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					Bang for the Buck - Cost Effective Motorcycles Comparison – Motorcycle Cruiser                                               Page 1 of 7



                     Cost-Effective Cruisers



                                                                                                                   !



                     If money were no object, we'd all be riding the exact motorcycles we wanted and they'd be set up
                     precisely the way we wished. Oh, and we'd ride more because we wouldn't have to work.

                     But money is an object for most of us. Often, it isn't a matter of buying what we want, but rather
                     of buying what we can afford. We typically compare bikes by displacement, engine type, or some
                     other physical characteristic. This time we thought we'd compare them by price range (based on
                     prices after the first round of 2003 models were released in July). We recognize that for many
                     buyers, price is the determining factor. Most of us do have budgets, and when buying a new bike
                     we have to live within them. Fortunately, this is not always a matter of settling, unless you simply
                     want the prestige that a higher price tag brings. If you look around, you can often find a bike--for
                     less money--that performs and travels as well as or better than the model you had your eye on.

                     With that in mind, we carved the current crop of new cruisers into six price categories and asked
                     our testers to name their favorites and near-favorites in each range. We based the categories
                     and our selections on suggested prices, though we were mindful of the fact that there is room to
                     deal on many of these bikes and that some bikes, notably certain Harley models, fetch a
                     premium in some areas. To our surprise, the top choice in each bracket was virtually unanimous.
                     Even second place had very strong support. (Some of our third places, however, took a bit of
                     discussion to decide.) In other words, our top picks all received strong recommendations.

                     It was tempting to try this same sort of listing with used bikes. But used cruiser prices vary
                     sharply by region. A bike that is popular and fetches a relatively high price in one region may
                     have fallen out of favor in another area and sell for considerably less. This makes it hard to set
                     price brackets the way we can with new bikes.

                     Note that the voting was done by testers--people who have ridden all these machines. As a
                     result, our choices, as always, tend to weight how the bikes work more than how they appear.
                     We have found that at the end of a long ride, a comfortable, competent motorcycle somehow
                     looks even better than it did when it was all clean and shiny in the garage that morning.



                     UNDER $5000
                     You can still find performance on a tight budget



                                                        Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD $4699
                                                        Strong performance, modest price. In the lower-priced strata of
                                                        the market, where displacement tends to be modest,
                                                        performance becomes an issue. You need to have some power
                                                        if you are going to ride on the highway, and the acceleration
                                                        and speed of some small bikes can leave you underwhelmed.
                                                        That's not the case with Kawasaki's Vulcan 500 LTD vertical
                                                        twin, which can run circles around many 800s and any other
                                                        current sub-650cc cruiser, thanks to its powerful liquid-cooled,
                                                        double-overhead-camshaft, eight-valve engine. The mill is
                                                        basically half of the 1000cc Ninja sportbike engine from the
                                                        1980s. As with other small bikes, you must be willing to rev it to
                     harness all the available power, but its six-speed gearbox makes that easy. If you're willing to let
                     it rev and massage the gear-shift lever, you will find that the 500 is happy to make brisk passes at
                     highway speeds, zip away from other vehicles when the light turns green, or deliver a shot of
                     acceleration when traffic demands it. The power is bigger than the price.
                     ,br> The little Vulcan does not necessarily make a great first impression. In fact, a few years ago,
                     we had three new riders fresh from Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider training. When we
                     handed out the keys to a selection of small bikes, none of them paid much attention to the Vulcan
                     500. They all wanted to ride the Honda VLX, preferring its looks and imagining more power from
                     its additional displacement. But after a few weeks of riding all the bikes regularly, it was the 500
                     LTD's key they were fighting for. The Kawasaki was not only much more powerful than the VLX,
                     it was more comfortable, more nimble, and more fun to ride.

                     The bike also has a good reputation for longevity, and it shares the engine with the 500 Ninja,
                     which means that parts are readily available. These factors, plus the fact that it has been around
                     for many years with little change and is continuing production into 2003, also mean that the
                     Vulcan 500 is a good choice for a rider shopping for an inexpensive used cruiser.

