Since determining an accurate 0 – 60 mph speed is pretty hard, working out what bike wins the “fastest cruiser” title is a tricky business, but we’ve done our best for you right here.
There’s no way that we’ve had the chance to ride every single one of these down the strip, so we’re borrowing a few facts and figures recorded from other sources and tried to work out reasonable averages to give as accurate a presentation as possible – because let’s be honest, there’s a lot of misinformation out there.
The reason for such varied acceleration figures is because it’s not an easy thing to work out. There are just too many factors at play for reviewers (and even the manufacturers) to give you a true representation of a motorcycle’s actual acceleration capabilities. Different test riders have different abilities, different bikes could have different fuel amounts, track temperatures will vary, surfaces will be different…you get the idea. Oh yeah, and of course most test riders are professional riders too, so while they might be able to flog the same motorcycle you own to fasters speeds, don’t be disappointed that you can’t do the same.
Working out average acceleration times is difficult enough – but trying to define what constitutes as a cruiser and what doesn’t is another matter entirely. Some riders have very strict rules about how they define a cruiser. Some motorcyclists have been known to insist that a cruiser is only a cruiser if it has a v-twin, while others claim that it has to be comfortable enough to tour long distances on. We’re not going to pigeon-hole things in this list. If it fits in the broader cruiser spectrum, it’s welcome here. All we’re looking for is a slightly more relaxed riding position, fast acceleration, and shed loads of character. The only thing we’re not going to include is electric motorcycles – because it wouldn’t be a fair test now, would it? So, without further ado, let’s take a look at 15 of the fastest cruiser motorcycles out there!
#15. Kawasaki Vulcan S 650: 0-60 mph 4.20 seconds
Coming in at fifteenth place and with one of the smaller engines on the list, the Kawasaki Vulcan 650 S manages to score a faster 0 – 60 average than we would have expected. On average, the Vulcan S comes in with a 4.2 second time, however, we’ve seen in perform faster in independent reviews.
It might be a cruiser, but the Vulcan’s 650cc parallel twin engine was developed side-by-side with that of the Kawasaki Ninja – couple that powerful engine with a lightweight chassis and you have a cruiser built to impress. Even though we’ve seen it clock up a faster time, 4.2 seconds is an incredible feat for this small sized Kawasaki, making it one of the fastest cruisers out there.
#14. Yamaha Star Roadliner S: 0-60 mph 4.01 seconds
The Yamaha Star Roadliner S might look like a chrome behemoth, but it can really move when it has to. Despite its hulking 1854cc air cooled v-twin engine and bulky looking chassis, it’s actually not as heavy as you’d think.
It actually only weighs 725 lbs – making it one of the lighter Star Cruisers out there. The relatively light weight of the overall package combined with the engine’s 81 hp make this quite a fast motorcycle. 0-60 in 4.01 seconds is pretty swift for something of this size – and with an overall top speed of around 125 mph, you could definitely count this as one of the fastest cruisers on the road.
#13. Kawasaki Vulcan 2000: 0-60 – 3.95 seconds
We’re going back to the Kawasaki Vulcan range for our next fastest cruiser.
Although the big boy Vulcan 2000 is no longer being produced, it’s still a very popular motorcycle and you’ll see plenty of them gracing the highways up and down the country.
As the name would suggest, this older style Vulcan boasts a 2053 cc engine – but in a more classic V-twin configuration than the new Vulcan’s parallel twin. The old school engine on this bad boy boasted 141 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm and around 90 horsepower. After comparing a few legitimate 0-60 runs, we can agree with most people’s assessment that the Vulcan 2000 can indeed hit 60 in under 4 seconds, with an average time of 3.95.
#12. Victory Vegas 8 Ball: 0-60 – 3.88 seconds
Victory may no longer be a functioning motorcycle manufacturer, but their legacy lives on – particularly in the fastest cruiser department because there are a couple of them in this list. This shouldn’t come as a massive surprise because Victory are one of the few cruiser style motorcycle manufacturers that actually had a vested interest in racing.
