We were especially excited to reassess this group of cruisers in 2004 since Harley introduced a much-improved version of the Sportster 883, which eliminated some of the vibration and drivetrain issues that had kept the previous models from doing well in recent competitions. Honda's new Aero 750, with shaft drive and an updated A.C.E. engine and exhaust, was promising to stir up the mix as well. Kawasaki's Vulcan 800 has been the champ in prior years, outdone only by Suzuki's Volusia in our last comparison (available in the Road Tests section of www.motorcyclecruiser.com). The other Suzuki entry, an 800cc Intruder, which we fondly call Disco Bike, hasn't changed much over the last couple of decades, and while it might not be in step with its bigger, bolder brethren stylistically, it can sometimes surprise us with its sleeper appeal and cultish charm. This year we also added another previously untested and interesting opponent, Triumph's 2004 Speedmaster, the sportier version of the Bonneville America. Finally, we decided to include Yamaha's venerable V-Star 650, which perhaps should have been left in the smaller-capacity, entry-level cruiser category with bikes that more closely match it in displacement. But the thing is, it always, always kicks butt in that arena, outclassing the small bikes by such an extreme margin we thought it ought to have a go against the bigger blokes.