Star Motorcycles was the alter ego created by Yamaha Motors to enter the custom cruiser market in the US with the Yamaha V-Star series. It was a stand-alone company created in 1994. By the year 2016, Yamaha sent a communication to the press saying that all the Star models would no longer be called with that last name. Read on to find out more about each model on the series, and about two motorcycle add-ons, which will completely change your game. Seat tight, put your helmet on and let´s ride each Yamaha V-Star right now!
If you want to enter the motorcycle world through the front door, then this bike is the best bet. The Yamaha V-Star 250 is a very compliant version of a cruiser. Also, we can say that it is a mini-cruiser that works great in both scenarios. However, this is partly because of the V-Twin engine, which is the only in its category. On both sides, you can find an exhaust that gives this little bike the feel of a huge cruiser.
Moreover, exhaust tuning is superb, and it resembles that low grunt of bigger bikes. Additionally, all the chrome accessories and the obsessive attention to detail make it a perfect ride. Hence, for beginners and more experienced riders who want a powerful and fun bike in a small, affordable package, this bike is a great option.
To point out, the first thing I’m going to say about the Yamaha V-Star is that I’ve been in bigger bikes that weren’t as comfortable. The moment you sit on it, you get that relaxed big-bike feeling with your arms a little more open than usual. Also, the fuel economy of 78mpg makes it an excellent option for commuting, avoiding public transportation, and heavy traffic. Moreover, the gearbox in the Yamaha V-Star 250 is a delight and provides plenty of power for the low-to-mid speed scenario. Hence, making it from one traffic light to the next on this motorcycle was quite a pleasant experience. However, the Yamaha V-Star 250 doesn’t lack any power to make it a manoeuvrable yet powerful and classic bike, and the throttle has a lot to offer, too. If you are looking for the best cruiser bike to buy, I can honestly say, that the Yamaha V-Star 250 is the best cruiser bike you can imagine.
To point out, the Yamaha V-Star 650 is doubtlessly a worthy elder sister of the 250. There are some resemblances in this “grown-up” version of the bike that is undeniable. The first thing you notice when you see it parked is that it looks somewhat menacing and obscure. In addition to that, the blacked-out metal parts along with the few chromed ones and the colour black are very inviting.
Moreover, the two exhaust pipes on the right side of the bike make it look like a bigger motorcycle than it really is. Don’t get me wrong, with the 649cc engine and the 40HP it is not necessarily a small bike, but it’s not 1100 either (although they look alike). The idea of Star/Yamaha was to create a bike for those who are not content with 250 but love the manoeuvrability of it.
However, experienced riders who want to opt for a smaller bike to commute or cruise around would be pleased with this machine.
Firstly, let’s start by saying that the Yamaha V-Star 650 is a powerful ride. It is not a hyper naked bike, so don’t expect extreme torque and modern response. It is a classic ride with features that match the exterior. Moreover, you will get an utterly relaxed riding position that invites you to take on the road for miles and miles. The Yamaha V-Star 650 is an excellent cruiser for its size. However, the only drawbacks I could find with it are that the suspensions don’t isolate bumpy roads. Everything gets translated to the frame and hence, to you. The mirrors are square-shaped, small and annoying to see what’s behind you. Finally, for an almost entry-level bike, it should have ABS technology. Design and comfort are flawless, and the performance on the open road and the city are a great experience.
Going up the line on the Yamaha V-Star models, the next stop is 300cc and 10HP bigger than the last model. The Yamaha V-Star 950, also known as DragStar, Midnight Star and XVS950 is quite a cruiser at an affordable price. It comes in two versions: standard and tourer. For the second one, Yamaha added removable and lockable windshield and backrest. Also, the leather-wrapped bags for the sides give this incarnation the tourer style and features you need to hit the open road. If the Yamaha V-Star 650 looks like a classic, this looks like that too but on steroids. Moreover, the lines and the construction are vintage-inspired with a modern twist. So, with all the lockable and removable add-ons, this bike is a perfect representation of what a cruiser should be. Also, if you want an affordable yet powerful and easy to handle the bike, this is a great choice.
Putting your foot across the seat and sitting down, you get that expansive feeling of being on a big bike. The distance between the wheels is noticeably more significant than other bikes of its size and makes you feel like you can take on the open road. The handlebar position and the lockable, removable windshield are superb for riding. Also, add the backrest and the side bags; hence, those great weekend getaways straight from the office can be a reality.
