Think of a V-twin cruiser and you’ll no doubt have visions of a Harley-Davidson, an Indian or even one of the many Japanese models currently on the market – but one Belgian company is planning to get in on the act with a lightweight cruiser that will retail for £3799 when it goes on sale late next month.
Having launched its retro roadster styled Bluroc range earlier this year, Bullit Motorcycles is slotting the same modest Lifan built air cooled motor, with a five speed gearbox, into the V-Bob, complete with a belt final drive to give an authentic cruiser experience.
At 179kg, the V-Bob is lighter than most cruisers, but with just under 17bhp to haul it around, it’s unlikely to be a choice for those looking for a high performance machine. Instead, like all cruisers, it’s mainly about the look and, with that in mind, Bullit appear to have done a stand up job with the V-Bob.
As the reference brand for custom bikes, it’s hardly surprising to see some H-D inspired elements in the design, including the stacked twin silencers, headlight, two-piece saddle and air filter cover between the V of the cylinders. As the name suggests, the rear end has been gently ‘bobbed’ with a stripped back rear end and there are three colour options, black, grey or red, all offset with plenty of blacked out metal work. Upside down forks give the V-Bob a more premium feel and, unusually, there’s what looks like a three-piston caliper front disc brake up front, combined with a large rear disc and the mandatory ABS system.
Commenting on the new model, Henry Maplethorpe, Bullit UK Brand Manager, said, “We are really excited to be welcoming the V-Bob to the already popular Bullit Motorcycles range. This is a completely new styling of machine for us and will help the brand to reach even more riders. We have focused on making the V-Bob as rideable as possible, which is why we have kept the weight low so that riders of all ages and stature can comfortably cruise around the city or countryside.”
Are small cruisers back in vogue?
Despite a few attempts from mainstream manufacturers, small capacity cruisers have never really taken off in the past.
From Yamaha’s Virago 250, to the Kawasaki Eliminator 250 and Suzuki’s 250cc version of the Intruder, small capacity custom bikes have never managed to make an impression on the sales charts.
Why that is remains something of a mystery. Perhaps it’s because the very nature of cruisers means that having a softly tuned, but torquey, motor gives them the characteristic that so many cruiser riders love. Small capacity engine can never achieve this torque, and even most big cc cruisers make less power than a mid-range roadster. And with a low seat and insurance ratings generally lower than comparatively priced sports bikes, cruisers between 500cc and 900cc have always been regarded as the entry level models.
Where the new Bullit may succeed is thanks to its price. At less than £4000, the Chinese built machine may well appeal to commuters looking for a budget bike with a bit of style away from the mundane.
Who the heck are Bullit Motorcycles?
Like Mash, Lexmoto, Herald and Mutt, Bullit are a European company selling rebadged and reengineered Chinese motorbikes.
Based in Belgium, Bullit take the utilitarian Chinese bikes and modify them to meet Euro tastes, and to improve build and reliability for the local market.
Bullit describe their wares as ‘classic, vintage’ motorcycles, inspired by the British café racers of the 1960s. Their range consists of 50cc mopeds, through to 125cc learner bikes and the 250cc V-twin utilised by the V-Bob and Bluroc models. The models are all retro styled and include roadsters, scramblers and a Honda DAX clone, called the Heritage, in 50cc and 125cc variants.