Why Do Cruiser Commercials Avoid Turns?

Recently I’ve watched several commercials for some cruisers, including Harley’s new Road Glide, Indian’s all-new Scout, the new Victory Magnum and some older similar machines, and it suddenly struck me: why are pretty much all cruiser commercials avoid showing these bikes being ridden through turns?
I mean, turns are not missing completely from these commercials, but their presence is utterly brief. So brief that it can almost be ignored altogether, that is. To me, this casts a rather bad light on the cruiser segment, especially in the eyes of those who are no longer easily mesmerized by all the big words a copyrighter uses to help the bike sell better. Guys like me and a lot of guys like you, for whom the clichés of the motorcycling world no longer mean anything, or at least not something worth considering, are looking for something else: form and functionality, both blended in the concept of rideability.

Truth is that there are many cruiser riders who prefer a mellower pace, and for them being able to ride hard around a bend means nothing. Without any intention to sound demeaning, I do believe that there is more to motorcycling than trotting along the road and braking before every turn to avoid “the trouble of having to lean too much,” as an acquaintance of mine once said.

Obviously, I asked what “the trouble of having to lean too much” meant, and was flabbergasted by his answer. “You see,” the guy told me, “I am sort of afraid of falling over when leaning through a turn. I’m so much more comfortable with braking enough so that I don’t have to lean but few degrees. I know I am terribly slow and this is why nobody wants to ride in a group with me, but I am fine with this type of motorcycling, even though I dream of buying a trike one day.”

Well, I just could not argue with the fellow, and tell him that he had gotten everything wrong. Not that he should’ve jumped on an R1 and drag knees around the track, but simply learn how to actually ride. I tried to convince him to ride my old Transalp and slowly, carefully get used to leaning and riding properly, but he told me that he would never do such a thing. “Cruisers are my kind of bike, I can ride them slowly at my own pace, and getting a firm foothold is easy once stopped. I just like to roll, not to rock,” he added.

I had almost forgotten this discussion until now, but these commercials brought the subject back. Honestly, I believe that such videos are not exactly doing riders and builders a favor. They perpetuate a type of riding which has in fact too little in common with any real-life riding scenario. Even if you’re a rich “Sunday rider” and would only get on your bike when the weather is perfect to ride straight roads, you’d still have to deal with multiple bends… in case you don’t own your own Pan American highway or something like it. Or maybe you’ll be trailering your machine until you reach the perfect road for you, but then you’re just a sad moron and not exactly a motorcyclist.

These stereotypes perpetuate stereotypes which then apply to real riders. Myself, I happen to witness a rather disturbing and sad encounter between a sport bike rider (Gixxer or no Gixxer, that particular guy was an idiot, anyway) and another sport bike rider who just happened to ride a big fat cruiser. The one riding the superbike had a very unpleasant, condescending tone, obviously mistaking the other guy for a poor, no-good rider, which wasn’t at all the case.

The latter, being smarter than the city hero, preferred to elegantly excuse himself and leave, while I asked the Gixxer idiot why was he so arrogant. Needless to say, he didn’t believe me when I told him that the guy he had just insulted was times the rider we both combined were, and tried to defend himself by saying that all the cruiser riders he had met were a bunch of posers who could not ride. “Well,” I told him, “it looks like not all men MUST ride a sports bike, do they? As for being a poser, you’ve just made one out of yourself, believing that the bike you ride makes you a better rider. And you’re an a**hole, too.”

In my book, cruiser manufacturers would make a wiser decision to hire some better guys to ride their machines while shooting these commercials, showing off that these bikes can do more than haul a fat rider in a straight line while some “classic, heritage, style, American” and whatnot voice-over blabber plagues the video.

No matter how classic and full of bling these bikes may be, seeing them in proper riding action would definitely look thousand-fold better than beating around the bush. And maybe riders like my buddy would also find some extra self-confidence, seeing that riding through turns properly is not a taboo… Peace!

PS: Turns are all there is to biking, especially because you can be faster than most cars, mark my words.
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