2008 Yamaha Raider

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You’re looking to a whole new kind of Star, a bike called a modern performance custom. Chopper-inspired but built to perform. Good luck outdoing this bike’s combination of looks, performance and Star build quality.

 

Introduction

When the engineers at Yamaha set out to produce a true custom machine, the easy part was the styling and attention to detail.

The trick was to combine this awesome “chopper” inspired styling with a chassis that would offer superior handling. The engineers at Yamaha were not willing to compromise. The all-new Raider must deliver great handling and excellent ride quality so as its rider would discover its true superior aptitudes and all around performance of the new Raider.

History

Yamaha Raider

With the brand new Raider, Yamaha intends to head the Star motorcycle line to as many directions possible and it uses all the resources to complete this objective.

The fact is that Yamaha follows the “chopper” tendency and creates what I call a manufacturer’s web of products. This way, once a customer enters the showroom, a bike will surely catch its attention based on the type of ride that he wishes. The Raider offers that special something in a world of heavy-duty cruisers.

That is why the Star line of cruisers became a brand of its own starting with 2006 and the Raider intends to direct that success to even higher scales.

It does it, of course, with good looks and exceptional fit and finish but what really sets it apart from any form of competition is its 113-cubic-inch air-cooled V-twin motor. This last unit is being transferred from the already initiated Roadliner, a bike which I tested and which is truly reliable and awesome performing thanks to the engine that can now be found on the 2008 Yamaha Raider.

Bottom line, we are witnessing history being written my friends and nobody would recommend you to miss this important episode that will probably determine other Japanese manufacturers to head towards the “chopper” look.

Competition

Yamaha Raider

Until the other Japanese manufacturers will enter the scene with their own brand new machines featuring chopper features, we can only head towards Harley-Davidson, the manufacturer that started it all.

Closest competitor is the Harley-Davidson Rocker, a bike featuring an air-cooled rigid-mounted 1584cc Twin Cam 96B Balanced engine, a fat 240mm rear tire, color-matched satin stainless metallic painted engine covers, 5-spoke wheels, curved handlebar riser, cast aluminum finned oil tank, front fork lowers, swingarm, turn signals, hand controls, headlamp and new fuel tank console with speed shop style speedo. Also featuring new LED Stop-Turn-Tail light internally wired, independent v-bars, and color matched frame, the 2008 Rocker really rocks!

Exterior

Yamaha Raider

If you are looking for a cruising machine that looks like it’s moving even though it is not, there can be no better choice than the Raider.

Featuring sleek design and ultra refined body pieces, this cruiser looks like a real bullet. Why? Starting with the front, you will notice the beautifully-shaped round headlight accompanied by chromed elements (chrome triple clamps, fork sliders, air box cover, headlight housing, handlebar risers, etc) strategically positioned to make the bike stand out even more and make it glow superbly out on the boulevard.

The handlebars remind us of those custom-made machines which involve a lot of stretching, but this is not the case with the Yamaha (at least not that much). On the handlebars, the mirrors are very stylish and if you take a closer look, they actually remind you of a star.

Further, the fuel tank is nicely sculpted and features a speedometer and all chromed package surrounding it. The comfy seat takes the lines even further and introduces us to the rear fender which, like the first, looks like a small wave but this one ends with and LED taillight.

Another aspect well worth to be taken in consideration when it comes to cruisers is the engine. This one has chrome spread all over it and shines beautifully underneath that gas tank.

Customizing is the key when it comes to the Raider and a pair of custom 5-spoke wheels carry a 120/70-21-inch bias tire up front, and a wide, 210/40-18 radial out back – the tallest and widest ever fitted on a Star motorcycle.


Test Drive

Yamaha Raider

I was now ready to refuel with attitude and than hop on and give it a go. But the points that I needed to check, apart from involving loads of fun headed me towards the city in order to see how the bike behaves in this sort of environment and, more important, how the environment reacts to it.

I noticed that the engine idles smoothly thanks to its twin counterbalancers but, more important, it is capable of generating the amounts of power and torque needed for that speedo needle to rise towards high numbers. I enjoyed twisting its throttle and I gradually changed gears so as the power would be valued properly and satisfying.

This one really turned some heads as it slowly rode down the boulevard and the public made all the right noises in retaliation to it.

