Cruisers are styled after American machines from the 1930s to the early 1960s, such as those made by Harley-Davidson, Indian, and Excelsior-Henderson. Harley-Davidson largely defined the cruiser category, and large-displacement V-twin engines are the norm, although other engine configurations and small to medium displacements also exist. Their engines are tuned for low-end torque, making them less demanding to ride because it is not necessary to shift as frequently to accelerate or maintain control.
The riding position places the feet forward and the hands are up relatively high, so that the spine is erect or leaning back slightly. At low to moderate speeds, cruisers are more comfortable than other styles, but riding for long periods at freeway speeds can lead to fatigue from pulling back on the handlebars to resist the force of the wind against the rider's chest. Cruisers have limited cornering ability due to a lack of ground clearance.
Choppers are a type of cruiser. They are usually custom projects that result in a bike modified to suit the owner's ideals, and, as such, are a source of pride and accomplishment. Cruisers are designed primarily for visual effect, choppers will not usually be the most efficient riding machines.
The bobber, is another cruiser variation which is created by "bobbing" a factory bike by removing dead weight and bodywork from a motorcycle to reduce mass and increase performance. A common element of these motorcycles is a shortened rear fender that creates a "bobbed" look.
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