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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S.

A blacked-out touring bike without all the "bigness"

By Donya Carlson; Photos by Brian J. Nelson
5/4/2013

Black is all the rage these days in custom motorcycling—gloss black, matte black, and every shade of black in between. Now Suzuki is getting in on the action with its new touring-equipped 2013 Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S.

Donya Carlson test rides the 2013 Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S. against the picturesque backdrop of the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. The B.O.S.S. is one of 47 new models released for 2013 by Suzuki.
Donya Carlson test rides the 2013 Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S. against the picturesque backdrop of the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. The B.O.S.S. is one of 47 new models released for 2013 by Suzuki.

In 2009 Suzuki discontinued the C90, a 1462cc V-twin (and previous VL1500 Intruder), due to emissions control, leaving a gap between the company's middleweight 800cc cruisers and large 1800cc cruisers. The new C90T B.O.S.S.—which stands for "Blacked Out Special Suzuki"—fills that gap. As its name implies, the B.O.S.S. is a blacked-out version of the new Boulevard C90T, a 54-degree, liquid-cooled, SOHC, four-valve-per-cylinder V-twin that’s offered in two color choices. Despite the name difference, the only difference between the Boulevard C90T and Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S. is the coloring.

WRN Editor Genevieve Schmitt on the 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S. While Genevieve's 5-foot-7-inch frame could handle the big cruiser just fine, she noted that, because of its heft, this touring Boulevard is best suited to riders at least 5-foot-6 who want a motorcycle outfitted for touring without all the "largeness" of a full-faired bagger.
WRN Editor Genevieve Schmitt on the 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S. While Genevieve's 5-foot-7-inch frame could handle the big cruiser just fine, she noted that, because of its heft, this touring Boulevard is best suited to riders at least 5-foot-6 who want a motorcycle outfitted for touring without all the "largeness" of a full-faired bagger.

While the B.O.S.S might ooze “badness,” it’s all about being good to its rider, starting with a light clutch pull thanks to the Suzuki Clutch Assist System (SCAS), which reduces the force needed to pull in the lever. Shifting is smooth through the five-speed transmission, and footboards and a heel-toe shifter give options for foot placement and shifting.  

Thanks to the bike's low center of gravity and narrow nose on the seat, its 28.3-inch seat height is manageable. Tall riders like Donya, who's 5-foot-10, will have more than enough leg to maneuver the hefty cruiser around.
Thanks to the bike's low center of gravity and narrow nose on the seat, its 28.3-inch seat height is manageable. Tall riders like Donya, who's 5-foot-10, will have more than enough leg to maneuver the hefty cruiser around.

The well-padded seat offers lots of room to move around and will accommodate a variety of bums. The wide seat tapers off at its nose to make reaching the ground easier for riders with shorter inseams.
The well-padded seat offers lots of room to move around and will accommodate a variety of bums. The wide seat tapers off at its nose to make reaching the ground easier for riders with shorter inseams.

For cost savings, Suzuki borrowed parts from its M90 muscle cruiser and improved on creature comforts. The C90T shares the same steel-tube frame, engine, transmission and cooling system as the M90 but engineers took the muscle cruiser’s wide, pulled-back handlebar and positioned it closer to the rider for more relaxed ergonomics. 

The riding position of the C90T B.O.S.S. is well suited to Donya.  Donya is wearing <a href="http://www.womenridersnow.com/pages/Product_Review_Alpinestars_Stella_T_Fuel_Waterproof_Jacket_and_Tyla_Glove.aspx">the Stella T-Fuel Waterproof Jacket from Alpinestars</a>, Scorpion ExoWear Women's Empire Pants, and 
<a href="http://www.womenridersnow.com/pages/PRODUCT_REVIEW_Waterproof_Riding_Boot_from_Harley_Davidson.aspx">Hennie waterproof boots from Harley-Davidson</a>.
The riding position of the C90T B.O.S.S. is well suited to Donya. Donya is wearing the Stella T-Fuel Waterproof Jacket from Alpinestars, Scorpion ExoWear Women's Empire Pants, and Hennie waterproof boots from Harley-Davidson.