This engine is the same as the one found on the Roadliner, so the motorcycling public is well aware of the levels of performance generated through the two massive cylinders. A 113-cubic-inch (1854cc) air-cooled V-twin OHV motor featuring 4 valves for each cylinder will never be unappreciated. In fact, given to its construction features, it can be mounted on different models and perform awesome on each one of them. The Raider is a real proof of what I just said.

Another well performing unit which can be found both on the Roadliner and Raider models is the five-speed transmission. First gear is a little noisy but riders will begin to appreciate the kind of feedback provided by this reliable gearbox. Yamaha decided not to separate this pair because they proved they go well together and no customer will resist this combination. First and second gear are fairly short but once you’ve changed third, you can start laying back and enjoy the road ahead because the torque generated by the monster beneath you will either determine you to gas up and change another one or cruise nicely. 4th and 5th are all you need for those never ending highways and you will also be supplied with great power for passing up traffic or another pal riding along with you.

The riding position characterizes a chopper so this pretty much says it all. In order to compensate for the leaned forward position given by the rider’s hands and feet which need to reach the handlebars and footpegs, the manufacturer fitted the Raider with a comfortable seat which makes riding this bike more of a pleasure.

While you’re in position and hitting those cylinders with burns, you will surely begin to appreciate the sound made by the two-into-one-into-two exhaust system featuring Exhaust Ultimate Power valve generating the best of torque between 2500-3500 rpm so this is where the sound will really become music to your years. It was a real symphony for me and I enjoyed making it sing.

The bike’s center of gravity is very low and this allows for great handling and easy maneuvering. You will really start to appreciate it in the city but those twisted mountain roads will result in the best sensation ever.

The suspensions are tuned to set it properly on the road even in the tightest corners and when you’re riding on bumpy roads, these will manage to stay comfy and worthy of the name Yamaha.

This piece of machinery stops with the help of a front brake master cylinder with integrated lever operating a pair of 298mm front discs squeezed by strong monoblock calipers for excellent power and feel. On the back, a 310mm rear disc will do the job and the bike will come to a complete stop.

Price

Two color options are available for the 2008 Yamaha Raider S. The first, Tommy Blue generates a suggested retail price of $13,780 and the second, Candy Red w/Flames, $13,980.

No matter the color, your new bike will shine proudly and help you dig deeper into the world of motorcycling.

Conclusion

The trick was to combine this awesome “chopper inspired” styling with a chassis that would offer superior handling. The engineers at Yamaha were not willing to compromise so they made sure that their custom would great handling and excellent ride quality. Discover the eye catching details and make sure that you get a ride on it because I guarantee you will be caught up and no other cruiser out there will have the same effect on you.


SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine and Transmission

Displacement: 113-cubic-inch (1854cc)
Type: Air-cooled V-Twin OHV, 4 valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 100.0 x 118.0mm
Compression Ratio: 9.48:1
Carburetion: Twin-Bore electronic fuel injection; throttle position sensor
Ignition: TCI
Transmission: 5-speed, multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive: Belt

Chassis and Dimensions

Frame: Double cradle
Suspension/Front: Telescopic fork; 5.1-in travel
Suspension/Rear: Swingarm; 3.5-in travel
Brakes/Front: Dual hydraulic disc, 298mm
Brakes Front: Hydraulic disc, 310mm
Tires/Front: 120/70-21
Tires/Rear: 210/40-18
Wheels: 5-spoke cast
Length: 101.2 in
Width: 36.4 in
Height: 45.8 in
Seat Height: 27.3 in
Wheelbase: 70.9 in
Ground Clearance: N/A
Dry Weight: 692 lb
Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gal

Other

Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Colors: Tommy Blue; Candy Red w/Flames

Features

 

Key Features:

- “S” model gets even more chrome: chrome triple clamps, fork sliders, air box cover, headlight housing, handlebar risers, etc.


- The newest Star was inspired by the custom chopper movement, but since it’s a Star, it had to also handle, stop and go.


- With the addition of this machine, the Star line offers the most diverse line of custom V-twins on the planet.

Engine:

Yamaha Raider

- 113-cubic-inch (1854cc) air-cooled, pushrod 48-degree V-twin pumps out max torque at just 2500 rpm and max power at 4500 rpm for powerful, relaxed cruising.