They’ve entered bikes into both the Isle of Man TT and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb – so they know how to build a fast engine. Armed with 1731cc of modern American muscle, the Vegas 8 Ball shoots out 105 horsepower, 110 lb – ft of torque, and weighs only 638 lbs. 0-60? 3.88 seconds, putting it firmly under four seconds, making it one of the fastest cruisers…it’s just a shame that Victory had to close their doors, eh?
#11. Indian Scout: 0-60 – 3.81 seconds
With Victory now defunct, Indian are the last hope for Polaris in the motorcycle industry (the Slingshot definitely does not count). Luckily, this new Indian is all about modern performance and ride experience. The Indian Scout, for example, comes with all the classic aesthetics you’d expect from a marque as iconic as Indian…but it also has the guts to match.
The Indian Scout’s engine is a 1130cc v-twin unit that makes 100 horsepower (although we reckon it’s more like 85 hp) and 72 lb-ft of torque at 6,000 rpm – and it can hit 60 mph in a remarkable 3.81 seconds. That, and it has a top speed of just north of 125 mph. Let’s not forget that Indian have a few land speed records to their name, so it’s no surprise that they should have at least one entry in the fastest cruiser department.
#10. Moto Guzzi California 1400 Custom: 0-60 – 3.74 seconds
The Moto Guzzi California family rarely get a mention on these kind of lists, and it’s a damn shame. While they’re not obvious cruisers, they still tick all the right boxes: they come with a v-twin engine, they’ve got a relaxed riding position, they’ve got the right bars, and they’re damn fun to ride.
The 1400 Custom boasts a 1380cc engine that has a maximum power of 95 hp and a maximum torque figure of 88.5 lb-ft. Overall, the Guzzi weighs in at an impressively (relatively) light 668 lbs…so it’s no wonder that this bad boy can do 0-60 in a speedy 3.74 seconds.
#09. Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide: 0-60 – 3.70 seconds (say some people)
This one is likely to be an opinion divider. There’s no doubt that the Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide (and whatever extra names you feel like bolting on the end) is no doubt a fast performance touring machine, but whether it should be in this fastest cruiser list is up for debate.
The main reason why it gets listed in these kind of lists is because it once managed to put down 0-60 mph at 3.7 mph in a Cycle World review. However, if you look around and find other similar reviews, the numbers are not so attractive. G
enerally, we’re seeing it average around 4.5 seconds rather than the suggested 3.7, but we’re going to give Cycle World the benefit of the doubt because they’re pretty darn accurate most of the time. Even so, at 91 horsepower and with 110 lb-ft of torque on tap, the CVO Road Glide is not to be dismissed.
#08. Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S: 0-60 – 3.65 seconds
No list of this nature would be complete without the venerable Suzuki Boulevard. It’s one of the most popular, heavy-duty cruisers on the market – and for good reason. It’s comes with an instantly recognizable blacked-out and muscular look, complete with slash-cut mufflers and proper drag bars. And of course, it has that weird “love it or hate it” headlight.
However, it performs just as good as it looks, too. Boasting a ferocious 1783cc V-twin engine that thrusts out 105 horsepower and 97 lb-ft of torque, and an overall weight of 764 lbs, the B.O.S.S can do 0-60 in 3.65 seconds.
#07. Victory Octane: 0-60 – 3.63 seconds
Victory’s next entry on our fastest cruiser list is the Octane. Now, the Victory Octane effectively shares the same engine as the Indian Scout but there’s a world of difference between the two. You see, this version on the Octane is derived directly from the Victory Project 156 Pikes Peak racer… Where the Indian Scout boasts 100 horses (again, we think that’s an inflated figure, and should be more like 85 ish), the Victory Octane really does produce 104 hp at 8,000 rpm from its fuel-injected 1179cc V-twin engine. Since it only weighs 548 lbs wet, it’s no surprise that it can hit 0-60 in an impressive 3.60 seconds.
#06. Yamaha Star Raider: 0-60 – 3.60 seconds
The Yamaha Star Raider is a powerful and fast cruiser that still manages to retain a lot of those classic cruiser elements. Inspired by the custom chopper movement, but built with factory sensibilities like handling and serious performance, the Star Raider is fantastic motorcycle regardless of your tastes. If you want something you could call a cruiser in the classic sense of the word, here it is.
