Review: 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S.

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Out on the freeways, the B.O.S.S. ambles along happily. As the bike is geared very tall – you can run up to 50 mph in second – but it allows you to hang around in fourth thereafter and you only really need fifth gear to overtaken when accelerating between 70 to 75mph.

The C90T is more than capable of keeping up with freeway traffic flow and it’s a bike we’d be happy traveling long distances on. Relaxed and long legged and with the tall windshield offering good protection and excellent visibility, it has the makings of a competent cross-country motorcycle.

It stops well too and although no ABS is available the two-piston caliper single discs front (330mm) and rear (275mm) appear up to the job. We’d like a little more feel from them but under hard braking they do a good job bringing 800lbs of a motorcycle to a reasonably swift halt.

As a cruiser it’s fine but as a touring bike we think the B.O.S.S is worthy of a second look too. It has a reasonable size 4.8-gallon tank that should get you a decent couple of hundred miles plus between fill-ups. Coupled to its ease of use, screen and big bags it makes a compelling argument to just get on it and head out there for the weekend to see what lies around the next corner.

There is one small drawback though. With a bike of this type in the cruiser tourer sector, owners expect to have cruise control. The B.O.S.S. doesn’t have it. It’s not even available as an option.

Suzuki explained this would have increased the C90T’s final retail price but it is something we think needs to be seriously considered for the future. We’ve ridden bikes for some really long touring distances around the U.S. and can truly appreciate what a benefit it is to have cruise control fitted on a bike like this. However, that said we’d still consider taking the B.O.S.S. for a long road trip if it was the only cruiser tourer in our garage.

What the C90T is not though is a bike for tearing up the canyons. You’re never really going to want to test its mettle (or your own) on the tight, backwater twisties. It’s just not that sort of motorcycle.

Suzuki is not making any performance bike claims either about the B.O.S.S. but it is hoping the C90T will attract some existing owners who have been waiting these past three years to trade up to a heavier Suzuki cruiser tourer or others wanting to trade down from its 1800cc Suzuki M109. We think there are customers out there too that will like the C90T’s looks and ease of ownership and will want to jump ship from the other Japanese brands.

Those that fall for C90T’s charm will, according to Suzuki, use it for a mixture of cruising, touring and just running errands. It ticks the boxes for us in all of those areas with just a few minor reservations.

What’s Good
It’s all too easy to look at the Japanese cruisers and dismiss them for not being Harley-Davidsons. Time has moved on and so too have these type of ‘bikes as demonstrated by Suzuki’s Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S.

It’s not the fastest or the most powerful bike out there but it achieves everything that Suzuki set out to do to re-establish itself as a serious player in the cruiser tourer market.

There are some nice touches too such as the helmet lock, a lockable storage space behind the left side cover, easy to read instruments and gear indicator along with the heel-toe shifter and it gets a screen and hard bags as standard equipment.

The C90T B.O.S.S. looks the part and acts the part. It’s well built and well thought out and there’s nothing really not to like about it.

And at $13,999 it just might be a steal too.

What’s Bad
Cruiser tourer owners expect to be able to choose their own suspension settings. That’s all part of the fun – changing the ride from solo to two-up or two-up with luggage. Suzuki might have missed a trick here by not offering adjustable suspension. Does it detract from the C90T? Not really but it would be nice to create a set-up on the C90T that really suits a rider and their riding style.

Full marks though to Suzuki for designing its own hard bags for the C90T. They look good and can carry a lot. The problem is you can’t take them off. (You can if you have plenty of time and the right tools according to Suzuki).

That we think is a shame as there’s something to be said for stripping the ‘bike down when you’re not touring and enjoying the simple naked cruiser look.

Which brings us to the screen. Suzuki’s design team spent some time getting this right and it looks good and works well. But you can’t take that off either. You could if you really wanted to but it’s no quick release system and you’d be left with some odd-looking bolt holes. Not every owner would want to remove the C90T’s screen, but it would be good to at least have the choice.

And when wearing its tourer hat the C90T needs cruise control. Not necessarily as standard but available as an option. Absolutely no debate.

The Price
The Suzuki Boulevard C90T is on sale now in B.O.S.S specification for $13,999. That’s $1700 more than the V Star Tourer ($12,290) and just over $700 more than Honda’s Interstate ($13,240). You could consider a Harley-Davidson Softail Classic but at $17,599 it’s a huge $3,600 more than the Suzuki.

