Buying A Cruiser On A Budget

Date 11.5.2016

Presented by
  • Motorcycle Trader


Cruising On A Budget | Buying A Motorcycle Under $10k


Moto Guzzi California 1100EV

What you get: circa-1996, 60,000km

For years one of the best-kept secrets in motorcycling was just how much better a Moto Guzzi California was on a long trip than just about any other cruiser you could mention. Quicker and often significantly better handling than the equivalent Harley, they have been a serious player for a very long time. This is particularly true of the models of the 1980s and ’90s.

This particular series, the traditional-looking 1100EV, is a particular favourite and offers a lot of bang for the buck.

The V-twin engine is a nice companion on the road, easy on fuel and is flexible. The transmissions have traditionally been slow shifters, but robust.

Screw and locknut valve adjustment, plus shaft drive, means the maintenance costs are low.

Many owners will have fitted a screen and bags, so see if you can score them as part of the package. They tolerate mileage very well so long as the oil changes are kept up to them. Most seem to sell by word of mouth, so you might need to join a club to find a good one.

POWER: 55kW at 6400rpm

TORQUE: 94Nm at 5000rpm


–Good pace and handling for a cruiser

–Not easy to find


Harley-Davidson 1200 Roadster XL1200R Sportster

What you get: circa-2006, 30,000km

Of all the offerings across Harley-Davidson’s catalogue over recent years, the Sport and then more current Roadster variants of the 1200 Sportster are the most overlooked. Everyone seems to go for the Custom versions, though the Roadsters have a nicer all-road seating posture, more rubber on the road up front and a decent set of discs.

Set a Sporty up properly – they’re actually very simple creatures to live with – and you’ll find a Roadster to be a truly enjoyable machine that breaks the cruiser mould a little by being able to tackle most rides with a fair bit of confidence.

Decent suspension set-up and a proper tune on a dyno can do wonders for these things. Walk away from over-the-top or dodgy-looking mods as the bike is pretty close to being right out of the crate.

Harley-Davidson 1200 Roadster

POWER: 46kW at 5250rpm

TORQUE: 107Nm at 3500rpm

DRY/WET WEIGHT: 252/262kg

–Cheap American with good manners

–Limited fuel range

Next week we explore the LAMS market