Street Bike vs. Cruiser

Riding a motorcycle is a truly unique experience that cannot be replicated by other vehicles. Since their introduction in 1885, they have become widely popular around the world as a cheaper and easier alternative to traveling. Today, you can find various types of bikes made by some of the most renowned vehicle manufacturers in the world.

Street Bike vs. Cruiser: An Overview

For someone who isn’t familiar with the motorcycle world, it might be confusing to try and identify the differences between street bikes and cruisers. Both are built for the streets, emphasize comfort, and have two wheels and an engine. So, what exactly sets them apart?

Standard street bikes are designed to be the ideal all-around bike. They are reliable and generally comfortable to ride. Thus, making them great daily commuters. They can be sporty but not overpowering while allowing the rider to reach highway speeds safely.

Cruisers, on the other hand, are like the luxury SUVs of the motorcycling world. They are big and heavy, all about producing maximum comfort and stability at high speeds. The seating position on a cruiser is also reasonably low, making it easy for riders to place their feet on the ground quickly when required.

To truly understand the difference between these motorcycles, you have to compare them in several important aspects that a rider considers when purchasing a bike, such as:

  • Comfort
  • Design
  • Engine 
  • Speed
  • Risk

Note that the information provided in this article points out the general differences, which may vary depending on the make of the bike. When riding a motorcycle, always wear the necessary safety equipment, such as a helmet and gloves. Obey road rules at all times, and never put yourself or others on the road at risk by riding under the influence.

Comfort

While you may never achieve the comfort level available in the average car, certain bikes are designed to maximize comfort on two wheels. They are referred to as cruisers. 

Cruisers are built in a way where the rider has a more laid-back seating position. Typically, you would see a cruiser rider sitting upright or leaning back, making them comfortable over long rides.

Street bikes have more of a head-down seating position, which gives the rider maximum stability and control over high speeds. This position also improves the overall aerodynamics of the bike. Though not as comfortable as a cruiser, you make up for what you sacrifice in comfort with better agility and improved handling.

Design

There is no mistaking the iconic design of a cruiser. They are one of the most visually notable vehicles, thanks to world-famous brands like Harley-Davidson and Indian. Cruisers are hunky machines made of iron and steel. They usually have chrome fittings and unusual color schemes, giving them the “head-turning” charm that they are known for. Cruisers are also highly customizable, giving owners a choice to fit extras such as saddlebags, aftermarket mirrors, and handlebars, as well as unique pipe designs.

Street bikes, on the other hand, are designed to look sharp, sporty, and aggressive. They are made with lightweight materials such as plastic and carbon fiber. Like cruisers, street bikes have a wide range of aftermarket parts such as LED lights, frame sliders, and windscreens. Also, they usually come in bright colors to add to the sporty feel of the bike. In contrast to a cruiser, which generally has smooth edges and a rounded design, you will usually see sharp edges and angled designs on a street bike to highlight its ability to reach high speeds.

Engine

At the heart of every vehicle is its engine, and it’s often the deciding factor when it comes to the performance of a motorcycle. Cruisers typically have much larger engine displacements than street bikes, ranging anywhere from 250cc up to 2300cc. Their engines are tuned to produce a high amount of torque at lower revs, which makes sense considering the fact that cruisers can weigh between 600 to 800 pounds.

Street bikes have smaller engines, typically between a displacement range of 200cc to 1400cc. They usually have four-cylinder engines with short pistons to achieve high RPMs in a narrow powerband to generate the maximum power output.

Speed

When it comes to purchasing a performance-oriented motorcycle, speed can be a determinant in your buying decision. While cruisers can reach and maintain decent speeds, their primary purpose is to offer a relaxing riding experience. They aren’t really meant for heart-racing high-speed rides. Even the design of a cruiser is intended to make the rider feel steady and comfortable.

Everything about a street bike screams speed, from its riding position to its lightweight design and aggressive looks. These bikes are designed for those who have a need for speed. Street bikes have impressive acceleration capabilities and top speeds and are often used for racing.

Risk

It goes without saying that a motorcycle accident is far more likely to cause injuries or be fatal than car accidents. However, cruisers are among the safest bikes to ride thanks to their limited speed and heavy design, making them less likely to be involved in a life-threatening accident. 

On the other hand, street bike owners are at a much higher risk. Due to their lightweight nature and high-speed capabilities, most street bike riders tend to push these bikes to their fullest potential, increasing the chances for the worst mishaps to occur. Still, at the end of the day, it all comes down to the experience and responsibility of the rider.