Big, bold, fat, muscular – however you want to coin it, eight years after its release, the M109R is still a bike that has grown men salivating at the prospect of twisting its throttle.
And why not? At the time of its release – 2006 – Suzuki had claimed it “the most powerful V-twin cruiser in the world.” With huge, 4.4-inch forged aluminum-alloy pistons - - some of the largest gas engine pistons being used in any production bike -- the 1783cc, 8-valve DOHC, V-Twin engine is designed for big power and gobs of torque. Suzuki lists output at 127 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque, numbers aided by a three-piece, 9.5-liter volume airbox, and sportbike-derived fuel injection. All this comes from an engine that’s cradled inside a high-tensile-steel frame. Up front, 46mm fork legs provide 5.1 inches of travel, and the rear suspension, which uses a swingarm of cast aluminum, is a single-shock design that soaks up 4.7 inches of bumps. Thanks to the fairly compact engine case, wheelbase stays at a reasonable 67.5 inches.
Color Me Black
The thing is, the M109R hasn't changed much in 8 years. (See our First Ride here) It still parades around in that aerodynamically styled bodywork, bright swathes of chrome proudly highlighting its UFC-style muscles. The comprehensive instrument cluster includes a digital tachometer and LED indicator lights integrated into the top of the headlight cowl, while a tank-mounted analog speedometer and LCD odometer also features dual tripmeters, fuel gauge and a clock.
OK, so some things have changed; namely the colors. The B.O.S.S. edition (Blacked Out Special Suzuki, in case you forgot), brings a distinctive Marble Daytona Yellow / Glass Sparkle Black scheme with the yellow race stripe covering the top of the front fender, flowing over the top of the headlight shroud and onto the fuel tank, and continuing down over the tail section. Matching yellow pin stripes adorn the inside of the black cast 18 inch wheel rims.
Otherwise, everything on the M109R B.O.S.S. gets blacked out, including: rearview mirrors, handlebars, clutch and brake levers, front fork outer tubes, steering stem head, the tank cover, air cleaner cap, clutch and magneto and cylinder head covers, the side covers, mufflers, and brake calipers. The L.E.D. taillight is nicely integrated into the single-piece rear fender-seat unit.
It's a neat livery that adds a measure of visual punch to the bike, but is it worth the $700 premium over the base model? Only you can say for sure.
Settling in isn't always an easy task on the Suzuki's wide, not very contoured, 27.8 inch high seat. In some cases, I found the M109R easier to park in the spaces marked Compact Cars Only than in a designated motorcycle area, so great was its girth.
Despite its many sport bike styling cues, the M109R’s seating position is relatively upright, though old-school cruiser fans might feel a bit thrown off by foot pegs that seem to be well forward of normal, making for a position better suited to taller riders. The forward controls throw your feet up, and a little out (if you’re short) -- this is a wide bike, with a stout, bloated tank that belies its 4.9 gallon capacity, and large-diameter exhaust pipes running below. The result is a semi-clamshell position, with upper body naturally canted forward to reach the handlebar. The bar sits atop crazy-tall, 8.5-inch risers -- some of the tallest we’ve seen. Leaning into the wind that way, I didn't have to apply much force to counter the pressure at highway speeds with the 33.7-inch-wide handlebar, but by no means do I mean to imply that this Suzuki is easy-steering, either.
Despite its sleek appearance and a preponderance of plastic covers, the M109R manages to radiate a quasi-stripped-down aesthetic, even with that big-ass tank. Of course, you can’t miss the 8.5 inch-wide, 240 section rear tire, or the funky, angular headlight either. As a bonus, the understated, modern cast wheels also allow the M109R to run tubeless tires. And when those aluminum wheels are in motion, the bright yellow pinstriping on the inner rim blend together at speed, creating a cool, holographic blur that further confirms the big Blvd’s go-fast status.
A stab at the starter spools up the big 1783cc engine, which emits a high-pitched whirr. Stomping on the thick shift lever results in an eerily smooth engagement, though there is a bit of resistance at the end of the shift lever travel, and you get a sense of pent-up, unsprung pressure. So there's a slightly sharp clunk when the gear finally engages into the cog. Then it’s all you can do to keep the throttle from practically rolling itself on for an instant-on power surge; the claimed 118 ft.-lbs. of torque still make themselves readily apparent here.
