Cruiser motorcycles are up there as some of the most popular types on the road. They are one of the oldest too which is why so much of the style is timeless and why they are attractive to a wide audience.
I absolutely love all things on two-wheels, sometimes three (admittedly if it’s old four), but something about a thumping V-twin wins my heart every single time, whether it is blacked out or classy in chrome, big, small with apes or pulled back beach bars.
Today the used market is full of awesome cruiser motorcycles and there are bargains to be had, whether you want to try something new, simply have a smaller budget or prefer the old over the new, whatever the reason, check out our list of the best used cruisers.
Used Cruiser Motorcycles Under $2000
Even on the tightest budgets you can find a cool cruiser motorcycle that you can have bags of fun on.
Honda Rebel 250
The older Rebel cruisers from the ‘80’s are going to set you back a bit more as they have started to slowly rise in value following the release of the newer Rebels.
However, picking up a Honda Rebel 250 cruiser from around 2006-2008 can quite easily be done for between $1500-$2000.
Powering the Rebel is a 234cc SOHC twin cylinder engine that is smooth, economical and easy to maintain.
They have a long wheelbase and super low seat height, making it well-balanced, easy to ride and accessible for even the shortest riders. On the flip side taller riders may struggle for comfort on the Rebel.
The handlebars are pulled back, pegs are mid-mounted for a neutral, easy riding position, putting you in control.
It is a bulletproof engine that will take whatever you can throw at it, the bike is perfect for beginner riders and is often used by motorcycle training schools for riders to learn on.
Check out our full Honda Rebel review
If you are looking for something bigger but still within a tight budget then an Intruder might be the way to go.
Suzuki created the Intruder in 1985 and it continued up until 2005 where it was then replaced with the all new Boulevard.
During this time Suzuki produced bikes from 125cc all the way up to 1800cc, all bearing the Intruder name.
The majority of these were liquid-cooled with a select few being air-cooled, all had a four-five speed transmission mated to a shaft drive.
All of the Intruders, even the 125cc variants are big bikes, they have a presence on the road that attracts attention and the engines are notoriously reliable.
Another Japanese cruiser that is easy to pick up under $2,000 is the Honda Shadow.
Honda have been producing the Shadow line since 1983, it is similar to the Suzuki counterpart Intruder/Boulevard in this regard, as being a staple cruiser for the brand.
From 125cc motorcycles to 1100cc Honda have covered all the bases with the Shadow name to produce a motorcycle for everyone within the Shadow line.
The Shadow 750 has remained one of the most consistent in the line and is a favorite among cruiser motorcycle riders.
This 2001 VT750CDA is up for $1,995 it is fully dressed with saddlebags and a big windscreen fairing. Ready for some serious touring this particular bike is a bargain waiting for someone to throw down some more miles.
Whether you find a 600 or 1100 for sale, you need to remember that each model will have had some variants within. So it is likely there will be a deluxe model more suited to touring in each capacity and equally a more stripped back version for solo riding.
Regardless of the particular size Shadow you find, you are getting an economical, reliable, solid motorcycle that has Honda’s engineering behind it putting you in safe hands for as many miles as you can handle.
Check out our full Honda Shadow 750 review.
Used Cruiser Bikes Under $5000
Widening your budget slightly means that there are more cruiser motorcycles on the used market. You can begin to spread out from just Japanese cruisers to look at the quintessential V twin American Harley Davidsons.
Harley Davidson Sportster
In 1957 the very first Harley Davidson Sportster was released and some 65 years later the Sportster line is still in existence for now.
We have seen the release of the Sportster S and Nightster this year, the future of the Sportster line. While the air-cooled Harley Davidson Iron 883 and Forty-Eight are still in the line-up for now, it is expected that their lifespan is now limited.
Have no fear though, there are plenty of air-cooled V twin Sportsters on the used market and many of them below $5,000.
I am partial to the Ironhead engine which had a 28 year run before being replaced by the updated Evolution engine.
The Sportster has seen many variations with some more limited than others such as the foray in the Cafe Racer world with the Harley XLCR.
There has also been a touring Sportster that was fitted with Electra-Glide saddlebags, a thick saddle and windshield.
Sportsters make the perfect entry point into the Harley brand as well as being the ultimate base for custom builds. Whatever you are into, a budget of $5,000 will easily pick you up a quality bike.
Check out our full Sportster review here.
The Vulcan name is a prestigious one and it is the line that has put Kawasaki as very worthy contenders for the ‘King of the Cruisers’ title several times over the years.
The Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 was in production for 20 years making it the longest running model to carry the Vulcan name but it definitely wasn’t the only one.
Kawasaki introduced the Vulcan cruiser motorcycle in 1984 initially with a 699cc, quickly followed by a 750 there has also been the following Vulcan series: 400, 500, 650 S (current Vulcan), 800, 900, 1500, 1600, 1700, 1800 and the biggest of them all, the legendary Vulcan 2000.
