You won’t find many V-twin engines in the small-displacement field

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If you’re a carburetor fan, you’re still in luck for a 250 cc commuter bike with the V Star 250 from Yamaha. Simple, classic-cruiser good looks and scooter-like fuel economy make the V Star 250 a no-nonsense choice for a budget-minded or entry-level rider.

  • 2015 - 2021 Yamaha V Star 250
  • Year:
    2015- 2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V-Twin
  • Displacement:
    249 cc
  • Price:
    4499
  • Price:

Yamaha V Star 250 Design

  • Classic cruiser styling
  • Chrome details
  • Unintimidating
  • Economical operation
2015 - 2021 Yamaha V Star 250
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2015 - 2021 Yamaha V Star 250
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2015 - 2021 Yamaha V Star 250
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"Approachable" is what Yamaha calls it. There's nothing jackassey about it.

Introduced in 2008, the V Star 250 replaced the Virago 250, but was essentially the same bike spec-wise. The V Star 250 is a good entry-level bike and with a 250 cc engine that has fuel economy rated at 78 mpg, it is a contender for your choice of an economically sound cruiser.

The 2021 model is a carry over from last year and essentially the same bike Yamaha has offered since 2012 when they redesigned the mirrors and lowered the buckhorn handlebars that were so prominent on previous model years.

I find nothing particularly noteworthy. It’s a nice, classic style that’s quite appropriate for a cruiser. Chrome details accent the engine and side covers to give it that ’big-bike’ look, but no matter the look, it’s still a 250. Is that a bad thing? Not if you want a decent-looking economical ride. There’s nothing jackassey about it. "Approachable" is what Yamaha calls it, which means it’s a friendly ride for folks new to two wheels.

Yamaha V Star 250 Chassis

  • Low-speed maneuverability
  • Vanilla suspension
  • Rear drum brake
  • Zippy in the corners
2015 - 2021 Yamaha V Star 250
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2015 - 2021 Yamaha V Star 250
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2015 - 2021 Yamaha V Star 250
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The low center of gravity makes the V Star 250 maneuverable at parking-lot speeds and zippy in the corners .

Lightweight and with a seat height of 27 inches, the V Star 250 this lends itself to the starter-bike market and height-challenged folks will be at ease. Telescopic forks with 5.5 inches of travel handle suspension in the front and twin shocks with 3.9 inches of travel and adjustable spring preload handle the rear, both unremarkable, but adequate to save your butt over the bumps.

When you put on the brakes, you engage the 282 mm single front disc and rear drum brakes. Again, that’s adequate. Even though drum brakes are so last-century, it seems to be okay for these low-tech models that are carry-overs from simpler times. The low center of gravity makes the V Star 250 maneuverable at parking-lot speeds and zippy in the corners, and with the wire-spoke wheels front and rear, you’ll look snazzy while doing it.

Frame: Steel tube
Suspension / Front: 33 mm fork; 5.5-inch travel
Suspension / Rear: Dual shocks; adjustable preload, 3.9-inch travel
Rake (Castor Angle): 32.0°
Trail: 4.7 inches
Brakes / Front: Hydraulic disc, 282 mm
Brakes / Rear: 130 mm drum
Tires / Front: 3.00-18
Tires / Rear: 130/90-15
Wheels: Laced Spokes

Yamaha V Star 250 Drivetrain

  • Air-cooled 249 cc V-twin engine
  • Mikuni® 26 mm carburetor
  • Ample low-rev-range torque
  • Lower rpm at speed
2015 - 2021 Yamaha V Star 250 Exterior
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2015 - 2021 Yamaha V Star 250
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2015 - 2021 Yamaha V Star 250
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It's not an 'oh wow!' bike. It's not supposed to be, but it is a 250 cc V-Twin, which is noteworthy in this small-displacement market.

If I seem unimpressed so far with the V Star 250, that’s not far from the truth. It’s not an “oh wow!” bike, but it’s not supposed to be. I did, however, make particular note that the 249 cc engine is a V-twin. In the 250 cc market, I expect to see a vertical or a thumper, but here we have an air-cooled, 60-degree V-twin in the house. Yamaha claims it’s the only V-twin in its class, but the GT250 and the GV 250 from Hyosung have a 249 cc, 75-degree V-twin so I’m guessing it’s not the only 250 cc V-twin to choose from in the market.

The long-stroke engine gives ample low rpm torque to get you off the line in a jiffy, and the wide-geared transmission gives you higher top speed at lower rpm on the highway, but you’ll have to really wind it up to get it there. I really like the automatic cam-chain tensioner. Anything that reduces maintenance is a plus.

Engine: Air-cooled, SOHC 60-degree V-twin, two valves per cylinder
Displacement: 249 cc
Bore x Stroke: 49.0 x 66.0 mm
Compression Ratio: 10.0 to 1
Fuel Delivery: Mikuni® 26 mm carburetor
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: five-speed; multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain

Yamaha V Star 250 Pricing

2015 - 2021 Yamaha V Star 250
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2015 - 2021 Yamaha V Star 250
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2015 - 2021 Yamaha V Star 250
- image 675171
MSRP is $4.5k and available in Raven for 2021.