                     THE CONTENDERS
                     The pickings in the under-$5000 class have gotten pretty thin, and we think there is a big gap

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                     between the Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD and other bikes with suggested prices in this range.
                     However, for those who lack a Kawasaki dealer in the neighborhood or can't quite mesh with the
                     Vulcan 500's style, there are additional choices.

                     Honda VLX $4999-$5299
                     If you just have to have a V-twin, Honda's 600cc VLX is the most twin you can buy for under five
                     Gs. Most people also rate it as the best-looking bike in this price range, and it has the best
                     aftermarket support, with a variety of accessories to improve looks and extend function. Though it
                     works harder than the 500 LTD, the VLX has adequate power for highway use.

                     However, you have to be ready to settle for some significant shortcomings compared to the
                     Kawasaki. Most riders say the VLX is substantially less comfortable for them. Having only four
                     speeds is also a shortcoming on a small-displacement motorcycle, placing big gaps between
                     gears without sufficient power to fully bridge them.

                     There are two different VLX models, the plain VLX and the Deluxe with colors besides black and
                     some additional chrome. We hear that the Deluxe outsells the plain model, but we think a buyer
                     would be wiser to save the extra $300 for accessories to better dress and personalize the bike.

                     Suzuki GZ250 $2999
                     If your budget is stretched simply buying a new bike, you might want to consider some of the
                     $3000-range 250s. Not for a large rider, the little 250s are nonetheless legal on interstate
                     highways and capable of keeping up with 65-mph traffic. They are also attractive for the frugal
                     fuel economy and easy upkeep. The single-cylinder Suzuki has an edge in those areas. Its
                     single-cylinder engine has just two valves to adjust and seems to get slightly better mileage (in
                     excess of 50 mpg for most riders) than the Honda and Yamaha 250cc twins.

                     Most riders will regard 250s as simply too small, even though many of today's older riders started
                     out on smaller and less powerful bikes. The Suzuki is a bit roomier than other 250s too.



                     $5000 TO $7500
                     Full-size motorcycles, strong performance, lightweight prices

                     Honda Magna $7499
                     Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Drifter $7499
                     Triumph Bonneville $7299
                     Yamaha V-Star Silverado $6899
                     Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic $6799
                     Harley Sportster 883 Custom $6795-$7095
                     Harley Sportster XL883R $6695-$6815
                     BEST BUY
                     Suzuki Intruder Volusia $6599
                     Suzuki Intruder 800 $6399
                     Harley Sportster 883 Hugger $6155-$6775
                     Kawasaki Vulcan 750 $6099
                     Honda Shadow A.C.E. 750 Deluxe $5999-$6399
                     Honda Shadow Spirit 750 $5999-$6199
                     Kawasaki Vulcan 800 $5999
                     Suzuki Marauder $5999
                     Yamaha V-Star Classic $5899-$5999
                     Harley XL883 Sportster 883 $5695-$6315
                     Yamaha V-Star Custom $5599-$5699



                     SUZUKI INTRUDER VOLUSIA $6599
                     If you take a step up from the under-$5000 bracket, you'll find a
                     class of motorcycles that are full-sized or nearly so, often with
                     styling and performance comparable to that of big bikes. Except
                     for a little torque and the bragging rights that go with more than
                     a liter of displacement, you don't give up much.

                     You don't even have to go to the top of the price range to
                     acquire our favorite bike here. It should come as no surprise to
                     anyone who read our 800-class comparison that Suzuki Volusia
                     is our top pick in this grouping. Suzuki's 805cc liquid-cooled,
                     eight-valve V-twin provides solid, smooth performance. Though
                     it's geared taller than the Intruder 800 and therefore doesn't accelerate quite as hard, the Volusia
                     nevertheless provides plenty of power and a more relaxed cadence on the highway. The
                     Volusia's physical size--its wheelbase is almost four inches longer than the Intruder 800's--lends
                     it the roominess, presence and comfort of a bigger cruiser. We also give it high marks for offering
                     the handling, braking and appearance of a more expensive bike. In fact, we think the 2002 and
                     2003 paint schemes have made it look even classier. Its styling is the currently favored wide,
                     classic style, which makes it ideal for long rides both because of its comfort and its 4.5-gallon fuel
                     capacity.

