While a standard motorcycle, like the Street Triple R, is a good all-around bike, it’s not the best for every situation. For relaxed, long-distance riding, a cruiser motorcycle makes a bit more sense. And, while some cruisers come with large price tags, you don’t need to break your budget to afford one. There are a number of cruiser motorcycles available for less than $10,000.
2020 Honda Rebel 300 and 500
The 2020 Honda Rebel 300 and 500 aren’t just some of the cheapest cruiser motorcycles on sale today, MotorcycleCruiser reports. Thanks to their relatively-small engines, compact size, and low weight, they’re also great beginner bikes, Cycle World reports.
For those just getting out of the MSF intro course, there’s the $4499 Honda Rebel 300. With a 286cc single-cylinder engine, and a 364-lb curb weight, it’s a very approachable cruiser motorcycle, Ultimate Motorcycling reports. But, if you need a bit of extra speed, the $6199 has a 471cc two-cylinder that delivers 41 hp and 30 lb-ft, Cycle World reports. And even with saddlebags, it only weighs 422 pounds.
Given the low purchase price, the Honda Rebels don’t offer features like heated grips or infotainment. However, these cruisers do have an LCD display, a slipper clutch, Nissin disc brakes, a 6-speed transmission, and LED lights. There’s no tachometer, but ABS is a $300 option; there’s also an optional 12V socket.
Cycle World reports the suspension can be overwhelmed by the largest potholes. However, the Rebel’s low center-of-gravity and ergonomic riding position mean it can handle commuting and weekend fun.
2020 Kawasaki Vulcan S
For those looking for an affordable cruiser motorcycle with a bit more sportiness, there’s the 2020 Kawasaki Vulcan S. It uses the Ninja 650 sport bike’s 649cc two-cylinder engine, which Cycle World reports delivers 54 hp. That also makes it the most powerful non-touring cruisers in the Kawasaki lineup—at least until the 200-hp version debuts.
While the $8099 S Café model also offers great value for money, Motorcyclist reports, its upgrades over the base $7099 S are somewhat minimal. In addition to standard ABS, the Café model has a tinted windscreen and some unique paint colors. But you can give the Vulcan S ABS for $400, and a windshield for about $130. As such, it’s arguably the better value.
Both cruisers, though, offer Kawasaki’s Ergo-Fit system, which lets riders adjust the seat, footpegs, and handlebars for better comfort. In addition, both come with a tachometer and a digital display, including a gear-position indicator, Motorcycle.com reports.
At roughly 500 pounds, the 6-speed Kawasaki Vulcan S is noticeably heavier than either Honda Rebel. However, as with the Rebels, the Vulcan’s low center-of-gravity makes the bike fairly easy to handle, even at low speeds. The only real downside, Motorcyclist reports, is limited suspension travel—admittedly a downside of most cruiser motorcycles.
2020 Yamaha Bolt R-Spec
Although the base 2020 Yamaha Bolt starts at $7999, the R-Spec is worth the $400 upcharge, MotorcycleCruiser reports.
Both cruiser motorcycles come with a 942cc air-cooled V-twin, which delivers 51 hp and 58 lb-ft, Cycle World reports. They also both have LED lights, an LCD display, 5-speed transmissions, and a belt-drive, rather than a more maintenance-heavy chain. However, the R-Spec has upgraded remote-reservoir shocks and tougher wheels, Motorcyclist reports. Neither, though, offer ABS.
Weighing in at 542 pounds, the Yamaha Bolt R-Spec isn’t quite as quick as the Kawasaki Vulcan S. However, Gear Patrol reports it’s still lighter than the equivalent Harley-Davidson and has more ground clearance. And the low seat height means even shorter riders should have little trouble putting a stabilizing foot down.
2020 Indian Scout Sixty and Bobber
Matching the Bolt in curb weight is the 2020 Indian Scout Sixty, which is also belt-driven. With 1000cc V-twins, the $8999 Indian Scout Sixty and solo-seat Bobber can be understandably intimidating. However, with a little prior experience, even relatively-new riders can handle both of these excellent cruiser motorcycles, Motorcyclist reports.
With a claimed 78 hp and 65 lb-ft, the Indian Scout Sixty is the most powerful cruiser motorcycle on our recommended list. However, thanks to the low-end torque, it’s easy to manage slow starts, Cycle World reports. And while it’s not exactly a sports bike, Revzilla reports the bike is more than willing to drag a peg in the corners. It’s definitely larger than the Rebel, but it’s still a controllable cruiser.
In terms of features, the Indian Scout Sixty comes with an analog speedometer, a digital display with a tachometer, and several indicator lights. ABS is an $800 option. And, if you ever tire of cruising, the Scout Sixty also makes a decent off-road bike.
2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 and 1200
The Harley-Davidson Sportster is one of the most reliable used Harleys you can buy. But you can still buy a new one with a full warranty today. Only it goes by a different name today: the Harley-Davidson Iron.
Available in two trims, the $8999 Iron 883 and $9999 Iron 1200, this cruiser motorcycle may seem intimidating. Especially the 1200, with its 1200cc Evolution V-twin. However, it actually makes less power than the smaller-capacity Scout Sixty. On Cycle World’s dyno, the Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 developed 59 hp and 67 lb-ft at the rear wheel. In contrast, the Sixty produced 69 hp and 59 lb-ft at the rear wheel on Motorcycle.com’s dyno.
As a result, Motorcyclist reports, the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 and 1200 are actually fairly approachable. With a 573-lb curb weight, the 883 can be a bit awkward at low speeds, RideApart reports. However, its 25.7”-tall seat is impressively low, and Ultimate Motorcycling reports the bike is “an agile handler.” The abundant low-end torque makes for easier take-offs at stop signs and stoplights. And while neither has a tachometer, ABS is a $795 option.
The cruiser motorcycles that didn’t make the list
While the cruiser motorcycles listed above make our recommended list, there are other sub-$10k cruisers on the market. However, they’re not included here due to lacking certain features compared to the listed bikes.
For example, Suzuki offers a range of cruiser motorcycles under the Boulevard name. For example, there’s the $8699 Boulevard M50, with an 805cc liquid-cooled V-twin. It’s also a shaft-driven bike, which means it requires even less maintenance than a belt- or chain-driven one. However, not only is ABS not available, the M50 still uses a rear drum brake. Which, given that it weighs 20 pounds more than the Iron 883, is a bit worrying.
It’s a similar story with the Honda Shadow Aero and Phantom. Both cruiser motorcycles retail for less than $8000, and come with 745cc V-twins and shaft drive. But again, no ABS, and rear drum brakes.
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