more easily reached regardless of how you are holding the handle bars. The foot controls are placed in such away that they are easily accessible and all of them use more gross motor skills than fine. You will find more play in the throttle and will turn it more. If you think of a throttle as a clock, what you get out of a sport bike at a turn to one or two o’clock, you will get at about 4 or 5 on a cruiser.
Some cruisers come with a different shifter too. On sport bikes it is a toe shifter; on a cruiser you can get a toe and heel shifter. On a toe shifter you either push down or lift up. On a toe/heel shifter, you push down on the front for downshifting and push down on the heel for up shifting. This bike had a toe/heel shifter, which can be nice, but a bit temper mental too if you don’t use appropriate pressure. It also makes it a little more difficult to find neutral.
A cruiser is a nice ride. If you are taking a leisurely stroll or a long distance ride, you will enjoy a cruiser. Unlike a sport bike, you will feel the trip in your lower back, deltoids and forearms the most. You can also customize a cruiser A LOT, making it easier to differentiate yourself from the other bikes.
Another benefit is having your favorite friend riding with you. On a cruiser you will be more likely to get a partner in riding, and have room for gear for a long trip. With the availability of accessories for a cruiser you could also mitigate some of the body aches you would sustain from such a ride.