                     Finally, with an engine based on the same Intruder middleweight that has been around for over
                     15 years and shaft final drive (a major maintenance-reducer), the Volusia should also be trouble-

http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/roadtests/cost_effective_motorcycles/index.html                                              10/25/2006
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                     free, easy to maintain and inexpensive to repair.

                     THE CONTENDERS
                     The selection of bikes in this modest price range has become increasingly diverse and appealing.
                     They range from the stark Harley Sportster to the feature-laden Kawasaki 750 Vulcan to
                     Triumph's unique Bonneville. There are a couple of stand-outs, however.

                                                        Yamaha V-Star 650s $5599-$6899
                                                        We have been fans of the slickly styled V-Stars since they were
                                                        introduced. Yamaha's 650cc V-twins were the original
                                                        affordable middleweights with big-bike style. When you roll in
                                                        solid comfort and shaft final drive, any one of the V-Stars is an
                                                        impressive value. You can have your V-Star in three flavors.
                                                        The Classic, with its deep fenders, is our favorite. Wrapped in
                                                        traditional beamy American lines, the Classic looks more
                                                        elegant and cushy than a $5899 (add $100 for colors other than
                                                        black) cruiser should be. Good brakes and responsive handling
                                                        round out its appeal. The only shortcoming is power that is just
                                                        slightly lacking on the highway. Not that it won't keep up, it just
                     wheezes a bit if you ask it to pass a truck on an uphill. Add leather saddlebags and a windshield
                     and you have the Silverado version, for an additional $1000. If you prefer leaner lines, the V-Star
                     Custom, with its chopped fenders and skinnier front wheel, delivers for $300 less than the
                     Classic.

                     Honda Magna $7499
                     If you want hard-hitting performance, impressive comfort and
                     clean styling but aren't ready to pay big bucks to get it, Honda's
                     V4-powered Magna is the bargain bullet for you. Last issue it
                     held its own against bigger bikes in our performance-cruiser
                     comparison, and a few years back it emerged on top in our
                     sport-cruiser showdown. After more than a decade in
                     production, the Magna has demonstrated solid reliability too.
                     While we'd like to see Honda freshen it slightly, we nonetheless
                     regard the Magna as one of the great cruisers, especially at this
                     price.



                     $7500 TO $10,000
                     Middle of the road in every area except performance

                     BEST BUY
                     Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Classic $9999
                     Suzuki Intruder 1500 LC $9999
                     Yamaha V-Star 1100 Silverado $9399
                     Harley Sportster 1200 Custom $9155-$9795
                     Honda Shadow Aero $8999-$9299
                     Honda VTX1300S $8999-$9299
                     Triumph Thunderbird $8999
                     Moto Guzzi California Stone $8790
                     Harley Sportster 1200 Sport $8695-$8995
                     Moto Guzzi California Jackal $8495
                     Suzuki Intruder 1400 $8349
                     Honda Shadow Sabre $8199-$8399
                     Yamaha V-Star 1100 Classic $8199-$8499
                     Honda Shadow Spirit $7999
                     Triumph Bonneville America $7999
                     Harley Sportster 1200 $7995-$8855
                     Yamaha V-Star 1100 Custom $7899-$7999



                                                        KAWASAKI VULCAN 1500 CLASSIC $9999
                                                        Since the first issue of this magazine, we have been fans of
                                                        Kawasaki's big American-styled V-twin. Comfortable,
                                                        handsome, well-behaved and uncannily smooth, the Vulcan
                                                        1500 Classic has always been a cruiser that we enjoy climbing
                                                        on and pointing toward some distant destination. Even though
                                                        its price is right at the upper limit of this category, the choice
                                                        was unanimous.

