Suzuki Boulevard M109R LTD. vs. Victory Hammer S - Alternative Muscle

Heavy Hitters for those who don't care how it's done in Milwaukee

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Adam Campbell

Boulevard M109R | Price: $14,099
Hard Parts

It's exactly what you expect from the people who brought us the GSX-R1000: two cams, two spark plugs and four valves atop markedly oversquare cylinders. Staggered crankpins provide perfect primary balance, while a contra-rotating balance shaft between the crank and countershaft cancels remaining vibration. Dual-stage cam drive keeps head dimensions and engine height manageable. The shallow, semi-dry-sump--a.k.a. Suzuki Advanced Sump System--design sequesters 5 quarts of engine oil in the gearbox area to create a more compact package. A pair of 56mm dual-butterfly throttle bodies feeds the fire via instructions from the 32-bit ECU.

Essentially hidden behind a phalanx of sculpted plastic modesty panels, the 109's 44-pound steel-tube chassis carries the all-conquering 108.8-cubic-inch lump in six rubber mounts to soak up second-order vibration. The cast-aluminum swingarm incorporates shaft final-drive on the left. Spiral-spoke cast-aluminum wheels lack Victory's X-Factor elegance. The 8.5 x 18-inch rear wears a purpose-built 240mm Dunlop D221 Sportmax radial.

It only looks simple. Underneath all that chrome and plastic, the M109R is at least as complex as the average GSX-R. To wit, each cylinder's pair of spark plugs is controlled by a separate pair of maps. Both fire at the same time when you're cruising, but they're staggered to minimize emissions when you're hard on the gas. The engine's 32-bit CPU has a 256KB read-only memory.

There's a horizontally mounted Kayaba shock below the swingarm pivot, adjustable for spring preload only. The process is relatively painless compared to the Victory's knuckle-busting arrangement, but bring your own spanner because the tool kit doesn't include one. The 46mm Kayaba fork isn't adjustable at all. Firm? Yes: It's undersprung and overdamped at both ends. Still, the net result is more humane than the Hammer.

Tech Spec
Engine type: l-c 54-deg. V-twinRear brake: Single two-piston caliper, 275mm discCorrected 1/4-mile: 11.91 sec. @ 112.9 mph
Valve train: DOHC, 4vFront tire: 130/70-R18 Dunlop D221F SportmaxTop-gear roll-on: 3.8 sec.
Displacement: 1783ccRear tire: 240/40-R18 Dunlop D221 SportmaxFuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 41/33/37 mpg
Bore x stroke: 112.0 x 90.5mmRake/trail: 31.2 deg./4.9 in.Colors: White/blue
Compression: 10.5:1Seat height: 27.8 in.Availability: Now
Fuel system: EFIWheelbase: 67.3 in.Warranty: 12 mo./unlimited mi.
Clutch: Wet, multi-plateFuel capacity: 5.2 gal.Contact:
American Suzuki Motor Corp.
P.O. Box 1100
Brea, CA 92822
Transmission: 5-speedWeight (tank full/empty): 778/747 lbs.
Frame: Tubular-steel double-cradle with aluminum swingarmMeasured horsepower:106.8 bhp @ 6500 rpm
Front suspension: 46mm Kayaba inverted cartridge forkMeasured torque: 97.1 lb.-ft. @ 3250 rpm
Rear suspension: Single Kayaba shock, adjustable for spring preload
Front brake: Dual four-piston Tokico calipers, 310mm discs

Making marginally less torque than the Hammer across the board, the M109R hits noticeably harder above 4700 rpm, where the Victory is signing off.

The Boulevard presents roomier, better-balanced accommodations more suited to the L or XL set. A relatively flat bar lets you lean into the wind just enough to make freeway travel more tolerable as well.

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