Las Vegas—Fresh on the heels of disturbing news that American Suzuki had shut down its automotive division, I found myself in Sin City for the unveiling of a couple new-for-2013 Suzuki motorcycles. Prior to the event, American Suzuki had told us that its commitment to motorcycles is growing, a statement supported by the introduction of the new entry-level GW250 and the re-introduction of an all-new Boulevard C90T cruiser. The latter is available in two-tone paint or as a B.O.S.S. (Blacked Out Special Suzuki) version, which we were there to test ride.
While the new Boulevard C90T has roots dating back to the VL1500 Intruder introduced in 1998, production of its air/oil-cooled V-Twin predecessor came to a halt in 2009 due to tightening emissions controls. Suzuki has leveraged cost savings by borrowing from its existing Boulevard M90 platform in creating the current touring-equipped C90T, which shares the same main frame, swingarm, engine and 5-speed transmission. The 90-cubic-inch (1462cc), 54-degree, liquid-cooled V-Twin engine features four-valve, dual-sparkplug heads fed by 42mm Mikuni EFI throttle bodies with dual throttle valves. A unique triple airbox array, like that of the M109R muscle cruiser, features a central compartment under the tank that draws from a pair of sidepods flanking the engine. The noise level emitted by the stylish slash-cut twin exhaust is present without being offensive.
As we merged onto I-15 and headed northeast to the scenic Valley of Fire State Park, I found the big counter-balanced Twin impressively smooth, even when urged well above legal speeds. Long-range comfort hasn’t taken a backseat to styling as the spacious, deeply padded saddle, floorboards and wide pull-back handlebars create a natural rider triangle. In addition, the tall cop-style windscreen has been carefully designed to allow just enough air passage through the headlight gap to minimize the low-pressure zone buffeting such windshields create. All told, the highway experience was quite positive.
Upon entering the park, we adhered to the strictly enforced 25-mph speed limit, yielding an opportunity to exploit the engine’s bottom-end torque and enjoy its robust rumbling beat. While navigating the flowing curves, the low-slung heavyweight (claimed curb weight: 800 pounds) proved planted and easy to maneuver. While some in our group said the C90 felt a bit heavy to lift off the sidestand, even the shorter women in our group found the bike’s 28.3-in. seat height agreeable.
If there’s a shortcoming, it’s the rather limited storage capacity of the hard side cases, which are made of molded ABS and nicely upholstered. While the lockable bags are sturdy and integrate superbly with the flowing lines of the bike, don’t expect to pack more than the bare essentials needed for an overnighter.
In the big picture, this is a small concession when considering the level of performance, comfort and refinement the $13,999 C90T B.O.S.S. has brought back to Suzuki’s expanding model line.
|Engine type:||sohc V-Twin|
|Seat height:||28.3 in.|
|Fuel capacity:||4.8 gal.|
|Claimed curb weight:||800 lb.|