Star Motorcycles really overpass themselves with the 2009 Stratoliner models as these were not only impressively powerful and offered great road behavior – like all other model years before them –, but also stood out in the style chapter. Truly unique motorcycles not only in their manufacturer’s lineup, but among all other big displacement cruisers available on the market today, with each year that passed by, the Stratoliners only demanded some new color schemes and they were good to go. For 2010, things are different as Star launched the all-new Stratoliner Deluxe and carries on producing the Stratoliner S without any upgrades, while the standard Stratoliner will only sell as a 2009 model year.
Whether that’s good or bad, we cannot yet say, but we can say a thing or two about these 2010 models that caught our attention.
After discontinuing the simple Stratoliner, Star now concentrates on the already existing Stratoliner S and on the brand new Stratoliner Deluxe models to make an even better name for the brand. All three Stratoliners are powered by the consecrated 113-cubic-inch, air-cooled, 48-degree V-twin; pushrod OHV, 4 valves/cylinder engine, which is fed through a twin-bore fuel-injection system that even features throttle position sensor. This makes the enormously big powerplant very responsive and considering the 802 lbs wet weight (of the Stratoliner S), Star also made sure that a great deal of torque would be transmitted from the bottom of the rev range. Implementing their EXUP system, they achieved a torque boost in between 2500 – 3000 rpm, which is absolutely sweet for these tractor-like bikes.
Veritable cruising machines, the Stratoliners are fitted with the same five-speed transmission and by now, it is a very well known fact that Star uses belt drives instead of shaft as they are very quiet and not that expensive to replace.
Despite the impressive overall weight, the bikes are not fat. In fact, the frame is actually made of aluminum, but that’s not what makes the difference. With an almost 50/50 weight distribution and a low center of gravity, the long and apparently difficult to ride motorcycles transform into surprisingly light handling machines, unlike the alternatives of the class.
All the models, old or new, feature the retro instrumentation, but it’s the style that makes them different. Star likes to brag about them building the bikes and us making the things our own, but we would have to say that they are starting to do a very good job for us. Having originally started with the simple Stratoliner, they then advanced to the Stratoliner S. Starting from this last model, they raise the stakes even higher by adding a fairing and a very small windscreen. At least that’s the first thing that strikes you when seeing the 2010 Stratoliner Deluxe, which has the exact same chassis and engine specifications as the previous two generation models.
While Harley-Davidson uses this kind of fairing for their Street Glide touring motorcycle and the American bike does have the potency to back up those looks as it relies on a fuel-injected 1584cc V-twin, we can’t really say that this is the bike that Star aims towards. That is because the Japanese bike is much longer and implicit not as maneuverable. May this be what Star is saying with “in a class of its own”?
On another hand, the 2010 Star Stratoliner S has the Japanese crowd to deal with:
Honda didn’t renew the VTX1800T , but this motorcycle doesn’t really need a revision as it is built following a strict and always successful recipe. The engine is a liquid-cooled 109.53-cubic-inches 52-degree V-twin, SOHC; three valves per cylinder unit that is also fuel injected, in this case through a PGM-FI system with automatic choke. There is also a five-speed gearbox, but shaft final drive. The VTX features classic looks as well as all the goodies that come on a veritable tourer (saddlebags, windscreen and passenger backrest), all for the $14,899 MSRP.
Still a 2009 model year, the Suzuki Boulevard C109RT is also a classic touring bike that can be pretty tricky to handle and which won’t hide the 885 lbs wet weight as easily as the Stratoliner. The fuel-injected 108.8-cubic-inches, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 54-degree V-twin engine though is as well a great torque plant ,so experienced riders are very likely to choose that. MSRP starts at $15,999.
Kawasaki does set their 2010 Vulcan 2000 Classic LT apart form the crowd thanks to the 125-cubic-inches, four-stroke, 52-degree V-twin, dual cams, eight valves motor, which despite being so big, now even gets fuel injection. The thing has an 884.2 lbs wet weight and starts at $15,999, so its kind of a best bang for the buck among 2010’s big classic tourers.
What we appreciate the most about the 2010 Star Stratoliners is that they appear to be in a class of their own when checking out the competition, but also look like two whole different bikes in comparison to one another.
Apart from the bulletproof mechanical features, the two Stratoliner models distinguish thanks to the long, low and sleek overall design, which is not only unusual for a cruiser-based motorcycle, but impressively attractive for riders spotting the obvious benefits of those characteristics.
Obviously, the big news for 2010 is the Stratoliner Deluxe. This bike remains faithful to the original classic Star lines, but comes with a fairing contoured around the big headlight and integrated speakers. There’s also an iPod jack and a handlebar-mounted audio control system, but it’s the fairing that offers a distinctive look and even weather protection. Behind it, you’ll find the same 4.5 gallons teardrop tank and beautifully sculpted seat, just like on the previous generation models. Don’t forget about the 12-spoke cast wheels and excellent fit and finish
Raven is the only color scheme available for the all-new Star Stratoliner Deluxe.
To me, the touring model looks like the two-wheeled corresponsive of an old Chevy. That’s what it transmits and I thought it is worth mentioning. It is something about that lighthouse-worthy headlight, 12-spoke wheels and striped fuel tank, while the thick two-into-one exhaust actually looks like trying to diminish the overall height and add on to the overall length. This is a nice design trick that, together with the valanced fenders and aerodynamic hard-shell sidebags makes the Stratoliner S look actually longer than 101.6 inches.
A passenger backrest and the tall windscreen couldn’t have missed the perfect scenario that this bike puts together, but what’s in between those features is the most important. A 27.8 inches seat height and the beautifully chromed V-twin engine do stand out as the main reason of most people who go for the 2010 Stratoliner S.
The only color scheme available for next year’s Stratoliner S is Black Cherry.
Quality always translates in big numbers written on the checks that dealers take in and we must say that the MSRPs starting at $17,490 (for the 2010 Stratoliner Deluxe) and $17,290 (for the 2010 Stratoliner S) do confirm that Star does value their products regardless of the global economic situation.
Among all Star models, the Stratoliner Deluxe stands out as the best representative of this relatively recently born brand, not just because it is powered by their biggest engine, but due to the fact that it will stand out wherever you ride as designers made all the possible to lose the typical features of this class. We reckon they succeeded, didn’t they?
Engine and Transmission
Type: 113-cubic-inch (1854cc) air-cooled 48° V-twin; pushrod OHV, 4 valves/cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 100mm x 118mm
Compression Ratio: 9.48:1
Fuel Delivery: Twin-Bore electronic fuel injection;throttle position sensor
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: 5-speed; multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive: Belt
Chassis and Dimensions
Suspension/Front: 46mm telescopic fork; adjustable preload, 5.1-in travel
Suspension/Rear: Single shock; 4.3-in travel
Brakes/Front: Dual hydraulic disc, 298mm
Brakes/Rear: Hydraulic disc, 320mm
Wheels: 12-spoke cast
Length: 101.6 in
Width: 43.3 in
Height: 59.6 in
Seat Height: 27.8 in
Wheelbase: 67.5 in
Ground Clearance: 6.1 in
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gal
Fuel Economy: 42 mpg; N/A - Stratoliner Deluxe
Wet Weight: 802 lb; N/A - Stratoliner Deluxe
Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Features & Benefits
2010 Stratoliner Deluxe
All new for 2010
2010 Stratoliner S