Ever since Yamaha decided to brand all their cruiser-type models ‘Star’, they have aimed towards delivering outstandingly refined machines as well as reviving legends such as the VMAX . But they were lacking new models and the new V Star 950 models stand as the first steps towards changing that situation.
The V Star 950 was built from ground up and addresses either to riders who are just starting out or to those in search of the best cruiser that $8K can buy.
The V Star name itself says pretty much everything about a bike so Star wanted to change things for the better in that concern. They directed 950’s look towards a modern direction in such an outstanding manner that you can’t call it a classic cruiser, neither a custom. Both motorcycle body types are expected to have a V-twin motor so V Star’s 942cc, air-cooled, four-stroke, V-twin; SOHC with four valves per cylinder isn’t of much help when trying to position this cruiser precisely in a certain category. The best thing about this unit is that it gets fuel injection which translates into 58.2 ft-lbs at 3,500 rpm torque figures. Star didn’t release any information related to horsepower, but given the engine’s displacement and torque numbers, it is around 50hp at the crank.
Despite the engine being fairly small compared to what Star got us used to (the Roadliner and Stratoliner models), there is still a five-speed gearbox and a cable actuated clutch. Like on a veritable Star motorcycle, power to that rear wheel is being transmitted through a belt drive that is not only quiet and smooth operating, but cool looking too.
The pullback handlebars indicate we’re dealing with a cruiser, while the custom wheels look like the appropriate thing to be fitted on any stripped down model, so we’re still confused. Further spotting the bike’s advantages we get to the 26.5 inches low seat making the V Star 950 ideal for the average sized rider and even female riders. The only down point that the low seat might imply consists in a pair of harsh suspensions, but this Star works with 5.3 inches of travel up front and 4.3 inches of travel at the rear just to make us swallow our words.
Yet again in opposition with the class, the wheels are positioned 66.3 inches one from the other and with a 32-degree rake you get that long cruiser appearance that will make people think this is a much bigger and implicit powerful motorcycle. Fit and finish contributes at giving that expensive look to it even though the main reason why riders buy the 950 is the low starting price.
With all the liquids in it, the V Star 950 weighs 612 lbs, mass (+ the rider’s) that gets stopped with a single 320mm disc so that the custom 18- inch front wheel would stand out properly and a 298mm rear disc.
There’s also a Touring model (this weighs in at 657 lbs) offered using the base model, so we tend to have this last called a modern cruiser. The new Star V Star 950 Tourer adds a small windscreen, hard leather covered sidebags and passenger backrest for those long highway rides.
Knowing that Kawasaki offers the Vulcan 900 Classic/Classic LT/Custom we can hardly abstain ourselves from saying that the two Stars were especially created for this cruiser duel. But considering the fact that they’ve ended up with an engine developing as much as Kawi’s 903cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, V-twin; SOHC, four-valve per cylinder engine (58.2 lb.-ft. at 3,500 rpm) we might just say it.
Still, Kawasaki prices their bikes in a very tempting manner for riders: $8,349 MSRP for the Custom and $9,249 MSRP for the Touring. So these models will always stand as the solution for fulfilling the same riding needs, but the wave that Star generated with the V Star 950 will most likely have people buying it frenetically.
If there’s one chapter in which Star definitely makes the difference, that is style and the V Star 950 is the latest demonstration of power, if we can call it that way. With a teardrop tank eating 4.4 gallons of gas and a pair of fenders that gives a hard time identifying the bike’s category, the V Star 950 is unicity itself. This bike rolls on two custom 8-spoke cast wheels between which a jewel-like motor featuring a 60-degree angle between the cylinders with the V-shaped air-cleaner stands out as the source of that kitty cat purr. This also directs our closely inspecting eyes towards the two-into-one exhaust – another Star characteristic – which indicates that small displacement doesn’t necessarily cut into visual attractiveness.
In fact, with a 95.9 inches overall length and a maximum height of only 42.5 inches from the ground, the V Star 950 achieves that big bike look with the greatest ease, but the best of it is how designers created the nice and compact feel with every single possible element blending perfectly in with the other and creating almost a sculpted overall appearance.
The headlight is pretty small, in correspondence with the front end geometry, but the pullback handlebars with the bolted on mirrors manage to achieve a width of 39.4 inches, which is perfect for what the V Star stands for, comfort and functionality.
Star designed a brand new large meter for the V Star 950 and mounted it on the machine’s fuel tank in an attempt to enhance rider’s difficulties of considering it either classic or modern. Still, the thing includes speedometer, fuel level warning light, oil level warning light as well as odometer, fuel trip meter and clock display.
Colors available for this luxurious looking cruiser are: Raven, Pearl White and Candy Red. Colors available for the 2010 Tourer are: Seashell and also Raven.
The way that the V Star 950 and the corresponsive touring model look is simply an invitation to ride and we certainly took it with the first occasion that we got. There’s no doubt that Star put all their efforts into delivering the best of them and this things feel like screaming at you with every single element that looks expensive despite the fact that, quite frankly, it could have not and the bike would still have been great.
To begin with, the engine always starts easily at a push of a button and begins providing a healthy exhaust note straight from idle. This, although will be never used to make traffic participants aware of your presence, is the appropriate sound for the elegant bike and those most ostentatious of you can always go for an aftermarket piece that the bike is always ready to receive as the ECC oxygen sensor is positioned just ahead of the mufflers specifically for that purpose.
