Long and low, black as night and trimmed with just enough chrome to entertain the eye, Suzuki’s 2013 Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S. (Blacked Out Suzuki Special) cuts a figure worthy of favorable commentary, or so was my experience after spending a month with this machine. But a spiffy black suit isn’t enough for most riders, so the B.O.S.S. backs up its night-rider look with spirited performance, cruising comfort and convenient storage for in-town errands or out-of-state wandering. And, in spite of the classic look, there’s plenty of tech onboard to keep things hopping.
Beneath the Dark Lord livery, the B.O.S.S. shares a host of running gear with its M90 stable mate: tubular-steel frame, fuel-injected V-twin, 5-speed transmission and shaft final drive. The pistons carry chrome-nitride coated oil and upper compression rings through the electro-coated cylinders, all in the name of slaying friction, encouraging heat transfer and maximizing horsepower. Three independent airboxes feed the Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) borrowed from the GSX-R sportbike line. Managing the mixture is a 32-bit engine control unit that ensures the correct air/fuel ratio for every throttle setting.
Suzuki claims the B.O.S.S. squeezes out a skosh more power than the M90, with an earlier and higher torque peak–93.3 lb-ft at 2,800 rpm. The power curves run closer, with the C90T on top until its slightly lower peak of 81.8 horsepower at 4,800 rpm. On the road, the big vee makes a nice chudda-chudda-chudda at low rpm, but as the revs climb it launches into a satisfying rush of power where the vibes vanish in a jet stream of acceleration. Hyperbole aside, the B.O.S.S. does get out of its own way quickly when coaxed. On American freeways, you’ll only need the first three gears to cruise at the speed limit, with fourth and fifth being overdrives that bring the revs down to the lumpier range. The slash-cut dual exhausts emit a soothing rumble to keep you company. Shifting is cruiser-style–slow gear changes with a heel-toe lever and attendant clunks if you’re not spot-on with the timing. A long reach to the clutch lever complicates matters for smaller hands, even with Suzuki’s Clutch Action System (SCAS) reducing clutch effort.
On smooth tarmac, the B.O.S.S. glides through corners till the floorboard feelers scrape. Rough roads are another matter, highlighting the B.O.S.S.’s big weakness—suspension. The 45mm fork does a decent job up front, and though the rear soaks up small hits, it’s just plain bouncy over larger bumps. And with no adjustments at either end, there’s no choice but to sit and take it. Though slab riding is tolerable, the B.O.S.S. would be much more fun in the curves with a better shock—and wouldn’t bounce my butt off the seat over speed bumps. The single discs and two-pot calipers front and rear take plenty of pressure at the controls to stop the 800-pound bike quickly, though it can be done. Using both brakes together—and a good push on the rear pedal—gives the smoothest, quickest stops.
Take care not to kick the bags as you swing a leg over the B.O.S.S. and settle onto the saddle. Matching synthetic material covers the locking ABS panniers, which hold enough gear for a few days on the road—if you pack light. Wide 7⁄8-inch bars reach back to greet you, creating a relaxed atmosphere at the controls, while your feet stretch forward to the hinged floorboards. The spacious seat allows taller riders to move around, but at 68 inches tall, and with a wide tank between my knees, I was stuck in one position. Fortunately, it was a comfortable one, except for buffeting from wind coming around the massive windscreen. Mind you, the B.O.S.S. and I often traveled at SoCal freeway speeds, and the discomfort disappeared when traffic slowed to near-legal velocities. Elsewhere in the cockpit, the smallish mirrors provide a surprisingly clear view to the rear. The teardrop-shaped instrument nacelle atop the tank is mounted too low for me though, and (wearing a full-face helmet) required some head bobbing to read anything beyond the speedo and top row of indicator lights. Checking the LED fuel gauge, gear indicator and odometers all required taking my eyes off the road.
