2008 Yamaha Roadliner

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Highly decorated straight from the factory and highly acclaimed by the motorcycle press, Yamaha’s big-bore Roadliner has reshaped the face and performance of cruisers altogether.

 

Introduction

The Roadliner S is a machine designed to stir the senses. From the “Neo Streamline” styling, to the emotional pulse feeling of the massive V-Twin engine, the Roadliner is designed to be a harmonious blend of power and beauty.

A culmination of all the knowledge Yamaha has gained since the introduction of the Star series. The stunningly beautiful Roadliner S is more than just a pretty face, it is an incredible cruising experience.

Discover for yourself how the 1854cc V-Twin power, fuel injection, aluminum frame and swingarm, are all skillfully crafted to provide an incredible feeling of sensual performance and excitement.

History

Yamaha Roadliner

The year 2005 brought to the motorcycle market a big announcement. That year Yamaha made public the news that they will create the “Star Motorcycles”, a new standalone brand name for its cruiser series of motorcycles in the American market.


Although introduced as a separate brand, the Stars would continue to be sold at Yamaha dealerships, while in other markets Yamaha was still the name on the papers.

One of the motorcycles that contributed to the success of the new brand was the 2006 Yamaha Roadliner, a machine symbolizing what the manufacturer predicted for cruiser’s future and this bike has most likely directed the tendency than line up to it.

The manufacturer first made sure that the bike would be a tremendous power and torque provider so it hooked it up with a gigantic 1854cc air-cooled V-Twin featuring 9.5:1 compression ratio and dual counterbalancers for smooth operating. Additional equipment was also great but another important feature that would contribute at the immense success was the aluminum frame which is long and low and has its own idea of weight distribution (50/50 front and rear to be more precise).

What Yamaha now needed to do was to give it its nice neo-streamliner appearance and the recipe was ready. It quickly became a big success and it also lead to the introduction of the Yamaha Stratoliner, a touring version of the Roadliner but, as you can see, which featured a name of its own.

Competition

Yamaha Roadliner

Honda always seems to have a competitor for every rare breed out there and this time it’s the VTX1800 Style C, the bike that put the first brick at the base of the VTX1800 Empire. Once on the bike you will experience pure VTX feel with long-slung, two-into-one exhaust performance-influenced fender design, cast aluminum wheels, and dragster-style seating.

Suzuki is up against two powerful makers so the key to its C109R performance is its 109-cubic-inch engine featuring Suzuki fuel injection, the same basic powerplant used by the awesome M109R, which traces its technological heritage to Suzuki’s championship-winning GSX-R sportbikes. If you are not surprised than you should give it a try and feel the amounts of torque available down low. Sounds like awesome acceleration to me.

If the awesome size, power and performance of the Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 appeals, but a more traditional “cruiser” look seem like your style, the Vulcan 2000 Classic is the motorcycle you seek. A traditional-style headlight, “buckhorn” handlebar bend, a plush passenger seat for increased comfort and other special details adorn the same brawny chassis and engine found on the Vulcan 2000.

Yamaha Roadliner

Exterior

Yamaha Roadliner

What sets this bike apart from its competition is the neo-streamline design, including the first seamless gas tank fitted to a Star, gives the Roadliner S a completely unique look. The frame unit, on which this bike lays its elements, is especially designed to be effective and create an aggressive general appearance. That very same frame introduces us to the massive looking chromed V-Twin motor which is complemented by a whole range of chromed elements.

As a result, the Roadliner S gets chrome switchgear, front brake and master cylinders and levers, belt guard, front and fork covers, handlebar clamps, shifter, front pulley cover, various engine covers, rear fender stay and polished wheels.

Wondering about the finishing touches on this baby? Than you should know that everything concerning fit and finish is jewel-like, and the Star quality paint and attention to details are evident all over the Roadliner S.

Life on board also involves luxury as the classic clock-style instrumentation complements Roadliner S’s neo-retro look and contains analog speedometer, tachometer, and fuel gauge, together with twin digital tripmeters, odometer and self-diagnostics. What more could you ask? This is one true piece of jewelry on two wheels.