Shifting on the fuel-injected C90T is smooth and power is instantly available, even in fifth gear. Genevieve mentioned she was concerned that top end power would be limited with the transmission only having five gears, but there’s a lot of range in each gear and in fifth gear at 85 mph the bike rides really smoothly. 

With 77.8 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and 96.6 ft-lb torque at 2,600,  the C90T B.O.S.S. has the most powerful engine in its class of touring cruisers, according to Suzuki.
With 77.8 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and 96.6 ft-lb torque at 2,600, the C90T B.O.S.S. has the most powerful engine in its class of touring cruisers, according to Suzuki.

Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) ensures strong torque and smooth throttle response and is the same design as the one used on the company’s GSX-R sportbike line. Fuel tank holds a generous 4.8 gallons with a recommended octane of 87.

The analog speedometer is the most prominent feature on the tank-mounted gauge. The comprehensive instruments also include a large digital gear-position indicator, a clock, a fuel gauge, a low-fuel indicator, an odometer, and two tripmeters. At night, the gold gauges are easy to read, though the five fuel bars are black and difficult to see.
The analog speedometer is the most prominent feature on the tank-mounted gauge. The comprehensive instruments also include a large digital gear-position indicator, a clock, a fuel gauge, a low-fuel indicator, an odometer, and two tripmeters. At night, the gold gauges are easy to read, though the five fuel bars are black and difficult to see.

The helmet lock is sandwiched between the saddlebag and two-piece seat, and it takes finesse to get a helmet’s D-rings looped through it. To make the process easier, Suzuki provides a 7-inch cable that can be looped through the D-rings on a helmet or jacket.
The helmet lock is sandwiched between the saddlebag and two-piece seat, and it takes finesse to get a helmet’s D-rings looped through it. To make the process easier, Suzuki provides a 7-inch cable that can be looped through the D-rings on a helmet or jacket.

At 800 pounds fully fueled, a few riders pointed out that it took some muscle to lift the B.O.S.S. off its sidestand. Despite the weight, I had no problem making slow-speed turns on the bike, partly due to its low center of gravity.

The bike's abundant low-end torque was apparent while adhering to the strictly enforced 25-mph speed limit on Valley of Fire Road.
The bike's abundant low-end torque was apparent while adhering to the strictly enforced 25-mph speed limit on Valley of Fire Road.

The dual slash-cut muffler in matte black emits a commanding rumble that had other scenery admirers smiling, not covering their ears, as our group passed by. The counterbalanced twin has an impressively smooth engine and I felt only minimal vibration, enough to remind me I'm on a V-twin cruiser. 

While some B.O.S.S. parts have been borrowed from existing Suzuki models, the windshield was designed specifically for the new touring-equipped Boulevard to provide plenty of wind protection.

The big windshield (like the saddlebags, is specifically made for the C90T) is designed well to keep windblast at bay while riding down the highway and helmet buffeting at a minimum. At highway speeds I felt some air come up from below the windshield and travel upward inside my full-face helmet.

Genevieve, who is three inches shorter than Donya, said the large windshield did a decent job of deflecting wind around her but fell right in her line of sight, as you can see in this photo.(Click to enlarge.) She’d like a shorter or taller windshield, but none are currently available from Suzuki. Taller riders should be able to look over the stock shield height.
Genevieve, who is three inches shorter than Donya, said the large windshield did a decent job of deflecting wind around her but fell right in her line of sight, as you can see in this photo.(Click to enlarge.) She’d like a shorter or taller windshield, but none are currently available from Suzuki. Taller riders should be able to look over the stock shield height.

Derek Schoeberle, Suzuki’s media relations manager, easily looks over the stock windshield of the C90T B.O.S.S. Derek is 6-foot-4.
Derek Schoeberle, Suzuki’s media relations manager, easily looks over the stock windshield of the C90T B.O.S.S. Derek is 6-foot-4.

The nonadjustable link-type rear shock with 4.3 inches travel is tucked up under the bike so it's hidden, giving the C90T the look of a hard tail. The thick, 45mm telescopic fork with 5.1 inches travel is blacked out. Our test ride was a relaxed one on mostly well-maintained two-lane roads and highway, with the suspension doing an admirable job soaking up road imperfections and the usual bumps. 