                                                      The 1500 Classic has grown with us, offering improvements
                                                      and technical changes on a regular basis while spawning a
                                                      series of spin-off models. Kawasaki even added a fuel-injected
                     model of the 1500 Classic, which has pushed the price over the $10,000 ceiling of this category,
                     but the carbureted version remains in the line and has a suggested price at the very top of this
                     range.

                     Though it's slower than most big twins and its fuel mileage is unimpressive, the big Vulcan

http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/roadtests/cost_effective_motorcycles/index.html                                              10/25/2006
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                     Classic has always been among our favorite big cruisers. It won our first big-twin comparison
                     almost six years ago and has ranked among the top finishers whenever we have pitted it against
                     other big twins. Great throttle response, a unique combination of V-twin rumble, just a suggestion
                     of shake and open-road smoothness give the engine a special appeal, while nicely sorted
                     suspension, a seamless shaft-drive powertrain, a riding position that seems to almost perfectly
                     suit everyone who sits on it, and clean lines distinguish the rest of the Vulcan Classic. Heading
                     into its seventh year of production, the 1500 Classic is supported by a huge number of
                     aftermarket modifications and accessories, so it's easy to personalize. Its long production run,
                     bolstered by a continuing series of upgrades, has allowed the Vulcan 1500 to live up to its name
                     and become a true Classic.

                     THE CONTENDERS
                     Within this price bracket you can get almost anything a cruiser enthusiast can hope for in a twin,
                     from Triumph's 800 to Suzuki's massive 1500, with stops in between at 1100, 1200, 1300 and
                     1400cc. There are vertical twins and V-twins configured in a variety of V angles and mounted
                     with their cylinders in tandem or poking out from the sides of the bike. With so many possibilities,
                     making a choice may be daunting...until you ride them.

                     Yamaha V-Star 1100s $7899-$9399
                     As in the next price bracket down, Yamaha's bigger V-Stars,
                     this time displacing 1063cc, are built around the same
                     satisfying engine and chassis combination with three variations.
                     The Custom, styled in a somewhat chopperesque manner, with
                     a tall, narrow front wheel and a brief fender topping it, offers
                     1100cc of power at a budget price, barely above the floor of this
                     range. If you prefer the bulkier traditional American look, for
                     $300 more the 1100 Classic offers covered fork tubes, a bigger
                     headlight, a wider tire skirted with a deeper fender, and a
                     broader saddle. If you want wind protection and luggage, there
                     is also a Silverado version here for another $1400. All offer
                     strong performance, good looks, extended comfort, responsive handling and reassuring brakes
                     at prices that undercut the competition.

                                                        Honda Shadow Aero $8999-$9299
                                                        Combining its strong 1099cc twin-crankpin V-twin and the
                                                        cleanest retro styling around, Honda's Aero is also a great bike
                                                        for someone who plans to ride. We have flogged it across the
                                                        continent, enjoyed it on wriggling roads, and soaked up
                                                        admiring looks as we cruised the city streets. Unlike bikes that
                                                        ask you to give up something in exchange for retro styling, the
                                                        Aero actually improves on other Honda 1100 V-twins. Though it
                                                        now uses the same strong, vibration-canceling engine
                                                        configuration as Honda's other 1100s, the Aero has an inch or
                                                        two more between the axles than the other Shadow 1100s,
                                                        making it roomier and giving a longer, lower profile that helps
                     make it what we believe is the classiest-looking 1100 around. It looks good and works well,
                     yielding a high bang-to-buck ratio.



                     $10,000 TO $12,500
                     More cash certainly buys a more refined motorcycle

                     Honda VTX1800C $12,499-$12,999

                     Yamaha Road Star Silverado $12,399-$13,299
                     Yamaha Road Star Warrior $11,999
                     Moto Guzzi California EV $11,990
                     Harley FXD Dyna Super Glide $11,895-$12,745
                     Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Drifter $11,799
                     Yamaha Road Star Midnight Star $11,799
                     Yamaha Road Star $10,999-$11,899
                     Kawasaki Mean Streak $10,999
                     Moto Guzzi California Special Sport $10,990
                     Moto Guzzi California Special $10,950
                     Yamaha V-Max $10,899
                     BEST BUY
                     Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Classic FI $10,599



