Suzuki fills a gap between the C50
and the exuberant M109R
with a new light-touring cruiser dressed in black. Low and long, with features like a windshield, a wide handlebar, a sculpted seat, and a pair of hard saddlebags, the 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T
looks anxious to gobble up miles of open road.
Some will find it unimaginative, but true bagger fans will counter by saying that this type of bike plays by a strict set of rules. Suzuki hit the mark with black chrome pieces, matte black appliques, superb alloy wheels, and two hard saddlebags in leather-like trim that add style and contribute to a low-slung look.
The 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T borrows most of the M90
's chassis and powertrain. The liquid-cooled, 1,462 cc V-twin uses a single overhead camshaft and four valves per cylinder. The cylinders received antifriction coating through silicon carbine electrolysis, which also improves heat transfer. Similar to the M109, the C90T's air box features three separate chambers, while the Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) induction system -- the same design used in Suzuki championship-winning GSX-R
sport bikes -- is enhanced by the 32-bit engine control unit.
Despite the large displacement and long piston stroke, the 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T is rather cool and calm on the road. The V-twin never gets too excited, and vibrations and sound effects remain subdued -- the ideal recipe for fatigue-free, long-distance rides. Smooth in city riding, it delivers generous torque that's easy to exploit. On the highway, no engine vibrations can be felt, leaving the rider and passenger entirely focused on the road and their surroundings.
Geared for the open road
|The liquid-cooled, 1,462 cc V-twin uses a single overhead camshaft and four valves per cylinder. (Photo: France Ouellet)
The 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T's Suzuki Clutch Assist System (SCAS) allows smooth, easy shifting by reducing pressure on the clutch plates and therefore the clutch lever. The final drive uses a shaft for easy maintenance.
However, the 5-speed, constant-mesh transmission has an excessively long final gear ratio that often forces you to downshift all the way to first gear to prevent the engine from knocking. You also have to maintain ultra-low revs in second gear to avoid the kind of acceleration that will send you well into illegal territory.
The 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T needs room to breathe and show what it's made of, which is why it behaves marvellously on small country roads and freeways, where the third and fourth gears deliver low-revving efficiency, yet allow safe passing manoeuvres. The fifth gear seems to have been calibrated for the great U.S. interstates where speed limits rise to nearly 130 km/h.
|The 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T needs room to breathe and show what it's made of, which is why it behaves marvellously on small country roads and freeways. (Photo: France Ouellet)
Thanks to a very low centre of gravity, perfect balance, and surprising ground clearance for a cruiser with large floorboard-type footrests, the 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T is really fun to ride through twists and turns. It proves friendly and inspires confidence in all conditions, regardless of your riding style.
Nicely protected by the tall windshield, you can sit back and relax, with little to no buffeting to disturb you. This cruiser handles like a charm at low speeds, as well; you can almost forget about the massive weight and fat rear tire. Overall, riding dynamics are amazingly sound.
|Thanks in part to surprising ground clearance for a cruiser with large floorboard-type footrests, the 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T is really fun to ride through twists and turns. (Photo: France Ouellet)
The suspension of the 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T, together with a beautifully shaped and padded seat, works effectively to provide adequate comfort during solo or two-up riding. Save for deep potholes, the single coilover shock in the rear never feels dry or harsh, which is surprising given the C90T's weight.
The front brake delivers decent performance, while the rear brake is fantastic; it's best to combine the two to ensure safe, powerful stops. While the overall system is fairly easy to modulate, ABS certainly would have been appreciated.
|The suspension of the 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T, together with a beautifully shaped and padded seat, works effectively to provide adequate comfort during solo or two-up riding. (Photo: France Ouellet)
In the end, the 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T boasts pleasant, easygoing dynamics, superb bagger styling, and especially regal comfort. All you'll think about after a hard day at work will be filling the saddlebags and leaving everything behind to enjoy the freedom of the open road.
- Smooth powertrain
- Sound riding dynamics
- Great styling
- Excessively long final gear ratio
- No ABS (yet Suzuki offers it on bikes that retail for under $10K)