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Sport Bike Vs. Cruiser

When considering which motorcycle to buy, you have a lot to consider. You may enjoy the more classic look and rugged reputation associated with a street cruiser, or you may like the sleek design and youthful feel of a sport bike. When choosing your motorcycle, consider all of your needs and expectations, and weigh the pros and cons of each style before making your final choice.


Sport bikes are typically designed for tighter turns and easier handling. Your sport bike generally has a shorter wheelbase than its street cruiser counterpart. It is often constructed of lighter materials. The short wheelbase gives it a smaller turning radius, while the reduced weight allows you more control while leaning or counter-steering. If you are a new rider or you lack upper body strength, you may find sport bikes easier to control, but they handle worse in rain and slick conditions. Street cruisers, which are heavier, are less likely to skid or slip on wet roads, but their longer wheelbases and increased weight require slower, wider turns, as well as more rider strength.

Acceleration and Speed

Sport bikes are not just lighter than street cruisers. They are also geared for higher rates of acceleration. The small, compact design and gearing of a sport bike allow it to reach high speeds quickly while utilizing a smaller engine than its a comparable cruiser. A cruiser's larger engine allows you to maintain higher speeds with less strain on the engine, making long trips at highway speeds more practical and less wearing on your bike.


Cruisers tend to be larger, with mostly metal or carbon fiber bodies and fender designs.When you ride a cruiser, you typically sit upright or lean slightly back. Sport bike riders typically lean forward with their feet slightly behind the seat. Plastic body panels are often attached to the metal frame of a sport bike and can be painted a variety of colors. While black and dark colors are popular, lighter colors such as blue, yellow, green, silver or red can be used to increase your visibility to other drivers. The look of a sports bike is generally more aerodynamic than that of a street cruiser, and your forward-leaning position lends itself to this look.

Accidents and Death Rates

While all motorcycle crashes are comparatively more dangerous to the driver than crashing in a car or truck, a cruiser rider is statistically less likely to be killed in a crash. This may be due in part to the lack of protective fenders and fairings, but it is typically attributed more to riding style. Sport bike riders are more prone to riding at high speeds. Sport bike accidents involve crashes without another vehicle more often than they involve collisions with other vehicles, and these crashes are often associated with high velocity. Your forward-leaning position on a sport bike also makes you prone to fly forward in a crash, and the lower handlebars fail to brace you against your forward velocity.

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About the Author

Rob Callahan lives in Minneapolis, where he covers style, culture and the arts for Vita.MN and "l'├ętoile Magazine." His work has earned awards in the fields of journalism, social media and the arts. Callahan graduated from Saint Cloud State University in 2001 with a Bachelor's degree in philosophy.

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