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2008 Yamaha V Star 1100

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You instinctively know a great cruiser when you see one. Retro style is even cooler when it’s combined with Star engineering, including and SOHC air-cooled V-twin and shaft drive. It’s all right here just begging for some choice personalization.

 

Introduction

The V Star 1100 Classic is one of America’s best cruiser values and a perennial best seller. It features an authentic air-cooled V-twin, shaft drive and styling that sure stays true to the Classic name.

This legendary V-Star 1100 Classic has an unsurpassed reputation for value and reliability thanks to its authentic air-cooled V-twin that pumps up some serious horsepower and performance, while the long and low design provides great looks. Give it a try and I bet you’ll be hooked.

History

Yamaha V Star 1100

In 1999 Yamaha Motor Corporation began producing the V-Star 1100, or the Dragstar 1100, as it was sold in Europe. It was introduced in two different versions, the XVS1100 and XVS1100A. The first featured a more classic style, while the second became popular by featuring a more modern style and a slightly lower seat height.

But the V Star series didn’t start life with the 1100. The model was a derivation of the 1998 V Star 650. The 1100 used a reworked version of the venerable Virago 75-degree, air-cooled V-twin which had been in use since the early 1980s.

The V Star 1100 soon saw a Star version which exploited better that reliable engine, which means that it offers better torque. The shaft-drive layout from the Virago was also carried over to the V Star 1100, but it relied on a new suspension and frame, discarding the outboard dual shocks and stressed-member engine arrangement of the Virago in favor of a single-shock and twin downtubes. At that time the midsize cruiser bike came equipped with Keihin 37 mm carburetor with throttle-position sensor used to efficiently meter fuel to the 8.3:1, oversquare engine

The V Star gathered a huge following early on, which lead to the addition in 2000 of the Classic model. As opposed to the Custom’s bobbed rear fender, exposed forks, 110 front tire and other custom touches, the Classic had longer, more voluptuous fenders, floorboards, beefy fork covers and a 130 front tire. Later a Silverado model, which included such amenities as a windscreen, sissy bar, soft sidebags and the like, was introduced as an upscale model.

Being bulletproof built and implementing a reliable engine, this bike only needed minor updates in order to keep being successfully sold.

Competition

Yamaha V Star 1100

Up against the Yamaha is the Honda Shadow Sabre, an ideal machine always ready to take you in places you’ve only dreamed of cruising. From its 1099cc, 45-degree v-twin pumps serious power and the kind of torque everyone wants in a big cruiser. And when it comes to styling details, with its combination of brilliant chrome and scintillating paint schemes, the Sabre is flat-out stunning and a close competitor of the V Star 1100, either.

Featuring clean lines and an uncluttered look, the Vulcan 900 Classic is ideal for cruising purists. The well balanced mid-size cruiser offers riders the look and feel of the larger V-twins, without the hefty size and price. With styling cues from its biggest sibling, the Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 Classic, the 900 Classic is a sure winner in the mid-size category. Entry-level riders and those seeking more nimble than the large-displacement machines will enjoy this stylish mid-size machine.

Yamaha V Star 1100

Exterior

Yamaha V Star 1100

Almost every cruiser gathered under the Star designation starts with a beautifully designed headlight covered in chrome. The V Star 1100 makes no exception and this unit helps maximize nighttime visibility.

Further improving the look are the pullback handlebars which, as the headlight cover feature chrome all over it. The handlebars go well with the large, 4.5-gallon teardrop fuel tank with class-leading fuel capacity which significantly improves long-distance cruising range. On the fuel tank, an eye catching speedometer is designed with a large face for easy reading of data.

The fenders are steel, not plastic, and no mater the model they are mounted on, combine cool style with rugged durability. The wheels they cover feature cast aluminum rims which also contribute at giving a nice visual aspect.

Star takes special care of their bike’s fit and finish so the V Star features rich, lustrous paint and extensive chrome accents that make all the difference when creating a timeless machine.

Also timeless is the look of that beautiful V-twin which pulls nicely underneath the rider and still manages to catch the eyes of the motorcycling fan on the side of the road. The two-into-two exhaust also sees its way through and creates nice chromed apparel.


Test Drive

Yamaha V Star 1100

I spent some good hours aboard the V Star 1100 and I ended up with the conclusion that this is one sweet ride. It simply couldn’t have been a failure because it takes that old Virago engine and breaths life in it, resulting a special riding feel that I appreciate and you will too.