Test Drive

Yamaha Roadliner

If you’ve ever experienced the thrill of riding the Roadliner you will most likely agree that you can either love it or adore it. There’s simply no other way as this bike is built for pure satisfaction and I will number each of the elements that provide it during this section.

If you are considering the Roadliner but its size talks about heavy weight and trouble while trying to pick it up from its sidestand, I would have to strongly advise you to go with it because it is no challenge when it comes to picking it up, all contrary. Once you’ve swing a leg over it you will be accommodated in the most luxurious and commode space that a bike can create.

Handlebars are at quick reach and all the commands are standard positioned for ease of use and trouble free rides. What sets this bike apart is the dashboard implementing everything you could dream on and more. Everything from speedometer to self diagnostics is there. How about appearance? Simply wonderful!

I quickly fired up the 113-cubic-inch air-cooled pushrod 48-degree V-Twin featuring computer-controlled, twin-bore, fuel-injection monitoring multiple engine parameters to calculate perfect mixture under all conditions. Those mighty cylinders are fed by wide-angle 12-hole fuel injectors which provide excellent fuel atomization.

Once I got going, I was introduced to the nice exhaust note coming from a two-into-one exhaust system featuring Exhaust Ultima Ultima te Power valve. This contributed to the rush I got between 2500-3000 rpm and by that time, the sound was heading towards the levels where a gear changing is required.

Even so, the engine can be highly revved and once you’ve changed a gear, it is less likely to think about changing another one and another one. This is no R1 my friend but it is a damn cool motorcycle.

I enjoyed changing gears and clutch was smoothly operating also. First gear implies the usual noises but nothing special. I didn’t manage to miss any gears, so the tranny is precise and fair, I would say.

While I was playing with the throttle, clutch, and the gear shifter, I had the joy of noticing that the suspension equipment on this cruiser is simply wonderful as it manages to soak up the small bumps that the road presents, properly.

Those very same suspension in communion with that light and rigid aluminum frame allow for the bike to be leaned over easily o handling is a big plus on the Roadliner. You will also appreciate the fact that this bike seems to be on a diet once on the move but that is just the result of significant weight losses that the manufacturer reserved for this machine.

Engaged in a comfortable riding position and enjoying the nicely shaped saddle while my feet were accommodated on the floating floorboards, I had the time of my life on the twisty roads and I bet you will feel the same once on the Roadliner.

The braking equipment provides all of the stopping power is needed for this bike to stop. The front brake features a master cylinder with integrated lever which operates a pair of 298mm front discs. Strong monoblock calipers seem to be the proper solution for this machine. The rear end will provide the stopping power through a 320mm hydraulic disc so everybody will be satisfied.

I recommend you not to underestimate it, but to take it as it is: a true cruising machine with loads of power and torque available in any gear. It is more than I expected and it is most likely to have the same effect on you, also.

Price

Two color options are available: Candy Red/Raven or Seashell. For both, the suggested retail price is $14,980 and, without a doubt, you will only now start to appreciate this ride at its true value. It is important to consider the initial price because a bike like this will soon start to send you in search for accessories.

Conclusion

Is there any better conclusion than the fact that this machine is manufactured for pure rider satisfaction? Yes! The fact that the Roadliner S is the sweetest, coolest cruiser Yamaha has ever built.

Being designed for the serious chrome lover, the Roadliner S sees its way through any form of competition and qualifies on top of every list that you may encounter.


SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine and Transmission

Displacement: 113-cubic-ich (1854cc)
Type: Air-cooled 48-degree V-Twin; pushrod OHV, 4 valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 100mm x 118mm
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: Aluminum monoshock
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
Tires/Front: 130/70-18
Tires/Rear: 190/60-17
Wheels: 12-spoke cast
Length: 101.6 in
Width: 36.8 in
Height: 43.3 in
Seat Height: 27.8 in
Wheelbase: 67.5 in
Ground Clearance: 6.1 in
Dry Weight: 705 lb
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gal

Other

Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Color: Candy Red/Raven; Seashell

Features

 

Key Features:

- The Roadliner S gets chrome switchgear, front brake and clutch master cylinders and levers, belt guard, fork and fork covers, handlebar clamps, shifter, front pulley cover, various engine covers, rear fender stay and polished wheels.


