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2008 Yamaha Stratoliner

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The award-winning Stratoliner S is the chrome-clad, 113 cubic-inch V-twin powered neo-streamlined cruiser with locking sidebags, detachable windshield and passenger backrest.

 

Introduction

The 2008 Stratoliner S is being introduced as the Flagship of the Star Cruiser Series, a machine combining precision, performance and craftsmanship.

Pride of ownership comes standard with every Stratoliner S. Representing the pinnacle of the Star cruisers, the Stratoliner S takes V-twin performance and character to a new level. Ready to roll with a quick detach windshield and backrest, the amazing Stratoliner S is setting new standards by which all cruisers will be judged.

History

Yamaha Stratoliner

By 2006, everybody read and knew all about Yamaha’s adventurous Roadliner that was the flagship of Yamaha’s new Star brand of cruisers. Basically a Roadliner with bags and windshield, the Stratoliner raised some question marks related to its separate press introduction, but, as you will further read, time made his point.

At the time, Yamaha claimed that cruiser-touring category consisting of cruisers featuring a windshield, but not a full fairing, and saddlebags, but without a top case, accounted for nearly 60% of high-end cruiser sales. In addition, sales in the respective category were up a massive 350% since January of 1998.

What the manufacturer considered very important was the fact that the revenue didn’t come to an end once the bike was sold. Yamaha explained how Road Star Silverado customers spend close to $2500 in accessories for their bikes, and more than 50% of that at the time of purchase. With the introduction of the Stratoliner, Yamaha expected buyers to exceed that level of spending and, of course, they did.

As a result of that, the Star lineup has grown more than 30% that year, and the “My Star” section of the Star Motorcycles website had 31, 000 owners who registered after just four months.

Now that you know how this bike started its individualization process and how it became the success that it now is, read more and find who it is up against.

Competition

Yamaha Stratoliner

It is logical for such a bike to fight with against the best in the business and the Yamaha Stratoliner S does it with pride and ability.

The Honda VTX1800T is by many considered the ideal cruiser built for the perfect road trip, combining a massive 106-hp 1795cc V-twin with all the touring touches you could ever need: roomy saddlebags, big windscreen, and cozy passenger backrest. Hear that? It’s the open road calling.

Suzuki also introduces the new Boulevard C109RT, a motorcycle combining classic cruiser styling with renowned Suzuki V-twin power in such a striking way that it proves difficult to be beaten. The key to the C109RT’s performance is its 109-cubic-inch engine with Suzuki fuel injection which is the same basic powerplant used by the awesome M109R, which traces its technological heritage to Suzuki’s championship winning GSX-R supersport bikes. One ride on the C109RT and you will be amazed by its power characteristics, with more torque down low for extraordinarily acceleration. Featuring standard windshield, saddlebags, and passenger backrest together with pullback handlebars, floorboards that let you kick your feet out, a spacious, relaxed riding position and its own slash cut mufflers, the C109RT establishes its identity with styling.

Does the open road beckon? The answer is its call with the fully-dressed Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 Classic LT cruiser. Already roaming America’s back roads and highways, the popular Vulcan 2000 Classic LT is ready to tour straight off-the-showroom floor and against the subject of this review, the Yamaha Stratoliner S.

Yamaha Stratoliner

Exterior

Yamaha Stratoliner

The Stratoliner S’s main goal ever since it was introduced was to be identified as a unique machine implementing one-off features.

Let’s start with the bike’s frame. The aluminum unit which required few welds is long and low and so it provides great looks.

Attached to the frame is the 4.5 gallons teardrop-shaped fuel tank which completes the style and attitude given by the frame. It does it by implementing neo-streamline design, including the first seamless gas tank fitted of a Star motorcycle. This is where the Stratoliner S gets its distinctive look and what the rest of the elements follow.

To match the fuel tank, Yamaha resculpted the seat which is also comfortable on long rides.

If you are planning to enjoy both short rides and long trips, a pair of streamlined leather-covered, locking, hard sidebags, an adjustable, detachable windshield and a detachable passenger backrest will surely come in handy and the Stratoliner S has them all.

In order to give a nice, cruiser look and a tasty finishing touch, Yamaha provided a series of chromed elements like the 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.

Black Cherry/Charcoal Silver or pearl white are both excellent paintjobs for the bike and they sure make it look like no other. Instruments are very stylish and make you feel like you are about to get on the luxury trip that will surely make you more demanding with motorcycles.


Test Drive

Yamaha Stratoliner

My first encounter with the 2008 Yamaha Stratoliner S was simply magical. I expected to feel like I never want to jump on another model again but this bike simply blown my mind and my expectations together with it.

After firing up the massive cylinders and enjoying the sound that they end up making with the help of the exhaust, I found myself facing the task of picking the bike up from the sidestand. I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of the task compared to the bike’s size and weight and just when I straightened that thought out, the luxury on board proved to be the second thing that marveled me.

