12 Best Muscle Cruiser

Best Muscle Cruiser
Photo by Takmeomeo

Some of the most recognizable motorcycles ever produced are cruisers. Because of their soft seats, wide handlebars, and relaxing riding position, they are easily recognized. 

The best muscle cruiser is the iconic American motorcycle since it was initially created for clocking miles on wide, open roads.

Trying to narrow the list down to just selecting the best muscle cruiser becomes an extremely difficult challenge.

The large American-built cruisers from the early to mid-20th century are the main source of inspiration for most cruisers.

However, contemporary renditions are deviating from that tradition. Our blog will provide you with the best muscle cruiser for you. Read on.

1. Harley-Davidson Twin Cam

The first best muscle cruiser on our list is Harley-Davidson. Making the Harley Davidson, you place your leg over yours, is one of the most important components of ownership.

Have you ever seen a Harley Davidson that is bone stock? Before it was sold, maybe once at the dealership.

Focusing on Harley’s engine, which is its beating heart, seems more logical. The Twin Cam 88 and 96 cu in engines give thousands of people endless hours of pleasure and frustration.

Still, I’m sure that whenever the topic of cruiser bikes is mentioned, the characteristic sound of a Twin Cam HD engine is mentioned.

The 88s were introduced in the 1999 model year, while the 96s appeared in the frames of every Dyna and Softail in 2007. (FL).

The displacement later reached 103 and 110 cu inches in a few models, producing roughly 115 lb-ft of torque. 

Riders may obtain the real HD experience on these machines, pay much less than they would for the most recent models, and go deeper into the world of aftermarket parts. What remains to do is get out and cruise once it’s yours.

2. Honda Shadow

Honda Shadow is also on our list of best muscle cruisers. Cruisers like the Honda Valkyrie and Goldwing aren’t considered traditional cruisers by many cruiser aficionados.

Some, however, classify them as touring bikes. So, we decided to include the Honda Shadow as the best muscle cruiser in the mix.

Since the introduction of the first Shadows in 1983, the line has developed to support a wide range of engine sizes and configurations, from 125cc learner bikes to larger, mile-gobbling 1,100 cc machines, with previously available Spirit, Aero, Phantom, and RS trims. 

The most recent model, the Honda Shadow Phantom, would be our choice as the Honda Shadow model that best exemplified everything the line has to offer.

The most recent Shadow Phantom is a stable and self-assured package that rides well and has plenty of power for motorway cruising.

The Shadow, with its blacked-out 745cc V-twin, 44.9 horsepower, and 47.9 lb-ft of torque, has the ideal balance of attitude, dependability, and fun to excite both novices and seasoned riders.

3. Honda Valkyrie

The Honda Valkyrie is among the best muscle cruisers ever produced in Japan and the best muscle cruisers ever produced overall.

Starting in 1997, there were a few different iterations of the Valkyrie built around the 1500 Goldwing engine. 

Later, the 1800 Goldwing engine and the divisive Rune style were added. The F6C models from 2013 to 2015, which once more use the GL1800 engine, come to a close.

The Valkyrie was a bagger in many respects before riders realized how great a bagger might be.

It looks like a no-brainer to take the silky-smooth flat-six Goldwing engine and cut off all the touring weight since it was made entirely at Honda’s Marysville plant in Ohio.

The Valkyrie was easily moved down the highway by the 100+ lb-ft of torque, which left an engine with tires and a handlebar. 

It was just a matter of time after the 2001 release of the GL1800 Goldwing until the larger engine was used in a cruiser model.

It was marketed as the Valkyrie Rune this time. The Rune was striving for a Japanese Anime aesthetic, and people either loved it or hated it for that reason.

With such a small run in 2003, The Rune is now a very uncommon ride. Finally, the 2014–2015 models were the last to bear the Valkyrie name.

Utilizing the fantastic Goldwing engine once more, The bike was modified to have a 50/50 weight distribution, but the appearance was updated such that it no longer required chrome to be flashy.

