Like a true motorcyclist I prefer riding in the summer, and like a typical motorcyclist when Fall rolls around I tell myself I prefer this season. The changing leaves ad to your favorite road’s beauty, and crisp air means you can ride with all your gear strapped on without overheating. So, when Suzuki phoned me up asking if I would like to sample the 2014 Boulevard C50T I disregarded the cooler weather forecasted for the next few days and headed to a dealership to pick-up the cruiser.
In the North American market Suzuki has been fairly dormant, begrudgingly refreshing models slightly when they absolutely have to and, launching uninspiring models from time-to-time. The TU250 micro bike was their most recent entry-level offering, a GSX-R with uniquely coloured plastics was how they celebrated the 1 millionth GSX-R produced last year and for 2013 the Boulevard C90T was the most exiting thing to come from the Japanese brand. Although any of the three models previously mentioned would be of more relevance the C50T was one of the few models not tied-up with the demo fleet out traveling from Suzuki dealer to Suzuki dealer from one side of the country to the other.
The Boulevard C50 trim levels are positions with the C50 as the base offering priced at a very competitive $8,899 offered only in black, then for an additional $1,500 you can step-up to the C50SE which also comes only in black but is nicely dressed with a windscreen, passenger back rest and saddle bags. The top dog is the C50T that has a sticker price of $10,499 and is decorated with trinkets, but I’ll get to that later. For the C50T the only refresh from last year is two new colour options; a muted white and light grey, or a black and rich red. Thankfully I had the latter two-toned paint option which enhances the steed’s curb appeal. Lifting a leg over the C50T is easy as its modest 27.6 in. seat height will accommodate all but the most vertically challenged. Poking the starter button wakens the 805cc (49.1 cu in) 45 degree V-twin and a short blip of the throttle provides a deep, but inoffensive, rumble from the dual chrome exhaust pipes.
Heading South on Young Street (Highway 1) I familiarize myself with the bike and curse myself for leaving the much warmer gauntlet-style gloves at home in these single-digit temperatures. I like riding in the Fall. I like riding in the Fall. Merging onto the 407 I crack the throttle and the response is impressive, the mills power isn’t astounding but torque seems to be readily available at any rpm above 1,000 regardless of the gear selected. Moving at a pace right around the posted speed limit I click the C50T’s 5 speed transmission into its top gear and find it geared much taller than any of the previous ratios, which drops the rpms and gives me a chance to relax and really enjoy the ride.
Now moving South on the 400 I nab a few sections of uneven blacktop and the Boulevard’s supple suspension smoothes the impact with ease. Early afternoon finds the 401 West-bound transition void of any collisions allowing me the chance to continue enjoying the bike’s soft but supportive saddle. Somewhere West of Milton the fuel light came on and a quick stop gave me a chance to warm my hands and fill the C50T’s 15.5L fuel tank. Once full the bike feels considerably more top heavy, but wide bars make its 651lbs mass easily maneuverable. If you don’t need touring comforts, and prefer something lighter, check out the Boulevard S40 instead.
Just like the C50SE the C50T comes equipped with a height-adjustable windscreen, which proved useful as a light rain began. On it’s lowest position my visor stayed dry but wind buffeted my head considerable – which was thankfully cured by raising the screen to its top position. Having proved it’s highway capabilities I pointed the bike for smaller country roads once I reach London Ontario.
Stopping for coffee I found a seat by the shop’s big front windows so I could better admire my mount. When deciding between the C50SE and C50T the option is purely based on visual cues. Most importantly if you’d like a bike in something other than black you’ll have to go with the T, but paying the extra $100 also get’s you white-wall rubber, two-tone livery with a gold stripe where the two colours meet, and large chrome studs running along the perimeter of your seat continuing on the saddle bags and running along the backrest of the pillion seat. All three versions of the C50 are equipped with a single front disc, rear drum brake, dual staggered pipes and identical fuel-injected air-cooled power plants. Each also comes with the same shaft final drive which is smooth and provides many miles of maintenance-free riding.
As the feeling began to creep back into my finger tips I decided that the styling of the C50T was spot-on with its swept-back front fender, fancy paint and bits of chrome scattered over it’s leather and bodywork. I’ve always had a soft-spot for spoked wheels and the C50T’s fit the bill to a … T, and certain years the C50 came equipped with white wall tires.
Cheesy humour aside the bike is a blast, and the included saddle bags swallow a week’s worth of groceries with ease. It’s also an easy motorcycle do service yourself, with easy engine oil changes and easy shaft drive fluid changes.
Although the leather bags aren’t water proof I found that condensation only built within them during the heaviest of downpours, and the bags sturdy buckles gave me piece-of-mind that any load within was secure. At its price-point the C50T does have competition from fellow Japanese brands, but with adequate power, good looks and great value this would be the cruiser I’d pick for those crisp Fall rides. And I’d bet the Suzuki would be that much more enjoyable on lazy summer rides as well.