Reaching for the handlebars is no trouble at all as they are ergonomically positioned in order to provide a relaxed riding position. This allowed me to focus on how the bike behaves and how its engine and tranny work.

The Stratoliner S is a true companion right from the start. It implies powerful low-end pull together with the exhaust note which by this time became music to my ears. Although it is happy to burn the gas and go like no other, the mighty 113-cubic-inch (1854cc) air-cooled V-twin delivers its power smoothly and that is mostly due to its dual counterbalancers. These allow the engine to be rigidly attached to the frame and stiffen the chassis. Both rabbits shot with a single fire.

Its big bore and stroke couldn’t have gone unnoticed so it makes sure to send some vibes back to the enthusiastic rider who opens the throttle at the maximum. I liked this sensation because it is a reminder of the amounts of power and torque available.

I used the satisfying hydraulic clutch when I needed to change gears and although it requires some strength, it is not tiring.

The monster’s five-speed gearbox is more than adequate for it as it values properly all that power available and it is also very easy to use with the help of the heel/toe shifter. On the open road, fifth gear will require only 2800 rpm in order for the bike to run with 70 mph. This will result in good fuel economy and no delays at the end of the trip of your life.

While I was cruising nicely, I also gave a plus to the adjustable windshield which proved effective and worth of the buck spend on it. Also contribution to the great life on board are the floorboards which are very allowing and contribute to the relaxed riding position given by the handlebars and that comfortable redesigned seat.

This cruiser has something special. Thanks to its near 50/50 weight distribution on the front and rear wheels, it makes handling a dream and positions the motorcycle on the shown line of the curve so the pleasure of riding will be maximum. You will also notice that the suspensions have a lot to do with that and this equipment will also be appreciated while riding the 2008 Stratoliner S.

A lot of stopping power is needed to stop this bike for the simple fact that it goes like a train. 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.

Price

If you are willing to be part of a select club, your biggest detain will most likely be the MSRP of $16,580 for both Black Cherry/Charcoal Silver and Pearl White versions.

But if you take in consideration all the advantages that come with the package, you will draw the same conclusions as I did. Freedom has no price! You will say that this is a subjective interpretation and I will than motivate that in comparison with other models, it is a real bargain. Don’t miss it if you want it.

Conclusion

If it wouldn’t have been present on the market today, many other bikes would have dominated this segment, but with the Yamaha Stratoliner S there can be no other bike willing to get that crown and jump ahead of the selling charts.

Offering excellent touring performance and awesome handling, both features obtained through state of the art technology and ingenious solutions, Yamaha’s flagship is here for a long time and the best thing is that no client wants it standard.


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: 43.3 in
Height: 59.6 in
Seat Height: 28.9 in
Wheelbase: 67.5 in
Ground Clearance: 6.1 in
Dry Weight: 758 lb
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gal

Other

Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Color: Black Cherry/Charcoal Silver; Pearl White

Features

 

Key Features:

- The Stratoliner 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.


- A pair of streamlined leather-covered, locking, hard sidebags, an adjustable, detachable windshield and a detachable passenger backrest make the Stratoliner S excellent for long hauls and short trips.


- 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 Stratoliner 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.


- A resculpted seat makes the Stratoliner S and excellent place to sit on long rides.

Engine:

- 113-cubic-inch (1854cc) air-cooled pushrod 48-degree V-twin has the massive looks and performance to make the Stratoliner the king of the Star family.


- 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 Stratoliner’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 Stratoliner has the weight distribution of a sportbike instead of the typical cruiser, and that means great handling.


- 46mm fork tubes wearing slant-cut chrome 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 Stratoliner S’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 Stratoliner

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.


- Leather-covered, locking, hard sidebags, a removable windshield that locks into place and a locking, detachable passenger back-rest provide security.


- Oxygen sensor and three-way catalyst reduce emissions.


- Sidebags detach easily for cleaning.


Models Available

 

Yamaha Stratoliner S

During the review you’ve just read I have spoken about the Yamaha Yamaha Stratoliner S but we all know that diversity is a true characteristic of this manufacturer so things couldn’t have remained that simple.

A new model was introduced for who prefer paint instead of chrome.

Yamaha Stratoliner Midnight

Yamaha Stratoliner

The Stratoliner Midnight is the 113 cubic-inch V-twin powered, neo-streamlined cruiser with locking sidebags, detachable windshield and passenger backrest, that’s decked out in shiny Raven paint with blacked-out components throughout.

Price

Remember how I said that the price of the “S” model would make someone consider either buying or not buying that Stratoliner?

With the Stratoliner Midnight the solution will appear suddenly and without any second thoughts, the future owner will pay the retail price of $15, 480 and have a new toy in its garage.




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