One of the most well-known motorcycle-producing companies in the world is Suzuki. Suzuki is known as one of the “big four” Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, along with Yamaha, Honda, and Kawasaki. Suzuki, like Honda, is unique in that it produces commuter cars along with motorcycles.
The Suzuki company was founded back at the beginning of the 1900s as a loom company. It went through several different iterations over the course of its existence, and in 1952 the Suzuki company started producing its iconic motorcycle line. Since then, Suzuki has been at the forefront of the motorcycle industry and they produce many different kinds of motorcycles. They are probably most famous for the Suzuki Boulevard cruiser line as well as the extremely beloved GSX-R sport motorcycle.
If you are new to the motorcycling scene, you may be wondering about the difference between types of Suzuki bikes. You may even be wondering what the best type of Suzuki motorcycle is for you. Of course, at the end of the day your preference is your ultimate guide, but this is intended to be a quick rundown of the different Suzuki motorcycles available on the market.
Cruiser vs. Touring Suzuki Motorcycles
Particularly in the United States, where we have long stretches of lonely highway to explore, cruiser and touring motorcycles are some of the most common bikes that you encounter on the roads. This is because even though these motorcycles are heavier than their sportbike counterparts, they are built for long leisurely rides.
Plus, cruiser or touring type motorcycles have more bad-boy “attitude” as compared to other kinds of motorcycles. For example, the iconic Chopper biker gang with their tall ape hanger handlebars used cruiser motorcycles. If you want to channel the vibe of Evel Knievel, you definitely need to get yourself either a cruiser or a touring motorcycle.
Cruiser and touring motorcycles are a little bit different, but not too much. The main difference is that a touring motorcycle is built with, well, touring in mind. Many people like to travel long distances on their motorcycles, and in this instance comfort and storage is paramount. Obviously, you can’t carry as much on two wheels as you can in the trunk of a car, but a good touring motorcycle ensures that you can carry everything you need. Touring motorcycles also tend to have improved suspension and other systems to facilitate comfort on longer rides.
To give a concrete example from the Suzuki lineup of bikes, take the traditional Suzuki Boulevard S40, which is classified as a cruiser, and compare it against the Suzuki Boulevard C50T, which is a touring bike.
The first thing you likely notice is that both of these bikes are from the same line. Again, cruising bikes and touring bikes are often very similar. The main difference is that the C50T comes with extra features to make longer rides more comfortable. For example, the C50T comes with saddlebags and a backrest for the passenger. In comparison, the S40 has a more stripped-down profile.
If you are choosing between a cruiser and a touring bike, the main question you need to ask yourself is, “Am I going to travel long distances on this bike?” If you are, then the extra expense of a touring bike may be appropriate. If you are just planning to ride your bike around town, then the price hike associated with a touring bike probably isn’t worth it for you.
Offroad vs. Motocross Suzuki Bikes
If you’re the type of motorcycle rider who likes to get down in the dirt as opposed to tooling along smooth roads, then you’ll be looking toward off-road or motocross bikes. Just like with the difference between touring and cruising bikes, the differences between an off-road and a motocross bike are pretty slim. Basically, they’re the exact same bike with slight differences.
As the name might imply, an off-road bike is meant to be ridden on the trails, while a motocross bike is meant to win a race. Both take place in the dirt, but obviously your interaction with the trail is different than your interaction with a race track.
In the case of Suzuki motorcycles, we can compare the offroad 2020 DR-Z125L with the Motocross 2020 RM85. Probably the most salient difference between the two is that the 2020 RM85 is a two stroke engine while the 2020 DR-Z125L is a four stroke engine. It’s notable that if you visit Suzuki’s website, there are no two stroke engines available for the off-road options.
This is because a two stroke engine provides more torque at lower CC and can be a better choice for those who are racing against others, while on the trail control is much more important and a four stroke motorcycle is easier to operate. However, a four stroke engine can also perform very well in a race; they just tend to be more expensive.
Off-road motorcycles have lighter suspensions as compared to motocross bikes because they have to deal with uneven road surfaces, tree roots, and other hazards present on the trail. Meanwhile, since motocross takes place on controlled tracks, the suspension is usually tighter.
Best Commuter Suzuki Motorcycle
Maybe you’re not looking to get dirty and you also aren’t particularly attached to the low, laid-back style of a cruiser motorcycle. Maybe you’re also not looking to travel around the country on your motorcycle. In this case, a commuter motorcycle is likely your best choice. Fortunately, Suzuki caters to this market with aplomb.
If you are looking for something that is fun, funky, and retro, you may find the 2019 VanVan 200 to your liking. This bike is small, light, zippy, and offers a wide seat for you and a passenger to enjoy. It’s also very affordable, even while new: this bike isn’t just great for commuting, it’s also a great introduction to motorcycling in general with a 199cc engine. Not terribly powerful, but you don’t need to bring the reps for a basic commute.
For something with a bit more oomph, consider the 2017 GW250. This bike is a mid-power baby with 248cc, so it’s got enough power to ride with the badder boys while still being very approachable and fuel-efficient.
To keep your Suzuki in top condition, make sure that you have an eye on the best Suzuki OEM parts so you can customize and maintain to your heart’s content.