Whether you want a lightweight cruiser motorcycle or a heavy-duty tourer with insane amounts of torque, Kawasaki has a Vulcan for you.
Starting from just $1,800, you could pick up a Vulcan 800 or 900 and around the $2,000-$2,500 point you could even get yourself the powerful Vulcan 1500 (88).
This Mean Streak is on sale for $3,995 and it is a beastly example of a 2002 Vulcan.
Yamaha V Star
Back in 1999 the Yamaha V Star 1100 was released, a middleweight cruiser motorcycle that could take on a commute but happily blast around on the weekend for camping trips. It also wouldn’t shy away from some longer trips if you wanted to load it up.
The Classic took after the 1950’s V-twin bikes in its style with classic paint schemes, plenty of chrome and sweeping fairings, all very similar to the Vulcans and Intruders.
Whereas the Custom version was a little more modern, moodier and the low slung seat looks more intimidating that it rides.
At the same time Yamaha released the V Star 650 which was a lightweight version but shared all the same characteristics of the bigger bike.
For 2007 the V Star 1300 was released and considered a more capable touring machine then the others however, it did remain classically styled sticking to the point of ‘if it works, why change it’ in the style department.
Whichever V Star you like the look of the 650, 1100 or 1300 there are plenty on the market to choose from.
The V Star’s are known for their reliability, ease of use, cruising abilities, solid engines and comfort.
Yamaha released the Bolt in 2014 and it remains in production today, even on a budget it is possible to pick up an early Bolt for just under $5,000.
If you want something more modern, with modern features and performance then the Bolt is where you should be looking. It is often called a ‘performance bobber’.
The Yamaha Bolt is a deliberate blank canvas there for you to add your own touch to it, it has a high tank, short wheelbase and a solo seat.
It is intended to be agile and lightweight for excellent urban riding while remaining perfectly capable at speed and fun in the twisties.
An aftermarket fairing/windshield, sissy bar for luggage paired with saddlebags will make the Bolt a fun, competent weekend tourer.
Best Used Cruiser Motorcycles For Beginners
When we first start out riding, we generally have an idea of the type of bike we want and the style we want to go for. That is what inspires us to ride in the first place, but looking towards the used market instead of buying new can save you a lot of money in the process of learning to ride.
Getting a used first cruiser motorcycle to learn on and getting all your mistakes out the way before you go out and buy your brand new big V twin Harley Bagger is a sensible way to start riding.
It doesn’t have to be boring though as there are some really cool cruisers for inexperienced riders available.
Harley Davidson Street 750
If you are itching to get your hands on some Harley Davidson iron then a Street 750 might be the way forward.
Harley introduced the Street 750 in 2014 as their smallest capacity machine for a long time. It was intended to be the entry into the brand and was rolled out to Harley Riding Schools for beginners to learn on.
The Street range was announced to be produced in India which at the time caused quite the controversy, although the design, engineering and tooling was still as American as could be.
As it turned out though the Street range for the US market would still be produced in the Missouri plant, so drama avoided.
There was also a Street Rod released alongside the standard Harley Davidson Street 750 which had greater ground clearance, slightly higher power output, twin discs up front and better suspension.
The Street and Street Rod are great for a new rider with an upright confident inspiring riding position, easy to manage controls, low seat height and an un-intimidating power curve.
Ignore the naysayers that say it isn’t a real Harley cruiser, have fun picking one of these up for around $5,000 so you can own and ride your very first Harley Davidson.
Check out our full review of the Harley Davidson Street 750
Suzuki Boulevard S40
Back in the ‘80’s the model was originally known as the LS650 Savage which was later renamed the Boulevard when Suzuki renamed all of their cruiser bikes to fit under the Boulevard title.
The concept for the S40 (and preceding Suzuki Savage) is simple, a thumping single-cylinder 650 that is easy to ride, fun, competent and reliable.
It was only pulled from the lineup in 2019 so it had a very good 30 plus year run, which is great as it means there are plenty on the market to choose from.
The bike is relatively light, comfortable for cruising around town and has a low maintenance belt-drive.
Vibrations at highway speeds means that cruising at speed over prolonged amounts of time will get a little uncomfortable.
Overall though the bike is lauded as having a comfortable riding position for those mostly under 6-ft, any taller and you might be a bit cramped.
Prices start from around $2,499 so you don’t have to break the bank to ride a cool tried and tested lightweight cruiser.
Check out our Boulevard S40 review.
Honda Rebel 300
Along with the earlier Rebel 250, a used Rebel 300 (which is a newer variant of the Rebel line) is a pretty good cruiser for new cruiser riders.
You can pick up a Rebel 300 for under $5,000 easily and they are an awesome modern take on a cruiser/bobber built for novices.
Riding position is upright, confidence inspiring, and the seat height is low to the ground for maximum control at all times. The bike is also super lightweight, easy to flick around, making it great for around town and then to get your practice in out on the twisties.
