Battle Of The Basic Big Twins 2000 Suzuki Intruders

Intruders of the Basic Big Twins battle

2000 suzuki 1400
Both the Intruder 1400 and Intruder 1500 LC combine main-street American styling themes with the company's own touch.Cruiser

This article was originally published in the August 2000 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser.

The oldest bike here, and perhaps in all of cruising, is Suzuki's Intruder 1400. When Suzuki introduced the 1400 in 1987, it was something of a revelation. It had the tidiest detailing ever seen on a production bike, with wiring and clutter—even the spark plugs—tucked neatly out of sight. Its styling took Japanese customs to a new level of Americanization, and its 1360cc air/oil-cooled V-twin was, at least briefly, the biggest we had ever experienced. The styling had come from Suzuki's American facility and, though it may seem dated now, it was cutting-edge back then. With its pullback bars, undersized 3.4-gallon tank, narrow frame, and banana-like seat with a backrest, the 1400 was a deft replication of the kinds of customs Americans had been building, even though it arrived as tastes were shifting away from that look. Though Suzuki initially offered variations with flat handlebars and cast wheels, the pullback bars and wire wheels were what Americans wanted and the other models were discontinued.

The engine offered the style of a 45-degree V, but snuffed vibration by using two crankpins, staggered so that the forces created by the pistons' strokes canceled most vibration. The drawback to this was that the characteristic cadence of a single-pin 45-degree V-twin was lost. Each cylinder inhaled through its own 36mm Mikuni carb and a pair of intake valves and expelled burnt gases through a single exhaust valve. A single overhead cam operated the valves. Originally coupled to a four-speed transmission, the 1400 was upgraded to a five-speed in 1997. A drive shaft delivers power to the rear wheel.

The Intruder 1500 LC was introduced in 1998 and presents a stark contrast to the look of the 1400. Instead of the 1400’s thin style, the hulking 1500 is the ultimate in fat. Its fork is covered and chubby—not long and lean. The tank area (which is actually a dummy—the real tank is under the seat) is huge, and the seat is wide and roomy. The front tire is a tubeless 16-incher on a cast wheel instead of the 1400’s skinny 19-inch tube-type. Fenders are broad and deep. A chrome filler panel backs up the oversized headlight. The bigger bike gets floorboards instead of footpegs, and its instruments reside atop the tank. The entire package is wider, longer (with three inches more wheelbase) and more portly—to the tune of 117 additional pounds with fuel—than the 1400. The engine is the same basic air/oil-cooled 45-degree staggered-crankpin design, bored and stroked to displace 102cc more than the 1400 and re-skinned to create a massive look that matches the rest of the bike. The intake plumbing has been rearranged so that both carbs nestle inside the V (instead of each behind its cylinder as on the 1400), and they breathe through a huge airbox that occupies much of the volume inside the dummy fuel tank. (The faux airbox on the right side of the engine houses other components.)

Both of Suzuki’s big twins combine main-street American styling themes with the company’s own touch to create individual personalities and real alternatives to the rest of the big-twin class.