- Four pushrod-activated valves and two spark plugs per cylinder provide optimum combustion efficiency along with classically beautiful engine architecture.


- Plated cylinders and forged pistons cooled by oil jets provide outstanding reliability and long life. Twin counterbalancers keep things smooth but rumbly.


- 9.48:1 compression ratio and aggressive cam timing increase power output across the board.


- Computer-controlled, twin-bore, fuel-injection monitors multiple engine parameters to calculate perfect mixture under all conditions; wide-angle 12-hole fuel injectors provide excellent atomization.


- A 3.5-liter airbox is hidden in the area behind the fuel tank for great performance and a custom, airy look.


- Two-into-one-into-to exhaust with Exhaust Ultimate Power valve (EXUP) inside boosts torque in the 2500-3500 rpm range.


- Special custom-machining of the cooling fin edges gives a jewel-like appearance to the engine as light hits it from different angles.

Chassis/Suspension:

Yamaha Raider

- New design all-aluminum cast frame is light, rigid and tuned for light, athletic handling. A light, Controlled-Fill, aluminum swingarm casting complements the bike’s lithe style.


- Low, sculpted seat holds the rider in place, and pullback bars reach back to enforce a casual, urban cruising style.


- A 6-degree yoke angle – the first ever on a street-legal Star Motorcycle – makes it possible to achieve that custom look as well as natural handling and straight-line cruisability: 34-degree rake plus 6 degrees yoke angle gives total rake of 40 degrees and 102mm of trail, while bringing the fork closer to the steering axis.


- Custom five-spoke wheels carry a 120/70-21-inch bias tire up front, and a wide, 210/40-18 radial out back – the tallest and widest ever on a Star.


- 48mm fork tubes serve up an excellent ride and a sweet appearance through 5.1 inches of wheel travel.


- A tucked-out-of-sight single shock out back provides a smooth ride under varying loads.


- New seamless fuel tank carries a full 4.1 gallons of fuel.


- Front brake master cylinder with integrated lever operates a pair of 298mm front discs squeezed by strong monoblock calipers for excellent power and feel, with a 310mm disc out back.


- Strong, light and narrow belt final drive contains embedded carbon fiber for even greater strength.

Additional Features:

Yamaha Raider

- Left-thumb operates high-beam switch, and right-thumb activated accessory driving light switch for great visibility.


- Jewel-like fit and finish, and Star quality paint, chrome and attention to detail are evident all over the Raider S.


- Cool, tank-mounted instrumentation complements the custom look, and contains analog speedometer and fuel gauge, along with twin digital tripmeters, odometer and self-diagnostics.


- Bright multi-reflector headlight, LED taillight and amber turn signals behind clear lenses give a custom look.


- Oxygen sensor and three-way catalyst reduce emissions.


Models Available

 

Yamaha Raider S

During this review, you became familiar with the “S” version of the Yamaha Raider as I presented you the bike with its grandiose attitude given by styling, performance both in handling and engine. You’ve also got an idea on the way it rides so things are pretty much set and done. No! Yamaha Yamaha always offers variety and makes sure that every single potential customer will become a buyer and you know the rest.

Yamaha Raider

Yamaha Raider

In order to do just that, the Japanese manufacturer introduced this simple version of that very same awesome performing cruiser but featuring a total different appearance.

This bike diversifies the Star line of cruisers by offering a color options (Raven) that will remind you of those Middleweight versions that we kept talking about on my recent reviews. You can also choose the Candy Red paintjob but no matter what, the darker models will feature black paint instead of chrome so your demands are completely satisfied.

Price

These last two color schemes that are gathered under the Raider designation will also come cheaper. So the Raven will only require and MSRP of $13,180 and the Candy Red version, $13,380. Make sure that you choose the most appropriate for you and from then on, riding will become a second nature.


2 comments:

I just purchased the Yamaha "Star" Raider S in the Candy Red w/Flames edition. I was looking at H-D’s, but quickly found the Raider to be a far superior bike for the styling, power and price. This cycle has power out the wazoo. The ride is exceptional, and manuverabitly is great. Some superb engineering and thought went into this model. I get a lot of of head turns when I’m tooling around on this buster. Way to go Yamaha.

I bought a new Raider-S. When is Yamaha going to offer more chrome accessories. I’m looking for Stelitto Axcle Covers...

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