MSRP on the 2021 V Star 250 is $4,499, not much more than it has been since 2014. The only difference is color. This model year, Raven is once again the color for your new V Star 250.

Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Colors:
└ 2015: Raven, Impact Blue
└ 2016: Electric White
└ 2017: Frost Silver
└ 2018: Raven
└ 2019, 2020: Metallic Silver
└ 2021: Raven
Price:
└ 2020: $4,349
└ 2021: $4,499

Yamaha V Star 250 Competitors

2015 - 2021 Yamaha V Star 250
- image 804475
2009 - 2019 Suzuki TU250X
- image 807096
In a V-twin-versus-thumper comparison, I go V-twin.

No doubt about it, the Yamaha V-Star 250 was built to compete against other import machines such as the Honda Rebel or Suzuki TU250X, but since the former recently underwent a major overhaul and modernization, I decided to roll with the latter.

Suzuki TU250X

2009 - 2019 Suzuki TU250X
- image 807092

To be fair, Suzuki doesn’t necessarily try to emulate the American-made look, but instead cuts a classic UJM figure, circa 1960s and ’70s. Wire wheels set the stage for the intended era with blackout treatment on the rims, fork sliders, headlight can, and instrument housing to make a connection to the old-school custom bikes. Seventies-style graphics and a two-piece saddle works with the teardrop fuel tank for a look that will strike a chord with long-time riders.

Vanilla suspension is a constant across the board, as are rear drum brakes. While that last might be a bit disappointing, it’s really not surprising on such a small bike, especially when you consider the antique element it brings to the table.

Suzuki doesn’t waste any time with trying to make the engine deliver an aesthetic component to the design, but runs with an air-cooled, 249 cc thumper that claims a top speed of 75 mph. Yamaha’s V-twin is reported to top out at 85 mph and that’s a definite selling point in favor of the V Star. It can run on the interstate and have a little bit of power to spare.

It gets worse for Suzuki at the checkout. The Suzuki TU250X rolls for $4,649 to leave a small margin in favor of the V Star. Not a big difference, but one that might sway folks on a tight budget. The Yamaha holds a little more resale value, as well, with a 2019 typical listing price of $3,740 against Suzuki’s $3,620.

Rear our full review of the Suzuki TU2150X.

He Said

My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, "Little engine means inexpensive rates when you go for insurance, and who wants to spend a lot on a starter bike? And I’m a fan of ’Made in the USA’ so I’ll give a nod to the V Stars when I cross paths with them while on my Harley."

She Said

"One thing I really like about this bike over, say, a Suzuki GW250 is the V Star’s V-twin engine — you won’t come screaming down the road sounding like a pissed-off lawnmower like some of the thumpers out there. As with any of the 250s, though, I feel like it is good as an entry-level bike, an economical commuter bike, and a weekend fun ride.”

Yamaha V Star 250 Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Air-cooled, SOHC 60-degree V-twin, two valves per cylinder
Displacement: 249 cc
Bore x Stroke: 49.0 x 66.0 mm
Compression Ratio: 10.0 to 1
Fuel Delivery: Mikuni® 26 mm carburetor
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: Five-speed; multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Chassis:
Frame: Steel tube
Suspension / Front: 33 mm fork; 5.5-inch travel
Suspension / Rear: Dual shocks; adjustable preload, 3.9-inch travel
Rake (Castor Angle): 32.0°
Trail: 4.7 inches
Brakes / Front: Hydraulic disc, 282 mm
Brakes / Rear: 130 mm drum
Tires / Front: 3.00-18
Tires / Rear: 130/90-15
Wheels: Laced Spokes
Dimensions: & Capacities:
Length: 86.2 inches
Width: 28.0 inches
Height: 41.7 inches
Seat Height: 27.0 inches
Wheelbase: 58.7 inches
Ground Clearance: 5.7 inches
Fuel Capacity: 2.5 gallons / California model 2.4 gallons
Fuel Economy: 78 mpg
Wet Weight: 326 pounds
Top Speed: 85 mph (est)
Details:
Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Colors:
└ 2015: Raven, Impact Blue
└ 2016: Electric White
└ 2017: Frost Silver
└ 2018: Raven
└ 2019, 2020: Metallic Silver
└ 2021: Raven
Price:
└ 2020: $4,349
└ 2021: $4,499

Further Reading

Yamaha

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Allyn Hinton
Allyn Hinton
Writer and Associate Motorcycle Editor - allyn@topspeed.com
If it had moving parts, it had Allyn's interest from a very early age. At age 11 when bicycles were too simple to hold her interest any longer, her father found her taking apart the lawn mower. When he asked why she was doing it, she replied, “I need to see how it works.” That curiosity and mechanical drive served her well over the next 40 years as she pursued careers in both the automotive and motorcycle industries. Having shared her love of motorcycles with her now husband, biker TJ Hinton, Allyn brings that love and knowledge to TopSpeed as writer and associate motorcycle editor.  Read full bio
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: yamaha-motor.com, honda.com, suzukicycles.com, krmotors.com

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