C50 Boulevard put through the paces
November 30th, 2004 - By, Neale Bayly
As the early morning sun bursts through the valley, the fir trees a vibrant green against a cloudless blue sky, some of the mountains seem cold and dark in shadow, contrasting sharply to the sun bathed slopes. Remnants of last nightís frost linger on the ground, rooftops steam, and each crisp breath of air brings a positive energy for the day ahead. I am attending the Suzuki Cycle Fest at Copper Mountain, Colorado, and waiting for me, a shiny new Suzuki C50 Boulevard is full of fuel and ready to ride. All I have to do is decide where to take it.
Lady luck steps in, as seems to happen so often during motorcycle adventures, and a chance coffee stop sees me in the company of world famous motorcycle adventurer Dr. Gregory Frazier. Having never met the iconic travel writer before, it is a motorcycle career highlight as he gives me some advice on where to ride for the day as Aspen is only a few hours ride over Independence Pass.
Thatís if I get my finger out and get riding. So, with an invite to a steak dinner in Denver later that evening, I climb on board Suzukiís new 800cc cruiser and roll up highway 24. A route that will take me through the historic town of Leadville, before US 82 leads me into Aspen.
New for í05, the Boulevard is not really that new, as itís basically a re-badge of last yearís popular Volusia. I have to confess this was a model that slipped by me completely, and a little research was needed to bring me up to speed here. I am extremely familiar with Suzukiís Intruder line, and sold plenty of the 700/750/800 range while working in the retail end of the motorcycle industry. Fast, attractive and reliable, used Intruders never sat on the floor long.
For í01 the Intruder got a serious face-lift to become the Volusia, with some mechanical changes to boot. Where the Intruderís headers exited on either side of the bike, style dictated the Volusiaís both exit from the right-hand-side of the bike. To facilitate this, the rear cylinder head was reversed, and a single carburetor employed in place of the Intruderís dual set up.
Suzuki then introduced the Marauder, but that has also gone the way of the Volusia with the introduction of the Boulevard line. As a move that has seen much rhetoric, both positive and negative, Suzuki has now brought all their cruisers under one banner with a new system to classify all the different models. It all gets a little lengthy, so lets just deal with the C for cruiser, 50 for fifty cubic inches, and that explains the bike on test here.
What is new for this year is the fuel injection, and starting my ride somewhere around 10,000 feet above sea level, any problems it may have arenít going to take long to surface. Hitting the starter button, the bike bursts immediately to life, quickly settling into a smooth idle. Pulling away is a breeze, and within minutes the C50 is pulling strongly up a steep mountain pass as we leave Copper Mountain behind: Strongly for a bike that only displaces 805cc, without taking into account any power loss the altitude is most certainly causing.
The air is fresh through the vents in my jacket and in the distance, up above the tree line, muscular shouldered mountain peaks dominate the view. Standing proudly against their sharp blue backdrop, they are more perfectly isolated than a subject in a studio photograph. Sunbursts reflect off the chrome as the road flicks left and right, climbing, twisting and falling, the Boulevard making the perfect viewing platform for the constantly changing panorama unfolding before me.
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