It will be interesting to see what the two other C90Ts are priced at when they arrive in a month’s time. Suzuki has said they are going to be several hundred dollars less than this B.O.S.S. version which will bring the C90T almost head on in price with its other Japanese competitors.

What Others Say
“Suzuki’s new Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S. combines clever, head turning looks with performance that delivers, whether you are taking a quick trip to your local bar, or a high-mileage interstate excursion.” — Ultimate Motorcycling

“The B.O.S.S. is an attractive, affordable, large-displacement tourer, with plenty of room for the owner to accessorize. And while there are insulting and nasty words we usually use with the term boss (usually cussing is involved), happily, I have none to associate with this B.O.S.S. I’ve got nothing but nice things to say. It’s the one boss you won’t mind going on a trip with. Now that’s a rarity.” — Road Bike

The Verdict
There’s no such thing as the perfect cruiser tourer but this Suzuki Boulevard C90T is a big step forward for the Suzuki brand. To our eyes the C90T looks good and handles and performs well.

On a sunny day cruising in Southern California the C90T’s seat is a pleasant place to be. It also has good touring abilities and is more than capable of taking two-up with their luggage over long distances.

Overall the C90T is a good, honest cruiser. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else.

Suzuki has faced some tough times in recent years. It tell us the Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S. is just the start of some exciting things we can expect to see coming down the line starting with 31 new model or revised product introductions for this model year alone.

That’s kind of appropriate as August 2013 marks Suzuki’s 50th anniversary of selling motorcycles here in the U.S. Happy anniversary Suzuki it looks like your celebratory year is off to a flying start.

RideApart Rating: 7/10

Gear
Helmet: Bell Custom 500 ($100)
Jacket: Alpinestars Viper Air Textile ($199.95)
Gloves: Alpinestars Scheme Kevlar ($59.95)

  • disqus_XFLGy6bSVB

    -1

  • Sohl

    HFL is dead.

  • josh

    to overtaken?

    • josh

      Also its “reasonable size 4.8-gallon tank” …. the same size as the tank on my r1 and my old vfr laughs in its face. How is this a tourer?

      • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

        i think of a tourer as something I would use to ride on a long distance tour comfortably and with space for my gear. while being able to go farther between gas stops is nice, it actually doesnt impede my ability to go on such a tour.

        • josh

          Sure, but can you fix “to overtaken” and make it say “to overtake ” its killing me quietly.

        • Mark Desrosiers

          I don’t know, those signs in Utah that say, “Next gas 76 miles” makes having a <200 mile range require at least a bit of planning.

      • the antagonist

        Big lumpy twins tend to be more fuel efficient than rev-happy fours. I’m guessing 4.8 gallons will get you between 150 and 200 miles before pulling into a gas station. By that time all but the most ardent iron-butters are going to want to stop and stretch their legs anyway. Sounds reasonable to me, not great, but reasonable.

  • EchoZero

    Man, I don’t know. There’s nothing in this review that doesn’t make it sound like more than “just another cruiser”. With the exception of the clutch assist and the color scheme, I don’t see anything that really sets it apart from the cheaper V-Star 1300 Tourer. I mean, there’s a full dresser V-Star with a batwing fairing and integrated audio and navigation for less than this.

  • Gavin Todd

    Welcome Tim! just an FYI you have the new bikes displacement listed for the m109 in the first paragraph.

  • carbon

    Nice seeing more cruiser reviews. But note: dude on the bike has a helmet a couple sizes too big. And a serious attack of “cruiser-face.”

    • Tim Watson

      Ha! Can’t do anything about my face and I like my helmet!

      • carbon

        Sorry man! Nothing personal. After I posted that, I started to think, “what do I look when I ride, helmet or not?” I think the answer is all guys might sport “the face” when they ride, no matter if the ride is a CBR1000RR, an Aprilia, or a speed triple. The only difference is one can’t see “the face” under the full-face helmet!

        But damn, that helmet of yours is still huge. :)

      • Kevin

        If you shake your head and your helmet doesn’t move at all–stays stuck in place–then you’re fine. But yeah, it looks loose. Maybe that’s just the fit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/electricbike Troy Rank

    Wow. I can’t imagine spending 14k for this. Cruiser margins have to be through the roof.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.milewski Blu E Milew

    What kind of jeans are those?

