Now in its third year of production, the Raider’s baby brother continues to impress. And that’s why this popular model hasn’t had many changes. You still get the super-kicked-out, 40-degree rake ending in a 21 inch front tire, a powerful 60-degree 1304cc powerplant to push you along, and that rider-friendly, ultra-low seat height (26.4 inches) to perch on. Steel fenders, a 4-gallon tank and belt drive are just some of the other sweet details the Stryker brings. Choose from red, white and raven, all at the same price, which has gone up $500 for 2013.
Star V Star 1300 /Tourer
Even though there’s 1304cc in the engine bay, Star’s “modern classic” touring cruiser feels like a much bigger machine when you experience it. The engine sure has the ‘modern’ part down, with twin-barrel fuel injection, four valves per cylinder and a 9.5: 1 compression ratio. Rider ergonomics are friendly too, with a relaxed handlebar bend, wide saddle and floating floorboards with heel/toe shifter. The Tourer packs on top-opening, leather-wrapped hard bags, a sissybar with backrest, and a tall adjustable windshield. Both bikes receive a $200 price bump for 2013.
Star V Star 950 /Tourer
It’s no secret we’re big fans of Star’s V Star 950 platform; in either version, the bike has received high marks in a multitude of shootouts. The reasonable price tag is just a bonus, because the 950 works for a variety of physiques and riding styles. The 66.3 inch wheelbase makes it stable, yet it has light handling, and the air-cooled 942cc, 60-degree V-twin is more than capable—it’s fun. If you opt for the Tourer version, you’ll get saddlebags, a sissybar and a shield. Both models receive a slight price boost over last year.
Star V Star Custom
It’s back for 2013, and that should please a variety of new riders. The V Star Custom—leanest of the full-size Stars—gets an air-cooled, SOHC, 649cc V-twin that’s still carbureted, but runs with a shaft drive. The Custom rolls with a choppier look, starting with the skinny 19-inch wheel, framed by a small headlight above. The low-profile saddle sits 27.4 inches off the pavement, and it all ends at a semi-bobbed rear fender covering a hidden shock with 3.4 inches of rear wheel travel. A long 63.4-inch wheelbase helps give it rock-solid stability.
Star V Star 250
That the V Star 250 will inspire confidence in even the newest of newbies should be perfectly clear. With a weight of just 323 lbs., the 250’s seat hovers just 27 inches off the ground, and wedges firmly atop a wheelbase that’s a reassuring 58.7 inches. That air-cooled, 249cc V-twin engine is all about rideability, and it still breathes through a carburetor and runs through a 5-speed gearbox. It’s a classic-looking cruiser too, with spoked wheels, a staggered exhaust and the right chrome accents. Get it in blue, for $100 more than last year.
Suzuki Boulevard M90
Suzuki didn’t list the M90 in its lineup for the last 2 years, and that’s our loss—this is one rip-roaring machine. The M90 takes its styling cues from beefier big-brother M109R, but instead brings a still-powerful 1462cc, V-twin, liquid-cooled engine to the fore, carried by a stout, steel-tubed frame. Beefy, 43mm upside-down forks grip a specially-design Bridgestone front tire, with full-floating discs set to slow it all down. A smooth five-speed transmission metes power to a shaft final drive. For 2013, the M90 is available in black and gray.
Suzuki Boulevard C50T
The C50T represents Suzuki’s sole contender in the classic touring category, bringing a wide, dished saddle, a matching backrest, height-adjustable windshield and large-capacity, leather saddlebags with Boulevard emblems. Telescopic forks with polished stanchion covers provide a plush 5.5-inches of wheel travel, while the power comes from an 805cc, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, SOHC, 45-degree V-twin tuned to deliver low RPM power and torque. It all gets channeled to a shaft final drive, which turns the 170 series rear whitewall. Two-tone paint and deep fenders complete the classic formula.
Suzuki Boulevard C50
The base C50 model is back for 2013, and with its full fenders, floorboards, pullback handlebars and dual pipes, it looks like a much bigger machine. The classically-styled Boulevard (hence the ‘C’) usually tops our “favorite middleweight” lists, thanks to its ample power and rideability. The liquid-cooled, 8-valve 805cc V-twin powers both the standard and the touring version. A 5-speed gearbox and shaft drive get the power down to the rear 15-inch, tube-type tire, and a chromed and staggered dual exhaust system on the right side of the engine propels spent gasses out the back with a nice rumble. The C50 is available in black only for 2013..
Suzuki Boulevard S40
Except for a couple of nips and tucks, the entry-level Boulevard S40 hasn’t changed much since 1986, when it was known as the Savage and rolled with a 4-speed transmission. The chopper-style machine still packs an air-cooled 652cc, OHC, single-cylinder engine that’s economical and reliable. In Suzuki-speak, “S” stands for skinny, and the S40 is just that, with a slim 19-inch front tire, 27.6-inch seat height, and reliable 5-speed tranny. While other Boulevard models feature shaft drive, the S40 is satisfied with a belt, and it remains a solid option for newbies and re-entry riders alike. For 2013, price increases $300.