Behind-the-Scenes Action on Our Test Ride 
While Donya, Genevieve and the other journalists on the test ride enjoyed a picnic lunch among the red sandstone formations of Valley of Fire State Park, photographer Brian J. Nelson made sure the group had plenty of pictures of the C90T B.O.S.S.
While Donya, Genevieve and the other journalists on the test ride enjoyed a picnic lunch among the red sandstone formations of Valley of Fire State Park, photographer Brian J. Nelson made sure the group had plenty of pictures of the C90T B.O.S.S.

Genevieve picks up the slack, making sure she gets all the right shots for this review on WRN.
Genevieve picks up the slack, making sure she gets all the right shots for this review on WRN.

Bridgestone tires (130/80-17 front, 200/60-16 rear) are mounted on custom-styled seven-spoke cast-aluminum wheels. Disc brakes front and rear stop the bike quickly, plus a large foot pedal provides good leverage for braking. 

Lockable, top-loading integrated saddlebags open outward, making it possible to reach into the bags while astride the bike (fabulous!), but you’ll need the ignition key to get into them. The bags weren’t slapped on as an afterthought—they were designed in-house specifically for this cruiser tourer. 

Sturdy, lockable saddlebags have been designed specifically for the C90T B.O.S.S., with wide openings that allow you to easily see and retrieve contents.
Sturdy, lockable saddlebags have been designed specifically for the C90T B.O.S.S., with wide openings that allow you to easily see and retrieve contents.

The saddlebags are made of impact-resistant ABS plastic under covers that are custom-matched to the seats and designed to keep water out. Their specially designed shape keeps them from interfering with the passenger's feet.
The saddlebags are made of impact-resistant ABS plastic under covers that are custom-matched to the seats and designed to keep water out. Their specially designed shape keeps them from interfering with the passenger's feet.

A protection bumper under the left 26-liter saddlebag helps to minimize damage should the bike tip over. The right saddlebag holds 1.5 liters less to make room for the exhaust. The only downside is that the bags could be roomier. Neither bag can hold a full-face helmet. 

With a 200-series rear tire and functional color-matched saddlebags, the B.O.S.S. is wide—39 inches in width, to be exact.
With a 200-series rear tire and functional color-matched saddlebags, the B.O.S.S. is wide—39 inches in width, to be exact.

When we returned to our bikes after a short jaunt to see Hoover Dam, a group of people who’d been admiring our B.O.S.S. motorcycles joined their hands together to form a bridge that we riders walked under to get to the bikes! How’s that for a motorcycle attracting good attention? Welcome back into the 1500cc cruiser class, Suzuki!

The C90T B.O.S.S. is all blacked out and ready to take you on a long-distance adventure, retailing for $13,999 in Gloss Sparkle Black. If you’re not into the dark-as-night look, the C90T also comes in Candy Sonoma Red/Glass Sparkle Black and Solid Special White/Solid Iron Gray (price TBA). The 2014 C90, without windshield and saddlebags, will be available in April in Candy Indy Blue (price TBA).
The C90T B.O.S.S. is all blacked out and ready to take you on a long-distance adventure, retailing for $13,999 in Gloss Sparkle Black. If you’re not into the dark-as-night look, the C90T also comes in Candy Sonoma Red/Glass Sparkle Black and Solid Special White/Solid Iron Gray (price TBA). The 2014 C90, without windshield and saddlebags, will be available in April in Candy Indy Blue (price TBA).

Specs At A Glance: 2013 Suzuki C90T B.O.S.S.
Displacement: 1462cc
Seat Height: 28.3 inches
Weight: 800 pounds
Price: $13,999 (C90T B.O.S.S.); Price TBA for C90T; Price TBA for 2014 C90 available in April 2013
Colors: Glass Sparkle Black; C90T Colors: Candy Sonoma Red/Glass Sparkle Black; Solid Special White/Solid Iron Gray

WRN Recommendation
The 2013 C90T Boulevard B.O.S.S. and the non-black versions of the C90T Boulevard are ideal touring cruisers for riders who don’t care for the large dressers—or baggers, as they are often referred to—that come with rear tour packs and/or fairings. The C90T does a great job at offering the power and speed needed for all-day cruising, and it's also quite comfortable. Experienced riders looking to trade up to a “power cruiser/tourer” should consider the C90T. It’s a lot of motorcycle for the money.

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