    /sarcasm

    But really, is it that much above average that it earns a 7/10? Just curious, I see the Star got a 7 as well. I figure an average bike should get a 5/10, unless you guys only write about the good ones..?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Bikes are compared to in-class competition. Compared to other cruiser tourers, the C90T is comfy, capable and the price is right.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      We all struggled with how to do these ratings at first. It just wouldnt be fair to give all big cruisers 2/10 and all supermoto’s 9/10 jus because I think supermotos are better than big cruisers. That doesn’t necessarily mean it feels great to rank a new small cruiser a 7/10 when I have ranked other bikes I like much more the same, but its the most objective way to do it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.milewski Blu E Milew

        Also, will you guys review HD models too, or is it mostly only bikes that you can obtain courtesy of the mfr? Chris Harris got banned from Ferrari press cars for his honesty, but still reviews them..

  • http://www.facebook.com/frontdrivewonder Lou Turicik

    for an extra grand this makes the guzzi california look like a steal. exotic italian beauty vs. blacked out metric cruiser? how does guzzi not have better sales!?

    • Kevin

      The equivalent Guzzi (bags & windscreen) is more like $18K.

    • http://twitter.com/bloodfalcons motoguru.

      That would be due to their lack of dealer network.

  • T Diver

    Hey guys,

    Love the site. Great review. But just one question. I generally take huge dumps. (It’s all the quinoa and kale. I am from LA :) lol )

    How many dumps do you suppose I could fit in each of those awesome saddle bags? And is the rear shock adjustable to compensate? Just wondering. Thanks. I’ll be sure to “like” this on my Facebook.

    • Kevin

      That’s more than one question.

    • Tim Watson

      According to Suzuki you should be able to get 10lbs of luggage in each bag (as mentioned in the review) but in terms of capacity Suzuki quotes 24.5 litres for the left and 26 litres for the right – so around 6 gallons each. There’s a crash bar under the left bag which reduces slightly the amount it can carry. Hope this helps.

  • DeadJets

    Seriously you guys… low seat height, it isn’t built for turning, AND it carries the obscene weight well!!! You were more fun when you were assholes.

  • G D

    It bugs me how the Japanese Big 4 try so hard to shave a few yen here and there in places they think no one’s noticing. Granted, the few yen saved per bike multiplied by the tens of thousands of them they plan to produce, add up to some serious yennage. But still, it cheapens the machine and makes the Euro and American bikes look a bunch better to me.

  • ChrisB

    Tim, the more offbeat “cruisers” you can ride the better. Even older bikes that may not be sold new any more. I’m talking bikes like the Hyosung GV650, BMW R1200C, and the new Honda CTX700. Because regular cruisers all copy HD and that’s boring.

  • http://twitter.com/TheVeeTwin Damo Von Vinland

    Are haggard skinny jeans the “cruiser review” uniform?

  • Speedo007

    I suspect tall guys will be in for some intense helmet buffeting…and windscreen can’t really be removed or adjusted. Also, those tiny handle bars, what are they thinking, I had beefier bars on my bike when I was 5 years old, this thing is 800lbs, it should get proper looking handlebars. And if luggage aren’t really removable, shouldnt they at least be sturdy enough to take more then 10lbs each? Ok so I’m not a cruiser kind of guy, but still, some of this is just non-sens, I’m always surprised at the stuff that makes it into production.

    I love these big V-twins, just tired of seeing them used in these bikes that in the end all pretty much look alike. Except for a few customs, for most if you removed badges, 95% of the people couldnt tell what brand it is.

  • Kimber

    Has anyone who puchased this awesome Bike been able to get aftermarket parts such as Light Bar, Crash Bar, Exhaust and power commander all in the black? Please share any onfo if you have as for we keep being told by Cobra, Lindby, Vance and hines, that Suzuki has not released any fitment details or actual bike for them to start an after mrket anything for us new owners of the B.O.S.S. all in black which I truly agree is the new chrome.
    Thank you for any advice.
    Kimber, Washington State.

  • Billy Miller

    I can`t wait to see a hells angle on one.

  • TiredOfTheBelt

    Live on a rock road and enjoy traveling on a cruiser but because
    of the 1 mile rock road before I get to a paved road I only have a few choices
    because I need a bike with a drive shaft. This looks like a very good bike for
    me will be going to the nearest dealer to check out. After I replaced the third
    belt and sprockets on the Yamaha I quit riding until I purchased an older Honda
    with a drive shaft. Looks like Suzuki has covered all the bases with this bike.