Up on the long, low and sleek piece of machinery, we notice how easy it actually is to lift it off its side stand even though it weighs a decent 612 lbs wet. The key factory here is a low center of gravity and good mass centralization, but it can also very well be the biker’s anxiety to get up and going. Parking lot maneuvering is also fairly easy despite the generous dimensions especially because everybody is able to flatfoot the ground and use the bike’s size in their advantage.
The motor pulls smoothly along the powerband and fails to provide any jerks, not even in the first gears, which is excellent for newbies enthusiastic about their new bikes. Even so, experienced riders will feel that there is enough torque to be satisfied by the fuel-injected powerplant and by how this performs in various situations. There is enough passing power without being necessary to downshift into forth gear and throttle response is always good thanks to the 35mm throttle bodies of the fuel injection system.
Actuated by a cable, the clutch is easy to work with and engages smoothly. Also, the gearbox is very quiet operating and precise too. Beginning riders will hardly miss any gears while experienced ones will find shifting natural and rare actually. The torquey engine allows the rider to keep the bike in third gear for example while going through a twisted road section so shifting won’t be often required as soon as you start getting along with the bike’s character.
Another sweet spot of the all-new V Star 950 is the light and confidence-inspiring manner of going through corners. This is mostly due to generous wheelbase and good mass centralization. Furthermore, the comfortable riding position allows bikers to gently direct the thing around that perfect trace around corners. We rarely found ourselves scrapping the floorboards as the leaning clearance is very permissive, but we can’t say we didn’t just to see the end point.
On the all-new V Star 950 Tourer, the quality of the ride for both rider and passenger is improved with the addition of a small, but effective windscreen and a backrest, while the 11-gallons sidebags wrapped up in leather unveil their effectiveness at long distance travels. Wind protection is good and you can easily look above the windscreen as, like me, that’s what you thought will be bothering you.
We feel that the Tourer is a much more easy to live with motorcycle precisely because of those extra features. After all, a bike is meant to be ridden and these kinds should be as comfortable as possible and that includes all sides of comfort. Even so, those of you who wish to stick to the base model and not only will have a whole range of accessories at their disposal and almost half of those have been especially introduced for the brand new V Star.
Like in the case of bigger Star models, different color scheme imply different pricing and these two special bikes from different points of view weren’t going to make an exception. As a result, the Raven and Pearl White paintjobs for the base model feature the same MSRP starting at $8,290, while the Candy Red is a little cheaper with its MSRP starting at $8,090.
The Tourer model starts either at $9,390 (Seashell) or at $9,190 (Raven).
Considering the tough times that the world’s traversing, the 2010 Star V Star 950 models aren’t quite sold for pocket change, but do emerge as probably the most effective, economic and classy means of transportation out there. Would this be the reason Star launched the all-new models in the first place? It’s very likely even though we like to believe that it needed to fill in the gap between the V Star 1100 and the V Star 650. This goal was successfully accomplished as well.
Engine and Transmission
Type: 942cc air-cooled 4-stroke, V-twin, SOHC, 4-valve
Bore x Stroke: 85.0mm x 83.0mm
Compression Ratio: 9.0:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: 5-speed; multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive: Belt
Chassis and Dimensions
Suspension/Front: Telescopic fork, 5.3-in.travel
Suspension/Rear: Single shock, 4.3-in travel
Brakes/Front: Hydraulic disc, 320mm
Brakes/Rear: Hydraulic disc, 298mm
Tires/Front: 130/70-18M/C 63H
Tires/Rear: 170/70-16 M/C 75H
Wheels: 8-spoke cast
Length: 95.9 in
Width: 39.4 in
Height: 42.5 in
Seat Height: 26.5 in
Wheelbase: 66.3 in
Rake (Caster Angle): 32.0°
Trail: 5.7 in
Fuel Capacity: 4.4 gal
Fuel Economy: 47 mpg
Wet Weight: 612 lb / 657 lb
Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Features & Benefits
V Star 950 is the benchmark in the middleweight cruiser class, appealing to seasoned riders as well as those looking for a friendly entry-level cruiser. The air-cooled V-twin delivers plenty of distinctive, big-cruiser character and pulsing torque feel. Seat height is an extra-low 26.5 inches. The full-sized chassis has a long, low look and provides spacious comfort. Handling is sporty and responsive, great for curvy back roads and commuting around town as well as open-highway cruising. No wonder V-Twin® Magazine named V Star 950 the 2009 “Metric of the Year”!
The 942cc 60° V-twin engine is both simple and sophisticated. Sure, there’s no-fuss air cooling for traditional looks. But inside you’ll find the reason for the surprisingly spirited performance: four-valve cylinder heads, ceramic-composite-lined cylinders, forged aluminum pistons, and fuel injection. The meticulously tuned 2-into-1 exhaust system has a throaty exhaust note, and also 3-way catalyst technology to reduce air pollution.
The carefully designed chassis contributes to an exceptionally light feeling riders are sure to appreciate. The double-cradle steel main frame offers an ideal rigidity balance in the longitudinal, lateral, and torsional directions, using the engine as a stressed member. With the engine mounting position slightly forward for optimum front-rear weight distribution and its large, 18-inch front wheel, V Star 950 has outstanding handling performance.
We call the V Star 950 Tourer’s streamlined styling “New Style Classic.” Designers used the influence of a single, horizontal line along the entire body, almost as if the wind has sculpted the machine. The long, low look is accentuated by the headlight and low-profile fuel tank, and the openness around the engine and front wheel highlight the bike’s light appearance. Beautiful leather saddlebags complement the overall lines, while the windshield adds classic looks and functionality.