The 10 Best Cruisers Under $10,000

From urban bar-hoppers to performance cruisers, we choose the 10 best cruisers that cost less than $10K

Cruiser motorcycles are still the most popular style of bike sold in the US. But cruisers, particularly of the American Big Twin variety, are notoriously spendy; most brand-new Indians and Harley-Davidsons cost around $20,000 (or more) by the time they’re ridden off the showroom floor, and even the more affordable Japanese versions sport sticker prices far beyond what most of us would consider practical for a vehicle we won’t use daily.

But you can still buy a brand-new cruiser for less than $10K! We’ve collected 10 of our favorites here. Most are urban-friendly, small-displacement bikes that are all the rage these days. But a few surprises pepper the list, including a brand-new performance cruiser with sportbike roots and a high-tech cruiser with groundbreaking automatic transmission.

Priced low to high, here are our 10 best cruisers for less than $10,000.

Yamaha V Star 250: $4,349

Yamaha V Star 250
The V Star 250 is a direct descendant of the Virago cruisers many of us grew up riding.Yamaha

Smooth, sufficient V-twin power and a 27-inch seat makes the V Star 250 a stylish and comfortable entry-level cruiser. Light and nimble (Yamaha says just 326 pounds wet), it's ideal for tooling around town. The flyweight bike boasts a ridiculous 78 mpg, and it's the only V-twin in this nano class, so it's bound to be a quieter and nominally smoother ride than a single-cylinder.

If you really want a thumper though, check out Suzuki’s small cruisers. The tiny TU250X ($4,649) offers a competitive price point to the V Star 250, but it’s more upright standard than a classically styled cruiser. For that, and a bit more power, opt instead for the Boulevard S40 ($5,799), a single-cylinder 650cc cruiser that offers a more laid-back riding position and a retro-sexy profile.

Honda Rebel 500: $6,199 | Rebel 300: $4,499

Honda Rebel 500
The exposed frame and high-mounted peanut tank give the Rebel an industrial profile. Fun color schemes range from matte Fresco brown (above) to classic Honda red to bright neon green.Honda

Since 1985, the venerable Honda Rebel held down the bottom of the cruiser food chain. The unfailing little bike didn't evolve much in 30 years, and why should it? It was a solid, reliable little cruiser. Alas, styles and attitudes—and, y'know, technology—wouldn't wait for the Rebel to update itself, and by 2015 Big Red's neighborhood bar-hopper had grown decidedly quaint.

Today’s Honda Rebel is way more fun: a stripped-down urban rocker designed to appeal to the next generation of entry-level motorcyclists, with industrial styling and a parallel twin that provides quickness down low and enough top-end to handle a freeway commute. The lighter, 300cc single-cylinder Rebel is even more rider (and wallet) friendly.

Kawasaki Vulcan S: $7,099 | Vulcan S ABS Café: $8,099

Kawasaki Vulcan S
The sporty Vulcan S Café has standard ABS, while the base-model S provides it as an option. It’s a safety feature most cruisers in this class don’t even offer.Kawasaki

Performance cruisers are all the rage these days, and Kawasaki has delivered that elusive sport/comfort balance in a package designed to suit most any size rider of any skill level. The Vulcan S features a 649cc V-twin that's lifted straight from the sporty Ninja 650. The S Café version sports a dark-smoked headlight cowl/wind deflector and three-tone paint.

No matter if you’re an experienced rider who loves riding small bikes fast or a beginner ready for the next step up from entry-level, the Vulcan S and S ABS Café are a solid choice at a decent price point. For what it’s worth, Kawi still offers its Vulcan 900 cruiser—and it costs about the same as this smaller bike (but without ABS, even as an option).

Honda Shadow Aero: $7,699 | Shadow Phantom: $7,899

Shadow Phantom
The Phantom is the stripped-down, darker Shadow. If you prefer colors and chrome, opt for the Aero.Honda

A pioneer of what’s sometimes derisively called a “UJM” (Universal Japanese Motorcycle), the Honda Shadow has been around since the early ’80s. Remember the VTX1300? Like the rest of the Big Four Japanese OEMs though, Honda seems to have all but surrendered the production of heavyweight V-twin cruisers to its American and European counterparts.

At 745cc, today’s VTs stay comfortably in the lightweight range, boasting an impressive 56 mpg and a low, 26-inch seat height that’s ideal for beginner or smaller riders—or any cruiser rider looking for an easier, more compliant ride. The bare-bones Shadow Phantom (shown) features spoked wheels on black rims, bobbed fenders, and matte black accents; the Shadow Aero, meanwhile, is more traditionally styled, with full fenders, a passenger pillion pad, and lots of classic chrome.

Honda CTX700N DCT: $7,699

Honda CTX700N DCT
You could easily spend just as much (if not more) and get a bike that’s less comfortable with poorer handling and performance. And you’d still have to pull the clutch lever, over and over and over and…Honda

No OEM has been as aggressive as Honda in trying to attract new customers and jump-start flagging sales. While the mod design of the CTX700N might not be for everyone, there’s no denying that shifting without a clutch is a godsend, especially in traffic.

As riders, we felt the CTX700N compared quite favorably to other cruisers in the class. The Honda's handling, performance, and fit and finish were all pleasant surprises, and the no-clutch shifting worked far better than we could have imagined. All these features are great and make this trailblazer a solid cruiser purchase no matter what—but it's the remarkable price point for this groundbreaking clutchless technology that's the real jaw-dropper here.

