The Best Small Cruiser Motorcycles You Can Buy In 2019

© Harley-Davidson   Motorcyclist

By Christopher Homer, Motorcyclist

These are the best small-displacement cruiser style motorcycles you can buy in 2019.

Due to the popularity and longevity of their style, cruiser motorcycles have become one of the two images that form in one’s head when they hear the word motorcycle. Modern cruisers have become synonymous with large, noisy V-twins that are often heard well before they are seen, and more often than not these great small cruisers are left in their larger-displacement sibling’s shadow. While they don’t produce the same amount of torque, these bikes are just as fun to ride. So whether you’re looking for a small cruiser to get as a first bike or just looking for another motorcycle to join the ranks, we recommend picking up one of these machines this year.

2020 Honda Rebel 300

© Honda   Motorcyclist

Originally introduced to the US market in 1985 as the CMX250C, the Honda Rebel has been around for more than three decades and only recently been updated. Back in 2017, Honda changed the Rebel, bumping the displacement from 234cc up to 283cc, and completely modernizing the bike in terms of componentry and styling. Now, for the 2020 model year, Honda goes back to its little cruiser and gives it a new slipper clutch, which is said to reduce clutch-lever operation load by 30 percent. Revised fork and shock internals provide the rider with a more responsive ride and an updated LCD dash is accompanied by an LED headlight, turn signals, and taillight to tie together the bike’s updated look. If you think the Rebel 300 is too small for your needs, you could always upgrade to its bigger brother.

2020 Honda Rebel 300 price: TBA (2019 ABS $4,799)

2020 Honda Rebel 500

© Honda   Motorcyclist

Just like its smaller version, the Honda Rebel 500 receives the same updates for the 2020 model year. Addition of a slipper clutch, new buffing on the inner pipe of the fork, revised oils levels for the fork, nitrogen gas in the shock damper tube, LED lights all around, updated LCD dash with a gear position indicator and fuel consumption meter, and upgraded seat are shared across both the 300 and 500. The 471cc parallel twin of the Honda Rebel was noted for being beginner-friendly, while still having enough power for street duty and taking longer trips. Both the Rebel 300 and 500 come in ABS and non-ABS models. Pricing for these 2020s has yet to be announced, but the 2019 Rebel 300 ABS and 2019 Rebel 500 ABS are $4,799 and $6,499, respectively, so expect to pay more than that. 

2020 Honda Rebel 500 price: TBA (2019 ABS $6,499)

2020 Harley-Davidson Street 750 ABS

© Harley-Davidson   Motorcyclist

The 2020 Harley-Davidson Street 750 is the smallest cruiser option the Bar and Shield brand has, but to call it small in relation to other bikes on this list stretches the truth a little. Weighing in at more than 500 pound wet, the 2020 Street 750 falls into the middleweight cruiser category. Its 749cc—that’s 46ci—engine is easy to use for new and experienced riders. During a review of the 2015 H-D Street 750, our reviewer found the power to be, “middling, though the low-end torque is ample and accessible thanks to flawless throttle mapping, a smooth-shifting transmission, a light clutch, and lash-free belt final drive.” With optional ABS, it seems like this small cruiser from Harley is a great introduction to the brand for a beginner. 

2020 Harley-Davidson Street 750 ABS price: $8,349

2020 Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883 ABS

© Harley-Davidson   Motorcyclist

Another middleweight cruiser from Harley-Davidson is the 2020 Sportster Iron 883. The 883cc—or 53.9ci—air-cooled Evolution V-twin gives you the rumbles and noise you expect from a cruiser motorcycle but is compact and user-friendly. Torque is meaty before 4,000 rpm, which means you’ll be hard to beat off of the line. When compared to a 2012 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone and 2012 Triumph Bonneville, our road test editor chose the 2012 Iron 883 liking the “shuddering engine and the obscene mechanical noises it emanates. Plus I’d be curious to see just how much metal I could take off the footpegs and muffler!” Harley-Davidson has made a business selling a lifestyle machine, a machine that thrives on being visceral, and the 2020 Iron 883 is no different.

2020 Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883 ABS price: $9,794

2020 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS

© Kawasaki   Motorcyclist

Positioned as a sporty-feeling cruiser motorcycle, the 2020 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS continues to deliver on that assertion. After extensive market research conducted by Kawasaki, Team Green built the beginner-rider-friendly Vulcan S. Kawasaki developed the Ergo-Fit program with this model so that any sized rider can find the perfect fit. The Ergo-Fit program allows riders to dial in the bar reach, seat, and footpeg reach to tailor the fit of the motorcycle to them, at no extra charge. Mated with a 649cc Ninja-derived parallel twin, the Vulcan S is not like its larger V-twin brothers. Noted in our cruiser comparison, the Vulcan S seems to rev forever because of its powerplant. Our testers praised the Vulcan’s planted feeling, flickability, and light weight. If you’re looking for not your Dad’s cruiser, then the Vulcan S ticks most of those boxes.

2020 Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS price: $7,499

2020 Suzuki Boulevard S40

© Suzuki   Motorcyclist

Once known as the LS650 Savage, the Suzuki Boulevard S40 is Suzuki’s smallest cruiser of its Boulevard lineup. Sharing the same name as the Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S., the S40 is nothing like its intimidating bigger brother. The 2020 S40 is a classically styled cruiser motorcycle, featuring a peanut tank, raked front, and relaxed, feet-forward seating position. The 652cc air-cooled single-cylinder, while dated, is easy to maintain and aftermarket parts are plentiful. The Boulevard S40 doesn’t come with ABS—or have a model with ABS available—helping keep this bike extremely affordable. 

2020 Suzuki Boulevard S40 price: $5,799

2020 Suzuki Boulevard C50 And C50T

© Suzuki   Motorcyclist

If you’re looking for something a little bigger than the S40, then Suzuki has you covered with the 2020 Boulevard C50 and C50T. The 805cc V-twin rivals more of the weight and power of the Harleys in this list but doesn’t mimic their styling. The C50 is all about classic cruiser styling and the C50T—T for touring—highlights these details by sitting on white-walled tires and offering a studded seat and saddlebags and shiny chrome aplenty. The C50 and C50T are mechanically the same motorcycle, the only real difference being the C50T comes kitted out with bags and a passenger backrest. Both of these cruisers are ready for touring duty, as long as you are. Just like the S40, neither of these motorcycles comes with ABS. Also, if you want the C50T, you’re going to pay a $1,300 premium for the touring bits over the standard C50.

2020 Suzuki Boulevard C50 price: $8,299

2020 Suzuki Boulevard C50T price: $9,599

2020 Yamaha V Star 250

© Yamaha   Motorcyclist

Introduced to the US in 1988 as the Virago 250, the Yamaha V Star 250 has remained relatively unchanged since then. The 249cc, air-cooled, 60-degree V-twin is still carbureted, there’s still a disc brake up front and a drum brake out back, and it’s still one of the best small cruisers that you can buy, especially if you are new to motorcycles. The V Star 250 is predictable, which is what some of us look for in a motorcycle. The V Star’s peppy V-twin begs to be revved and its 330 pounds are easy to push through corners and grind the pegs down to nubs. Its touring capability is based more on the rider’s resilience to vibrations and wind blasts from semis than its engine displacement. If you want a small cruiser that has stood the test of time, then head to your nearest Yamaha dealer and ask to test ride a 2020 V Star 250.

2020 Yamaha V Star 250 price: $4,349


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Bloom Magazine: The Best Small Cruiser Motorcycles You Can Buy In 2019
The Best Small Cruiser Motorcycles You Can Buy In 2019
Bloom Magazine
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