Big Baggers: 2008 Suzuki Boulevard C109RT: The 100-mph Loafer.

16 Jun 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Big Baggers: 2008 Suzuki Boulevard C109RT: The 100-mph Loafer.

Big Baggers: 2008 Suzuki Boulevard C109RT The 100-mph Loafer.

Photography by Jeff Allen

I climbed on the big Suzuki somewhere near Banning Pass, and as we sped rapidly out across the desert, my first thought was, Never in the field of human endeavor has any motorcycle so successfully loafed at 100 mph. Even at high speeds, the 109RT engine sounds like a Continental 220 radial out of a Stearman biplane at idle.

Though the 109R doesn’t have the largest engine here, it’s still a very big Twin, and it topped all others in quarter-mile acceleration and speed. It also has the highest horsepower (though not the most torque) and tied the Honda for a close second place (after the Vulcan) in 0–60 times. This thing flat moves out, and does it without a lot of high-revving histrionics.

It’s like your linebacker friend in high school who used to calm people down by reaching over and giving them a quick squeeze on the back of the neck. Laconic, with no fuss, it seems not to work very hard to achieve results.

Would that it worked a little harder to get you through a corner. With its considerable heft and big 240mm rear tire, the wide Boulevard resists initial turn-in, then requires firm handgrip pressure to hold it down and avoid “scalloping” your way through corners. But once you learn to make it take a set, it seems to hold its line without any wallowing or other bad behavior.

Relatively quick front-end geometry, meant to lighten the steering on this 858-pound monster, makes it a little more susceptible to small steering inputs than the others.

The linked brakes on the Boulevard are strong and powerful but demand a pretty good squeeze on the lever when only the fronts are used, as the rear pedal adds valuable extra caliper pistons—front and rear—to the mix. It’s a good system for beginning riders who rely heavily on the rear pedal.

The soft, cushy seat on the Suzuki seems good when you first get on but starts to feel hard and compressed after about an hour. The footboards, at least, are long enough to allow you to move your legs a little now and then. The big handlebars (emanating from one of the most massive triple-clamps I’ve ever seen) come back to meet your hands in relaxed fashion.

Several riders praised the wind protection from the Boulevard’s tall windscreen, but I had the misfortune to ride it through about a 35-knot crosswind and got so much buffeting I thought my helmet would wear out. In any case, you look through this screen rather than over it, and others claimed it gives you a lot of coverage in normal wind conditions. Saddlebags are of the small, weekender style, somewhat offsetting the long-range usefulness of the passenger backrest.

Suzuki Boulevard
Suzuki Boulevard
Suzuki Boulevard

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