Vulcan 900 Classic or How I Embraced a Cruiser

I’ve complained about cruisers being boring and overall sub-optimal motorcycles. I don’t think that’s changed, but I’ve come to embrace that as another facet of motorcycling.

My first bike was a cruiser (a Vulcan as well, though very different), I’ve also ridden cruisers at Harley-Davidson and Victory demos. While neither of those won me over, I did find things that I enjoyed.

For Harley, it was the classic look of the Heritage Softail Classic (I’m not even trying to decode the model). It looked beautiful and felt substantial. It also drug floorboards on every turn and had a serious case of false-neutrals. Including one that required me to come to a complete stop to get it unstuck. Yeah it shook and rattled … but that was some of the charm.

The Victory felt smooth. The more modern motor and chassis were just more capable. I just couldn’t get behind the style of them. Yes, it’s unique and different, but it didn’t speak to me in the way a cruiser should. I think there was  a veil of performance cast on them which is not what a cruiser is about.

Why was I even looking? That’s a good question. My wife was talking to my friend’s wife about taking a short weekend trip. I was really excited, but then it sunk in that my Scrambler is not setup for this task. After sarcastically saying, “how big of a backpack do you plan on wearing.” We started talking about adding a bike with some more passenger and luggage capabilities.

My search was pretty casual. Look at those Softails, realize that I had no intention of spending that amount of money on a part time bike. Then move on. After a few weeks I opened up my criteria a bit and looked at some of the entry level Dynas. I’d have to change a lot to get the look and feel of what I wanted. While cheaper than the Softail, the Dynas were going to cost a lot in modifications. 

Eventually I ended up at Superstar Cycle Center’s website and was just scrolling through their cruiser inventory. While wading through the bikes with ape hangers or questionable taste in paint and accessories this white and grey bike jumped out at me. A quick message to my wife, was responded to with a “that’s really pretty.” Exactly what I thought.

I mulled it over a bit. I’ve been spoiled by premium motorcycles (Triumph, BMW, Harley). Japanese cruisers always seem like wannabes. It’s only a 900 cc motor. Wouldn’t the 1500 cc be better. It looks heavy. I bet it’s slow and handles like crap. 

Oh well, I went to test ride it anyway!

This is a super mellow bike, in a good way. The undersized motor is more than adequate to haul this thing around. There’s enough ground clearance that I haven’t put metal to pavement, yet. And, I’m not trying to make it anything other than what it is. A big, comfy cruiser that handles a passenger well, takes some luggage (already on it!), and looks really nice! 

While the allure for the Harley is still there, for the price difference, I’d rather buy another sport bike AND a supermoto to round out the stable. This bike hasn’t taken away from my Scrambler either. If anything, I appreciate the Scrambler more than I did and it’s opened up to make some of the modifications that I’d been wanting to make. A win in all directions.

 

 

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