Why We Choose Cruiser Motorcycle ?

Choppers, customs, cruisers - whichever term you use, you are referring to a distinctly American style of motorcycle. The American landscape, both social and geographical, shaped this style of motorcycle into its present form.

As the history of motorcycle, many of the restless soldiers returning from Europe and Asia after World War II chose to explore the United States on motorcycles, but the motorcycles available didn’t suit them all that well. Outlaw bikers called the big Harley-Davidson touring bikes of that time "garbage wagons", because they considered all the accessories and extras mounted on them garbage.

In fact, Bylaw Number 11 of the original Hell’s Angels charter states : An Angel cannot wear the colors (club insignia) while riding on a garbage wagon …. The first thing most outlaws did was chop off all superfluous parts, which to them was anything that didn’t help the bike go faster: fenders, lights, front brakes, whatever. Hence, the term chopper.

Choppers came to symbolize the outlaw motorcycle contingent, the infamous onepercenters. By the 1960s, these bikes had evolved into radical machines far removed from the intent of the original customized bikes, which was improved straight-line performance. Anyone seeking outright performance would ride a Japanese or British bike. Harley had long since given up the pretense of producing sporting motorcycles.

People rode Harleys to look cool, and nothing looked cooler than a Harley chopper. The extended forks and modified frames of these motorcycles made them nearly impossible to ride, but the owners didn’t seem to mind. Riding a motorcycle with unsafe handling characteristics seemed to be another way of letting society know the rider didn’t care if he or she lived or died.

Over the years, such machines gained in popularity - even as they declined in practicality - but manufacturers seemed not to notice. It wasn’t until the 1970s, after decades of watching American riders customize their bikes, that the manufacturers got into the act and began offering custom-styled bikes.

The birth of the factory custom can be in large part attributed to one man: Willie G. Davidson. Willie G., as he is known, worked in Harley’s styling department, but he was also an avid motorcyclist who knew what people were doing to their bikes. One popular customizing technique was to take the fork off of a Sportster and graft it onto a stripped-down big-twin frame, so Willie G. did just that at the factory. The result was the original Super Glide.

The Super Glide model, offered in 1971, was not a screaming success, due in part to a funky boat-like rear fender (known as the Night Train fender). The next year, Harley gave the bike a more conventional rear fender and sold thousands of Super Glides. Harley wasn’t the only company working on a custom-styled bike. The British manufacturer Norton also developed a cruiser in the early 1970s. Unfortunately, its cruiser, the ungainly High Rider, wasn’t well received. The bike only contributed to the company’s eventual demise.

Kawasaki was the first Japanese company to test the factory-chopper waters, introducing its KZ900LTD in 1976. The kawasaki cruiser motorcycles featured pull-back buckhorn handlebars, a teardrop-shaped gas tank, a seat with a pronounced step between the rider and passenger portion, and a liberal dousing of chrome plating. These bikes forced the rider into a backward-leaning riding position (raising unbridled hell with his or her lower back), but otherwise, they were still functional, useful machines. As the decade progressed, the Japanese stuck to this formula. This approach had a limited future; the real future of cruisers was being forged elsewhere, by Willie G.

Two of Willie G.’s creations in particular proved to be the models for today’s cruisers: the Low Rider, introduced in 1977, and the Wide Glide of 1980. Study these bikes, and you’ll see elements of every cruiser now produced. The bobbed fender of the Wide Glide can be found on cruisers from Honda, Suzuki, and Kawasaki. The kickedout front end and sculpted fenders of the Low Rider hint at the shape of Yamaha’s Virago. These two bikes are arguably the most influential factory customs of all time.

What of the Japanese ? As the 1980s progressed, Japanese manufacturers got closer and closer to building motorcycles that looked like Harley-Davidsons. But they have taken cruiser styling in new directions, too. Honda now builds its Valkyrie, a massive, six-cylinder cruiser. Yamaha cruiser motorcycles Royal Star looks as much like a classic Indian motorcycle as it does a Harley-Davidson. And BMW’s cruiser, the R1200C, doesn’t resemble any other motorcycle on the planet.

This segment of the market is thriving, and for good reason: Cruisers are easy bikes to live with. Many of them are nearly maintenance-free. They look good, and when outfitted with a windshield, are comfortable out on the road. They may not handle as well as sportbikes, nor haul as much gear as touring bikes, but in many ways, they fulfill the role of a standard, all-around motorcycle. Many riders don’t ride a motorcycle to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. They just like to ride. If that describes you, you might be cruiser material.