2013 Suzuki Boulevard M50 Test Ride And Review: Mid-Size MuscleForbes

27 Laga yaabaa 2015 | Qoraa: | Comments Off on 2013 Suzuki Boulevard M50 Test Ride And Review: Mid-Size MuscleForbes
Suzuki Boulevard 400

2013 Suzuki Boulevard M50 Test Ride And Review: Mid-Size Muscle

The cruiser marketplace is evolving, ever changing in pursuit of a younger demographic. The classic cruiser buyer has aged to the point where manufacturers fear that they’re no longer buying new motorcycles. Meanwhile, buyers who once sought out sportbikes are looking for a more relaxed, mature motorcycle with a more sustainable riding position — but they’re rejecting the laid-back cruiser for adventure bikes like the BMW GS, Triumph Tiger and Suzuki V-Strom.

Photo (c) Jason Fogelson

In the midst of this evolution, Suzuki perceived a gap, and created the Boulevard M series, cruisers with a hotrod look and stance. The Boulevard M bikes take the mechanicals of the Boulevard C bikes, replace the bodywork with a modern interpretation of the bobber, switch from traditional wire wheels to cast aluminum, and in the process make a bike that’s leaner, sleeker and more original than its source.

I got a chance to spend a few weeks with the 2013 Suzuki Boulevard M50, the smallest entry into the M lineup, which includes the M90 and M109r. The M50 has a base price of $8,799, which includes a 12-month/unlimited mileage warranty.

Photo (c) Jason Fogelson

Right off the bat, the M50 makes a striking impression with its cafe racer-style headlight surround. Set above beefy inverted 41mm forks and a small, dirt track-style front fender, the mini-fairing gives a great visual impression of muscularity and purpose. The long gas 4.1-gallon gas tank flows toward a truncated rear fender, featuring a large, low profile taillamp.

Dual chromed exhaust pipes exit the bike on the right side, with big tailpieces promising music from their slash-cut, staggered openings. The engine peeks out behind a triangular shield-shaped air cleaner cover on the right — a shape which is subtly repeated on the bike’s headlamp and tailllamp to provide some continuity. The radiator on this liquid-cooled bike is tucked up against the frame’s front downtubes, where it can take advantage of airflow without calling attention to itself.

Photo (c) Jason Fogelson

I really like the easy-to-read analog speedometer, which has a broad oval automotive appearance tucked into the headlamp surround. A digital fuel gauge and odometer share space comfortably within the tidy instrument panel. Indicator lights are located on the top of the gas tank, just ahead of the filler.

I would have been happier if Suzuki had integrated them into the instrument panel, as I found that the chin bar of my full-face helmet blocked them from my view in most situations. Your view may vary, depending on your height and choice of helmet (though you are wearing a full-face helmet at all times, aren’t you?).

Photo (c) Jason Fogelson

Fit and finish are very good, for the most part. I was particularly impressed with the billet-like quality of some of the exposed fasteners, like the fork top bolt. I was not as impressed with the sharp seam at the bottom of the gas tank — this feature betrays mass-production aesthetics, and stands out under close examination. Suzuki’s high standards for paint and other surfaces still dominate, though.

Guud ahaan, the M50 succeeds in presenting an assertive, muscular appearance, and a very attractive one at that.

Sidaas, it’s time to ride. The M50′s fuel injected V-Twin engine starts with a thumb of the button, and quickly settles in to a smooth idle. The 805 cc engine (about 50 inches cubic, hence “M50″) is the same powerplant you’ll find in the Boulevard C50, a classic cruiser in the Suzuki lineup.

A five-speed transmission sends power to the rear wheel through a shaft drive. Suzuki didn’t provide horsepower or torque figures, but based on how the 593 lb bike performed, I’d call the power more than adequate for the bike’s intended purpose. I wouldn’t want to ride two-up for long distances on the interstate, but for a single rider on surface streets, the power is well-matched to the bike’s design.

I found myself wishing for a sixth gear to calm the engine’s vibrations at higher cruising speeds, but I also found upshifting and downshifting delightfully smooth and predictable at all speeds, despite the lack of a counterbalancer. Neutral is simple to select in either direction, and adjustable hand controls are standard — a great feature for riders with smaller hands or compromised hand strength.

Photo (c) Jason Fogelson

M50′s front suspension is non-adjustable, but I was pleased with its compliance and relative stiffness. The rear suspension is adjustable with a tool — not supplied with the bike. The single rear coil spring is hidden, softail-style, beneath the seat, and tended to bottom out over sharp bumps.

I learned to slow down and rise from the seat motocross-style when approaching unavoidable bumps and cracks in the road. The single front disc brake does a good job of providing the bulk of stopping power for the M50, as the rear wheel is equipped with a drum brake.

Suzuki Boulevard 400
Suzuki Boulevard 400
Suzuki Boulevard 400

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