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Touring Bikes Vs. Cruisers

Two of the most popular types of motorcycles in the United States are touring bikes and cruisers. In many cases, these bikes are actually similar. On the scale of motorcycle sizes, cruisers and touring bikes often tend towards the larger side. They also tend to have larger engines and channel classic motorcycle styling. But there are some ways in which these bike families are quite different, too. Below we’ll discuss what makes them unique and what type of riders might like them.

If you’re looking for a great cruiser or touring bike, Harley-Davidson® is one of the most legendary manufacturers on the market. Stop by Hellbender Harley-Davidson® when you’re ready to check out some individual models for yourself. We’re located in Marietta, Georgia, and we proudly serve the areas of Atlanta, Woodstock, Smyrna, and Kennesaw, Georgia.


Cruisers are known as one of the most stylish and powerful types of motorcycles on the road today. For many people, it’s a cruiser that comes to mind when they think of an awesome bike. Examples of cruisers in the Harley-Davidson® line include the Softail® line and the Sportster® line.


Style is a major part of cruiser design. These bikes are designed to be fast, loud, and fun. Some elements like ape hanger handlebars and back-leaning seats are designed for looks more than long-term comfort. These bikes are meant for people who like to show some attitude and don’t mind the deafening roar of the engine. They might have flashier paint jobs, more chrome, and dramatic rim designs. At the end of the day, a cruiser is all about turning heads and making a point.


When you crank the throttle on a cruiser, you want to feel the bike roar to life. While not every cruiser has a massive engine, many of the early cruisers were built using large, air-cooled V-Twin engines that provide explosive acceleration and a pavement-shredding top speed. Today, many Harley-Davidson® cruisers use the Milwaukee-Eight® engine, the newest in the line of powerful Harley® V-Twin engines.


Since showing your personal style is such a major part of cruiser culture, it’s no surprise that customization is a major element, too. In the old days, customizers would take the cutting wheel and welding torch to their cruisers to add or subtract elements as they saw fit. This was, in part, how cruisers, bobbers, and choppers came about: enthusiastic owners making their bikes fit their personal visions for what the bikes should be. Today, Harley-Davidson® makes it even easier to customize thanks to a broad selection of upgrade parts available for their full line of bikes.

Touring Bikes

Touring bikes are built with a practical purpose in mind: long distance riding. If you’re going to be spending hours at a time on your bike, you’ll want features that make it easier and more comfortable.

Cargo Space

Longer trips require more gear, and carrying more gear requires some specific engineering and design. Touring bikes often have some combination of cargo boxes, saddlebags, top-side boxes, and other features designed to carry cargo. Often, accounting for this extra weight requires beefing up the suspension and the frame.


While cruisers aren’t always known for being the most comfortable to ride, touring bikes often are designed using more ergonomic features. For example, a windshield and fairing help to reduce the amount of wind force that hits a rider’s torso, and that helps to reduce riding fatigue. Many touring bikes also have ergonomically designed seats that help to cushion the spine. The entire riding posture on a touring bike is often different than many cruisers.


Having some company on your trip helps to make the road a little less lonely, and some touring bikes offer two-up seating. Generally speaking, touring bikes are only able to accomplish this if they have a more sturdy frame and stronger suspension because adding the weight of an entire person to the back of the bike can really mess with the riding dynamics. If you’re going to be riding long distances, having an extra person can really make the trip better.

Hopefully, this short guide has illuminated some of the differences between touring bikes and cruisers. For more information, stop by Hellbender Harley-Davidson® in Marietta, Georgia. We proudly serve the areas of Atlanta, Woodstock, Smyrna, and Kennesaw, Georgia.

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