What immediately becomes obvious once on the bike is the excellent rider friendliness characteristic to middleweight cruisers. This contributed significantly to the opinion a rider forms on the bike and I think that this is one of the most pleasant to ride cruisers on the market today.

I was anxious to receive that precious feedback that now contributes at writing this test drive so I soon headed down the open road, where everything seemed more than OK with this bike. The comfortable layout allows you to relax, leaving you to enjoy the road and the beautiful view ahead. If a certain situation calls for some performance, this Star has you covered as roll-on power is very good across the rev range and handling is light and precise as all the Stars that I ridden lately.

I would call a drawback the fact that the floorboards repeatedly scrape the pavement when a more aggressive riding style is approached, but the bars hitting the knees of taller riders during parking lot maneuvers isn’t an advantage either.

The qualities that combine and make this bike feel lighter and smaller than your typical open class cruiser are the same which practically sell the product: excellent road manners, light steering, and low seat height.

Another important issue when it comes to cruisers is the sound produced. Some of them only sound best at particular rpm levels but this Star sound awesome no matter the rpm’s involved. Added to this are comfy ergonomics as a result of low wide bars, floorboards complete with heel/toe shifter and a comfy wide setting only 27.9 inches.

Shifting isn’t confusing and I didn’t manage to miss any gears during my test run. I wasn’t making a lot of effort no to, either so you won’t encounter any problems with shifting. Even more, the clutch feel is predictable and engages smoothly so in a couple of hours you will be shifting like you’ve ridden the bike for ages.

Some bumps on the road won’t disturb you while having the time of your life because the suspension units will soak up mostly every single possible inconvenience so that the ride will be smooth, enjoyable and exploit the bike’s abilities to the maximum.

The brakes are confidence-providing and offer the best feel encountered on a cruiser, and the stopping power is truly enough. I had no problem stopping quickly when needed but this kind of situation is rarely faced by cruisers.

With its loping, low- and mid-range torque, plush suspension and stable and precise handling, well, let’s just say that cruising doesn’t get any cruisier than this- under any road conditions.

Price

A Star motorcycle will always ask you to pick a color for it and you probably now that your choice also has an effect on the price tag. The 2008 V Star can be bought Pearl White painted or featuring Raven/w/Flames color scheme. The MSRP required for the first is only $8,799 while the second color option involves and MSRP of $8,999. Either way, this is a true bargain compared with the riding feel provided by an excellent overall middleweight motorcycle.

Conclusion

The 2008 V Star 1100 is the machine which perfectly blends Star quality with heavenly performance.

One thing about a really good show, it always gets taken on the road. The V Star 1100 Classic’s styling may be straight out of yesterday, but this big-bore cruiser’s work of art, high-tech 75-degree air-cooled V-Twin features the king of contemporary engineering that always deserves an encore.

The Classic variant’s spacious saddle and ergonomically designed pillion cushion perfectly complement those long days touring the capitals, while the deeply valanced fenders add a dignified and functional touch.


SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine and Transmission

Displacement: 65-cubic-inch (1063cc)
Type: Air-cooled 75-degree V-twin; SOHC, 2 valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke: 95 x 75mm
Compression Ratio: 8.3:1
Carburetion: (2) 37mm Mikuni w/throttle position sensor
Ignition: TCI
Transmission: 5-speed, multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive: Shaft

Chassis and Dimensions

Frame: Steel; hidden shock
Suspension/Front: Telescopic fork; 5.5-in travel
Suspension/Rear: Single shock; adjustable preload; 4.5-in travel
Brakes/Front: Dual hydraulic disc, 298mm
Brakes/Rear: Hydraulic disc, 282mm
Tires/Front: 130/90-16
Tires/Rear: 170/80-15
Wheels: 7-spoke cast
Length: 97.0 in
Width: 37.2 in
Height: 43.3 in
Seat Height: 27.9 in
Wheelbase: 64.8 in
Ground Clearance: 5.5 in
Dry Weight: 600 lb
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gal

Other

Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Color: Pearl White; Raven/ w/ Flames

Features

 

Key Features:

- Retro style is even cooler when it’s combined with Star engineering, including an SOHC air-cooled V-twin and shaft drive.


- Efficient and quiet shaft drive requires almost no maintenance.

Engine:

Yamaha V Star 1100

- 65 cubic-inch (1063cc), air-cooled, SOHC, 75-degree V-twin is tuned for outstanding low- and mid-range torque – maximum torque is reached at only 2500 rpm – for exceptional overall cruising performance.