Yamaha Bolt R-Spec: $8,399

Yamaha Bolt R-Spec
We chose the R-Spec for its upgraded suspension and color options; for $400 less, the standard Bolt is a fine option that comes in basic black only.Yamaha

A performance bobber that combines old-school style with modern technology, the Bolt R-Spec (it used to be a Star, but Yamaha seems to have given up on that branding moniker—along with the term "cruiser"—altogether for 2019) is a heckuva lot of fun to ride. It sports a 942cc air-cooled V-twin that some feel is smoother and stronger than most of its competitors, and its urban-bobber style is guaranteed to turn heads on Saturday night. Perfect for stylin' and profilin', the Bolt is most often compared to Harley's Sportster Iron 883 (see our 10th choice below), and beyond their appearance the bikes are quite similar in displacement and features—and price point. The Iron has the panache, but the Bolt wins on performance. Either way, you can't go wrong.

Suzuki Boulevard M50: $8,699 | Boulevard C50: $8,299

Suzuki Boulevard M50
The M50 is a more modern, performance-oriented take on the classic middleweight cruiser.Suzuki

Each of Suzuki’s stalwart middleweight cruisers provides a comfortable riding position in a platform suitable for most any rider. The “C” could stand for “classic,” traditional cruiser styling with spoked wheels and plenty of chrome, while the “M,” with its nose and tail cowls, drag bars, inverted fork, and blacked-out components, may as well mean “modern.” They share a solid 805cc V-twin that provides adequate muscle for street and highway, and both have a low 27.6-inch seat height and a manageable curb weight right around 600 pounds.

Cruiser enthusiasts who’ve grown beyond entry-level, or daily commuters seeking a more chill ride to work, could do far worse—and/or spend way more. Hot tip: The tour-ready C50T ($9,499) comes with soft leather saddlebags, a plexi windshield, and still comes in under 10 grand.

Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow: $8,699

Harley-Davidson Sportster SuperLow
Get all the classic features and legendary panache with tried-and-true quality for less than $9K with the Harley SuperLow.Harley-Davidson

There are sexier, more distinctive Harleys in the sub-$10K price range but we really appreciate the clean-sheet platform of the SuperLow that allows its owner to customize it into anything he or she desires—and it’s easily the most rider-friendly bike in the Sportster line. It offers all the classic features that define the heritage brand: V-twin torque, dual-sided indicator switches, and that signature Harley-Davidson rumble. Plus, it sports acclaimed Harley quality, with features like adjustable preload suspension, dual chrome pipes, and four color schemes. All this in a package that weighs just 545 pounds and boasts a truly accessible 25.5-inch seat height that’s perfect for women and shorter riders.

If you’ve tried some of the other bikes on this list and still haven’t found what you’re looking for in a cruiser, you’re probably looking for a Harley-Davidson.

Indian Scout Sixty: $8,999

Indian Scout Sixty
The Scout Sixty offers fantastic quality and truly impressive performance.Indian Scout Sixty

Despite its easy-to-handle dimensions—25.8-inch seat height and 542-pound curb weight—this is not an entry-level cruiser by any stretch of the imagination. Fact is, the 60-inch (1,000cc), liquid-cooled, 78-hp engine make the Scout probably the fastest motorcycle on this list. And the aluminum cast frame and standard ABS mean it’s as high-tech as cruisers in this class come.

The Scout Sixty is the smallest and most inexpensive bike in the entire Indian lineup. While the long-distance ergos aren’t as comfortable as we’d like and the solo bucket saddle means it’s never more than a one-rider operation, it’s impossible to argue with the fit and finish of these Polaris-era Indians. Besides, the accessories catalog is full of options.

Harley-Davidson Iron 883: $8,999 | Iron 1200: $9,999

Harley-Davidson Iron
The Iron 1200 has evolved since it was known as the Nightster, adding throwback graphics, mini-apes, and a dark headlight cowl.Harley-Davidson

Speaking of sexier Harleys in the sub-$10K price range, both of the Irons offer the original urban-bomber styling and that renowned Harley rumble at a price that’s perfect for those just getting into the cruiser genre—or more experienced cruiserheads who want an affordable around-town ripper with soul and panache.

The Bike Formerly Known As The Nightster and its 883cc little brother definitely share genes. The dimensions are almost identical: short, 59.6-inch wheelbases add to nimble handling while the low 25.7-inch seat height and solo seats makes them accessible and augment the "in-the-pocket" riding feel. The only variance is in the engine size and styling flourishes. We dig the low profile, café/bobber stance of the 883, but the throwback Sons of Anarchy style of the Iron 1200 has a certain disco-era appeal.

Honorable Mentions

Yamaha SR400
Honorable Mention No. 1: Yamaha SR400 ($5,999) | Honorable Mention No. 2: Triumph Street Twin ($9,100)Yamaha

Honorable Mention No. 1: Yamaha SR400 ($5,999)
Classic '70s styling is making a comeback in a big way. The SR ticks all the right retro boxes—it's a kickstart!—and it's powerful enough for highway jaunts. Perfect for hip city dwellers.

Honorable Mention No. 2: Triumph Street Twin ($9,100)
If you just can't seem to find the right cruiser, try thinking outside the box. Technically standards, Triumph's Modern Classics are too cool to be ignored. The Street Twin (shown) comes in under $10K, while the T100 Bonneville ($10,400) just barely breaks the plane.