                     KAWASAKI VULCAN 1500 CLASSIC FI $10,599
                     This was the closest category in this contest. In the initial
                     discussions about this price bracket, all our testers said, "Either
                     the Classic FI or the Road Star." However, when they were
                     asked to choose between the two, the Kawasaki got the nod
                     from everyone. Perhaps the half-a-grand price advantage it
                     holds over the Yamaha helped, or the fact that the Classic FI is
                     the least expensive bike in this bracket. (A shrewd negotiator


http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/roadtests/cost_effective_motorcycles/index.html                                            10/25/2006
Bang for the Buck - Cost Effective Motorcycles Comparison – Motorcycle Cruiser                                               Page 5 of 7
                     could almost certainly drive the price down into the sub-
                     $10,000 range.) But this is a cruiser that has always bewitched
                     us too.

                     The FI is an extension of the carbureted 1500 Classic, featuring
                     not only fuel injection for that ultra-smooth engine but other
                     power-enhancing changes as well. However, the retooling also
                     brought a stiffer chassis and a cosmetic facelift, involving
                     details like a larger, seamless fuel tank, a new saddle, revised
                     instruments and more. The sum of the improvements more
                     than justifies the $500 price increase on the carbureted Classic.


                     However, we start by endorsing the FI for all the things that have enamored us of the basic 1500
                     Classic. The 1470cc liquid-cooled counterbalanced V-twin continues to provide uncanny
                     smoothness with just a hint of the pulsing V-twin in its fuel-injected form, but it's a bit stronger.
                     The slightly more spacious ergonomics continue to welcome a wide range of riders, and the
                     stouter chassis feels just as responsive and manageable though a bit more stable in high-speed
                     corners. In short, the Vulcan 1500 Classic FI is simply more of a good thing.

                     THE CONTENDERS
                     Though there are plenty of solid choices in this price range, including some hot new V-twins, we
                     think the best cruisers--and best buys--in the bracket are among the more traditional, established
                     models, which also happen to fall at the lower end of the price spectrum.

                                                        Yamaha Road Star $10,999-$11,899
                                                        The Road Star is a mighty close contender to Kawasaki's 1500
                                                        Classic, even in the minds of our function-minded testers. That
                                                        may seem surprising considering the Road Star is deliberately
                                                        low-tech. Its air-cooled, single-carb, pushrod 1602cc V-twin
                                                        should be unimpressive by comparison, but the additional
                                                        132cc of displacement and a surprising absence of vibration
                                                        make it quite satisfying. In fact, it gets better fuel mileage and
                                                        range than the Kawasaki, which you can put to good use
                                                        because its roomy ergonomics and a comfy saddle invite long
                                                        rides. It also offers respectable brakes and responsive,
                                                        predictable handling (though cornering clearance is limited).

                     Like the V-Stars, the basic Road Star can be had in a variety of configurations and prices. Paint
                     options can add $900, and there is the Midnight Star version. Finally, for $1400 over the basic
                     price, you can dress it up with a windshield and leather saddlebags as the Silverado.

                     Yamaha V-Max $10,899
                     If your idea of "bang" is a forceful kick in the ass, then the hard-
                     hitting V-Max is the epitome of bang for the buck. As the
                     performance-cruiser comparison in our last issue reiterated,
                     there simply isn't a stronger cruiser-style motorcycle than
                     Yamaha's mighty V4. Even though it's entering its 19th year of
                     production with relatively minor changes, Mighty Max still sets
                     the pace, even as many manufacturers have revisited the
                     performance-cruiser genre with bigger, lighter and more
                     modern musclebikes. This renewed interest in cruiser
                     performance has led many to hope that Yamaha will finally
                     modernize its kick-ass V4 with a lighter, more modern chassis,
                     upgraded suspension and brakes, and a more contemporary look--as long as it doesn't give
                     away any of that thrilling V-Boost-ed power.



