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© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 driving on road. With many hovering at or above the 100-hp mark, these musclebikes meld the cool of a cruiser with the punch of a sportbike

We’ll admit it—inspiration for this list came to us after seeing Triumph’s new Rocket 3 TFC model release. Hearing numbers like 168 hp and 2,500cc prompted us to take a trip to the archives and revisit who exactly could stack up as legitimate competitors to the Rocket. Perennial power cruiser suspects like the VMAX, Vulcan, and VTX used to be a foregone conclusion, but the landscape has changed in the last couple of years. So is there any room left for those rubber-melting musclebikes of yore? We think there is, and some of the newer models carry on the big power tradition even more forcefully. As a bonus, some of these power mongers will even let you carve a canyon or two pretty handily (looking at you, Ducati). Let’s take a closer peek at some of our faves.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Yamaha VMAX riding on road.
Yamaha VMAX

1,679cc | 170 hp @ 9,000 rpm (claimed) | $17,999

Mr. Max practically invented this category back in 1985, so we’ll list him first. It doesn’t hurt that the 65-degree, four-valve-per-cylinder, 1,679cc V-4 at the heart of the beast still produces eye-opening amounts of perfectly controllable acceleration, egged on by liquid-cooling, fuel injection, and a ride-by-wire throttle. Other supporting bits include a slipper clutch, dual wave-style brake discs with six-piston calipers, and suspension adjustability front and rear. A cruiser in sportbike clothing, or the other way around? Either way, this bike is no joke.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Triumph Rocket 3 TFC in front of black wall.
Triumph Rocket 3 TFC

2,458cc | 168 hp/163 lb.-ft. (claimed) | $29,000

Triumph’s newest superlative supercruiser is the mammoth Rocket 3 TFC. With a claimed 168 hp and 163 pound-feet of torque emanating out of the 2,500cc triple, you’d better hang on for dear life when you twist the throttle. We haven’t seen a working production model just yet, but even if those numbers are off by 5 to 7 percent, we’re still talking ridiculous amounts of grunt. If it’s anything like its predecessor, that outrageous engine will be tempered by shockingly benign manners, much like the OG Rocket III was in 2004.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 BMW K1600B on road.
BMW K1600B

1,649cc | 160 hp @ 7,750 rpm (claimed) | $20,095

The Bavarian bagger essentially gets sportbike-y bits shoehorned into a touring bike and somehow, with typical German precision, makes it all work oh-so-well. At its core is an inline-six tucked transversely in the frame and canted forward so it’s shorter as well as more compact. An oversquare 72mm bore and 67.5mm stroke pencils out to 1,649cc and a wicked 12.2:1 compression ratio. Hot stuff, especially since BMW claims a pretty lively 160 horses coming on at 7,750 rpm (along with 129 pound-feet of torque at 5,250 rpm).

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 driving on road.
Ducati Diavel 1260

1,262cc | 157 hp @ 9,250 rpm (claimed) | $20,800

Naked? Power cruiser? Sporty standard? Biggers brains than ours have debated the genre Ducati’s Diavel should slot into, so we’ll just give you the numbers. For 2019, Italy completely recast the Devilish One giving it a larger 1,262cc Testastretta DVT V-twin and a more streamlined but still hefty vibe. Ergonomics are a kind of hybrid between a relaxed standard and a racebike (which is what the factory calls a “power cruiser”), and despite that fat 240mm rear tire and the bike’s low-slung nature, the Diavel delivers good handling and a comfortable ride.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Honda Gold Wing driving on road.
Honda Gold Wing

1,833cc | 125 hp @ 5,500 rpm (claimed) | $23,800

Redesigned from stem to stern in 2018, the new Gold Wing in standard trim (five versions are available) now resembles what used to be called the F6B: a stripped-down, lighter, and peppier bagger (with more than 40 degrees of available lean angle) rather than a fully loaded dresser. Which suits it fine; that 1,833cc inline-six mill is freed from hauling extra weight and can now fully exploit its 125 hp, along with the Honda-patented double-wishbone front end. The riding position is perfectly neutral, and that surprisingly deep available lean angle is just begging to be tested.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S. riding on road.
Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S.

1,783cc | 106 hp @ 6,500 rpm (claimed) | $15,149

Packing a 54-degree V-twin that displaces 109ci, or 1,783cc, the M109R is definitely a boss at this party. Although it’s virtually unchanged in more than a decade, the M109R still has plenty of street cred thanks to a modern design that brings a sport-oriented oversquare engine with a bore and stroke of 112.0 and 90.5mm. Using lightweight slipper-type pistons, four valves per cylinder, and dual-overhead camshafts, the excellent V-twin mill is definitely rev-happy. If you can handle the space cowboy styling, the B.O.S.S. just might be your jam.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Moto Guzzi Audace on white background.
Moto Guzzi Audace

1,380cc | 96 hp @ 6,600 rpm (claimed) | $16,390

Moto Guzzi’s California series don’t often make the cut for listings of power cruisers, which is weird because that 1,380cc engine is awesome. With its broad shoulders and beefy stance, the lighter-weight Audace model brings the right attitude to the street and the 90-degree V-twin brings a healthy maximum power claim of 96 hp, with maximum torque claimed to be 89.2 pound-feet. Even if it’s just shy of 100 hp, this definitely feels like power cruiser territory.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide on road.
Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide

1,923cc | 93.7 hp @ 4,870 rpm (as tested) | $42,399

Available only on CVO bikes, Harley’s air-/oil-cooled 117-inch motor is the biggest, most powerful V-twin to ever come from the factory. We’ve heard power numbers claiming a peak of 105 bhp and 125 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm. After dyno testing it, we recorded 93.7 hp, but with a few legal tweaks, it’s a safe bet that the 1,923cc monster could legitimately break the 100-hp mark without breathing too heavily.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Indian Scout riding on road.
Indian Scout

1,131cc | 84.62 hp @ 8,260 rpm (as tested) | $11,999

Indian claims its 1,133cc DOHC V-twin Scout unit makes 100 hp and 72 pound-feet of torque at 6,000 rpm, but we reckon it’s capable of much more as the engine feels so understressed even when you’re at WOT. Officially we’ve recorded 84.62 hp at 8,260 rpm and 63.85 pound-feet of torque at 3,220 rpm on our dyno, which is not insignificant, especially because the Scout serves that up in a smooth, flat line. Since the Scout is relatively light (558 pounds wet), performance is gutsier than you’d expect from a classically styled bike. This thing just flat-out rips.

RIP
The horsepower wars were also a real thing in the not-so-distant past. Here’s a look at some two-wheel tire-shredding blasts from the past we still get misty over.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 in front of river.
Kawasaki Vulcan 2000

2,053cc | 116 hp (claimed)

Although the biggest, baddest Vulcan is no longer being produced, it was top dog during the mid- aughts, boasting a burly 2,053cc engine set in a classic V-twin configuration. The V2K’s old-school mill churned out 141 pound-feet of stump-pulling torque at 3,000 rpm which, combined with around 90-plus hp at the rear wheel, felt like you were riding a freight train.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Harley-Davidson V-Rod (Night Rod/Night Rod Special) in garage.
Harley-Davidson V-Rod (Night Rod/Night Rod Special)

1,247cc | 125 hp (claimed)

Ahead of its time on several levels and bringing race-bred DNA to the street, Harley’s 1,250cc 60-degree Revolution V-twin mill pumped out a pretty spectacular 125 hp and 85 pound-feet of torque in the Night Rod model. Not too shabby for a bike much smaller and lighter than Milwaukee’s Big Twin offerings at the time, and a surefire bet to beat your buddies at red light drag races.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Honda Valkyrie on road.
Honda Valkyrie

1,832cc | 104 hp (claimed)

Although not in the Honda cruiser lineup for several years now, the 1,832cc bruiser is still a beast to be reckoned with. Okay, so it’s the same engine as found in the base Gold Wing, but in Valkyrie form it’s got less weight to push—you’ll be propelled across the earth that much quicker. The 1,832cc engine can make 104 hp and 110 pound-feet of torque.

Victory Octane
1,179cc | 104 hp

Cranking out 104 hp at 8,000 rpm from a fuel-injected 1,179cc V-twin powerplant, the late lamented Victory Octane was a true power cruiser, especially when you consider it had a relatively low wet weight of 548 pounds to push. That engine was derived directly from the Victory Project 156 Pikes Peak racer, and is pretty close to the same one that’s now in the Indian Scout.
 

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Man I miss my old V2K. Added a PC3 and had a custom dyno tune put on it. It did about 110 hp and pulled over 100 pound of torque out at 1700 rpms. From there it made over 135 pounds or torque. It was simply a beast and fun to ride. It was a handful in the twisties though. Having a car tire out back did not help that much but at least I get more life out of the back tire. I put a Metzler 240 out back and it would only last about 5k before showing belts. Dean
 

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246D83B2-B843-4A7F-BA82-86B9BD7EF4E1.jpeg
I sometime reminisce about my M109R I had 4 bikes ago, the factory listed 127HP, no matter what rear wheel HP was it was one of the fastest bike I’ve owned
 

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© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 driving on road. With many hovering at or above the 100-hp mark, these musclebikes meld the cool of a cruiser with the punch of a sportbike

We’ll admit it—inspiration for this list came to us after seeing Triumph’s new Rocket 3 TFC model release. Hearing numbers like 168 hp and 2,500cc prompted us to take a trip to the archives and revisit who exactly could stack up as legitimate competitors to the Rocket. Perennial power cruiser suspects like the VMAX, Vulcan, and VTX used to be a foregone conclusion, but the landscape has changed in the last couple of years. So is there any room left for those rubber-melting musclebikes of yore? We think there is, and some of the newer models carry on the big power tradition even more forcefully. As a bonus, some of these power mongers will even let you carve a canyon or two pretty handily (looking at you, Ducati). Let’s take a closer peek at some of our faves.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Yamaha VMAX riding on road.
Yamaha VMAX

1,679cc | 170 hp @ 9,000 rpm (claimed) | $17,999

Mr. Max practically invented this category back in 1985, so we’ll list him first. It doesn’t hurt that the 65-degree, four-valve-per-cylinder, 1,679cc V-4 at the heart of the beast still produces eye-opening amounts of perfectly controllable acceleration, egged on by liquid-cooling, fuel injection, and a ride-by-wire throttle. Other supporting bits include a slipper clutch, dual wave-style brake discs with six-piston calipers, and suspension adjustability front and rear. A cruiser in sportbike clothing, or the other way around? Either way, this bike is no joke.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Triumph Rocket 3 TFC in front of black wall.
Triumph Rocket 3 TFC

2,458cc | 168 hp/163 lb.-ft. (claimed) | $29,000

Triumph’s newest superlative supercruiser is the mammoth Rocket 3 TFC. With a claimed 168 hp and 163 pound-feet of torque emanating out of the 2,500cc triple, you’d better hang on for dear life when you twist the throttle. We haven’t seen a working production model just yet, but even if those numbers are off by 5 to 7 percent, we’re still talking ridiculous amounts of grunt. If it’s anything like its predecessor, that outrageous engine will be tempered by shockingly benign manners, much like the OG Rocket III was in 2004.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 BMW K1600B on road.
BMW K1600B

1,649cc | 160 hp @ 7,750 rpm (claimed) | $20,095

The Bavarian bagger essentially gets sportbike-y bits shoehorned into a touring bike and somehow, with typical German precision, makes it all work oh-so-well. At its core is an inline-six tucked transversely in the frame and canted forward so it’s shorter as well as more compact. An oversquare 72mm bore and 67.5mm stroke pencils out to 1,649cc and a wicked 12.2:1 compression ratio. Hot stuff, especially since BMW claims a pretty lively 160 horses coming on at 7,750 rpm (along with 129 pound-feet of torque at 5,250 rpm).

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Ducati Diavel 1260 driving on road.
Ducati Diavel 1260

1,262cc | 157 hp @ 9,250 rpm (claimed) | $20,800

Naked? Power cruiser? Sporty standard? Biggers brains than ours have debated the genre Ducati’s Diavel should slot into, so we’ll just give you the numbers. For 2019, Italy completely recast the Devilish One giving it a larger 1,262cc Testastretta DVT V-twin and a more streamlined but still hefty vibe. Ergonomics are a kind of hybrid between a relaxed standard and a racebike (which is what the factory calls a “power cruiser”), and despite that fat 240mm rear tire and the bike’s low-slung nature, the Diavel delivers good handling and a comfortable ride.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Honda Gold Wing driving on road.
Honda Gold Wing

1,833cc | 125 hp @ 5,500 rpm (claimed) | $23,800

Redesigned from stem to stern in 2018, the new Gold Wing in standard trim (five versions are available) now resembles what used to be called the F6B: a stripped-down, lighter, and peppier bagger (with more than 40 degrees of available lean angle) rather than a fully loaded dresser. Which suits it fine; that 1,833cc inline-six mill is freed from hauling extra weight and can now fully exploit its 125 hp, along with the Honda-patented double-wishbone front end. The riding position is perfectly neutral, and that surprisingly deep available lean angle is just begging to be tested.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S. riding on road.
Suzuki Boulevard M109R B.O.S.S.

1,783cc | 106 hp @ 6,500 rpm (claimed) | $15,149

Packing a 54-degree V-twin that displaces 109ci, or 1,783cc, the M109R is definitely a boss at this party. Although it’s virtually unchanged in more than a decade, the M109R still has plenty of street cred thanks to a modern design that brings a sport-oriented oversquare engine with a bore and stroke of 112.0 and 90.5mm. Using lightweight slipper-type pistons, four valves per cylinder, and dual-overhead camshafts, the excellent V-twin mill is definitely rev-happy. If you can handle the space cowboy styling, the B.O.S.S. just might be your jam.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Moto Guzzi Audace on white background.
Moto Guzzi Audace

1,380cc | 96 hp @ 6,600 rpm (claimed) | $16,390

Moto Guzzi’s California series don’t often make the cut for listings of power cruisers, which is weird because that 1,380cc engine is awesome. With its broad shoulders and beefy stance, the lighter-weight Audace model brings the right attitude to the street and the 90-degree V-twin brings a healthy maximum power claim of 96 hp, with maximum torque claimed to be 89.2 pound-feet. Even if it’s just shy of 100 hp, this definitely feels like power cruiser territory.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide on road.
Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide

1,923cc | 93.7 hp @ 4,870 rpm (as tested) | $42,399

Available only on CVO bikes, Harley’s air-/oil-cooled 117-inch motor is the biggest, most powerful V-twin to ever come from the factory. We’ve heard power numbers claiming a peak of 105 bhp and 125 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm. After dyno testing it, we recorded 93.7 hp, but with a few legal tweaks, it’s a safe bet that the 1,923cc monster could legitimately break the 100-hp mark without breathing too heavily.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Indian Scout riding on road.
Indian Scout

1,131cc | 84.62 hp @ 8,260 rpm (as tested) | $11,999

Indian claims its 1,133cc DOHC V-twin Scout unit makes 100 hp and 72 pound-feet of torque at 6,000 rpm, but we reckon it’s capable of much more as the engine feels so understressed even when you’re at WOT. Officially we’ve recorded 84.62 hp at 8,260 rpm and 63.85 pound-feet of torque at 3,220 rpm on our dyno, which is not insignificant, especially because the Scout serves that up in a smooth, flat line. Since the Scout is relatively light (558 pounds wet), performance is gutsier than you’d expect from a classically styled bike. This thing just flat-out rips.

RIP
The horsepower wars were also a real thing in the not-so-distant past. Here’s a look at some two-wheel tire-shredding blasts from the past we still get misty over.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 in front of river.
Kawasaki Vulcan 2000

2,053cc | 116 hp (claimed)

Although the biggest, baddest Vulcan is no longer being produced, it was top dog during the mid- aughts, boasting a burly 2,053cc engine set in a classic V-twin configuration. The V2K’s old-school mill churned out 141 pound-feet of stump-pulling torque at 3,000 rpm which, combined with around 90-plus hp at the rear wheel, felt like you were riding a freight train.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Harley-Davidson V-Rod (Night Rod/Night Rod Special) in garage.
Harley-Davidson V-Rod (Night Rod/Night Rod Special)

1,247cc | 125 hp (claimed)

Ahead of its time on several levels and bringing race-bred DNA to the street, Harley’s 1,250cc 60-degree Revolution V-twin mill pumped out a pretty spectacular 125 hp and 85 pound-feet of torque in the Night Rod model. Not too shabby for a bike much smaller and lighter than Milwaukee’s Big Twin offerings at the time, and a surefire bet to beat your buddies at red light drag races.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation 2019 Honda Valkyrie on road.
Honda Valkyrie

1,832cc | 104 hp (claimed)

Although not in the Honda cruiser lineup for several years now, the 1,832cc bruiser is still a beast to be reckoned with. Okay, so it’s the same engine as found in the base Gold Wing, but in Valkyrie form it’s got less weight to push—you’ll be propelled across the earth that much quicker. The 1,832cc engine can make 104 hp and 110 pound-feet of torque.

Victory Octane
1,179cc | 104 hp

Cranking out 104 hp at 8,000 rpm from a fuel-injected 1,179cc V-twin powerplant, the late lamented Victory Octane was a true power cruiser, especially when you consider it had a relatively low wet weight of 548 pounds to push. That engine was derived directly from the Victory Project 156 Pikes Peak racer, and is pretty close to the same one that’s now in the Indian Scout.
Yeah, if Kawi would have come out with a Voyager that used the V2K motor I never would have looked at the RM. Dean.
 

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Been saying this for a while - there are ZERO sub 1200cc cruisers faster than the Scout...
 

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Man I miss my old V2K. Added a PC3 and had a custom dyno tune put on it. It did about 110 hp and pulled over 100 pound of torque out at 1700 rpms. From there it made over 135 pounds or torque. It was simply a beast and fun to ride. It was a handful in the twisties though. Having a car tire out back did not help that much but at least I get more life out of the back tire. I put a Metzler 240 out back and it would only last about 5k before showing belts. Dean
I liked mine, a 2006 model, bought it around 2015 I think. A lot of bike for the $5700 I paid for it.
IMG_20171207_124814.jpg


Oh, one more thing....by what stretch of the term did the Goldwing become a 'cruiser?
 

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View attachment 488172 I sometime reminisce about my M109R I had 4 bikes ago, the factory listed 127HP, no matter what rear wheel HP was it was one of the fastest bike I’ve owned
How did you like the 109? I'm thinking of picking one up. I had a '12 Rocket III Roadster that I sold-worst mistake I ever made. The Bully looks like a reasonable alternative-with a lot more aftermarket parts available, and a bit less weight.
 

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36F81A10-0CCA-464B-86CF-141262952409.jpeg
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I had it for 5 yrs and really liked it though it could scare you a little if you really got on it. The ride was a little stiff , I had 250/40 rear tire which you had to get used to in the corners. Surprisingly I could get 45-50Mpg on trips. I eventually traded it for a Victory Cross Roads. It was one of the prettiest bikes I ever had with the big white racing stripe and that beautiful blue color. A friend I ride with has a HD with that color, I hate it.
 

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View attachment 489536 View attachment 489536 I had it for 5 yrs and really liked it though it could scare you a little if you really got on it. The ride was a little stiff , I had 250/40 rear tire which you had to get used to in the corners. Surprisingly I could get 45-50Mpg on trips. I eventually traded it for a Victory Cross Roads. It was one of the prettiest bikes I ever had with the big white racing stripe and that beautiful blue color. A friend I ride with has a HD with that color, I hate it.
I think I'm going to get one-I'm looking at an '07 LE in the same color combo as yours, with a bunch of accessories. I generally ride over 20k a year-and the miles are killing resale on my Roadmaster! Besides, I'd like something with more performance for my daily ride-even though it would sacrifice a little in terms of comfort and convenience features. I have a KTM 1290 SAR (adventure bike) that I love, but a cruiser is a bit more comfortable-and fun to customize! Besides, you can pick up well accessorized, low mileage ones for $5-6k. At that price point I can afford to run it hard. From what I understand, a set of pipes, air intake and programmer really wakes one up.
 

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I think I'm going to get one-I'm looking at an '07 LE in the same color combo as yours, with a bunch of accessories. I generally ride over 20k a year-and the miles are killing resale on my Roadmaster! Besides, I'd like something with more performance for my daily ride-even though it would sacrifice a little in terms of comfort and convenience features. I have a KTM 1290 SAR (adventure bike) that I love, but a cruiser is a bit more comfortable-and fun to customize! Besides, you can pick up well accessorized, low mileage ones for $5-6k. At that price point I can afford to run it hard. From what I understand, a set of pipes, air intake and programmer really wakes one up.
I added a digital gear gauge, I think it also adjusted timing also just can’t remember get on 109Riders forum it has a lot of info.
 

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Loved the article---

If you haven't ridden a new MotoGuzzi, you are missing out.
Absolutely amazing engine. Love it. I chose the Indian for what accessories are available for it for 2up riding.
0302171346a.jpg

If I get a chance, I'd love to have it for a solo rider and keep the Chieftain for 2up.
 

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Loved the article---

If you haven't ridden a new MotoGuzzi, you are missing out.
Absolutely amazing engine. Love it. I chose the Indian for what accessories are available for it for 2up riding.
View attachment 489928
If I get a chance, I'd love to have it for a solo rider and keep the Chieftain for 2up.
How is the wind protection on the Guzzi?
Like the chance they took on styling but I've heard it does not offer much in protection.
 

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How is the wind protection on the Guzzi?
Like the chance they took on styling but I've heard it does not offer much in protection.
Airflow is clean. Not like riding a Roadmaster, for sure.

For some unexplainable reason, they offer almost accessories -- a larger windscreen, and a few doo dads. No passenger backrest or lowers, etc.

This bike will blow any Indian/Harley away with only 1400cc's.
92 hp at the rear wheel --stock -- and 100 lbs lighter. Flat torque curve that's impressive.
Simply a great machine.
I wish they did better making it 2up friendly.
 
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