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

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)

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