                     $12,500 TO $15,000
                     Big money, big bikes, big performance

                     Victory V92TC $14,999-$15,699
                     Harley FXSTB/I Night Train $14,950-$15,890
                     Victory V92C Deluxe $14,899-$15,499
                     Harley Dyna Glide T-Sport $14,895-$15,425
                     Harley Dyna Low Rider $14,795-$15,990
                     BMW R1200C $14,590
                     Harley Electra Glide Standard $13,995-$14,580
                     Harley Dyna Super Glide Sport $13,895-$14,745
                     BEST BUY
                     Honda Valkyrie $13,099-$13,299
                     Honda VTX1800R/S $12,999-$13,299
                     Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad FI $12,999
                     Harley FXST Softail Standard $12,995-$13,935
                     Victory V92C $12,995-$13,095




http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/roadtests/cost_effective_motorcycles/index.html                                             10/25/2006
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                                                        HONDA VALKYRIE $13,099-$13,299
                                                        If we'd made the top price bracket $12,500 and above, the
                                                        Valkyrie still would have ridden off with the honors. Honda
                                                        stepped far outside the box when it drew up a cruiser using the
                                                        mighty, massive six-cylinder Gold Wing engine. And if it created
                                                        a bike that will never attract buyers who lack the daring or
                                                        imagination to do anything other than fall in line in the V-twin
                                                        parade, that big engine also presents the best power
                                                        characteristics in cruising. Nowhere else can you find an engine
                                                        that will tick along at near-walking speeds in top gear and pull
                                                        away smoothly when the throttle is snapped open. And it still
                                                        accelerates with all the authority of six cylinders when the issue
                     is sheer speed.

                     You might have expected that huge engine to force handling compromises, but Honda worked
                     some special magic with the Valkyrie. Although the bike's massive appearance can be daunting,
                     from the moment it starts to roll, its size and mass just seem to melt away. The fact is that the
                     Valkyrie handles more nimbly, leans more deeply into corners, feels more controlled at speed,
                     and generally is easier to manage than most of those lighter, narrower V-twins in this category. In
                     fact, outstanding handling is one of the reasons the Valkyrie is so popular around here.

                     With its size and Gold Wing heritage, you'd also expect the Valkyrie to be comfortable on the
                     long haul, and Honda's six-cylinder cruiser delivers in spades. Its smooth engine combines with
                     plush, roomy ergonomics, great suspension and remarkable reliability to make a true luxury
                     cruiser. Whether the mission is dueling with traffic, unwinding a kinky road, trolling the boulevard,
                     or laying down hundreds of miles on the open road, the Valkyrie comes through with singular
                     style, comfort, performance and competence.

                     THE CONTENDERS
                     Harley-Davidson Dyna Glide T-Sport $14,895-$15,425
                     Flexibility is the defining quality of Harley's T-Sport. It can be
                     cruiser, tourer, or back-road charger. Harley took the Super
                     Glide Sport with its adjustable suspension, responsive steering
                     geometry and powerful brakes and added an adjustable
                     windshield and expandable, detachable soft saddlebags. This
                     arrangement allows you to configure the T-Sport for whatever
                     sort of adventure you have in mind. The Dyna chassis rubber-
                     mounts the strong 1450cc Twin Cam engine to sift out much of
                     its vibration, and the riding position is moderate, in the interest
                     of long-distance comfort. The suspension and brakes provide
                     confidence on curvy roads, and the blacked-out engine and exhaust give an appearance that is
                     as unique as the bike itself.

                                                     Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Nomad FI $12,999
                                                     Kawasaki's Nomad is another one of our perennial favorites,
                                                     and our affection for this touring-oriented cruiser has increased
                                                     as Kawasaki has upgraded it with both minor improvements like
                                                     additional fuel capacity and major changes like fuel-injection
                                                     with more power. It is a variation of the Vulcan 1500 Classic
                                                     platform, and as such it brings with it that bike's ultra-smooth,
                                                     responsive 1470cc V-twin, responsive handling and rider-
                                                     friendly ergonomics. Kawasaki beefed up the chassis and
                                                     added the prettiest hard bags in cruising (which are also very
                                                     functional) along with a wide, adjustable windshield. Although,
                                                     like the Classic, it isn't a powerhouse and fuel mileage is
                     unimpressive, the Nomad provides exceptional comfort and great control, making it a consistent
                     favorite when we need to lay down some miles.



