If the vast open road is calling, many bikes are well suited to take you to destinations far away. One of the bikes well suited to this task, but maybe lost in the sea of touring bikes is the V-Max-powered 2005 Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe – the subject of this week’s Church of MO feature. Yamaha clearly knew it had something special in the V-Max, but it would be a shame to keep that engine from those seeking something other than a maniacal boulevard bruiser. Some people prefer the cruising lifestyle, but want the braun to let out their inner hooligan every now and again. As our own Sean Alexander discovered in 2005, the RSTD is capable of combining both worlds. Read on to see what Sean thought of the Royal Star Tour Deluxe, and don’t forget to visit the photo gallery for even more pictures.


2005 Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe

What do you get, when you cross a Royal Star with a V-Max?

By Sean Alexander Jun. 16, 2004

04_Royalstar_095Boar’s Head Inn, Charlottesville, VA. ~ Rural Virginia is an almost tolerable place to be in the Spring and Fall. The hills, grass and trees are  shockingly green in these parts, with winter little more than a bone chilling memory and the summer’s oppressive heat, humidity and grey skies still a few weeks off. It’s not a bad place to introduce a cruiser, as envious stares from cage bound commuters are evident with every glance, while you loaf around town sending chrome fired twinkles of light to tickle their retinas. Yamaha classifies the Tour Deluxe as: “Motorcycle, Convertible, Cruiser, Touring”. Looking exactly like the cruiserfied Royal Star that it is, the Tour Deluxe cuts a dashing (if a bit large) figure, with nicely integrated saddlebags, gleaming chrome and polished cylinder finning leaving no doubt about its touring cruiser intentions.

As you examine the photos in this story, please take note of the outstanding finish on the brightwork and paint. The Tour Deluxe looks great in pictures and absolutely stunning in person. It is obvious that Yamaha’s product development people spent more than a few sleepless nights nailing-down the finish on this bike. I’m not really surprised though, as fit and finish was one of the things that helped Yamaha’s Road Star Silverado win our recent Touring Cruiser Shootout. With bikes like the R1, Silverado and Tour Deluxe, it looks like Yamaha has well and truly raised its styling game.

04_Royalstar_025When ridden as intended, the Tour Deluxe has an exceptionally smooth, comfortable and stable ride (as you would expect from the Royal Star platform) and it is blessed with by far the most comfortable cruiser seat I have ever tested. There is no mistaking this bike for a light and nimble 600 race rep,  but it is far more capable than a bike this flashy and comfortable has a right to be. Clutch action is smooth and reasonably weighted and the gearbox is silky smooth and positive shifting. At parking lot speeds, the steering is light, but the wide bars mean that you have to move your hands pretty far for tight circles. Above parking lot speeds, the steering is solid, accurate and smooth, making the big Yamaha a joy to meander through country lanes.

Even though it sounds a bit V-Maxish in that healthy V-Four sort of way and though the Tour Deluxe shares a good deal of engine architecture with the V-Max, its engine character is closer to that of a steroidally enhanced Road Star V-Twin. The 1,294cc engine sounds great and pulls like stink, right up to the point where you’d expect the V-Boost to kick-in, then the tuned-for-torque motor quickly signs-off and begs for an upshift. Is it just me, or does it make perfect sense to slap an actual V-Max motor in this thing and let it eat? It’s not like the chassis isn’t up to the task and the added weight would naturally mellow the V-Max’s hit. A bit of work with the polishing wheel and some faux finning, et viola! instant Badder-Ass Tour Deluxe. .

04_Royalstar_081Ok, enough of my poseurish wannabe racer ramblings. The truth is, the Tour Deluxe’s “Power” Cruiser status isn’t in any danger, as its mill still puts out something in the neighborhood of 100HP to the ground, coupled with enough torque to send your neighbor’s favorite V-Twin running for the hills.

If you choose to chase that neighbor into the hills, you will be happy to learn that this big Yamaha is willing to play and handles quite a bit better than expected. Much of this is due to the fairly high mounting of its floorboards and good (for a cruiser) overall ground clearance. There is a hint of shaft-drive-jack, but it isn’t bothersome and can be used to slightly increase ground clearance, when you accelerate through corners. I have it on good authority, that the 700+Lb Tour Deluxe is quite happy to hack-sideways into corners, do burnouts and perform other sophomoric pranks, if its owner is as immature as the average motojournalist. I spent a good part of an exceptionally fun day, chasing Darb Retsinab through the VA countryside and the bike was happy to do anything I asked of it. True, it is wise to remember the Tour Deluxe’s weight when planning your stops, but its brakes never faded or gave a hint of protest. All in all, I would say this is a thoroughly engineered and well executed package that (much like the original Honda GL1000 Gold Wing) is capable of performing well beyond its intended role.

