Big, brawny cruisers tell a lot of the story of American motorcycles, and they state their case loud and clear. There is no mistaking the roar of an 1800cc engine and the assault it makes on the eardrums of anyone in the vicinity. For riders, the best part is you don’t have to decide between cruising in style or burning rubber anymore. With many modern cruisers, you can do both.
In fact, some cruisers can perform on the same level as the world’s quickest bikes even though they weigh several hundred pounds more. The trick is stacking the right amount of power to carry the weight. There are dozens of affordable bikes that can launch riders to 60 miles per hour in less than five seconds, which is quite a different story compared to car times.
Here are the 25 fastest cruisers based on the zero to 60 miles per hour sprint. Times come from Motorcycle Consumer News tests and Cycle World reviews. Though some models have been discontinued since their release, all of the bikes listed were tested new after 2008 and are available on the used market.
25. Harley-Davidson Sportster 48
0-60: 5.01 seconds
Harley more or less owns the middleweight cruiser category, and its Sportster 48 posted solid acceleration numbers in recent years. Testers ran the 48 model from 2013 to 60 miles per hour in 5.01 seconds. Working with just 60 horsepower, that’s solid performance. Harley’s Nightster performed right at this same level and sometimes better in the same sprint.
24. Yamaha Star Bolt R Spec
0-60: 5.0 seconds
Between 1994 and 2016, Star cruisers fell under their own brand apart from Yamaha. Though it falls under the Yamaha umbrella these days, Star bikes remain solid options for customization and speed at a reasonable price. In the case of the Bolt R Spec that debuted in 2014, this model can run to 60 miles per hour in five seconds flat.
23. Harley-Davidson FXST Softail
0-60: 4.8 seconds
Over the course of several decades, Harley Softail bikes have been putting up great performance, and they get more powerful with every new generation. Twentieth-century models featuring 72 pound-feet of torque would run to 60 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds. New Softail Slim models capable of 100 pound-feet are sure to perform even better.
22. Victory Cross Country
0-60: 4.79 seconds
Every one of the big Victory cruisers gets solid performance numbers, and the Cross Country (a bagger, technically) is among those that can sprint to 60 in fewer than five seconds. Testers made it there with only 93 pound-feet of torque from a 2010 model, and a ’16 model offers even more pull. Considering it is pulling over 800 pounds before the rider hops on, Cross Country is a quick bike.
21. ATK GV650
0-60: 4.72 seconds
You won’t find more than parts for old bikes from ATK these days, but the Utah-based manufacturer put out some quick motorcycles in the past decades. A prime example was the GV650, which weighed in at 531 pounds and could produce as much as 63 horsepower. It used just 40 pound-feet of torque to launch to 60 miles per hour in 4.72 seconds.
20. Victory Kingpin
0-60: 4.50 seconds
Weighing in at 767 pounds wet, Kingpin has plenty of bulk to pull, but it can run to 60 in 4.50 seconds. It works with 76 horses and 94 pound-feet of torque to hit a top speed of 112 miles per hour. This model has been out of commission since the 2012 model year and, with Victory ending production in 2017, it could sadly be on its way toward obscurity on the open road.
19. Suzuki Boulevard C109RT
0-60: 4.33 seconds
Between the ’99 Hayabusa and ’06 GSX-R1000, Suzuki produced some of the fastest sport bikes ever made. Fans of its cruiser lineup can attest to the quickness of its heavier bikes as well. In the case of the Boulevard line, the C109RT was the heaviest of all yet far from the slowest. It could run to 60 in just 4.33 seconds. Top speed was 126 miles per hour.
18. Yamaha Star Stratoliner S
0-60: 4.31 seconds
Every bike in Yamaha’s cruiser lineup puts up impressive acceleration numbers. Looking at the Star Stratoliner S, this 811-pound powerhouse ran to 60 miles per hour in 4.31 seconds using 107 pound-feet of torque. Top speeds for Stratoliner S approach 120 miles per hour.
17. Kawasaki Vulcan S
0-60: 4.2 seconds
Kawasaki offers American riders so many options in different segments, and Vulcan S is one of the fastest cruisers it produces. Cycle World took it out with a Star Bolt R Spec in 2015 to see how the two bikes matched up on the road. Vulcan S showed why it’s such a great buy. Using just 43 pound-feet of torque, it ran to 60 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds.
16. Triumph Thunderbird Commander
0-60: 4.18 seconds
The Triumph Thunderbird Commander oozes brawn and has the quickness to keep riders engaged at every turn. Testers took out the 2015 Commander and ran it to 60 miles per hour from a stop in 4.18 seconds. This bike maxes out at 100 pound-feet or torque and a top speed of 105 miles per hour (electronically limited).
15. Yamaha Roadliner S
0-60: 4.12 seconds
With more power and less weight than Stratoliner, Yamaha Roadliner S makes the run to 60 miles per hour look easy. Motorcycle News testers got it there in 4.12 seconds from a stop. More recent editions pushed this model’s top speed to 126 miles per hour, and you may even be able to hit 60 in under four seconds.
14. Victory Judge
0-60: 4.09 seconds
Compared to the heaviest Victory bikes, Judge was a bit lighter on its feet at 691 pounds wet and boasted a solid power-to-weight ratio. The formula allowed it to sprint to 60 miles per hour in just over four seconds. Top speed was 116 miles per hour on this retro-looking bike, which lasted only a few model years before riding off into the sunset.
