Suzuki Intruder, the Japanese chopper
The Suzuki Intruder has long been a preferred choice of many fans. Indeed, since the inception of the first model in 1985, it has remained a popular cruiser in both the new and used markets. You can see why.
When a person wanted a cruiser in decades past, he didnt have much choice. Essentially, he could go with a Harley-Davidson or get nothing at all. That was great and all if you liked Harleys, but what if you wanted a different motorcycle?
Thats when the Japanese cruiser lines came into play.
When the Japanese makers figured out they could make money on the cruiser buying American public, it did't take each company any time at all to come out with their own brand of cruiser. This was excellent for those who were not die hard American only buyers. For about fifty percent less money in most cases a rider could have a brand new cruiser that was just as functional and satisfying as its American complement.
However there was just one issue. Even though all four major Japanese manufacturers (Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha) came out with their own models, only Suzuki seemed to get it right on the first try with its VS line. The other three manufacturers cruiser lines seemed to cross a cruiser style with a street bike functionality, a hodgepodge that most riders found a little on the ugly side. The 1986 VS700 Intruder, however, was clean, pure cruiser from start to finish.
Lets start by discussing the engine. The Intruders engine is a forty-five degree v-twin with overhead cams. This setup is true for all Intruder series of motorcycles (VS700, VS750, VS800, VS1400, etc.). The way these cruisers cool themselves other than the VS1400, which is at the same time oil cooled and air cooled--is by liquid. The tranny utilizes the same case as the crankshaft. And all the power is delivered to the rear tire by way of a drive shaft instead of a chain.
While you can have a cruiser that doesnt have a v-twin, this setup is deemed the apex among cruiser aficionados.
With the correct motor in place, Suzuki concentrated on not only cruiser comfort, but cruiser style as well.
Looking at the riders seating position, Suzuki made sure that the Intruder had a comfortable, low-slung seat with forward positioned (though not radically forward) driver pegs and forward controls. The handlebars additionally served to both look the cruiser part and put the riders hands and arms into unrestrained positions.
The rider now comfortable and set to go, Suzuki achieved what the others failed to do: they uncluttered and cleaned-up the complete bike.
The different cables were either concealed or ordered so they would not stick out like a sore thumb. The same thing with the wiring system. The so-called dash was not cluttered with instrument gauges and lamps that were not needed on these cruiser styles. Only one instrument, a speedometer, and one instrument light box were used. These two items gave you everything you needed to know from whether the motorcycle was in neutral to your miles per hour.
The front end forks had a pleasing rake to them. Nearly chopper-like. This was good because the whole Intruder also assumes this look. From front to back, the Intruder is lean and displays almost no extra bulk.
What about the chrome? Did I mention the chrome? These rides had lots of chrome but not in the excess and not to the point of being tawdry, either. Just the right about to give the motorcycle some shine.
Having the right design and performance down pat, it is no wonder that this little cruiser stole the admiration of so so many bikers over the decades. Oh, and the low price/high value didnt hurt either!