The Valkyrie demonstrated that having a V-Twin was not necessary to be a great cruiser. Comfort and efficiency won out over engine noise and trembling vibrations.

We consider the Valkyrie among the greatest cruisers of all time because of its lasting effect.

4. Suzuki Boulevard M109R

Suzuki built the Savage, Intruder, and Marauder group of cruisers during most of the 1990s and the early 2000s until introducing the Boulevard lineup.

Even though all of these bikes were currently “great” to me, they merely attempted to imitate Milwaukee-style designs. 

The idea of offering the same thing more cheaply didn’t really take off. Suzuki flipped the script with the M109R in 2006.

With the help of an aggressive, distinctive style, a powerful 109 cubic inch V-Twin engine, and a large rear tire, a new category of power cruisers was born. Suzuki added authentic corporate history to this motorcycle.

This game-changing kit included brakes from the GSX-R parts bin, brakes with more than 100 ft-lbs of torque, a chassis and fork with sporty intentions, and 120 horsepower.

For 16 years, this motorcycle has served as Suzuki’s flagship cruiser model. That is how a genuine substitute for American iron might be presented.

5. Kawasaki Vulcan

The best muscle cruiser up next is the Kawasaki Vulcan this time. The Vulcan series has been around for a while. In actuality, it has existed since 1984! 

When it first appeared on the scene, the Vulcan, also known as the VN700A, was quite the thing.

It had an innovative shaft drive and a powerful Japanese V-twin engine! It is regarded as one of the best entry-level muscle cruisers ever produced.

The Vulcan has been made available in various displacements, designs, and eras over the years, from lightweight 125cc runabouts to powerful 2,000cc goliaths.

The 1700 Vaquero, a bagger-like motorcycle, the futuristic Vulcan S, and the touring-friendly 1700 Voyager are now available to Vulcan enthusiasts.

However, the Vulcan 900 and its incredible Custom must be our favorite model.

The 903cc 54-degree V-twin engine in the Vulcan produces a strong 50 horsepower and 58 lb-ft of torque, which is more than enough power for most riders.

The true advantage for the Vulcan is in terms of appearance. It has a low-slung saddle, wide drag bars, parallel slash-cut exhaust pipes, and a really cool retro vibe.

It’s a fantastic best muscle cruiser that successfully combines historical design cues with contemporary features without looking out of place.

6. BMW K 1600 B

Fortunately for BMW, the definition of a power cruiser is quite ambiguous, so a silky-smooth 1600cc lump easily falls into our list of best muscle cruiser.

With 130 lb-ft of torque and about 160 horsepower, it’s also not a slouch. It is likely the smoothest and most relaxing bike on this list due to its transversely mounted six-cylinder engine and excellent Bavarian build quality.

7. Moto Guzzi Audace

The Moto Guzzi’s response to the power cruiser conundrum is the Audace. A brazenly masculine bike with a 1,380cc, little under 100bhp transversely mounted V-Twin engine. 

The bike’s red powder-coated cylinder heads and copious amounts of carbon fiber are a tribute to its “sporty” sound.

If you get an Audace, you probably won’t ever pass another vehicle on the road at the same moment as you!

8. Triumph Rocket 3

This interesting best muscle cruiser is called the Triumph Rocket 3. This massive 2,458cc triple-cylinder motorbike from Britain is Triumph’s flagship cruising model and has incredible performance stats. 

The eye-watering 165 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque are the maximum power and torque outputs, respectively. It embodies everything that makes a muscle cruiser.

The Ducati Diavel and the Yamaha VMAX are direct competitors of the Rocket 3 as performance cruisers.

Still, the Rocket 3 is an all about high-end luxury in contrast to its smaller size and no-frills design respectively.

The current Rocket, for instance, comes equipped with a fully adjustable Showa suspension, Brembo Stylema brakes, sophisticated traction control, cornering ABS, several ride modes, cruise control, and more.

Although the ship is magnificent, what makes it the best muscle cruiser ever constructed?  Well, that engine is the key.

It is larger than many automobile engines. In fact, it’s so big that the most recent Rocket 3 boasts the biggest engine of all the production motorcycles that are now on the market. It’s official now!