If black is your thing, there’s plenty to like about the B.O.S.S. The underwhelming suspension mars the handling for faster riding and the ergos aren’t perfect for me, but there are a lot of riders who will be the right height, weight and demeanor to enjoy many miles aboard this motorcycle. The hardtail style looks good from every angle, the shaft drive was unnoticeable, and the engine is a barrel of fun whether you rev it up or let it lug. And if black isn’t your thing, you can get a similar experience on its more colorful cousin, the Boulevard C90T.
2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S.
Base Price: $13,999
Warranty: 1 year, unltd. miles
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 54-degree V-twin
Bore x Stroke: 96.0 x 101.0mm
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Valve Train: SOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Adj. Interval: 14,500 miles
Fuel Delivery: EFI, 42mm throttle body
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 3.4-qt. cap.
Transmission: 5-speed, cable-actuated clutch
Final Drive: Shaft
Charging Output: 425 watts @ 5,000 rpm
Battery: 12V 18AH
Frame: Tubular-steel double cradle w/ box-section steel swingarm
Wheelbase: 65.9 in
Rake/Trail: 31.2 degrees/5.2 in.
Seat Height: 28.3 in.
Suspension, Front: 45mm stanchions, no adj., 5.1 in. travel
Rear: Single shock, no adj., 4.3 in. travel
Brakes, Front: Single disc w/ 2-piston pin-slide caliper
Rear: Single disc w/ 2-piston pin-slide caliper
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.00 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 6.50 x 17 in.
Tires Front: 130/80-R17
Wet Weight: 791 lbs.
GVWR: 1,230 lbs.
Load Capacity: 439 lbs.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.8 gals., last 1.0 gal. warning light on
MPG: 87 PON min. (high/avg/low) 37.6/35.1/32.7
Estimated Range: 168 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 mph: NA
(This article Black Beauty: 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S. Road Test was published in the June 2013 issue of Rider magazine.)
Does the C90T BOSS really have LED tail lights? TKS… Al
“Synthetic Faux Leather” Really? “vinyl” just not cool enough for you?
I bought the BOSS in June of this year. So far I’ve put about 3, 000 miles on it. I has performed flawlessly. It handles great for a 800 lb bike. It handles better than any Harley I’ve ever owned. I also get more complements on this bike than any bike I’ve ever own including 2 customized Harleys that won numerous bike shows. Say what you will. This bike is badass.
2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T Boss, clearly first ever motorcycle.
First time beginner, Finance Manager had to drive the Big Baby home.
Since October 1,500 miles of perfection. All weather elements in 40
degree temperature will not stop Big Baby from riding. Braking doesn’t
need ABS or louder exhaust. Stock Boss well enough performance.
Long stroke gear ratio establishes a plus with sheer smooth quick first to
second gear take off. Smooth clutch assembly creates effortless down
shifting precision. Exceptional seat and handlebar reach space comfort.
Needs the added Suzuki Front Headlights assembly. Love riding at night!
Go Black Out Special Signature Big Baby!!!!!!!!!
I bought my 2013 C90t BOSS IN June of this year. I have put 4000 effortless miles on it so far. I have own 3 breakdown every time I want to ride Harleys. A 2002 1500 Intruder. The Intruder was an awesome bike. I goota say that this BOSS IS THE BEST BIKE I’VE EVER OWNED. Just awesome.
First off this bike is a power house second & their gear alone move well in traffic ,buy the time your in fourth and fifth hope your on your way to the black hills ( know what I’m saying ) just want to keep riding .Comfort as well handling are great .Made a great choice for a new bike .priced well compared to others on the market .
Robert is right about this bike. I bought a used C90T with 3K on it. What a valued machine. I moved up from a Vulcan 1500 Classic and I must say that the C90T offers a smooth and comfortable ride. And a lot of power. Even on the highway I rarely use 5th. I have a few times but I get up to 70-75 in fourth without breaking a sweat. The C90T is just a beautiful bike to own. And my gas mileage is between 44-48 on the highway, 32-37 in the city. As you can tell I am very happy with this machine.