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With some choices in life—especially non-essential issues—it seems the heart always has a voice on the matter. Desire and the strong urge for instant gratification often bully our impartial, logical side, leaving us perplexed and frazzled when we would otherwise make a snap but prudent decision.

A scenario plays out in our head: "Should I go with affordable and sensible, or shiny and expensive?"

On the matter of looking for a new motorcycle, well, that's when the heart adds its passionate complexity.

To get a sense of what some manufacturers other than Harley-Davidson think the American consumer wants in his or her cruiser, we looked to Kawasaki's Vulcan 1700 Classic and Triumph's Thunderbird.

Our choice of Japanese and British mounts resulted in similarly priced and unexpectedly well-matched scoots, yet we found this duo differ enough in their interpretation of a cruiser to make for an interesting pairing.

More: 2010 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Classic vs. 2010 Triumph Thunderbird on Motorcycle.com
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