There are a ton of accessories available through Yamaha's Star Accessories Catalog, the one I recomend most, is this short windscreen for the Tour Deluxe.

There are a ton of accessories available through Yamaha’s Star Accessories Catalog, the one I recomend most, is this short windscreen for the Tour Deluxe.

Neat touches abound on this bike. The quick-release windscreen and sissy bar can be mounted or removed in seconds and attach in a similar manner to Harley’s convertible accessories. However, the Yamaha attachment system seems much more solid than the Harley system and engages with a nice, positive click! Removing the windscreen and sissy bar/passenger backrest has a dramatic effect on the Tour Deluxe’s overall look, transforming the bike from comfortable cruiser to long and low boulevard blaster in a blink of an eye. The saddlebags are nicely styled and offer ample storage and a load carrying capacity of 20Lbs each. They open wide and give easy access, with positive latches that are easy to operate one-handed. As an added bonus, Yamaha includes a 5-Year Parts, Labor & Roadside Assistance Warranty on every Royal Star and Royal Star Tour Deluxe. Couple these features with the aforementioned uber-comfortable seat, good performance and best in class paint and chrome and you come up with a bike that scores high on the “Me Want one” scale.

Before you go off thinking I’m blinded by its goodness, let me add that the Tour Deluxe has three niggling traits, one is easy to fix and two are a bit tougher to rectify.

First, the stock windscreen is great for cold weather and/or rain, but it keeps the air a bit too still and leads to a stuffy cockpit on hot days. This is easily (and handsomely) fixed by buying the short windscreen from the accessory catalog and taking 10 seconds to swap it with the full height windscreen. My second complaint is the speedo which is styled like American car dashes from the 60’s and 70’s with a sweep needle that covers a broad swipe from left to right. It’s sort of neat-o, but instead of windscreen for the Tour Deluxe.using an actual needle and stepper motor, Yamaha decided to use a grey LCD display that totally ruins the retro theme and is hard to read in the daytime. This isn’t as easy to fix, but isn’t really that big of a deal either. Another complaint is the bulbous radiator shrouds that do a great job of shielding your lower legs, but block cooling airflow and look like something my cat just coughed-up.

04_Royalstar_106Though the Tour Deluxe looks like a cruiser, its original engineering and ergonomics are more in the standard/tourer mold, which means that it has a dynamic advantage from the get go. I suppose comparing the Tour Deluxe’s road manners and performance with bikes that place engineering second to looks isn’t really fair. However, if Yamaha can make a properly engineered motorcycle look this good, perform this well and fit into so many roles, I say tough ti**y, ain’t competition grand! When ridden as a power cruiser or touring cruiser, I think the $13,999 Tour Deluxe only has (had) one potential challenger and that’s the recently discontinued Honda Valkyrie. If you’re mourning the loss of the Valk, dry your eyes and head over to your Yamaha dealer.

