Flagship Comparison: 1998 Suzuki Intruder 1500 LC

One of the more affordable big-inch cruisers from the flagship comparison

1998 Suzuki Intruder 1500 LC
1998 Suzuki Intruder 1500 LCFran Kuhn

Suzuki’s entry is the newest machine in this party of eight. But like the rest of the bikes, it uses an engine derived from an existing model. Starting with the 1400 Intruder mill—with its single overhead camshafts, three valves per cylinder, offset crankpins, and shaft final drive—the engineers increased both bore and stroke to bump displacement up to 1462cc, added flywheel mass, and put both carburetors between the cylinders. The deeply finned cylinders, which use air-cooling only up front and air/oil in the rear cylinder, appear taller and beefier than the 1400.

Two carbs and their requisite airbox plenums (the triangular “airbox” on the right side of the engine actually houses emissions components) left little room for fuel above the engine. As a result, the fuel tank was placed under the saddle, with its filler under a cover on the dummy fuel tank behind the speedometer. Pieces you might otherwise find under the saddle, such as the battery, were relocated. The battery hangs in front of the crankcase, under the big oil cooler. The rectifier and tool kit reside under the bulbous covers on the left side of the engine and driveshaft.

Partially because of the width of the under-seat fuel tank, the Intruder LC is the widest in a class that likes to strut its corpulent style. The width of the saddle and fenders draw remarks wherever you ride it. Fat tubeless tires on cast wheels hulk between covered 41mm fork stanchions up front. The rear suspension uses a clean single-shock system. Both ends rely on a single disc and twin-piston caliper for braking. In keeping with fat fashion, the Intruder LC uses floorboards and a heel-toe shifting arrangement.

With its $9899 price tag, Suzuki’s flagship cruiser is the most affordable of the big-inch cruisers, though the much smaller Triumph Thunderbird manages to undercut it in this group.

High Points: Low Points: First Changes:
Excellent seat Very poor clutch control Work on the clutch
Roomy layout for big riders Difficult low-speed handling Aftermarket brakes and suspension
Affordable price Underwhelming styling
Uninspired handling
Unimpressive brakes
Dumb oil-level check arrangement
1998 Suzuki Intruder 1500 LC
A wide bike can have a wide saddle, and the Suzuki definitely does. It provides unmatched seating comfort for large riders over long distances, and treats passengers well too. The actual fuel tank is beneath it.Fran Kuhn
Specifications:
Model/designation: Intruder/VL1500
Suggested base price: $9899
Standard colors: Black/green, yellow/white, brown/beige
Extra cost colors: NA
Standard warranty: 12 mo., unlimited miles
Recommended service interval: 7500 miles
Engine & Drivetrain
Type: Air/oil-cooled, 45-degree tandem V-twin
Valve arrangement: SOHC, 2 intake valves, 1 exhaust valve, operated by hydraulic adjusters
Displacement, bore x stroke: 1462cc, 96mm x 101mm
Compression ratio: 8.5:1
Carburetion: 2, 36mm Mikuni CV
Lubrication: Wet sump, 5.0 qt.
Minimum fuel grade: 87 octane
Transmission: Wet, multiplate clutch; 5 speeds
Final drive: Shaft, 2.666:1
Chassis
Wet weight: 699 lb
GVWR: 1180 lb
Seat height: 26.7 in.
Wheelbase: 66.9 in.
Overall length: 99.4 in.
Rake: 32 degrees
Trail: 5.43 in.
Wheels: Cast, 16 x 3.50 front, 15 x 5.00 rear
Front tire: 150/80-16 Bridgestone G703, tubeless
Rear tire: 80/70-15 Bridgestone G702, tubeless
Front brake: Double-action caliper, 11.8-in. disc
Rear brake: Double-action caliper, 7.1-in. disc
Front suspension: 41mm stanchions, 5.1 in. travel
Rear suspension: Single damper, 4.6 in. travel, adjustments for spring preload
Fuel capacity: 4.1 gal
Handlebar width: 33.3 in. wide, 1 in. diameter
Inseam equivalent: 31.2 in.
Electrical & Instrumentation
Charging output: 340 watts
Battery: 12v, 14AH
Forward lighting: 7.5-in. headlight, position lights
Taillight: One bulb
Instruments: Speedometer, LCD odometer/dual tripmeter; warning lights for neutral, high beam, turn signals, oil pressure, fuel level
Performance
Fuel mileage: 31–45 mpg, 39.9 mpg avg.
Average range: 163 miles
RPM at 60 mph, top-gear: 2490
200 yard, top-gear acceleration from 50 mph, terminal speed: 71.7 mph
1⁄4-mile acceleration: 14.19 sec., 91.9 mph

This article was originally published in the August 1998 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser.