Roughly seven years ago, the Suzuki powers that be wondered what would happen if they were to blend a combination of not-so-traditional cruiser styling and race proven technology that delivered the power of a championship sport bike in one motorcycle. The result was the M109R, which would become the flagship, or top-of-the-line in their Boulevard lineup, bringing the total model availability to ten. The entire Boulevard stable of signature cruisers carried model designations that suggested each machine’s style, along with incorporating the cubic-inch displacement of each. The 2013 Suzuki Boulevard M90 is actually a derivative of the M109R.
The aggressive styling and technology of the M109R was inspired by Suzuki’s championship-winning GSX-R sportbike. With a touch of traditional cruiser elements added for good measure. It represented a breakthrough as the logical bike of choice for the rider who wished to elevate his or her comfort level above that offered by an all-out sport bike, but didn’t want to sacrifice the power and handling attributes normally given up when making the transition and crossing over into the cruising motorcycle genre. The M109R might well have been categorized as falling into a realm that might accurately be referred to as a Grand Touring Sport Cruiser – admittedly, a designation that was really non-existent in the world of two-wheeled transport, but one that perhaps served up the best description. “M” might well have been for Muscle and the “R” for Race. The bike’s DOHC, four-stroke 54-degree V-Twin motor was liquid-cooled, with electronic fuel injection, and measured 109 cubic inches or 1783cc.
Suzuki’s Boulevard offerings now total fourteen models. Ranging from the S40 through the M109R Limited Edition, with four C50 versions, four C90 examples, two M models – an M50 and the M90, and finally three versions of the M109R – the base model, a B.O.S.S. model, topped off by the Limited Edition.
Enough of the back story, the M90 displays a similar styling to the M109R, but in a slightly smaller bike, with a smaller displacement engine – 89.2 cu. In., (1462cc) – still a 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, OHC 54-degree, fuel injected V-twin. Power is delivered to the rear wheel through a five-speed constant mesh manual gearbox with a wet multi- plate type clutch. A drive shaft completes the final drive system. The M90 also rolls on smaller tires front and rear- the M90 rolls on Bridgestone Exedra 120/70 ZR18 M/C 59W tubeless tires up front and 200/50 ZR17 M/C 75W tubeless rubber in the rear, mounted on 5-swirl-spoke alloy wheels (18×3.5” front / 17×6” rear). The wheelbase is 1-inch shorter with the overall length reduced by 2.8-inches. The fuel capacity is .4 gallons less, and the seat height actually measures .6-inches more.
The 2013 Suzuki Boulevard M90’s suspension consists of inverted -type telescopic, coil spring, oil damped forks forward, with 5.1-inches of travel and a Link-type, coil spring, oil damped rear with 4.3- inches of travel aft. Bringing the M90 to a halt are hydraulic twin discs in the front and a single disc in the rear.
In terms of its appearance, the beauty of the M90 is indeed, in the eyes of the beholder – sportbike enthusiasts are likely to view it as a sportbike with cruiser styling elements and influence, while cruiser advocates are more likely to think of it as a cruiser with the attributes and handling capabilities of a sportbike. Both would be correct in their assumptions. The lines of the M90 are long, low and sleek, with a wide, stretched 4.8-gallon fuel tank and distinctive composite fenders. The bike leads off with a unique streamlined headlamp cover in the form of a mini-flyscreen that houses a trapezoidal-shaped multi-reflector H4 halogen headlight.
My test 2013 Suzuki Boulevard M90 was finished in Glass Starfire metallic, with lots of chrome trim. The base price was set at $12,999. While the price as tested was estimated at $ 13,249. * est – dealer prep and handling costs may vary form dealer to dealer.
SUMMARY: The 2013 Suzuki Boulevard M90’s 89.2 cubic inch motor serves up plenty of torque across a very broad range, and it is quite easy to maneuver through tight turns at either low or high speeds, despite the oversize rear tire.
The M90 is exceptionally well balanced and quick to respond to a quick twist of the throttle. There is however, a “jacking” sensation with the shaft drive, due to the highly sensitive throttle, particularly during deceleration. This may be mostly overcome through clutch modulation. The M109R is the most powerful of Suzuki’s Boulevard cruisers, but the M90 is no slouch. It is virtually vibration-free, thanks to the rubber motor mounts. The voice of the exhaust that exits from the two-into-one-into-two, right-side, staggered reverse slash cut pipes is a pleasant, throaty rumble – not raucous, but authoritative to be sure.
The riding position of the M90 is upright and comfortable, with the drag-style pull-back type handlebars both comfortable and easy to maneuver and relatively low seat height. Handling characteristics are more sport-like than cruiser-like, offering nimble and athletic responses to rider input, aided by the 32-degree rake (caster) and 5.08-inches of trail. It is a pleasure to ride for enthusiasts from either the sportbike or cruiser camp. Both however, will have to make modest adjustments to their traditional riding styles. As a cruiser fan, I would prefer floorboards to the M90’s foot pegs for long range riding comfort. Other nice touches would be the addition of self-canceling turn signals and a gear indicator.
The 2013 Suzuki Boulevard M90 comes set up as a two-up cruiser, with an optional, removable rear cowl for a solo look (tools required). It may be replaced with a passenger pillion. Instrumentation includes a distinctive instrument cluster integrated into the headlight cowl under a chrome cover and features a stepping-motor-driven analog speedometer as well as a bar-section digital readout. There’s a constant fuel gauge display with warning lights for oil pressure and coolant temperature.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for a classically styled cruiser with sport bike tendencies, you’ll want to check out the 2013 Suzuki Boulevard M90.
On The Fast Lane Car’s rating scale of:
• Buy It.
• Rent It
• Lease It.
• Forget It.
Buy It for a for a classically styled cruiser with sport bike tendencies.
Base Price: $12,999. Price as Tested: $ 13,249. * est – dealer prep and handling costs vary.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2013 Suzuki Boulevard M90
Base Price: $12,999.
Price as Tested: $13,249. * est – dealer prep and handling costs vary.
Engine Type and Size: 1462cc (89.2 cu. In.), 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, OHC
54-degree, fuel injected V-twin.
Transmission: Five-speed constant mesh manual with wet multi-plate type
Drive Train: Final Drive – Shaft.
Suspension: Front – Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped forks with
5.1-inches of travel.
Rear – Link-type, coil spring, oil damped with 4.3-
inches of travel.
Brakes: Hydraulic twin discs front / single disc rear.
Tires: Bridgestone Exedra G853 120/70 ZR18 M/C 59W
tubeless radial front / Bridgestone Exedra G852 200/50 ZR17
wheels (18×3.5” front /17×6” rear).
Wheelbase: 66.5 inches
Length Overall: 94.1 inches
Curb weight: 723 lbs. (dry)
Fuel Capacity: 4.8 gallons.
Seat height: 28.2 inches
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Review by Arv Voss, Auto Impressions