Switching From a Sport Bike to a Cruiser

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November 24, 2010 | By: Jason Hayes

What do you think of when you hear the words sport bike? I think of winding roads taken in triple digits, running out of straight road before running out of throttle, and adrenaline pumping like a fuel pump. The bikes that light up the curves have a very avid following of speed junkies, and that was me, through and through.

I loved spending all day weaving back and forth, chasing the curves, finding out just how far I could push my limits. In my late teens and early 20s, I never thought I would slow down to enjoy the scenery.

Well, after living in Florida for 2 years with nothing but straight roads and lots of cops, I must say it was not as fun as riding a sport bike as it once was when I lived in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. The idea of sitting up as well as taking longer rides without my knees being cramped and my lower back tightening up was kind of appealing. Don’t get me wrong, this notion was a little disturbing at first because of how much I love going fast.

One day while out for a cruise my friend Scooter, he let me switch out my GSXR1000 for his Electra Glide with a Mustang seat. We rode a good portion of the day until he could no longer stand riding the GSXR. For me there were a lot of differences in comfort, and feeling just cruising around on that Lazy Boy. It got me thinking about how much I already enjoy riding and the potential of enjoying it even more if I was a little more comfortable.

Not long after that ride, I found myself looking in dealerships at some cruising models keeping in the back of my mind that I wanted to retain as much performance as possible. After a few test rides on various performance-driven cruiser models, I ended up choosing the 2008 Suzuki M109R. The bike has an abundance of power in the low and midranges, but it does give up a lot in the corners compared to my previous bike. So along with a few M109R accessories to suit my riding style, I found I was much more comfortable on the longer rides than before.

That proved true on the trek out to Sturgis this year. It was far more enjoyable than what I imagined it to be on a sport bike. But taking the bike through Spearfish Canyon, Vanacker Canyon and Iron Mountain Road, I missed the nimble ride of my old GSXR. The M109R was a little heavy and it liked to scrape the pegs in the corners. I had the comfort, for sure, but watching my friend Patrick Garvin on his ZX10, going in and out of the corners with ease, made me realize how much I missed that kind of riding.

So, I am now looking for a second bike that I can ride with my speed junkie friends. In the meantime, I’ve slowed down a little and have found different aspects of riding that I enjoy. Sure I often think of those days of riding fast and taking chances, but for now, riding a cruiser gets me down the road in a different way.

Comments: 7 Comments | Categorized Under: Tech Tips

Comments (7)

Hi Living in Uk we usually do 85-95mph but in Florida i have a dyna low rider suits the riding style much better with great weather , scenery , far more laid back riding style plus the Loop at Daytona Beach etc plus Police speed traps too- great to see little Fred and guys at J&P when in the US -Mike

Like you I made the mistake of dumbing down too far, from RC51 to MEAN STREAK, and like you I became very discontented with the bikes ability.
There are so many good bikes out there that will do both jobs very well, I chose a Honda 919, but your choises are mind boggling!

I started riding mini bikes and then moved up to 80XR and then 250′s. But while in the military and all the moving I never owned one while i was on active duty. But now that I am retired, I treated myself to a HD VROD and its different but its all about enjoying the ride. I live in the Dallas area and love the ride. It gets up when i need to and cruises like the rest of those cruisers on the rode. I love it.

You have to wear seat belts in a car for safety, a car must have air bags, etc. , there are many safety rules for cars and should be for motorcycles also..the comments it should be the cycleist choice does not make since, if there were no laws for anything what a crazy place this would be…helmets does save lives at 40, 50 and up..I have several friends that been involved in motorcycle accidents at different speeds and Yes the helmet they had on was almost destroyed but they walked away, even at 60mph..also who pays the medical bills at the hospital when you show up and you have not medical insurance, it is the public, including non riders…I have been riding over 50 yrs and yes use a helmet, it has saved me, I use to believe it would not, but any help I feel is good , just like seat belts…try to think of your family and others, besides just thinking about your self…

I just traded my Valkyrie Tourer (Cruiser) for a new Kawasaki Concours. I loved the Valk but I must say the Concours is more comfortable, WAY faster, and handles BOTH of the curves in Central IL. :-) . I can’t wait to get it in some twisties! It is a good blend between a cruiser and a sport bike

I have two rides, an H-D XR-1200 and a Suzuki DL-650. Both have a niche. The DL is my sport-ute commuter ride, light enough for around town, picking up groceries, etc. and forays out in the country. The H-D is my sport tourer, up-right seating, feet under me, lots of grunt yet relaxing pace at I-state speeds, able to do “twisties” when the need arises, etc. Ride what you ride because it works for you but most importantly, just ride.

I do enjoy riding on my motorcycle. Well there’s nothing wrong when you switch another kind of vehicle. We must consider the place. Change is the only thing that changes. your experience is a much learned lesson. thank you very much.

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