2005 Royal Star Tour Deluxe Specifications
** SPECS PROVIDED BY YAMAHA **
Royal Star Tour Deluxe Features:
  • Quick-detachable windshield and removable backrest let the rider optimize the bike for cross-town cruising cool or cross-country touring comfort quickly without tools.
  • Electronic cruise control, with right handlebar controls for ease of use.
  • 5.3-gallon fuel tank provides outstanding touring range along with classic lines.
  • 67.1-inch wheelbase provides a smooth highway ride and plenty of room for rider and passenger.
  • 4-into-2 exhaust system with changeable muffler tips puts out a throaty exhaust note and creates a long, low profile that’s easily customizable.
Engine:
  • Liquid-cooled, 79-cubic-inch V-Four tuned to put out class-leading power-98hp @ 6000 rpm and maximum torque at 89 ft.-lb. @ 4750 rpm -for incomparable cruising performance.
  • Four heated Mikuni 32mm carburetors with TPS deliver seamless throttle response and greater power across the entire rev range in nearly any climate.
  • Compact-design dual intake system enhances performance without sacrificing fuel tank capacity.
  • Large-capacity radiator ensures superior engine cooling for maximum efficiency.
  • Single-axis internal counterbalancer reduces engine vibration for super-smooth running.
  • Wide-ratio 5-speed transmission with 4th and 5th gear overdrive provides plenty of highway passing power as well as low-rpm, fuel-efficient cruising.
  • Low-maintenance hydraulic clutch actuation and strong, low-maintenance shaft drive for touring convenience.
Chassis/Suspension:
  • High-integrity, single-backbone frame with solid engine mounting and 29-degree caster angle delivers responsive steering and excellent handling.
  • Air-adjustable telescopic front fork with 5.5 inches of travel smoothes out the bumps and adapts to varying load capacities.
  • Air-adjustable link-type rear suspension features a vertically mounted single shock with revised damping for classic hardtail look and outstanding long-distance ride quality.
  • Reinforced swingarm for exceptional ride quality and solid road manners.
  • Reinforced swingarm for exceptional ride quality and solid road manners.
  • Large-diameter front and rear disc brakes with sintered pads provide strong, linear stopping power.
  • New rider and passenger seats provide even more room and comfort along with a low seat height-29.1 inches.
  • Full-sized floating-type rider and passenger floorboards reduce vibration and are positioned for optimal long-distance comfort.
  • Easy-to-reach, large-diameter, rubber-mounted handlebars with new bar-end weights for reduced vibration.
Additional Features:
  • Color-matched locking hard-shell sidebags feature handy, one-touch openers and spacious 9.3-gallon storage with interior storage pouch.
  • Cool new retro “dash” combines classic looks with new-age function, including: digital speedometer, odometer, dual tripmeters, fuel tripmeter, clock, fuel gauge, and indicator lights for cruise control, overdrive, neutral, high beam, turn signals, water temperature, and low oil level.
  • New handlebar with wider control levers offer better feel and look cool to boot.
  • Clear turn signal lenses over amber bulbs are one more small touch that creates a distinctively high quality look.
  • Incomparable fit and finish includes flawless paint with extensive chrome and brushed stainless steel accents as well as deep, valanced steel fenders.
  • Large, powerful 12V 60/55-watt halogen headlight in stylish chrome shell with new custom bezel maximizes nighttime visibility while cutting a stylish profile.
  • Ignition switch, with integrated steering lock, mounted near the front of the fuel tank for extra convenience.
  • 12V 18AH maintenance-free battery for reliable starting even in cold weather.
MSRP $13,999* Available from June 2004 (July for CA)
Engine
Type 1294cc, 79-cubic-inch, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 70° V-4
Bore x Stroke 79 x 66mm
Compression Ratio 10:1
Carburetion (4) 32mm Mikuni Constant-Velocity
Ignition Digital TCI
Transmission Wide-ratio 5-speed w/5th gear overdrive and hydraulic clutch
Final Drive Shaft
Chassis
Suspension/Front Telescopic fork w/air assist; 5.6″ travel
Suspension/Rear Single shock, link-type w/air assist; 4.1″ travel
Brakes/Front Dual 298mm Discs
Brakes/Rear 320mm Disc
Tires/Front 150/80-16
Tires/Rear 150/90-15
Dimensions
Length 98.6″
Width 39.8″
Height 60.0″
Seat Height 29.1″
Wheelbase 67.5″
Dry Weight 787 Lbs.
Fuel Capacity 5.3 Gallons
Other
Color Raspberry Metallic/Raven; Charcoal Silver/Raven
Warranty 5 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
  • Craig Hoffman

    Still selling basically the same bikes today under the Star label. Used ones are dirt cheap – easy to find a recent and decent one for 8 grand or less on Cycle Trader.

  • Old MOron

    Sheesh, I can only re-read the GSX-S review so many times. http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/suzuki/2016-suzuki-gsx-s1000-gsx-s1000f-first-ride-review.html

    I must be hard-up to be checking out a goddamned Royal Star review. Then again Sean did a great job. He even made the touring cruiser sound half-way interesting. Now if I can just hang in there until Moto GP resumes this weekend.

  • scott

    all these jappers are really hard up for sales it would seem, because they all are making copies of the original american icon ‘harley davidson’-but here’s a clue buyers of the land of the rising sun….these will never have the resale,heart,soul or heritage of the original-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTGF57i_oes

    • frankfan42

      If you like your Harley, you can keep your Harley. Lot’s of us like other bikes. Nothing wrong with choice, ride what you like- so long as you do ride.

      • scott

        i feel the exact same way-however when all the asian market does is just copy, i take exception to that-look to europe -triumph,bmw,mv,moto guzzi they all have exceptional machines with out making wanna be clones-wow,there is a novel concept huh?ride what you like as long as you ride

        • frankfan42

          Great points about Euro bikes Scott. It’s funny to me when people say one make is the only real bike. We’re all bikers, share the same risks, the same roads, and smell the same fields as we ride by. Life is too short to limit ourselves to trivial issues, imho.