The new Rebel has a refreshing look and style, it is far from the boring beginner bikes that riders once had to deal with.
Narrow tank, raked front end, short rear give an aggressive attitude, making the point that even novice riders are worthy of having mean, moody motorcycles and belong in the club.
Honda Shadow 750
Out of all the Shadow’s the 750 is one of the most popular versions and used models can be picked up from as low as $2,000 with $3,000 being an average price for an older bike.
The 750 has a super low center of gravity thanks to a low seat height and the way the engine is balanced, this means it is easy to keep upright when stationary or moving at slow speeds.
Beginners can firmly plant their feet on the ground if uneasy with no issues and thanks to the low weight of the bike paddling it with both feet on the drive or out of the garage isn’t a problem.
The bike is easy to maintain, parts are cheap and in abundance so the Shadow is great for new riders who want to learn the basics of motorcycle maintenance.
Power delivery is also pretty lazy and not aggressive, so while the capacity might be considered quite large for new riders it is not intimidating to ride and will go with your pace.
If the 750 is too big, you could look at picking up a Shadow 500 instead.
Check out our Honda Shadow 750 review and buyers guide.
Kawasaki Vulcan 750
Just like the Shadow 750, the Vulcan 750 from Kawasaki is one of the brands most popular cruiser motorcycles.
The Vulcan offers just the right amount of power to grow into but is not going to put new riders off by scaring them or having torque that will pull their arms off.
Initially the Vulcan 750 was built to directly compete with the bikes Harley Davidson were pushing out.
The V twin engine was built with a shaft drive and is known for its impeccable smoothness.
It was this smooth factor that increased its appeal, attracting riders into the cruiser fold that otherwise avoided them.
The bike is comfortable, delivers power in a smooth manner, it is reliable and largely maintenance-free.
The Vulcan 750 remained relatively unchanged throughout its 22 year run with the main changes being cosmetic.
$3,000 is the average price for an old Vulcan 750 with some as low as $1,500 and others exceeding $5,000.
Check out our Kawasaki Vulcan 750 review and buyers guide.
Best Used Power Cruisers
Perhaps you want something that little bit bigger again, something that is a bit meaner, bolder and that stands out from the rest as the ultimate performance muscle cruiser motorcycle.
Well, we also have you covered in that department too, as the used market is loaded with big badass muscle cruiser motorcycles.
Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 & 2000
If you want to go back to the beginning of the power cruisers arms race then the Vulcan 1500 is a good place to start.
It is widely considered one of the best cruiser motorcycles of all time.
The Vulcan 88 named after its engine capacity was set to again compete with the top of the line Harley’s and and its engine superseded the biggest V-twin on offer at the time from HD (1,374cc).
It pushed out 64 horsepower and 112 Nm of torque which in the moment made it a pure monster.
Of course Kawasaki would soon be set to beat themselves at the race for big V-twin engines with the 1600 that followed and later in 2004 with the Vulcan 2000 equipped with a huge 2,053cc V-twin engine.
The best way to describe riding the biggest Vulcan is that it is like being pulled along by a freight train.
A claimed 103 horsepower was produced and 177 Nm of torque, with a top speed of around 125mph. The Vulcan 2000 is no slouch and you can get your hands on one for around $6,500.
While the Vulcan’s might not be able to compete with later bikes like the Rocket III in terms of power they make for a more classic, traditionally styled cruiser motorcycle with a whole lot of oomph.
Yamaha V Max
The V Max was Yamaha’s competing model for the ‘performance cruiser title.’ It had in its heart a 1,197cc engine, a top speed of 150mph and put out 120 horsepower and 112.7Nm of torque.
Running from 1985 to 2007 the V Max experienced only minor changes throughout the production run.
From 2009 the V Max was completely overhauled and received a bigger 1,679cc engine.
It is a bike that won Cycle World’s ‘Motorcycle of the Year’ upon its release.
It is possible to pick up a Yamaha V Max today from around $3,500, which is a whole lot of bike for not a lot of money.
Triumph Rocket III
The Triumph Rocket III is a three cylinder 2,294cc monster that first hit dealers in 2004 but was being worked on from as early as 1998.
The Rocket III was intended to compete directly with Harley Davidson Ultra riders and convert them to the Triumph brand.
In 2004 it won motorcycle of the year for the following magazines Motorcyclists, Motorcycle Cruiser and Cruising Rider.
Today the Rocket is a more stylish design, more refined, sleeker and less intimidating to look at, one for those who want the power but to be understated.
The original Rocket III though is a big, bold, beast and shakes the road like no other motorcycle, it shouts to be seen and rightly so in my opinion.
You can find an older Rocket III for about $6,000 and it offers a lot of bang for the buck. A power cruiser motorcycle that is just as good on the drag strip as it is carrying you across country and beyond.