13. Victory Hammer 106 (Premium)
0-60: 4.03 seconds
You could blame Victory for mixing and matching bikes with the same engine, but no one can argue with the performance of the Hammer 106 and other speed demons in the lineup. Hammer made it to 60 miles per hour in just 4.03 seconds en route to a top speed of 120 miles per hour.
12. Yamaha Raider S 10/09
0-60: 4.01 seconds
The Yamaha chrome parade continues with Raider S, a lighter model than the brand’s biggest bikes at 739 pounds. Using 107 pound-feet of torque, Raider S can sprint to 60 in about four seconds flat. This bike’s top speed is 125 miles per hour, so wear your helmet.
11. Kawasaki Vulcan 2000
0-60: 3.95 seconds
Though Kawasaki is currently not selling the Vulcan 2000 anymore, you will still see this bike on occasional highway runs. According to the top time tested by Motorcycle News, the Vulcan can take its 818 pounds from a stop to 60 miles per hour in 3.95 seconds. Its power plant can produce a maximum 117 pound-feet of torque along with 90 horsepower.
10. Victory 8 Ball
0-60: 3.88 seconds
Using 110 pound-feet of torque and 105 horsepower, Victory’s Vegas 8-Ball can sprint to 60 in under four seconds. For a Victory cruiser, it weighs in on the light side at 638 pounds dry. In terms of image, riders love the look of the classic V2 and the sound of the high-displacement engine. It’s old-school muscle and style at its best. Motorcycle News clocked its best run to 60 at 3.88 seconds.
9. Indian Chief Scout
0-60: 3.81 seconds
The Indian Chief Scout makes it easy on riders. First, it delivers all the classic style you expect from the brand. Second, it delivers on performance in a big way. Using 100 horsepower and 72 pound-feet of torque, it can run from a stop to 60 in less than four seconds. You can make a quarter mile in 12 seconds and hit a top speed of 125 miles per hour on the Scout.
8. Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide
0-60: 3.7 seconds
To gauge the power of the Harley CVO Road Glide Custom Anniversary Edition, Cycle World pitted the beast against a Honda Gold Wing F6B Deluxe in an intriguing contest. For its part, the Harley CVO Road Glide was able to use its 110 pound-feet of torque and 91 horsepower to blast from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds. While it wasn’t faster than the Gold Wing, it was good enough to crack the top 10 among cruisers.
7. Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S.
0-60: 3.65 seconds
Suzuki’s Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S. is one of the true beasts of the open road. If you are a fan of blacked-out style, you would say it looks the part as well. B.O.S.S. produces a maximum 97 pound-feet of torque and 105 horsepower from its 1793cc engine, giving it the goods to hit 60 in 3.65 seconds. The 2014 model weighs in at 764 pounds at the curb.
6. Victory Octane
0-60: 3.6 seconds
At 548 pounds wet, Victory Octane was the lightest bike the brand ever made. It was also the quickest of the Victory lineup with its 1179 cc engine providing 76 pound-feet of torque. Critics of the Octane said it borrowed too much of corporate cousin, Indian Chief Scout, but no one complained about acceleration. Octane made the run to 60 miles per hour in just 3.6 seconds.
5. Harley-Davidson V-Rod
0-60: 3.59 seconds
A 2001 model of the Harley-Davidson VRSC V-Rod was clocked by Motorcycle News hitting 60 miles open hour in 3.59 seconds. The latest model has upgraded its torque from 72 to 83 pound-feet. Meanwhile, weight has jumped to 666 pounds at the curb. The V-Rod Muscle is right behind this model with sprints to 60 taking just 3.73 seconds.
4. Honda Gold Wing Valkyrie
0-60: 3.41 seconds
Honda’s monstrous Gold Wing squared off against the H-D Road Glide Custom in Cycle World tests and won the sprint to 60 with a time of 3.3 seconds. It matches the best time posted by any Gold Wing model. Packing an engine of 1832cc capable of 110 pound-feet of torque and 104 horsepower, the Valkyrie is ready to match nearly any cruiser on the road.
3. Triumph Rocket Roadster
0-60: 3.3 seconds
With 148 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque to power a wet weight of 809 pounds, it is easy to see why this Triumph bike is called the Rocket. It houses the world’s biggest production motorcycle engine (an imposing 2249cc) and can power from a stop to 60 miles per hour in 3.3 seconds. The 2010 model ran the quarter-mile in 11.48 seconds.
2. Ducati Diavel
0-60: 2.8 seconds
There may be some questions about a “performance cruiser” like the Ducati Diavel joining the pack here, but most outlets count it in the segment. This bike is pure acceleration, hitting 60 miles per hour in 2.80 seconds in runs confirmed by Motorcycle News. Powering the Diavel is the 1198cc engine, while the bike’s wet weight is just 557 pounds. Top speed is 157 miles per hour.
1. Yamaha Star VMAX
0-60: 2.5 seconds
Cycle World ran the Star VMax against the Triumph Rocket in order to see which muscle cruiser could run to 60 miles per hour fastest. That test pegged the VMax on the mark in 2.5 seconds, which made it the fastest bike that still makes for good long-range riding. It houses a 1679cc engine capable of 179 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque. Weighing in at 695 pounds, it can match the Diavel on pound-for-pound power.
On that note, rider weights and skills are always going to factor into the bike with the fastest acceleration times. All things equal, the Star VMax is likely to outperform any classic cruiser. If the Diavel is included as an open cruiser, it will always be a horse race between these powerhouse accelerators, and the Ducati has the edge in runs to 100 miles per hour and for quarter-mile sprints.
Source: Motorcycle Consumer News
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