However, the Yamaha V-Star 950 makes a great commuter and city bike too. And, the model I tested had a little gadget installed called the Smart Turn System (STS). This little add-on would disengage the turning lights when I completed the manoeuvre, much like a car would. Because I thought it was amazing and have since installed it in most of my bikes. Though it is not an original one of the Yamaha V-Star Accessories, it is excellent for safety and comfort.
To point out, the only way to differentiate a Yamaha V-Star 1100 from a 650 is to look at the front wheel. Hence, if it has two rotors, it’s 1100; with only one is a 650. However, the big-brother feeling between them is notorious, and you can easily see how the Classic cruiser heritage hits you right away. Also, the power of a 1000+cc engine is not to be underestimated; this is one powerful ride. It was specifically tuned for maximizing power in the low-to-mid section and opening that throttle makes a difference. Moreover, the big V-Twin engine is configured to be smooth and finds its happy place slightly above the 55mph. So, cruising in this big bike might be a little too much for the city, but it works wonderfully well in its natural habitat: the open road.
To point out, the first thing, as a rider, that you notice when climbing on the Yamaha V-Star 1100 is the single speedometer on the gas tank. Yes, it is a little too stripped down to the bare bones for a bike that can take you so many miles. It might respond to the overall design as a classic cruiser that this bike has. Also, the manoeuvrability, speed, torque, and handling are all superb. You don’t get that feeling of more expensive bikes that you are driving a two-wheel luxurious Rolls Royce, but the exact opposite. Moreover, this motorcycle is as stripped down to the bones as a cruiser can possibly be.
The testing model I was lucky enough to ride on had a little gadget, the Smart Brake Module (SBM). This device engaged the stoplight whenever it sensed I was losing speed. Also, for moments like cruising down the open highway in which you can make transitions even smoother by down-shifting, this can be a game-changer. Moreover, it will let other vehicles know of your intentions even without pressing the brake. I have it installed on several of my bikes now.
Do you think the Smart Brake Module and the Smart Turn System may be great add-ons for your bike too? But you aren’t sure if they are compatible with your bike? You can easily fill in this form and find out:
However, this bigger incarnation of the Yamaha V-Star 1100 is the biggest sister of the V-Star family. It features some differences with 1100 like the speedometer and overall gauges being out of the gas tank and in the handlebar. It runs on a 1300cc engine and has a little more HP than all the other models. To point out, with this bike, you’ll never run short on power or manoeuvrability, since it is a very smooth and powerful ride. Moreover, the Yamaha V-Star 1300 features all the same wonders that make 1100 such a great bike and add some more torque and final speed to the mix.
Jumping on a 1300cc bike is usually quite an experience because they are huge. This Yamaha V-Star 1300 is no exception, but it feels so smooth and manageable that you forget about the size once you are riding it. Having so much power available in the throttle is quite a temptation while shifting and braking are entirely flawless and accurate. 1300 is an excellent bike for long-distance riding; the traditional California handlebar can make you go for miles before being tired.
There are many accessories for your Yamaha V-Star; these are some of them.
Firstly, for preserving the lines of your motorcycle and preparing it for longer trips, this fantastic set of side bags is just perfect. They are locking and can fit each side of your bike coming in matching colours and with a matching surface. Moreover, the combined capacity of them is almost 58 litres, and they can be installed within minutes, replacing the leather ones. Hence, they are an excellent option for a long trip.
Following, if you don’t want to add locking side bags to your bike and resolve the issue spending way less, this can be a great option. Also, the luggage rack is something you can install easily in a matter of minutes and to which you can strap your backpack or suitcase to go on a trip. Additionally, it comes in a chrome-plated finish that is just beautiful and will match all the accessories in your bike just perfectly.
Last but not least, I don’t need to explain why it is a must to have proper protection for your bike. Also, this stretchable one-fits-all cover is made of a breathable, UV and water-resistant fabric on the top part. Moreover, it also features some pockets to fit a fully accessorized tourer as well as a basic V-Star 950, for example. Besides all these essential technical characteristics, it is necessary to say that it looks cool too.
To conclude, the Yamaha V-Star series came out through a different brand and went through a bumpy road until being established. Now, 25 years after its first release, it is looking better than ever. Moreover, the V-Star series is made of affordable, reliable, good-looking classic bikes with a minimalist, yet ornamented approach. In addition to that, for riders of all capabilities and experiences, these bikes can bring joy to your life.
What do you think about the V-Star line? Tell us in the comments; we would love to hear from you. Also, feel free to share this article with fellow motorcycle lovers around the world!
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