Engine: 1,783cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled 54 degree V-twin
Maximum power: 125bhp @6,200 rpm
Maximum torque: 160Nm @3,200 rpm
Transmission: five-speed gearbox, shaft final drive
Brakes: Front radial mount, opposed 4-piston callipers, rear single 275mm disc
Seat height: 700mm
Tank capacity: 19 litres
As soon as I saw the Suzuki Intruder a sound entered my head and refused to leave. It was not the sumptuous aural thrill provided by the largest pair of reciprocating pistons ever installed in an internal combustion engine. That came later. First I imagined the American musician Lyle Lovett singing, "No, you're not from Texas, but Texas loves you anyway."
Japanese attempts to imitate the classic cruiser style have produced some truly awful-looking motorcycles. I was expecting kitsch; instead I saw tasteful coherence. Subtle flowing lines extend from the front mudguard to the vast 240-section tubeless rear tyre.
The Intruder's emphasis is on aesthetic coherence, not visual intimidation. The design emphasises the big V-twin engine without fetishising it. The broad, elongated fuel tank merges seamlessly into a low, comfortable saddle and an attractive moulded tail cover. The sinuous two-into-two chromed exhaust system booms beautifully and ends in a pair of eye-catching slash-cut mufflers.
This machine looks at home in the broad cowboy country of the American south. But Suzuki's technology has been honed on racetracks. This cruiser has the front brakes of a GSXR 1000 and a version of Suzuki's race-developed fuel injection system. Performance reflects the debt.
Until recently cruiser design was all about looks. Manufacturers assumed that riders who aspired to emulate Easy Rider would not mind if their mounts wallowed round corners and rattled like belt-fed machine guns.
Some still prefer that approach. Suzuki wanteda cruiser that offers the adrenalin kick and handling of a sportier motorcycle. It works. Bulleting into a sharp right-hander at more than 100mph I had to lose 40mph fast. The Intruder did not even wobble...
The deep pulse of its 125bhp engine is spine-tingling at low revs and builds to a thunderous cascade under rapid acceleration. The Intruder produces 160Nm of torque at 3,250rpm which gives instant throttle response throughout the rev range.
The low-maintenance shaft-drive system emphasises that this motorcycle is designed for distance. The 19-litre fuel tank confirms that impression. So do the handlebar-mounted digital tachometer and LED indicator lights. I was comfortable over 60 miles of quick riding on tight lanes. Those front brakes are superb.
This bike is good enough to compete with all-comers, handles better than most and looks delightful. But that will not guarantee success. There was hostility among some Harley-Davidson owners to their company's development of the excellent, Porsche-engined VRSC V-Rod family. American customers have also been slightly less enthusiastic than I anticipated about Triumph's performance cruiser, the gorgeous 2.3-litre Rocket III.
This Suzuki harks back to 1950s street car racers, to an era of daredevil fun and excitement. As such it offers all the charisma a true enthusiast can want in a package augmented by race-proven technology.
Riders looking to combine the cruiser image with cutting-edge technology should also consider the Triumph Rocket and Harley-Davidson Street Rod. Suzuki has a reputation for delivering a lot at reasonable prices. The Intruder continues that tradition. As Mr Lovett nearly sang, it is not from Texas, but it certainly looks like it could be.Reuse content