But if you want something with sensational performance, then this is a very attractive proposition. The 1854cc v-twin engine offers huge torque and acceleration, with 100 hp on tap, and 123.8 lb-ft of torque at your disposal, it wouldn’t be too difficult to hit that reported 0-60 in 3.6 seconds without a tremendous amount of effort.
#05. Harley-Davidson V-Rod: 0-60 – 3.59 seconds
The Harley-Davidson V-Rod is undoubtedly one of the fastest cruisers out there. Built around a tried and tested 1250cc V-twin engine that pumps out a rather astounding 120 horsepower, it’s no surprise that the V-rod was built with drag racing in mind. In fact, Harley-Davidson’s advertising spiel for the V-rod begins with this tantalizing line: “There’s a quarter-mile of asphalt in its family tree.” And there is.
Think of that fat rear tire, the classic drag bars, USD forks, Brembo brakes, and other performance parts… It’s geared towards fast, straight line speed, and it delivers. Hitting 60 mph in a mere 3.59 seconds, the Harley-Davidson V-rod is a pretty fast cruiser.
#04. Honda Gold Wing Valkyrie: 0-60 – 3.41 seconds
Remember the Cycle World test we mentioned whilst talking about the CVO Road Glide above? Well, the figures produced for the Harley were made whilst riding it in a head to head competition against the Honda Gold Wing Valkyrie.
Now, if you like your motorcycles supersized, then there’s no doubt that the Honda Gold Wing is the undisputed king of the road but while it’s a veritable behemoth in size, it’s pretty fast on the road too. The 1832cc engine can make 104 hp and 110 lb-ft, and the Valkyrie has been tried and tested making a 0-60 time of 3.41 seconds.
#03. Triumph Rocket III Roadster: 0-60 – 3.30 seconds
And now for something really big: the Triumph Rocket III…specifically, the Roadster variant. While Triumph have dubbed it “the ultimate muscle streetfighter” we think it’s more cruiser than anything else. There’s no denying its muscle though, since it comes fitted with one of the largest motorcycle engines ever made: a 2249cc triple cylinder unit that claims 146 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque.
Even with its heavy weight of 809 lbs, it’s still capable of executing a 0-60 run in a mere 3.3 seconds. On top of that feat, it can do the quarter-mile in 11.48 seconds too. This makes it one of the fastest cruisers ever made.
#02. Ducati Diavel: 0-60 – 2.80 seconds
If you’re prepared to class this Italian masterpiece as a cruiser, then there’s no denying that it’s one of the fastest cruisers in the industry. Now, some cruiser traditionalists like to ignore the Ducati Diavel…but it ticks all the boxes. Granted, when the Diavel first rolled on to the scene, we were skeptical of this Ducati oddity…but now we wouldn’t want to live in a world without it. It’s sexy, sleek, comfortable, and most importantly, fast.
The Diavel’s 1198cc engine blurts out 162 hp and 96.3 lb-ft of torque, and can reach a rather impressive top speed of 169 mph. That’s why this beast can do 0-60 mph in a shockingly fast 2.80 seconds. In fact, a limited edition variant, the Diavel Diesel, is possible the fastest cruiser ever made. It’s a limited edition though…so it doesn’t count, sadly.
#01. Yamaha VMAX: 0-60 – 2.50 seconds
There was only ever going to be one winner though, the beloved Yamaha VMAX. We’ve read a handful of test results, seen a few first hand, and even had an (unsuccessful) attempt at hitting this figure ourselves, and yes, the Yamaha VMAX most certainly has, can, and will hit 60 mph in a whopping 2.50 seconds…providing the test rider is competent and hasn’t been binging on McDonalds in the days before the test.
Armed with a fantastic 1679cc engine that gives the rider access to 179 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque, it’s no surprise that the Yamaha VMAX is the fastest cruiser out there. Sadly, it has been discontinued for the foreseeable future…but we’re certain it’ll make a glorious comeback sometime soon.