The TU250X looks like it’s straight outta 1969, and that’s not a bad thing. Its standard vibe and wide saddle translates into easy ergonomics for all, and with those spoked wheels, teardrop fuel tank and copious chrome accents, it’s pretty stylish as well. The 30.3 inch seat isn’t as low as some entry-level bikes, but that may be because its focus is more on agile handling, thanks to a snappy 249cc single cylinder mill and a sub-350 lb. weight. The price goes up $300 from last year, but the claimed mpg remains 79.
Triumph Rocket III Touring /ABS
The Touring brings civility to the beastly 2.3 liter Rocket III platform, though the numbers are still impressive: A claimed 150ft.lbs of torque and 105 bhp. But this Rocket is in it for the long haul, with a sumptuous, 18-inch wide saddle, locking (and detachable) hard bags, a quick-release touring shield and spring-mounted floorboards, all standard. A longer chassis is designed to offer greater stability on the road, and 16 inch wheels stopped by triple disc brakes and ABS offer peace of mind. Transferring power is a five-speed gearbox, and shaft drive.
Triumph Rocket Roadster
The Rocket III Roadster is Triumph’s no-nonsense packaging of the biggest production motor in motorcycling. You get few flourishes here, just an uprated version of the iconic three-cylinder engine and tighter ergonomics, in black only. The tweaked 2294cc inline triple motor boosts power to a claimed 146 bhp, and high quality chassis components like a 43mm upside down fork and triple disc brakes with ABS abound. Some components (like those shocks, for example) are blacked out, adding to the menace, but otherwise the Roadster shares the same drivetrain as the other Rocket IIIs.
The newer and brawnier Storm is essentially the Thunderbird, stripped down and hot-rodded. As such, it gets a bigger 1700cc version of the award-winning parallel twin T-16 engine. Visually, there’s not much difference, though the Storm wears its bodywork in basic black, and carries twin headlights in between the fork legs (as opposed to the T-Bird’s single lamp). The sophisticated underpinnings include 310mm dual disc brakes with ABS, and 5-way adjustable twin shocks out back. The engine cases, covers and fork legs are darkened but the 6-speed transmission and belt final drive remain.
At its heart, the base Thunderbird carries the awesome 1597cc liquid-cooled DOHC engine, with a six-speed transmission delivering the juice (85bhp) to chunky 200mm rear tire via belt—Triumph’s first belt drive since 1922. Triple discs with an ABS option makes this one serious performance cruiser. Up top, a solo headlight perches atop a wide 47mm fork gripping a 19-inch aluminum wheel, and a 27.5 inch seat height, along with a worry-free 5.8 gallon fuel capacity, makes the T-Bird accessible for all. Price is unchanged from 2012.
Although the Scrambler is basically a re-dressed Bonneville—it’s based on the same fuel injected, air-cooled 865cc parallel-twin platform, and carries many of the same underpinnings, including a steel cradle frame, 59-inch wheelbase, 5-speed gearbox and chain final drive—there are enough differences to give it its own space. The spoked wheels are 19 inchers up front and 17 inchers out back, and the engine timing gets tweaked to bring the distinctive exhaust note from those classy high swept chrome pipes to the fore. A classic bench saddle and fork gaiters complete the transformation.
It’s traditional cruiser styling with a twist: The longer America’s more classic 16-inch front and 15-inch rear cast wheels wear high-walled tires and a more pronounced front fender than on its Speedmaster cousin. Otherwise it’s the same 865cc-twin platform, with low 27.1 inch seat height (differently shaped on the America) but with a stretched wheelbase and forward controls placed for the optimal laid-back cruising position. The America also covers the fork legs, fattens the headlight and bulks up the rear fender. New two-tone colors will be announced for 2013, but no price changes.
Like the laid-back America, the Speedmaster is motivated by Triumph’s revered 865cc parallel twin engine (with 270 degree firing interval), but it’s in a stripped down, moody package. Blacked-out engine cases and a 19-inch cast aluminum front wheel with single disc brake and skinny tire give the Speedmaster more attitude, while a 27.1 inch seat coupled with wider handlebars makes it still accessible. A five speed tranny is connected to a chain final drive, and slash-cut pipes handle spent gasses. The Speedmaster gets no price change for 2013.
Triumph Bonneville /T100
The iconic Bonneville—in all its variations—is perenially one of Triumph’s best-selling models. There are usually some new trim options each year, but the basic foundation remains: lightweight, 17-inch wheels, a fuel-injected air-cooled 865cc parallel twin engine (with injectors concealed behind throttle bodies), 5-speed transmission and chain final drive, all capped with a semi-bench saddle. The T100 (shown) goes for the 1960s-vibe with its pea-shooter exhausts, spoke wheels (with 19-inch front tire) and two-tone paint. This year there is a lower-priced T100 Black, too.
Ural Solo sT
If you’re looking for a simpler machine from a simpler time, you can’t get more basic than this Ural Solo, a machine built around a 70-year-old BMW design. The power comes from a decidedly simple, air-cooled 745cc boxer engine (complete with Keihin carburetors) hung in a bulletproof, heavy steel frame. There’s even a kick starter, should you really want to revisit your roots. But there are upmarket components here too, like a 40mm Marzocchi fork, Sachs rear shocks and Brembo brakes, all of which make the Solo an oddly compelling machine.