With the first moment I saw the 2008 V Star 650 Classic, I understood why people sometimes confuse it with 1000cc motorcycles. The bike simply surprises with its size and you ask yourself if you didn’t by mistake receive the 1100cc model.
After you clear that thought in your mind, pull out the “choke” knob situated under the left rear corner of the tank and fire the engine up. You will see how this unit’s response is quick and easy and how the bike idles smoothly while letting it worm up a little bit in a cold morning.
By this time, you will surely be anxious to give it a go so you will use the low-effort clutch and snick it into first gear. If you are used to dour machines, the V Star will feel smooth, reliable and confidence-providing and this is just the start. City traffic will be no problem for this ride as it shifts precisely and no abrupt feel will be encountered while using the clutch.
I enjoyed pulling away when lights turned green because this was a great opportunity to see the engine’s pull in the lower gears. Rolling on the throttle in lower gears provides good acceleration and the engine’s exhaust system makes a good impression also. In my attempt of detaching from four-wheeled traffic, I noticed that by the time you have to shift to second, all cars can be seen in the rear view mirrors. Third gear would have finished them off if you decide to be more gentile with the 650cc engine.
In town, I didn’t considered necessary to shift to fourth gear and that is why I felt necessary to get it on the highway and see what it really can prove with its V-twin engine.
This Star doesn’t feel short on power until it reaches 70mph. Also, at high engine speeds, power falls off surprisingly and that is where you realize that no mistakes were made and you received the right bike. The 649cc air-cooled, SOHC 70-degree V-twin is designed to crank out torque at low and mid rpm levels and until that time, these will be long gone.
By the time the rider becomes familiar with highway speeds, he will be capable to shift at peak power, an important part of gathering momentum quickly. Any other situations were proudly faced by this V-twin fed by two 28mm Mikuni CV carburetor.
Out on the highway, other issues rise up and are well worth considering. An example, especially on cruisers, is the vibration levels detected by the relaxed rider. Thanks to the V Star’s counterbalancer, vibrations remain almost nonexistent from around 75 mph, where the grips start to tingle and the pegs tremble a little. At 85 mph and above, the vibration level is very significant, blurring the mirrors.
Even though you may detect some vibrations, it is good to take in consideration the fact that this is a cruiser for the beginner rider at its second evolutionary step so it isn’t quite recommended to widely open the throttle. It would be best to enjoy the relaxed riding position. The footpegs are not too far forward positioned so they keep tall riders from feeling cramped and short motorcyclists from feeling like they have to extend their legs in order to reach the pegs. The same think with the handlebars.
Another important unit in providing comfort and stability in corners is the suspension. I noticed that is absorbs small bumps with ease and still manages to keep the bike steady while cornering. Speed bumps will require you to lift your butt of the seat in order to keep things comfy and simple.
Also important, but for a mental comfort, is to have good, reliable brakes which only require a stronger squeeze for more braking power. The same with the foot peg. Just hit it harder and you’ll soon feel the tires gripping and stopping this overall awesome cruising machine.
The thing with middleweight motorcycles, cruisers included, is that they have to speak through their price. A manufacturer couldn’t claim that it offers an excellent middleweight package for somewhere around ten grand let’s say. Thinks have to remain proportionate so as the customer would make the best choice for him in relation to its pocket. This Star doesn’t exaggerate in any chapter as it is being offered for the suggested retail price of $6,199 (Galaxy Blue) or $6,299 (Raven w/Flames).
Star understands that you don’t have to be a heavyweight to express yourself. The way they see it, this Classic has all the Star quality and strong-running V-twin performance you want and I am pretty sure that this is your opinion either. It’s up to you to say the rest as I name it a wise mean of expression yourself.