It’s sometimes enough to bring up the words “power” and “cruiser” so that other ones such as “Star” and “Warrior” would naturally emerge. That’s right; this motorcycle has become not only a Star emblem, but a benchmark for the industry. The interesting part about it is that it climbed all the way up to the top of the wave in the collective’s mental and keeps on riding there.
Based on the idea that brute force should be instantly delivered to the massive rear wheel of a stripped down cruising-type motorcycle, performance cruisers have claimed their fair market share and the Star Warrior has had a lot to do with it. Let’s see what it’s up to in 2009.
Enjoying the tremendous success of a virtually unbeatable combination of power and style is something that Star Motorcycles is well known for and the Warrior is THE great bike present in their lineup for this specific reason. Yamaha left Star a great heritage among which the already consecrated Warrior was a guaranteed money maker. Powered by a massive 102-cubic-inch, air-cooled, 48-degree V-twin motor with pushrod OHV and four valves per cylinder, this 650 lbs weighing aggressive piece of machinery sounds like being built to perform, and it actually is. Star makes no concessions regarding their performance cruiser and ensures that the enormously capable motor is being properly exploited by delivering fuel through a Twin-Bore electronic fuel-injection system with throttle position sensor for instant throttle response.
The high-revving engine features a 97mm x 113mm bore and stroke as well as 8.3:1 compression ratio so if you’ve been searching for the closest thing to the VMAX that has a V-twin motor, this is it. Like all performance cruisers, the gearbox has five close ratios and connects to the engine through a multiplate wet clutch, but the best of Star is really that belt final drive saying “I’m not like all the rest!”
Star delivers beauty as easy as it delivers performance and this bike does the trick with 93.9 inches overall length and only 44.1 inches height. Long and low translates in great performances, especially handling, but the 65.6 inches wheelbase is really what counts when it comes to cornering abilities. The suspensions also help so the Warrior works with 41mm Kayaba inverted forks (5.3 inches of travel) and a single rear shock (4.3 inches of travel) for good stability.
Fuel economy (39 mpg claimed) isn’t something to be very proud of, but at least the Warrior has the ability to halt as fast as it accelerates when the fairly distracted rider apparently misses the gas station. With 298 mm all-around hydraulic disc brakes (two up front and a single at the rear) the word performance gets a whole new meaning.
Though a beautiful power cruiser can take a lot of forms, for Star it is enough to diversify their offer with a Standard and a Midnight model. While the first is an aggressive looking, two-tone painted bike with a decent number of chromed pieces, the second and last is a totally black model that looks even more aggressive.
It would seem that Suzuki has created the Boulevard M109R2 especially to be that slightly meaner, more powerful and yet sleeker power cruiser and the facts are simply incontestable. They’ve gone the whole way and fitted M109R’s fuel-injected 108.8-cubic-inch, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, DOHC, 54-degree, V-twin engine on a light and nimble (for a cruiser) chassis. The engine is, indeed, more potent, but has to move around 764 lbs so the difference isn’t striking.
The bigger, more compact and slightly more aggressive Boulevard gets its share of the market and it is priced at $13,799, which is as well in the same range as the Warrior.
In this battle, Japanese muscle meets the very essence of American muscle. Be it the Harley-Davidson V-Rod, Night Rod Special or the V-Rod Muscle, the engine is the same liquid-cooled 76.28-cubic-inch, 60-degree V-twin. This might not seem like much compared to the Star and Suzuki, but the fuel-injected engine actually develops 84 ft. lbs of torque at 7,000 rpm so there’s plenty to rely on. Also, the Harleys feature Brembo brakes and there’s even ABS available. Even though more financially demanding ($14,999 – V-Rod, $16,699 – Night Rod, $17,199 – V-Rod Muscle), these three are likely to sell better than the Warrior, Midnight Warrior and the M109R2 all together simply because Harley-Davidson is the ultimate cruiser motorcycle maker. You just can’t fight that…
The American motorcycle maker might be a favorite, but Star doesn’t build the Warrior as the kind of bike that lives in some other model’s shadow. So we have the 2009 Star Warrior painted in a two-tone Liquid Silver scheme and the 2009 Star Midnight Warrior Onyx painted and featuring black air cleaner, engine covers and exhaust, virtually everything that would normally be chromed or polished on the Standard model.
Although minor, the style difference is striking and the bikes fulfill different rider tastes. But the massive engine, the large diameter exhaust as well as the wheels are all the same. You get the same seat height on both models (28.1 inches), a low, smooth, but wide gas tank and the same pair of stripped down fenders.
Among the main advantages that the Stars have over the competition are definitely the affordable retail prices. The simple Warrior’s MSRP starts at $13,190 while the Midnight Warrior model has an MSRP starting at just $13,390. That’s even cheaper than the Boulevard M109R2 and you really get a lot for the money.
Carrying on in 2009 with a simple color change sounds like the simple solution for a consecrated model (note that the Midnight model didn’t even change its color as it hasn’t got much to choose from. It’s either Onyx or no Midnight model) which manages to stay on top of riders preferences despite the numerous alternatives now present on the market.
Star also offers an enormously long accessory list, unveiling both the customizing potential of both Warrior models as well as the fact that the money invested in a fully accessorized can even translate into a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. It’s all a matter of taste; quite frankly, I see the Midnight model as the cherry on a cake.
Engine and Transmission
Type: 102-cubic-inch (1670cc) air-cooled 48° V-twin; pushrod OHV, 4 valves/cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 97mm x 113mm
Compression Ratio: 8.36:1
Fuel Delivery: Twin-Bore electronic fuel injection; throttle position sensor
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: 5-speed close-ratio; multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive: Belt
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: Aluminum monoshock
Suspension/Front: 41mm KYB inverted fork;5.3-in travel
Suspension/Rear: Single shock; adjustable preload and rebound damping, 4.3-in travel
Brakes/Front: Dual hydraulic disc, 298mm
Brakes/Rear: Hydraulic disc, 282mm
Tires/Front: 120/70-ZR18 Radial
Tires/Rear: 200/50-ZR17 Radial
Wheels: 5-spoke cast
Length: 93.9 in
Width: 36.8 in
Height: 44.1 in
Seat Height: 28.1 in
Wheelbase: 65.6 in
Fuel Capacity: 4.0 gal
Fuel Economy: 39 mpg
Wet Weight: 650 lb