The venerable Boulevard lineup is Suzuki’s interpretation of the cruising motorcycle. The 2018 Suzuki Boulevard C50 is essentially a Harley Bagger look-alike without the bags. The C50T Touring model offers chrome-studded leather saddlebags, a windshield, passenger backrest and wide whitewall tires for $1,200, should you want them.
Both the Suzuki Boulevard C50 and C50T display the look of a bygone era. An era of old, iconic triangular rigid frames and hefty telescopic front forks that were common in the late 40’s and early 50’s. There are smaller Boulevard models as well as larger bikes in the company’s lineup, but the Suzuki Boulevard C50 is an ideal place to start in the cruising range due to its size, styling and affordability.
At first glance, many observers thought that my C50 test bike was a custom Harley given its chrome laced wheels, front fender trailing edge flares and full rear fender. The 45-degree, 805 cc V-twin motor with staggered chrome exhaust pipes, forward foot controls and traditional floorboards along with the tank console combine to complete the classic American cruiser. It may not be the quintessential long-range cruiser for some riders. That said, it’s a darned good place to start.
The bike’s rigid imagery comes from the triangular swingarm that looks to be an extended part of the frame members. In reality, though, it articulates like a conventional yoke-type swingarm. That provides a smooth ride quality, despite its “old school” appearance. The swingarm’s motion is softened by a hidden single shock that comes with a seven-position, spring-preload adjuster that provides 4.1 inches of wheel travel.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
The Boulevard C50 is a well-balanced and easy handling bike with a nice broad power curve and smooth shifting gearbox. Its riding position is ideal, with the handlebars at just the right angle. The floorboards and foot controls are set forward for better long-range comfort. The seat’s height allows for touching down without tiptoeing along the ground. A passenger pillion and pegs are provided for longer range trips. However, riders would benefit from stepping up to the Boulevard C50T for the convenience of the saddlebags, windshield and passenger backrest.
The tubular front forks are held out to a rake of 33 degrees. That’s thanks to the steering head angle, which extends the wheelbase to 65.2 inches and the overall length to 98.4 inches. There are no adjustments for the front suspension components. There’s also no anti-lock brake option available.
The 50 cubic-inch motor generates 53 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, along with 50.9 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm. The top gear on the five-speed transmission is extra-tall to allow for a more relaxed cruise at speed, as well as for cruising around in urban surroundings. The shaft’s final drive delivers energy to the rear wheel. It also uniquely resists the shaft-jacking experienced with many shaft-drive bikes as well as minimizing any back-torque effects.
A few quirky things appear as part of this mid-range cruiser’s makeup. Rather than being exclusively air-cooled, there’s a big radiator to keep the temp down. There’s only a single front disc brake, and the rear brake is a 180 millimeter drum type. These aren’t necessarily negative issues, mind you. It’s just unusual for a full-sized bike that tries to visually emulate a traditional hard-tail cruiser.
The motor may come across as being somewhat small for the bike’s persona. It does its job nicely, though, maintaining a smooth power delivery throughout the rev range. An Auto Fast Idle System monitors engine temperature, opening the throttle automatically, aiding with cold starts and stabilizing the bike’s idle. The dual exhaust system utilizes Suzuki’s pulsed-secondary air-injection system (PAIR), pumping fresh air into the exhaust stream helping to burn off any excess free hydrocarbons.
The 2018 Suzuki Boulevard C50 is an excellent entry-level cruiser with an old school look. Despite looking old-school, it comes with modern technology and convenience, as well as a much more comfortable ride. And it’s affordable – less than the $8,999-and-up Harley-Davidson Sportster. It offers a perfect starting place for those looking to purchase a cruiser on a budget. Once you outgrow the bike, there are bigger, more powerful Suzuki cruisers available in the Boulevard family. Another plus is the 12-month unlimited mileage limited warranty.
Pricing is up roughly $50 over last year’s prices to $8,249, Expect to spend an average of $300 more for dealer prep and handling charges. My 2018 Suzuki Boulevard C50 wore a metallic Oort Gray finish augmented by a pleasing amount of chrome accents.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Suzuki Boulevard C50
|Price as Tested:||$8,549|
|Engine:||805cc (50 cubic inch) four-stroke, 45-degree V-Twin w/ right-side staggered dual-chrome exhaust|
|Horsepower:||53 hp @ 6,000 RPM|
|Torque:||50.9 lb-ft @ 3,200 RPM|
|Transmission:||Wide-ratio sequential 5-speed manual|
|Suspension:||Front: Telescopic, oil-damped front forks w/ coil springRear: Link-type mimicking hard-tail lines, oil-damped shock absorber w/ 7-way adjustability, coil spring|
|Brakes:||Front: Hydraulic single discRear: Hydraulic drum|
|Tires:||Front: Grand High Speed GS 123R P130/90 R16 67H
Rear: Grand High Speed GS 123R P170/80 R15 77H
|Fuel capacity:||4.1 gallons|
|Seat Height:||27.6 inches|
|Net Weight:||644 pounds|