                     OVER $15,000
                     Style's the limit



                     HARLEY-DAVIDSON FLHR ROAD KING $15,790-$17,470
                     If you are going to spend a stack of money on a motorcycle,
                     you should get something to show for it. Although some of the
                     Road King's price (the dealer may charge more than the
                     suggested prices listed here) is simply the "Harley tariff," the
                     FLHR is a bike that works well in almost any situation from
                     constipated traffic to fast dashes on curvaceous roads. The
                     Road King offers good comfort and useful traveling amenities
                     without the smothering overkill of a full-dress machine. The
                     windshield can be unclipped in a second when you'd rather not
                     have it, and the hard bags (which we prefer to the leather bags
                     on the more expensive Road King Classic) offer significant
                     waterproof storage to tote your gear on tour or your briefcase to the office. The 'King is a
                     handsome, solid, traditional American big bike with a natural nostalgia that belies its good

http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/roadtests/cost_effective_motorcycles/index.html                                             10/25/2006
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                     performance.
                     The rubber-mounted, air-cooled, 1450cc two-valve-per-cylinder pushrod V-twin pumps out strong
                     power and impressive fuel mileage, which when combined with its 5.0-gallon fuel capacity gives
                     commendable range. Handling is reasonable, responsive and stable, and there is good cornering
                     clearance. Most riders fit the standard ergonomic layout, though it isn't quite as roomy or plush as
                     some of our lower-priced choices. The brakes require a strong pull but offer good control. Great
                     detailing helps justify the high price.

                     THE CONTENDERS
                     Even in this bucks-up class, we still want bikes that offer superior function for the price. Although
                     we generally think these bikes are overpriced, there are still some that offer more for your money.

                                                        Harley-Davidson FXSTD/I Softail Deuce $16,555-$17,840
                                                        Whether you want a cruiser that looks good or works well, the
                                                        Deuce delivers. When we first rode it a few years ago, we were
                                                        surprised that a bike that looks so custom could be this
                                                        comfortable and easy to handle. Thanks to the
                                                        counterbalanced 1450cc engine, it is also smooth and powerful.
                                                        The ergonomics aren't a strain, and the handling is surprising,
                                                        making the Deuce fun on a meandering mountain road.

                                                        If you have $20,000 just searing a hole in your jeans and plan
                                                        to spend it on a good-looking cruiser, this is the way to go.
                                                        While you are at it, get the fuel-injected model.

                     BMW R1200CST Stiletto $15,100
                     BMW came at the world of cruisers from a much different
                     direction than any other company and ended up with a
                     motorcycle that is way off-center. The 1200C series flaunts an
                     opposed-twin engine, the unusual Telelever front suspension, a
                     unique frame design and single-shock rear suspension, to
                     mention just the most obvious deviations from the cruiser
                     mainstream. It also offers anti-lock braking. And though all of
                     this stuff confuses the guy who just wants a me-too V-twin, it
                     offers a bike that is not only distinctive but functionally superior
                     in many ways. The 1170cc, eight-valve engine's opposed-twin
                     design keeps its weight low, naturally cancels major
                     reciprocating forces and sets up perfectly to plug into the shaft final drive. That fork design resists
                     flexing and counters dive during braking. The frame and rear suspension offer the kind of
                     minimalist design that fits perfectly with cruiser cleanliness and simplicity. We also think that anti-
                     lock braking can be a life-saver. We wish more manufacturers would offer it. The R1200C is also
                     nimble and accelerates strongly. If you are confident enough to break from the crowd, BMW
                     gives you plenty of reasons to go its way.




http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/roadtests/cost_effective_motorcycles/index.html                                               10/25/2006

				
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