- Forged lightweight pistons provide greater durability and reduced vibration and reciprocating mass.


- Ceramic-composite, cylinder-bore plating ensures superior heat dissipation for better cooling and longer engine life.


- Thick cylinder fins enhance the stylish look while increasing cooling efficiency.


- Dual, heated Mikuni 37mm carburetors with throttle position sensor feature a progressively pulley, electronic fuel pump and handy side-mounted air filter to ensure consistent fuel flow, great throttle response and optimum power throughout the rev range.


- One-way cam, clutch-type starter decreases mechanical noise during starting.


- Low-maintenance shaft drive delivers superior reliability and smooth cruiser ride quality.


- Two-into-two exhaust system with dual shotgun-style staggered pipes play outstanding V-twin music and simplify aftermarket conversion.

Chassis and Dimensions:

- Low-slung, large-diameter, rigid double-cradle frame with 33-degree rake creates strong, stylish machine with precise, predictable handling.


- Low, 28-inch seat height lets nearly everybody touch the pavement and enhances maneuverability.


- Extra-long, 64.8-inch wheelbase produces a long, low retro profile, with spacious ergonomics for added rider comfort and great handling.


- Beefy, brushed steel telescopic front fork with 5.5 inches of travel smoothes out the bumps.


- Tucked-out-of-sight, link-type, preload adjustable single rear shock with 4.5 inches of class-leading travel for a low profile that gives up a plush ride.


- Large-diameter dual front disc brakes and a single rear disc provide strong, confidence-inspiring stopping power.


- Comfortably placed, full-size rider floorboards enhance the ride by minimizing vibration and fatigue.


- Stylish heel/toe shifter adds versatility and enhances overall cruising comfort.


- Fat, tubeless tires on seven-spoke aluminum wheels combine classic looks with modern ride quality, comfort and handling.

Additional Features:

- Industry-leading Star Family fit and finish feature rich, lustrous paint and extensive chrome accents that create a timeless machine.


- Large, 4.5-gallon teardrop fuel tank with class-leading fuel capacity serves up long-distance cruising range.


- Deeply valanced steel fenders combine cool style with rugged durability.


- Eye-catching, tank-mounted speedometer designed with a large face for easy reading of tripmeter/odometer displays and turn signal, neutral, high beam, low oil and engine diagnostic indicator lights.


- Locking compartment under side cover provide secure storage for small items.


- Chrome 12V 60/55-watt halogen headlight looks incredible and helps maximize nighttime visibility.


- Maintenance-free 12V 14AH battery ensures dependable, no-hassle starting.


Models Available

 

V Star 1100 Classic

This is the model I wrote about during this review because it registers the biggest sales and so it is being ridden by the biggest number of Star customers. But Star also provides two different models which have the goal of attracting every single rider which desires either comfort or cool looks but knows that it’s always going to get something of both with every ride.

V Star 1100 Custom

Yamaha V Star 1100

It can be described as being long, low, and stripped-down to the bare beautiful essentials and powered by a modern SOHC V-Twin the V Star 1100 Custom goes as good as it looks.

You’ve either got it or you haven’t. And with a V-Star 1100 Custom, one look is enough to tell you’ve definitely got that long ’n low retro style.

V Star’s 1063cc 75-degree air-cooled, V-twin is tuned for outstanding low- and mid-range torque, and breathes through dual shotgun mufflers that walk the walk like they talk the talk.

A low-slung, large-diameter, rigid double-cradle frame is at the heart of V Star’s strong, stylish character, as well as its easy, predictable handling, and spacious rider and passenger ergonomics.

Price

Available in Galaxy Blue or Midnight (Raven/w/Flames), this custom will only require $8,699, no matter the color so it is well worth to be taken in consideration, especially if you like the way it looks.

V Star 1100 Silverado

Yamaha V Star 1100

When you’re looking for big-time torque, big-time style and loads of comfort, check out the V Star 1100 Silverado. This bike features shaft drive, an adjustable windshield, saddlebags, and passenger backrest. What a great value.

Start with an air-cooled V-twin for effortless cruising, a 17-litre tank for all-day junkets, full rider floorboards, and much more. But when you add those special touring features you’re all set to roll for the long haul. With an extra-long wheelbase, you can really stretch out – just like the road in front of you.

Price

If you are a little more demanding and prefer this Touring version, you will face the fair price of $9,799 for which the bike will be Candy Red painted. But if you prefer going all the way and buy it Raven painted, $200 more will be taken out of your motorcyclist pocket.


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