Cruiser is the term for motorcycles that mimic the design style of American machines from the 1930s to the early 1960s, including those made by Harley-Davidson, Indian, Excelsior and Henderson. Japanese companies began producing models evocative of the early cruisers in the mid-1980s, and by 1997 the market had grown to nearly 60 percent of the U.S. market, such that a number of motorcycle manufacturers including BMW, Honda, Moto Guzzi, Yamaha, Suzuki, Triumph and Victory have currently or have had important models evocative of the American cruiser.
The riding position on a cruiser usually, but not always, places the feet forward and the hands up, with the spine erect or leaning back slightly. Many "power cruisers" and Japanese cruisers of the 1980s have featured more neutral riding positions. Cruisers outfitted with luggage for touring are sometimes called baggers.
Many cruising motorcycles have limited performance and turning ability due to a low-slung design. Riders who enjoy cornering at higher speeds may need to customize to enhance lean angle, or start with a performance "power cruiser".
Cruisers are often custom motorcycle projects that result in a bike modified to suit the owner's ideals, and as such are a source of pride and accomplishment.
- McCraw, Jim (20 July 1997). "Motorcycle Wars: Japan's Latest Shots at Fortress Harley". New York Times. Retrieved 13 October 2013. "Mr. Brown says cruisers are driving much of the industry's growth, accounting for more than 58 percent of street-bike sales. He estimates that Harley will take 52.5 percent of the cruiser market this year, down from 55 percent in 1991, and the four Japanese companies will combine for 47.3 percent, with Honda at 16.4 percent, Suzuki at 11.5, Kawasaki at 10.7 and Yamaha at 8.7."
- Stuart, Ben. "5 New Middleweight Cruiser Motorcycles: Comparison Test", Popular Mechanics, July 1, 2008, accessed April 20, 2011.
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