9. Yamaha VIrago

The Virago was Yamaha’s first cruiser motorbike, and its name is legendary. I fully acknowledge my bias because I have a special recollection of sitting behind my father when I was 13 and witnessing the speedometer over his shoulder pass 100 mph.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the Virago was available with engines ranging in size from 125cc to 1100cc.

The 750, 1000, and 1100 versions featured the ideal appearance, plenty of chrome, and performance that was unheard of in an American V-Twin. 

The 1100 Virago could move roughly 540 pounds with only about 60 horsepower. The Virago was more than content to use a shaft drive to transmit power to the back tire.

10. Yamaha VMAX

Yamaha VMAX is next on our list of best muscle cruiser. Three words that may be used to define Yamaha’s iconic cruiser are muscular, strong, and terrifying.

The VMAX has been making a scene since it first appeared in 1985. It uses a V4 engine instead of the typical cruiser V-twin motor and forgoes the chain drive in favor of a shaft. It is unusual. Additionally, it moves at a breakneck pace.

The VMAX has been offered in a variety of configurations over the years. But we prefer the post-2009 iteration the most.

The VMAX is no slouch either because of its powerful 1,679 cc V4 engine, which generates an unholy 170 horsepower and 100 lb-ft of torque. 

However, the fact that it lacks these features is what makes it so much fun. These lists almost invariably include the Yamaha VMAX.

Although it is strong, quick, and visually appealing, it is not ideal if you’re seeking a genuinely useful cruiser. 

If long-distance cruising is your thing, you’ll want something with greater economy and essential sixth gear. The mileage isn’t terrific.

The VMAX is tough to beat, though, if you’re looking for quick bursts of speed and want to cruise the streets on a mean-looking vehicle.

11. Ducati Xdiavel

Not often do you think of Ducati when someone asks about the best muscle cruiser. The brand is typically more closely linked to exotic superbikes, desmodromic, and ferocious Italian personalities. 

However, Ducati has previously released cruiser-style motorcycles. This time, we’re not referring to the Cagiva Ducati Indiana with a new name. We’re discussing the Diavel. We are specifically discussing the XDiavel.

The XDiavel was created in 2016. Due to its low profile, long wheelbase, and powerful 1,262cc engine, this first belt-driven Ducati motorbike had the company’s then-fastest acceleration.

With 152 horsepower, 92 lb-ft of torque, and a top speed of more than 160 mph, the XDiavel is now a powerful vehicle.

The 2010 EICMA event saw the introduction of the first Diavel.  It became a big hit right away.

The Diavel was the first true performance cruiser in the world because it expertly straddled the line between a sports bike and a cruiser, and it didn’t take long for the platform to go further.

12. Indian Chief

Lastly, the Indian Chief is one of the most recognizable best muscle cruiser motorcycles ever produced.

Before changing its name to the illustrious Indian Motorcycle Company, the Hendee Manufacturing Company produced the first Chief models in 1922. 

The brand was produced continuously from 22 until its extinction in 1953. India, however, returned in 1999 and again in 2006. The Indian Chief is still alive today.

The Thunder Stroke 116 engine from Indian powers the contemporary 2022 Indian Chief Bobber. It is a 1,901 cc beast with 120 lb-ft of tremendous torque.

Regarding ride quality, contemporary Indian motorcycles meet all expectations while masterfully fusing historical inspirations into their nuevo-retro style.


Although the phrase best muscle cruiser has only recently gained popularity in the motorcycle industry, the machine’s roots can be seen in models from the 1980s, like the Yamaha V-MAX.

The idea is straightforward: take a relaxed cruiser and boost its power and torque to the maximum that its frame, tires, and brakes can withstand! 

Bikes like the Rocket III and Kawasaki Vulcan led the charge in the foot-forward, ballistic missile brigade during the genre’s brief resurgence in the mid-2000s.

But the best muscle cruiser on our blog is for you if you want something with a lot of power that doesn’t have a bar and shield tank emblem.

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