It is always interesting when there’s a motorcycle filling a slot that offers no competition, and the 2019 Suzuki Boulevard C90T certainly fits that description. Neither the competing Japanese manufacturers nor any of the American motorcycle companies have a cruiser in the 1500cc range, let alone a cruiser-tourer. The closest challenger you’ll find is the Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring, but it runs over $5000 more than the Suzuki—hardly competition.
Due to the lack of a predator, the Suzuki Boulevard C90T’s underlying platform hasn’t changed much since 2005 when it transitioned from being an Intruder to a Boulevard, acquiring 32-bit EFI in the process. The Intruder that the C90T is based on dates back to 1998, so it’s fair to say this motorcycle is proven by time, rather than flying on the cutting edge.
All that hardly matters once you hop on a motorcycle. Either it works at its intended goal, or it falls short in some ways. In the case of the 2019 Suzuki Boulevard C90T, it satisfies the needs of riders who want enough power to tour two-up, yet want to do it on a budget and have the peace of mind that comes with a mature, reliable design.
As you would expect, given its pedigree, the 2019 Suzuki Boulevard C90T makes its way without much in the way of electronic gadgetry. Yes, it has EFI with Suzuki’s effective Dual Throttle Valve system to smooth throttle response, but that’s about it. There’s nothing in the way of power modes or traction control, and ABS is provided by judicious use of your right hand and foot. The rider is the essential safety device—same as it ever was.
The primary draw of the 2019 Suzuki Boulevard C90T is the powerplant. While not a big-inch design, it puts out plenty of power for real-world riding. A substantial peak of 97 ft/lbs of torque comes at just 2600 rpm from the slightly undersquare 54-degree V-twin with SOHCs and four-valve heads. It’s that sort of low-end power that is indispensable for two-up riding. You can always pull away from a stop without drama thanks to the grunt, and the plentiful torque is also there for roll-on passing out on the open road. Rev the water-cooled motor up to an easily accessible 4800 rpm, and you’re rewarded with its peak of 78 horsepower. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the power delivery is decisively linear.
Straight-line touring is the C90T’s calling card. With a 66-inch wheelbase, over 31 degrees of rake, and chunky Bridgestone Exedra rubber on a 16-/17-inch wheel combo, the C90T is all about stability. You can zip it up to triple-digit speeds if you like without misbehavior, as long as the road is relatively smooth. Touring well in excessive of most state speed limits is easily accomplished, with the simple windshield doing its job unobtrusively.
Should you need to make a stop from those high speeds, be prepared to add some extra pressure to the front brake lever. There’s only a single disc up front, and you’ll notice that at higher speeds, and especially when two-up. Fortunately, the rear brake and the 200mm rear tire will assist in deceleration duties, as needed.
If your touring needs include twisting roads, you’re going to have to move your expectations down a notch or two. There are various reasons for this, and the long wheelbase and relaxed rake that worked so well on the highway are just starters when it comes to the C90T’s antipathy toward cornering.
The 2019 Suzuki Boulevard C90T has unsophisticated suspension that has nary an adjustment. Wheel travel is generous—over five inches in the front and four-inches-plus in the rear—yet the action shakes the motorcycle around. On straight, flat roads, it’s not an issue. However, as you start riding hard enough to put the floorboards’ virginity at risk, you will be unsettled should the pavement be irregular. hTo get to the $13,049 price point, something had to give, and the result is i20th century cruiser suspension action.
Another hindrance on curvy roads is the handlebar. The wide 7/8-inch bar flexes quite a bit and, to make matters worse, they are rubber mounted. The unfortunate result is a vague front end feeling, despite the beefy 130mm Bridgestone Exedra tire. Suffice to say, if you are looking for a cruiser with strong cornering performance on canyon roads, the 2019 Suzuki Boulevard C90T isn’t going to be high on your list. However, if you are simply bopping along at a sedate pace, it’s fine, and all that flex helps smooth out the overall feel.
For long rides, the ergonomics are friendly. It’s a reasonably roomy design, and the floorboards have plenty of room for your boots. The heel/toe shifter is decisive, and there’s no shaft drive snatch. Vibration is friendly, so it won’t wear you down on long rides. You can move around on the seat as needed, and the padding is neutral. The bars bring the grips to you, so there’s no fatiguing reach. There’s also a nice pocket of still air behind the non-adjustable windshield.
Unless you’re wearing an open-face helmet, you won’t spend much time looking down at the tank-mounted analog-style speedometer and fuel gauge. There’s an LCD readout for the clock and gear position below the speedo, so it’s even farther from your field of view. No tachometer is present or needed—if you’re hitting the rev limiter, learn to shift sooner.
Although a bit oddly shaped, the aerodynamic bags have a helpfully large opening on top. The right bag holds 26 liters, and the left bag takes on 24.5 liters— enough for a long weekend ride. If you pack light, you can go even farther.
In town, the Boulevard C90T is a capable mount. Despite weighing in at 800 pounds and being imbued with lazy geometry, it’s not bad. The assist-and-slipper clutch comes to the rescue, cutting down the hand effort at the lever. As long as you aren’t stuffing it into the corners at intersections, you’ll find the C90T to be an enjoyable ride.
If you want to grab a lot of attention from bystanders, the 2019 Suzuki Boulevard C90T will be a bit of a disappointment. While you might get a few admiring nods here and there, its vanilla styling isn’t eye-catching. There’s enough chrome to satisfy fans of the shiny stuff, and the stripe on the tank gives the C90T some panache. The seat and bags are not leather, and the fenders and side covers are plastic—that doesn’t add up to a rich appearance. Hey, it’s just a tick over $13k, and the bean counters must be placated.
The 2019 Suzuki Boulevard C90T stakes out a cruiser tourer niche that no other manufacturer is interested in. The motor is excellent, and the chassis is likely good enough to keep most budget-conscious buyers happy. It’s a comfortable motorcycle that understands highway touring, while looking good enough that you won’t feel the need to park it in an inconspicuous place at the local watering hole. Rather than dwell on its shortcomings, we’re happy that Suzuki offers a viable cruiser tourer in this price range and displacement—someone had to do it.
Photography by Kelly Callan
Helmet: HJC i10
Eyewear: Fatheadz Big Daddy
Jacket: Street & Steel Brighton
Gloves: Power Trip by Joe Rocket Mens Jet Black Lined
Jeans: Street & Steel Oakland
Boots: Highway 21 Low Primary Engineer
2019 Suzuki Boulevard C90T Specifications
Type: 54-degree V-twin
Displacement: 1462cc (83ci)
Bore x stroke: 96 x 101mm
Maximum power: 78 horsepower @ 4800 rpm
Maximum torque: 97 ft/lbs @ 2600 rpm
Compression ratio: 9.5:1
Valvetrain: SOHC; 4vpc
Fueling: EFI w/ Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve
Clutch: Assist and slipper
Final drive: Shaft
Frame: Steel tube
Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 45mm inverted fork; 5.1 inches
Rear suspension; travel: Non-adjustable linkage-assisted shock; 4.3 inches
Wheels: Cast aluminum
Front tire: 130/80 x 17; Bridgestone Exedra G853
Rear tire: 200/60 x 16; Bridgestone Exedra G852
Front brake: Disc
Rear brake: Disc
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
Wheelbase: 65.9 inches
Rake: 31.2 degrees
Trail: 5.2 inches
Seat height: 28.3 inches
Fuel capacity: 4.8 gallons
Curb weight: 800 pounds
Color: Bright Metallic Mystic Silver
2019 Suzuki Boulevard C90T Price: $13,049 MSRP