Sport Bikes versus Cruiser Bikes : Which one to choose?

Bikes are the toys of big boys, and yes some girls too. As we get into teenage, we tend to get fascinated with the adventure, speed, and freedom that a bike provides and represents. And this love affair stays with most of us even when we grow old.

However, there are various categories of bikes out there and we often prefer one over the other due to various reasons. The four major categories of bikes based on their body structure are:

  • Sports bikes
  • Cruiser bikes (Tourer bikes also fall in this category.)
  • Dirt bikes – they are kind of sports bikes only, but for off-road purposes.
  • Street bikes / Commuter bikes / Standard bikes - Normal road bikes for daily commute. (Naked bikes are also a kind of Street bikes, though their look is sportier.)

In this article, we are not going to talk about normal utility road bikes that many people use in day-to-day life, or dirt bikes or scooters. We will focus more on the luxury bikes in Sports and Cruiser categories.

Table of Contents
  • Differences between Sports and Cruiser motorbikes
  • Leading brands in Sports and Cruiser bikes

Differences between Sports and Cruiser motorbikes

There are some very obvious differences between the two. Let’s list down a few of them.

Speed versus Cruise

Well, the name says it all.

Sports bikes are made for speed, the rush of driving. Hence, they are faster than cruiser bikes and the driver sits in a more forward-leaning position on them.

While cruisers are meant more for long distance travelling comfort. Hence, the driving posture here is more laid-back and comfortable. With higher end models of cruiser bikes, we also get a lot of storage space that allows us to take along essential basic stuff with us. Ideal for camping and tours.

Though you will get more power, pick-up and performance in Sports bikes, but you will not get the kind of comfort that a Cruiser bike can provide.


When we say that sports bikes have more power than cruiser bikes, we are talking in rough relative terms. If you go for higher end cruiser bikes, you can get more than enough horse power to put to shame even some sports bikes.

Target Audience

Though all bikes are for everyone. But it has been seen that often young guys prefer Sports bikes, while Cruiser bikes are chosen by men as their 2nd or 3rd bike, i.e. once they are over dirt and sports bikes.

The companies know this and they target their audience accordingly. Just have a look at their ads. You will get the idea.

Other minor differences

There are some other finer differences between sports bikes and cruiser bikes that are pretty easy to notice:

  • Cruiser bikes generally have foot forward riding pegs. While in sports bikes we keep our feet right underneath our body.
  • The driver seat height is low in cruiser bikes. So, if you are not a very tall person, cruiser bikes will be much more comfortable for you to handle. If you are a tall person, you may have to adjust the seat of your cruiser to ride comfortably.
  • The distance between front and rear wheels is a bit more in case of cruiser bikes. The long length of the bike makes sure that you are not going to rip the front wheel off the ground, even if you rev the bike full throttle. This is not the case with sports bikes – which may be a good thing if you are into adventure riding, or a very bad thing if you do it accidently.
  • The tyres of cruiser bikes are relatively wider. This makes it harder to turn the bike along the curves, but cruiser bikes are not meant to be ridden in zig-zags anyways. Cruising is more of a straight-line affair.
  • Sports bikes are often made to maximize their speed. So, you will often find sports bikes to be made of super light material. In contrast, most of the cruisers are pretty heavy.
  • The sound that cruiser bikes make is very different than the sound of a sports bike. In fact, cruiser bike enthusiasts often install specific exhausts of their choice to their cruisers just to get the sound of their choice, e.g. Screaming Eagle, Vance and Hines, etc. This is not that big a deal with sports bikes enthusiasts.
  • Suspension in case of sports bikes will be a bit (or lot) better than that in cruisers.

Leading brands in Sports and Cruiser bikes

Here are some of the leading brands in Cruiser bikes:

  • Harley Davidson (American brand)
  • Indian (American brand)
  • Triumph (British brand)
  • Ducati (Italian brand)
  • Royal Enfield (Indian brand)
  • Jawa (Indian brand)

Here are some of the leading brands in Sports bikes:

  • BMW (German brand)
  • Benelli (Italian brand)
  • Ducati (Italian brand)
  • Suzuki (Japanese brand)
  • Yamaha (Japanese brand)
  • Kawasaki (Japanese brand)

Winding Up

We hope you must have developed a very clear idea of the similarities and differences between Sports and Cruiser bikes. There are many factors that you may keep in mind while making the choice.

However, my opinion is that when it comes to bikes, we must listen to our heart too. Bikes, especially those in the luxury-lifestyle category, are more of a personality statement. We drive them because we absolutely love them – the feel we get when we are riding on them.

No matter which one you choose, there’s one thing we can promise – it’s going to be a ton of fun!


I used to like Sports bikes in my teenage. They represented speed, risk, freedom, and rebel attitude inside me.

But as I have entered in my 30s, I have started leaning more towards the cruisers. They just seem more grounded and loyal – almost making a power statement.

I am kind of a sucker for the sound of the V-twin engine of Harley-Davidson bikes. I know there may be many better bikes in the market, but no other bike makes me feel the way a Harley does when it revs.

So, your preferences may also change with time. Just keep that in mind. It’s not as if you either have to be a Republican or a Democrat. Here, you can be both and appreciate the best of both the worlds!

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