Help w/Used Cruiser Advice - Touring capable, mellow ride

    • 2 posts
    July 17, 2017 2:12 PM PDT

    Hello and thanks for reading.

    I’m an aggressive rider by nature.  While I’m not one of those adrenaline junkies with a total disregard for the law and a death wish, I tend to accelerate hard and love nothing more than leaning bikes over in the turns (always within the limits of my abilities and margin for error).

    For this, I have a 2011 Kawasaki Versys 650.  It’s no track weapon, but if you’re not familiar, its eager engine and confident handling would surprise you. 

    My fiancé often rides with me as well, for which I’m very grateful.  It’s great that we can share motorcycling together — we have headsets and chat through our rides, etc.  Problem is, while she’s a capable rider, she prefers to take it easy.  We also live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is crammed full of scenic farmland crisscrossed by 95% straight roads in less-than-smooth condition.

    So, for my fiancé and this geography, I think I need a second bike, a cruiser.  The goal is a bike that would adjust my attitude from Mr. Hyde to Dr. Jekyll, urging me to sit back and just enjoy the ride.  So, here’s my wish list:

    • Comfortable when on rotten roads and highway cruising. Our weekend rides are often 3-4 hours round trip.
    • Upright or relaxed riding position for 6’, 190 lbs. guy.
    • Big enough fuel tank so I’m not filling up every 100 miles.
    • Powerful, torquey yet mellow engine. I’d like something that can glide effortlessly at 80 mph (highways speed limits here are 70-75 mph) and pass trucks while at the same time loping along leisurely with none of that sport bike urgency.
    • Not too heavy. Big cruisers weigh more, I get it.  But I’m hoping for more like 600 lbs. than 800 lbs.
    • No full front fairing. I'd rather have a windshield (ideally, easily removable).
    • Optional: Some amount of “character” would be wonderful, but not essential. 
    • Optional: Good looks are also not essential, though I prefer blacked-out power cruisers to the “acres of chrome” Heritage Softail Classic look everyone seems to copy from H-D.
    • Used $5,000 or less. Don’t mind something from 10-15 years ago, provided it’s in sound shape.

    Since I live in Milwaukee, it’s hard not to want a Harley, if only because cruisers from other brands might be viewed as “traitors” here.  At the very least it’d be nice to have American (Victory, Indian) or even British (Triumph) or Italian (Moto Guzzi) vs. Japanese.  But I don’t think that’s likely on my budget, and that’s okay (the Japanese make great bikes — all I've ever owned, in fact — even though they're not the quinessential cruiser country of origin...and, in fact, some are actually manufactured here in the U.S.).

    If you’ve ridden a bunch of cruisers or feel particularly strongly about yours, I’d love some guidance.  There’s a ton of used cruisers at the local shops, and many can be had for a song.  Even the big baggers, if you’re not talking about Harleys.  I believe there’s got to be an option that fits my needs.

    Thanks,

    ELB

    • Moderator
    • 19031 posts
    July 19, 2017 5:34 AM PDT

    My only recommendation is a King. A used one can be found in your price range if you're patient. A little heavier than you list but not a heavy bike. Much more nimble than it looks.

    • 2 posts
    July 19, 2017 4:05 PM PDT

    [blockquote]RexTheRoadDog said:

    My only recommendation is a King. A used one can be found in your price range if you're patient. A little heavier than you list but not a heavy bike. Much more nimble than it looks.

    [/blockquote]

    Noted. I'd definitely check out an H-D if I can get into one for the money.  Any year you have in mind?  I have pretty basic Harley knowledge, but I know they made improvements to their touring line in 2009.

    Thanks,

    ELB

    • Moderator
    • 19031 posts
    July 20, 2017 6:19 AM PDT

    My experience stops in 04 with mine. Many pre 09s have 100k plus so you be the judge. I've read pro-con on the frame change. Never had trouble with mine. There is some info out there on why they changed the frame so just search around for it. Many of the complaints I read sounded like either those people who complain about everything or newbs trying to make the King into something it is not.

    • 467 posts
    July 23, 2017 7:12 AM PDT

    I love my 01 Fatboy. First year with the recalibrated engeine to reduce vibration, and boy is it smoothe! I changed out the seat and handlebars and it is so comfortable on long rides. (my long is only 6-8 hours in a day) I recently got a trike (Freewheeler) due to arm issues, but it is nothing compared to my Fatboy in the comfort department! Rode the Fatboy yesterday and it was like heaven! I miss being able to ride it through the Black Hills, but safety first ya know! Our oldest has a Honda cruiser. Can't think of the model right now, but he kept up with us all the way to TN and back from WY, so it must be comfortable as he is somewhat of a weenie about long rides!He purchased on Craigslist for $5000.

    • 28 posts
    July 23, 2017 9:50 PM PDT
    Except for the weight thing a Triumph Rocket III would be perfect. Priced right, mucho power, distinct styling, comfy ride.
    • 28 posts
    July 23, 2017 9:57 PM PDT
    Oh, and I have never had another cruiser style bike keep up with me in the twisties, a very nimble bike for its size.
    • 3006 posts
    July 28, 2017 9:33 AM PDT

    welcome to the board

    IMO fit is everything first before deciding to actually buy a ride.Whatever style you ride it has to be comfortable irregardless of price point.One motorcycle article I read recently on yachoo did a comparison,HD & foreign makes,there are a lot of good choices for used stuff from that list.

    stay safe & enjoy the ride

    • 1855 posts
    August 31, 2017 3:37 PM PDT

    [blockquote]blurplebuzz said:

    welcome to the board

    IMO fit is everything first before deciding to actually buy a ride.Whatever style you ride it has to be comfortable irregardless of price point.One motorcycle article I read recently on yachoo did a comparison,HD & foreign makes,there are a lot of good choices for used stuff from that list.

    stay safe & enjoy the ride

    [/blockquote]

     

    What he said .  A very personal thing.  I love my Heritage but I also loved my Roadking.  Pre-2000 Electraglides should be right up your alley.

    • 1855 posts
    September 20, 2017 4:54 PM PDT

    So now, what did you end up getting?