SUZUKI’S M90 Boulevard is a muscle cruiser designed to get the looks while offering great performance without the weight and price of its big brother, the M109.
On the eyes
The 25.4mm diameter drag-style flat-bend handlebars on risers look very tough but offer a very comfortable reach, and combined with a low centre of gravity make it a very manouverable machine.
Very clean flowing lines are complemented by the sporty front fender, a smooth tail section and chrome aplenty.
The high tensile steel frame has that classic hardtail look achieved by hiding the coil-over 46mm rear shock underneath the bodywork.
Front end duties are taken with very sporty looking inverted 43mm outer-tube front shocks which deliver about 130mm of wheel travel. It’s a comfortable combination and will handle most conditions thrown at them.
A wide, long and well padded seat means you’re never going to forget this baby’s primary purpose in life is to be a cruiser, and that means enjoying long rides in comfort. And your pillion will agree with that.
Dual slash-cut chrome mufflers look good and produce a nice V-twin note. A distinctive instrument cluster is integrated into the headlight cowl under a chrome cover.
A nuisance on some cruisers is the sidestand but thankfully the Boulevard has a very functional long chrome-plated prop which is easy to get at; shorter riders can breathe a sigh of relief.
Bullet shaped blinker lenses catch the eyes with their vertical lens cuts.
You can buy an M90 in Metallic Blue, but I’d go the Pearl Black – gorgeous, in a sinister kind of way (sort of sums the Boulevard up really).
On the road
Despite its 1462cc it’s not an intimidating bike to ride but pay attention because the M90 has plenty of power and, in fact, boasts class leading torque-to-weight and power-to-weight ratios.
The 90 cubic inch long-stroke four-valve 54-degree V-twin is bred to deliver heaps of torque and very smoothly at that.
And all that power is just as useable around town as it is out on the open road.
The Boulevard borrows its cable-operated back-torque-limiting clutch system from the Hayabusa. A cruiser with a slipper clutch! What will they think of next?
As most big cruisers have a thumping great V-twin engine it is smart thinking on Suzuki’s part to make it easier on the riders working their way down the five-speed ’box – a slipper clutch with help avoid locking the back wheel if you haven’t matched engine revs to road speed as you engage the clutch after downshifting.
An 18 litre fuel tank will get you a long way on this fuel efficient machine and the instrumentation features an analogue speedo and also a bar-section fuel gauge which is always on show – which is what you need on a cruiser.
Suzuki’s sportsbike pedigree has helped in the brake department with dual floating 290mm front discs with dual piston calipers and a 275mm rear disc with single caliper produce ample stopping power.
The M90 weighs in at 328kg but it’s got a nice low riding position which really doesn’t make weight an issue on this machine.
We rode this bike all round the Hunter Valley from open roads to plenty of inner city and suburban running and it coped well in all situations.
Also, we had a variety of riders from six footers to the short dude in the corner riding it and everyone seemed to find the handlebar-peg-seat geometry worked well enough.
In the engine
Dual spark plugs in each cylinder assist fuel economy and power delivery while reducing emissions and each aluminium-alloy cylinder is coated in a nickel-phosphorous-silicon coating to increase heat transfer.
Suzuki’s digital fuel injection and engine management system is powered by a 32-bit computer to improve response and efficiency.
An automatic idle speed control system makes the M90 easier to start in cold conditions and also stabilises engine idle speeds under varying conditions.
There’s certainly no shortage of technology inside this beastie. And yes, you do notice that the Boulevard runs smoothly, very smoothly.
On the hip pocket
The M90 Boulevard is very realistically and competitively priced at $15,490: for a bike of this size and with this much grunt hidden inside it.
At this price there’ll be plenty left over to spend on the many optional extras to put on your Boulevard from the Suzuki valve cap set to the billet backrest or seat cowl to convert your bike to solo use, plus a heap of other bits and pieces.
The M90 also comes with two-year unlimited kilometre warranty which is icing on top.
The last word
While the M90 doesn’t have the punch of its bigger brother the M109, it is still a powerful, but heavy, machine. It handles well enough in cruiserdom, but don’t expect to play boy racer on it, the suspension just can’t cope with such shenanigans. If you want to do long distance work on it, fit a screen. Otherwise the wind blast will get too much at speeds the M90 is capable of.
It’s good value for money and shouldn’t be intimidating for shorter riders.