However, there are some significant updates of Yamaha’s well-rounded line to share, including a surely popular R1 Rossi replica and a retuned R6, along with the introduction of a swoopy bagger from Star Motorcycles, plus a refreshed version of the V-Star 1300 Tourer.
Star Stratoliner Deluxe
Did you know that there are three categories of touring cruisers? The “cruiser touring” class consists of a plain windshield, saddlebags and a passenger backrest, and it has regularly been the sales leader. Recently, the “Full Dress” segment has moved into the top spot, but there has also been an upsurge in the number of “casual full-dress” cruisers, typified in the Harley-Davidson Street Glide with its bat-wing fairing and hard bags.
Enter the impressively sleek Stratoliner Deluxe. It’s built on the exceptionally finished platform of Star’s Roadliner/Stratoliner, boasting 1854cc of air-cooled V-Twin power, a stout and light aluminum frame, and high-end fit and finish. New to the cruiser-touring Stratoliner is the addition of a streamlined version of a bat-wing fairing that looks perfectly integrated into the Strato’s existing design. A clear windscreen lip tops the slanted nose, while the rear end is defined by aerodynamic hardshell saddlebags.
In this class of bikes, a sound system is de rigeur, and Star does it in an innovative and inexpensive way. Instead of a bulky and pricey head unit that includes a radio and amplifier, Star goes the minimalist route by relying on the iPods and MP3 players of its customers. A handlebar-mounted controller provides easy access to your tunes via the integrated wiring. Amplification comes from the powered speakers in the fairing.
The new Strat Deluxe will be going into battle against new competition in its class. Along with the Street Glide and Road Glide juggernaut, it will also be compared with Victory’s new Cross Country.
Nearly all Japanese OEMs are raising the MSRPs of their motorcycles, so the Deluxe’s $17,490 shouldn’t be overly shocking. See it at your local dealer in January.
V-Star 1300 Tourer
The V-Star 1300 is an underrated cruiser, with a high level of finish and plenty of power for most riders of this type of bike. It’s likely neglected because it straddles a market segment: not cool or powerful enough for a high-end cruiser, and too expensive (at 10K-plus) for budget bike. Nonetheless, there are plenty of cruising riders who would be perfectly happy on it.
Anyway, in an effort to give the Tourer version of the 1300 a little sizzle, Star Motorcycles has made some ergonomic and dress-up tweaks. Taking a note from Harley’s playbook, a new seat puts its rider nearly an inch closer to the ground, now at 27.2 inches, and a reshaped handlebar is said to offer more comfort. A new emblem spices up the fuel tank, and extra chrome for the headlight housing and belt guard increase the bling.
Galaxy Of Stars
Raider: Receives new colors, Candy Red and Liquid Silver. Available this month for $14,190.
Raider S: New colors, too. At dealers in January starting at $14,790.
V-Star 950: Gets three new colors this year and will soon be at dealers. Prices start at $8,090.
V-Star 950 Tourer: Now arriving in two new colors, starting at $9,190.
Yamaha’s Sportbike Lineup
No new models for 2010, but a few updates to existing platforms.
New noise restrictions for 2009 hurt the engine performance of Yamaha’s brilliant track weapon, the R6. We were sad to rank it last in our Supersport Shootout, as it’s a thrilling ride and the most aesthetically pleasing 600, but its top-endy motor held back its scores.
To counter that criticism, Yamaha has made five modifications to optimize power. Inhalation is enhanced by changes to the intake funnels and airbox, while exhaling is done through a different-sized exhaust pipe and a muffler that is nearly 4 inches longer. A revised ECU oversees the operation, and Yamaha says to expect stronger low- and mid-rpm power while maintaining upper-end performance.
Available in three colors, America’s best-selling supersport will arrive at dealers in January, retailing for $10,490.
YZF-R1 Limited Edition
When we went to the USGP at Laguna Seca this year, we were overwhelmed by the sea of Valentino Rossi paraphernalia worn by countless spectators. When commenting on the immense popularity of Rossi, Pete mused, “I can’t imagine anyone not liking him.”
The millions of Rossi fans out there can get their fix with a special version of the R1. Not only sharing its crossplane crankshaft with the Yamaha MotoGP bike, this new LE is fitted with a graphics kit that mimics the Fiat-sponsored M1. The distinctive yellow #46 is displayed on the nose and above the taillight, and the multi-colored “The Doctor” name tag is applied to both sides of the windscreen. A replication of Rossi’s signature graces the rear of the fuel tank.
This new LE shouldn’t be confused with the 2006 LE, so don’t expect Ohlins suspension or anything other than the cosmetic add-ons.
When we rode the FZ1 sports-roadster literbike at its 2006 press launch, we were a little disappointed by its relative dearth of low-end grunt compared to the torquey previous version. Heeding our complaints, Yamaha has now given the Fizzer a fresh algorithm of ECU mapping intended to provide stronger pull at moderate rev levels. Throttle response is said to be improved, as is the linearity of torque production. Get yours in January for $10,290.
Bold New Graphics is the description of changes to the rest of Yamaha’s sport line.
FZ6R: Introduced and tested earlier this year, it can be had in a choice of four updated colors starting at $7,390.
FJR1300: Available in January for $15,190 including standard ABS, the FJR that impressed us in our recent Sport-Touring Shootout now comes in a new Liquid Silver color.