2011 Suzuki Boulevard C50T
It may be an urban myth, but the story has been making the rounds of the Suzuki Boulevard C50 rider who was so dedicated to Suzuki he trash-talked any other brand and never realized that he was actually riding a slightly camouflaged Kawasaki Vulcan. The truth is so bizarre that it may come as a surprise to other Boulevard C50 riders: their beloved 805 cc powerplant is nothing more than a slightly sleeved down, licensed by Suzuki version of the Vulcan 900. In fact, 5 mm of bore is all that legitimately separates the two motors.
Fortunately that's where the resemblances end. The 2011 Suzuki Boulevard C50T is an extremely attractive retro cruiser in its own right and has maintained the classic post-war Harleyite look to a far greater degree than its Kawasaki counterpart. The uninitiated would find it difficult to realize that it's a Suzuki as the brand name seems to not be anywhere overtly visible. Indeed, if you squint hard enough at a white and blue version of the Boulevard C50T, you might just think you're looking at a half century old Electra Glide.
The Boulevard C50T may just be the most attractive, balanced, and authentically nostalgic midsized cruiser available today. The 2011 Boulevard C50T features studded seats with a matching pivoting backrest; a classic styled windshield with chrome fillips; and textured leather saddle bags all with Boulevard emblems. The look really pops when it's outfitted with that superlative two tone classic Bagger paintjob.
The first time a shorter rider straddles the Boulevard C50T the experience is tantamount to a revelation. The extremely low 27.6 inch seat height allows even pint sized riders to place both feet flat on the ground at stoplights. That's about nine inches lower than some KTMs which can lead you to wonder if Austrian engineers are trying to build the official motorcycle of the NBA.
Like every other Japanese cruiser on the market, the mufflers are so out of proportion to the rest of the motorcycle that they deserve to never make it off the showroom floor. Granted, noise and emission legislation has become excessively restrictive, but how can a 2011 Victory Vegas get away with relatively narrow shotgun pipes while a Boulevard C50T with half the displacement needs more than twice the exhaust system mass? What does Victory know that the Big Four Japanese manufacturers have missed?
The Boulevard C50T is very close to the ultimate retro midsized cruiser. It boasts a style and charm that is only approached in the class by the 2011 Honda VT750C Aero. The comparable Kawasakis and Yamahas have moved on to more extreme stylizations, leaving the 2011 Suzuki Boulevard C50T to hold the title of credible retro legitimacy among Japanese mid-cruisers.
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2011 Suzuki Boulevard C50T At A Glance
Base MSRP: $10,799
Engine Displacement: 805 cc
Engine Type: 4-stroke, Liquid-cooled, OHC, 45-degree V-twin
Bore & Stroke: 83.0 mm (3.268 in) x 74.4 mm (2.929 in)
Ignition Type: Electronic ignition (Transistorized)
Compression Ratio: 9.4 : 1
Transmission Type: 5-speed constant mesh
Final Drive Type: Shaft Drive
Front Tire: 130/90-16M/C 67H, tube type
Rear Tire: 170/80-15M/C 77H, tube type
Wheelbase: 1655 mm (65.2 in)
Saddle Height: 700 mm (27.6 in)
Curb Dry Weight: 295 kg (651 lbs)
Fuel Capacity (US): 15.5 L
* Specs/pix apply to 2010 model, updates as released