In 1997, Yamaha Motors introduced the V Star 650 motorcycle as a replacement for its outgoing Virago 750. Yamaha's new bike became an immediate hit, winning the "Cruiser of the Year" award from the Motorcycle Cruiser magazine. Today, this bike competes with similar models in the 750cc class, including the Honda Shadow Aero and the Suzuki Boulevard C50.
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The company originally produced two models of its middleweight V-twin cruiser: the XVS650 Classic and the XVS650 Custom. It later added the XVS65A Silverado style and then dropped the "650" distinction to call each the V Star Custom, Classic or Silverado.
While Yamaha packed lots of chrome trim on the entire line and equipped these bikes with spoke wheels, each bike featured a slightly different look. A V Star Classic sported a longer length and greater overall width than the Custom and Silverado, both of which also used a narrower front tire and slightly lower seat. Yamaha differentiated the Silverado from the Custom by giving it a windshield, backrest and standard leather saddlebags.
Yamaha's 2011 line-up only features one 650 V Star product, which it refers to as the V Star Custom. This motorcycle retails for £4,478.
When the company launched the V Star 650, it equipped it with a 649cc displacement V-twin four-stroke engine that it still uses at the time of this writing. All models of this motorcycle have featured the same engine. Yamaha set the V-twin's two cylinders at a 70-degree angle to one another and gave each a bore of 3.19 inches and a stroke of 2.48 inches. The engine has a compression ratio of 9.0-to-1.
This engine sports two constant velocity 28-millimeter Mikuni carburettors set in a single overhead cam configuration that uses two valves per cylinder, for four valves total. A transistor-controlled ignition controls the sparks in each chamber. The air flow during riding keeps it from overheating and a wet sump oil system keeps it lubricated. Yamaha's 649cc engine produces 40 horsepower at 6,500rpm and 37 pound-feet of torque at 3,000rpm.
Riders can shift through the five-speed manual transmission using the V Star's multi-plate wet clutch. The engine transfers power to the rear wheel via a shaft drive.
Motorcycle Cruiser reports that the 1998 V Star Classic could pass the quarter-mile in a time of 15.9 seconds, at a speed of 80.4mph. According to the Total Magazine website, these bikes can hit a top speed of 145mph. Yamaha gives the Custom a fuel economy of 48mpg and the Classic a 49mpg rating. The 2011 Custom has a 5.5 gallon fuel tank, giving it a range of over 250 miles.
The 2011 V Star Custom rides on size 100/90-19 front tires and size 170/80-15 rear tires. Yamaha equipped this bike's front wheel with a 298mm diameter disc and slapped a 200mm drum brake on the rear wheel. A 2010 Silverado and Classic rode on 130/90-16 front and 170/80-15 rear tires. Both the Silverado and the Classic used the same front-disc, rear-drum configuration and brake size.
Yamaha equipped all models of the V Star 650 with a telescopic fork front suspension and single-shock rear suspension. The 2011 V Star Custom's front suspension has a travel of 5.5 inches; its rear suspension has a travel of 3.4 inches.
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- Motorcycle Cruiser; Motorcycle Test: Yamaha V-Star 650 Classic; February, 2009