When we last had it in a shootout the big v-twin wowed everyone with its sheer muscle, possibly also because it was the new kid on the block at the time. Back then, we found its drivetrain less than impressive, with a lumpy characteristic we dubbed herky jerky. None of those things have changed – the herk is still there with the jerk. But we wanted to put the big girl up on the Dynojet anyway to get true numbers, and to confirm things were all copacetic in the world of rear wheel horsepower. Sure enough, after the data was spit out, the big Blvd still ran a healthy torque peak of 96.14 ft lbs. at about 5100rpm, with the power cresting 1000 or so rpm later in the rev range, at 108.59 hp.
You can see that the M109R likes to be revved out, but the torque curve is pretty impressive, shooting nearly straight up from 1100 rpm to 2000, and flattening out somewhat from there, to its peak.
In short, the M109R can still deliver the goods: the engine’s power is ample from down low, and delivery is a blast throughout. Grab the right grip at just about any speed and brace for the warp speed. Of course, some quirks remain, like the abruptness and shaft-jacking, which feels especially pronounced at low speeds and during on-off throttle transitions, but that might qualify as a nit-pick rather than a flaw. The big 109 cubic inch engine is still well-matched to the 5-speed transmission, which, once up to speed and operating temperature, feels even smoother-shifting. That said, I still encountered some false neutrals on the M109R over three days of tooling around Southern California, and the long-throw clutch operation can be a chore in city riding.
One characteristic this Boulevard seems to share with its stablemates is a somewhat stiff chassis, and the ride qualifies as solid, rather than plush. Still, the M109R's cast aluminum swingarm with progressive shock linkage manages to squeeze a reasonable 4.6 inches out of the preload-adjustable single rear shock. The feet-forward riding position, of course, shifts most weight to your butt, and though the seat wasn't deeply padded, it was reasonably comfortable, even if it was too wide for me; I’d brush the inside of my jeans against the exhaust pipe every time I put my feet down at a stoplight. It also forced the ol’ hip flexors outward too much to ride for more than 45 minutes or so at a time. This is not a short man's bike. Handling is reasonably adequate -- even during slow-speed maneuvers -- despite the wide rear tire, though steering can be a little heavy because of that. Once your line is set (and you get used to the abrupt turn-in) the M109R will track through turns very stably, even though it rolls on the widest 240/40R18 tubeless rear tire ever used on a Suzuki motorcycle.
The large twin-disc front brakes, adapted from the sporty GSX-R1000, seemed more than up to the task of slowing the big girl down, too, though the rear brake didn't add much to the party.
All that said, the M109R’s performance is tempered by a wet weight of over 750 pounds, so even if you can’t call power delivery bland, in a bike this heavy, it's only a shade better than merely being a smooth operator.
The M109R isn’t set up to be a traditionally customizable bike, though you can choose from a small array of accessories, and an aerodynamic cover for the rear fender is easily interchangeable for a (supplied) second seat cushion.
The big Suzuki is still a major power player in a small pool of musclebikes, but it’s beginning to show its age. Nevertheless, most power-hungry cruiser riders won’t be disappointed in this beefy Boulevard.
2014 Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S.
Base Price: $14,999 (Yellow/Black)
Warranty: 12 mos., unlimited mileage
Type: liquid-cooled 54-degree v-twin
Displacement, bore x stroke: 1783cc, 112 x 90.5 mm
Valve train: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Fuel system: EFI
Transmission: 5-speed, shaft final drive
Overall length: 95.5 in.
Wheelbase: 67.3 in.
Wet weight: 764 lbs.
Seat height: 27.8 in.
Rake/trail: 32 degrees / 6.7 in.
Wheels cast aluminum
Front tire 130/70 R18 M/C tubeless
Rear tire 240/40 R18 M/C tubeless
Front brake 300mm discs, 4-piston caliper
Rear brake 300mm disc, 2-piston caliper
Front suspension 46 mm inverted fork; 5.1 in travel
Rear suspension: Preload adjustable single shock; 4.6 in. travel
Fuel capacity 4.9 gallons