- The Star Motorcycle flagship is designed to show and go like no other cruiser before it, with big power and great handling.


- Powerful and beautiful 113-cubic-inch (1854cc) air-cooled, pushrod V-twin produces great thrust at any speed.


- Twin-bore downdraft electronic fuel injection ensures optimum engine efficiency and throttle response in the widest possible range of conditions.


- Neo-streamline design, including the first seamless gas tank fitted to a Star, gives the Roadliner S a completely distinctive look.


- Long and low aluminum frame provides great looks and light handling unlike any other full-size cruiser, thanks to near 50/50 weight distribution on the front and rear wheels.

Engine:

- 113-cubic-inch (1854cc) air-cooled pushrod 48-degree V-twin has the massive looks and performance.


- 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 it smooth but rumbly.


- 9.5:1 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; a wide-angle 12-hole fuel injector provides excellent atomization.


- Exhaust Ultimate Power valve (EXUP) inside the two-into-one exhaust system boosts torque in the 2500-3000 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.


- 3300 rpm at 75 mph gives some idea of the Roadliner’s power and cruisability. Maximum torque is reached at only 2500 rpm.

Chassis/Suspension:

- Aluminum frame is light, rigid and requires few welds. A light, Controlled-Fill swingarm casting complements the bike’s streamline style.


- With 49.6 percent of its weight carried on the front wheel, the Roadliner has the weight distribution of a sportbike instead of the typical cruiser, and that means great handling.


- 46mm fork tubes wearing slant-cut stainless covers serve up an excellent ride and a sweet appearance.


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


- A thick, richly chromed 1.25-inch handlebar in polished clamps carries the Roadliner’s switchgear wiring on the inside.


- Seamless, teardrop fuel tank carries a full 4.5 gallons of fuel.


- 12-spoke wheels evoke a thick spoke look, but carry modern tubeless radial tires; a 130/70-18 front and a fat 190/60-17 rear.


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


- Strong and light belt drive routes power smoothly and efficiently to the rear wheel.


- Floating floorboards and an adjustable heel/toe shifter provide a comfortable, low-effort ride.

Yamaha Roadliner

Additional Features:

- Position beams within the main headlight housing provide great visibility.


- Left-thumb operated 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 Stratoliner S.


- Classic clock-style instrumentation complements Stratoliner S’s neo-retro look and contains analog speedometer, tachometer 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 Roadliner S

This review is based on the most popular version of the Roadliner and it reflects the bike’s characteristics in the most honest way. But as you very well know, the Star series is all about diversity and satisfying everyone and this is why another model was launched together with the “S”. The purpose was to create a cruiser for everyone and I reckon they did a damn good job.

Yamaha Roadliner Midnight

Yamaha Roadliner

Highly decorated with Raven paint and blacked-out components straight from the factory and highly acclaimed by the motorcycle press, Yamaha’s big bore Roadliner Midnight has reshaped the face and performance of cruisers altogether.

Price

The Midnight model is also an option for those seeking the same thrill given by the enthusiastic acceleration on a lower price. With an MSRP of $13,880, this blacked-out beast would be the choice of many free souls out there. It is just a matter of time until the freeways will be filled with such machines.


4 comments:

I suggest anyone who is looking to stand out in a crowd, anyone who is looking for nearly unlimited power, anyone who thinks rice burners are typical...... Test ride a Roadliner.
I own one, and after 2 years I still find myself lost in amazment just staring at the bike, muchless riding the hell out of it. Ive seen 132 mph on it, and had to roll it back cause my eyeballs were getting wind slapped. To me there is no bike out there which can take my mind from my Rudeliner. Although.... a Can Am Spyder ... blacked out like the Rudeliner does make a Kick partner in crime for my Midnight Roadie.
I got 113 inches ’tween my legs... what you got?

Recently purchased a new Roadliner.
If I had been able to road test one, I would have made the purchase much sooner.
Great bike. Power, great brakes and transmission and the best value out there.

Both the Vulcan and the Roadliner need the oldstyle back fenders and they look bad-ass as hell.

Both the Vulcan and the Roadliner need the oldstyle back fenders and they look bad-ass as hell.

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