If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Harley-Davidson has a lot to blush about. Harley motorcycles unarguably serve as the icon for the form of motorcycle known as a cruiser.
For decades other motorcycle manufacturers have glommed onto the cruiser theme. Some brands unabashedly produce models that look as much like a Harley as possible – Harley clones – without getting into legal hot water, while others just strafe the notion of a cruiser simply by creating a machine with the general look and feel of a cruiser: a neutral if not relaxed riding position and some chrome in just the right amount.
When we contemplated the fact that Harley has inspired so many other brands to interpret the cruiser form, we thought we'd conduct a cruiser comparison review that's something of an experiment.
Using a Harley-Davidson as the standard, we selected a sampling of brands from around the globe where motorcycle manufacturing has a solid history. We picked models that embody not only the spirit of motorcycles coming out those regions of the world, but also what we think these manufacturers envision as a cruiser.
More: 2011 World Cruiser Shootout [Video]