Struggling to beat Harley-Davidson
in one of its strongholds, metric cruiser manufacturers have turned to performance cruisers, a segment in which The Motor Company’s response is the odd V-Rod models and the juiced-up CVO
family with their engines pushed closer to their mechanical limits to produce 110hp. By contrast, Japanese brands are using efficient, more modern engines that achieve much higher levels of performance than the standard Harleys.
|With a smart overall package, the M90 will no doubt appeal to a growing number of sports cruiser fans.
Suzuki jumped on the bandwagon in 2004 with the introduction of the M95 -- their own interpretation of Kawasaki’s Mean Streak 1600. The result was a punchy, high-character machine, with a powerplant that lived up to the Kawasaki Engine-Above-All motto.
M90 -- a Suzuki through and through
Barely two years later, the M95 was replaced by the Boulevard M109R
, a pure Suzuki that displayed striking looks and crunching power. Truth be told, this machine was a bit over the top from a performance and pricing standpoint. Suzuki remedied the “problem” with the new M90, the true successor to the 2004-2006 M95 and a model that works at bridging the gap between the 805-cc M50 and the bad-ass 1,783-cc M109R.
The Suzuki M90 borrows some sexy lines from the incredible M109R but adds a slightly different fork head, a smaller fuel tank (-1.5L) and not-so-flashy cladding around the radiator. The overall package is attractive and well executed, except maybe for the passenger seat -- divinely comfortable but excessively wide.
The liquid-cooled, 8-valve V-Twin is arguably the highlight of the new M90 despite a small 14-percent loss in displacement over the M109R. While the latter boasts an oversquare (Greater bore than stroke) engine, engineers altered the personality of the M90 engine by going undersquare (bore < stroke). The short stroke of the M109R favors high revs and maximum output, while the longer stroke of the M90 provides better crankpin leverage and favors torque. The oversquare M109R also uses bigger intake and exhaust capacity for more power, while the smaller manifolds of the M90 deliver more low-end torque for a smoother, more pleasant riding experience.
|The liquid-cooled, 8-valve V-Twin is arguably the highlight of the new M90 despite a small 14-percent loss in displacement over the M109R.