As I twist the throttle and lean into the curve, the brisk October wind slings a basketful of brightly colored Autumn leaves across the highway ahead of me. Colors so vibrant my nose sniffs the air searching for what my brain insists should be a host of complimentary fragrances.
With the speedometer reading 85 mph, I should be concentrating on the highway but instead I’m wishing I’d had the foresight to have a photographer stationed to catch that moment. In my mind I’m daydreaming about the missed photo.
This all black Suzuki surrounded by a swirling riot of orange, red and yellow. Such a photo would be shared by thousands on social media sites and bestowed with awards and honors. I would, by association, become an instant celebrity.
But, without a photographer, the only accolades occur in my imagination. But, at least I’m riding, so it’s still a good day at work. Today is one of those days when the job is so enjoyable it shouldn’t be considered work.
More After the Video
I’m tearing down a sparsely traveled two lane country road on a 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C 90 T BOSS. The T designates the “touring” and the BOSS stands for “Blacked Out Suzuki Special.” A few hours earlier as I was picking up the bike from Statesboro Suzuki/Polaris, owner Mike Wallace told me he’d had the opportunity to put a few hundred miles on a BOSS earlier in the year and was confident I’d enjoy my time on this bike.
The C90T BOSS is new for ‘13 and (since the C109RT has been discontinued) is Suzuki’s largest “Boulevard” cruiser.
And it’s black. Not just the paint, but just about everywhere. From the paint, to the matte black forks, wheels, exhaust, frame and suspension. Pretty much everything they could black out, they did, leaving just enough chrome for contrast.
Other manufacturers have “blacked out” models but none do it any better than the BOSS. Our measure of how good a bike looks is by how much attention it receives when we ride it. The BOSS received a number of thumbs up, and more than a few head turns at stop lights and more than its fair share of female admirers. Of course, some of that attention could have been for the operator and not the bike.
The squat aggressive stance on the C90T is achieved by a 65.9 inch wheelbase (100 inches overall) and a 28.3 inch seat height. It’s a beefy bike, weighing in at 800 lbs, but drop the hydraulically assisted clutch too fast in first gear and you’ll find the 1,462 cc power-plant has enough oomph to lift the front wheel off the ground high enough for you to pucker up the seat.
Twist the throttle and the BOSS shows it’s sportbike DNA. Sharing the same throttle bodies as the Suzuki Gixxers, the engine pulls away so strong you might forget you’re on a cruiser, if not for the seat position.
In our tests (closed course professional rider) we hit the rev limiter at 80 in first gear, 95 in second and over the triple digit mark in third. We maxxed out at 107 mph.
But here’s where we have to bring up the biggest knock on the BOSS. The brakes are squishy. With a single disc in the front and rear, this bike begs for better brakes, ABS or at least as good as those on discontinued C109 which sported linked 2 piston front and three piston rear.
Although The BOSS has all the trappings of a serious tourer, including a large windscreen, in reality the bike isn’t one I’d choose for the coast to coast epic rides. For one, there’s no cruise control or heated grips and the hard plastic saddle bags are too small for anything farther than an overnight jaunt. To increase the baggage capacity you’ll spend $800 for the add on pillion backrest and luggage rack, and then you can add a Kuryakyn tour pack.
Suzuki gets high marks in the comfort department. The seat and pegs set the rider in a natural and comfortable position for long haul days. Suzuki says they designed the seat to allow the rider to shift positions as necessary to eliminate pressure points on long trips. During our longest ride of 5 hours, we found the truth in that. The roomy floorboards also gave us plenty of room to reduce fatigue and adjust our feet for comfort. However, we were not a big fan of the heel/toe shifter, but that’s not a knock on the BOSS, we don’t care for them on any bike we ride.
Our passenger gave rave reviews for the pillion seat comfort as well, although she wasn’t too happy about the passenger pegs. As a female with a short inseam, she found it difficult to swing a leg over the bike to mount due to the width of the bike, and had to resort to placing her left foot on the peg and swinging her right leg over the back of the bike. Adding a backrest would make this maneuver all but impossible, forcing the passenger to mount up before the operator.
Kudos to Suzuki for their LCD gear display which shows the operator which gear the bike is in, even if the clutch is pulled in. Harley and Victory both should copy this bit of engineering as theirs only shows when the clutch is out, rendering it useless at stop signs and red lights, exactly the places where it would be the most useful.
The position of the analog speedometer could be improved as it’s located on the tank, far enough down so there’s no way to see it while wearing a full face helmet without taking your eyes off the road. Since most cruiser riders don’t wear full face helmets, we can certainly understand why Suzuki considers this a minor annoyance.
We wound up spending a week on the BOSS and putting close to 500 miles during our test. We found it to be a good looking, dependable, and powerful touring cruiser for that long day trip or weekend jaunt. Throw on the optional pillion backrest and luggage rack, score a bag from Kuryakyn, and you’ll have a decent mid-level touring bike for slightly longer cruises. Priced at $13,999, the BOSS is a great bike for a spouse who’s significant other has a big touring bike to carry the gear or the person who wants to ride 3 or 4 hours at a time and who mostly logs overnight or weekend trips.
But, I’m not thinking about any of that right now. I’m tearing up the back roads around South Georgia and hunting the perfect spot for a photograph.