Cruiser Motorcycles – An American Institution
In the history of motorcycle design and developments, there is one distinct category that belongs outright to The Americans. The proper definition of that class of motorcycles is called cruisers, but they are also known as custom bikes and choppers. The custom chopper markets has drawn a lot of attention to it over the past few years with the airing of television shows such as Orange County Choppers and Jesse James’ West Coast Choppers.
The advent of this chopper market began sometime after the Second World War when soldiers returning home from overseas duty were looking for a sort of uncluttered motorcycle to tour the country with. This phenomena spread to outlaw motorcycle gangs who started to strip, or to chop their bikes of any parts that didn’t make the bikes go faster. The lighter and more chopped they were the faster they went.
As time went on, these chopper bikes became something cool to ride, something different and out of the ordinary from the guy next door. Extended forks, modified frames, plenty of chrome and custom paint jobs turned these choppers in works of art. Movies such as Easy Rider with Peter Fonda further elevated the status of these bikes from all the rest.
As time progressed and manufacturers started to notice, production increased and cruiser motorcycles started to penetrate into the conventional markets. Both American companies like Harley Davidson and their competitors from Japan started producing cruisers for the mass market. These bikes have turned out to be a major success for the manufacturers.
There is even a class of cruisers on the market today known as power cruisers. These motorcycles keep to the original design ideas of the cruisers, yet pack a lot more power. Bigger engines, multi cylinders and high horsepower output are some characteristics of these two wheelers.
Aside from looking cool on any of these motorcycles, cruisers today have two distinct advantages that makes them very well worth considering when looking at a potential purchase. They all have a lowered seat position, making it easy even for a shorter person or a woman to sit and balance on. In addition, the low seating position and the low center of gravity makes these bikes a breeze to handle in any situation.
If you are looking to start riding, the cruiser segment is a good way to get your feet wet. There are some very reasonable entry level bikes from all the manufacturers both foreign and domestic. Sit on one, test one out and in a couple of years from now you might be ordering your own custom chopper.
Please drive safely and responsibly.