Thursday, July 26, 2012

109 Cubic Inches

With the Vee approaching 24,000km and a pretty serious adventure ride planned for the weekend it was time for her to get a service.  Heading in I was wondering what sort of ride I'd be offered to get me to work (please not the FXR) and man was I in for a nice surprise.  This is what I was given ('scuse the crappy phone pic):

Suzuki M109 Boulevard
(34 times the capacity of the scooter next to it!)
The M109 is nearly 1800cc and 347kg of muscle and attitude and probably not your typical cruiser.  This thing makes masses of torque from idle up and forces it into the road via a massive 240 section rear tyre.  Add to this an exhaust system (non original) that I'm pretty sure is not there to muffle the beast but to announce it's presence and you have the recipe for a real hooligan of a bike.  So naturally I loved it!

The forward foot controls took me a second or two to find (and I have to say I weren't my cup of tea) but I was grinning as soon as I let the clutch out and pottered off up to the traffic lights.  The beast was making some fabulous noises under me and I was looking forward to the unfortunately short ride to work.

I never got out of third but with all that torque I was able to trundle along with 2,000rpm or less on the dial (actually an lcd bar graph type rev counter) and simply give the throttle the tiniest nudge to have it pull away. For some strange reason I got quite a buzz out of giving it short squirts and then backing off again, listening to the music the bike made on a closed throttle.  I also had the opportunity to nail the bike off the line at a set of lights and yes, my arms are now slightly longer than they were when I got up this morning - talk about fun!

And know we get to the handling.  Well, if you want outstanding handling you never buy a cruiser.  In saying that, when ridden like a cruiser (I've ridden a couple of others in the past) then there was absolutely no issues.  The rider is completely unaware of the 347kg weight once under way, the bike is long and low and feels balanced and planted.  When turning, the bike leans over so far quite easily and then gets to a certain point where it feels like that's it, but if you apply some muscle then it eventually comes around to your way of thinking and leans over some more.  I have a sneaking feeling that this is more to do with that big fat rear tyre than the lazy cruiser geometry.  I never scraped anything on the road but then I wasn't trying that hard.  Braking was simply a non issue as Suzuki actually puts brakes on it's bikes and that big donk gives masses of engine braking too.

Heading back into town to pick up the DL I was in a fair bit of traffic so I just pootled along with a handful of revs on the dial but played at being a Harley rider by making sure that I was giving the throttle a decent blip on down changes and even occasionally at the lights to let the cage drivers know I was there and they'd better be careful or they'd be sucked into the air filters on the 109...

But I had to give it back...and I have to say that a certain torquey 1,000cc V-twin did not quite feel quite as torquey as usual - but at least it didn't need any persuasion to go around corners...

I still want a 109 though...


  1. Cool. I find it hard to go from a standard riding position to a forward control cruiser. I can never find the darn foot pegs.

    Sounds like you adapted fairly quickly though. It is nice your shop gives loaner bikes. I don't know of any around here that do that.

    1. Kinda like a drug dealer offering free samples...

      I always tend to leave the shop with a lighter wallet...

  2. Andrew

    Don't you wish you had the day off to take the hooligan for a rip? Sounds like a nice bike.

    1. It was a nice day and the thought definitely crossed my mind...

  3. Ha ha, I knew you were a closet cruiser lover ;-)
    I had a Kawasaki Mean Streak (1500cc) and I loved the torque on the thing, the sound was amazing too. I love the 109, it's a beautiful bike.

    1. Maybe not in the closet now eh?

      My Dad had a VN1500 for a while and it was a hoot to ride too. And a mate had an old 1,000 Virago which went pretty well and could be flung peg to peg in the twisties (it had a good front tyre and actually handled ok).

      Lotsa fun but I can only just afford the two bikes in my shed...