2018 Yamaha Star Venture

Editor Score: 91.0%
Engine 18.0/20
Suspension/Handling 14.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.5/10
Brakes 9.0/10
Instruments/Controls4.75/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.75/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 9.0/10
Value 8.0/10
Overall Score91/100

I have to admit I’ve been around long enough to have ridden the original Yamaha Venture Royale, and quite a lovable beast it was. Then there was a Royal Star Venture in the intervening years, but it wasn’t so luxurious. Now there’s this all-new Star Venture, with which Yamaha says it’s officially re-entering the luxury-touring category.

Not only do Yamaha reps say this is one of its most important new models in years, they also like to think they’ve created their own little niche; this one’s a luxury tourer that combines traditional/emotional components (humongous V-Twin), with cutting-edge modern styling and all the luxury features you’d expect on a $25k touring bike. (If we must discuss money, the base model is $24,999 and the Transcontinental Option Package makes it $26,999.)

2018 Yamaha Star Venture Revealed

I’m getting 1960s Ford Thunderbird vibes from the rear end treatment. (JB photo)

I’m getting 1960s Ford Thunderbird vibes from the rear end treatment. (JB photo)

You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the same old 48-degree V-Twin from the Roadliner/ Raider line, since it’s also 1854cc (113 cubic inches) via 100 x 118mm bore and stroke, but Yamaha tells us the beast has been completely redone, and now incorporates a six-speed gearbox with its output shaft exiting on the opposite side of the bike. There’s also a new cush drive built into the primary drive to soften the juddery hard edges that are kind of inherent to really big V-Twins at lower rpm. Yamaha seemed really proud of it – and I’d like to get more specific – but the description shown to us in a Powerpoint presentation during our briefing was no longer available when I sat down to write this.

Sometimes we can’t remember if we’re coming or going.

Here’s what we did get: The Star Venture boasts a massive and torque-rich 113 cubic inch (1854cc) air-cooled V-twin engine with a class-leading 126 pound-feet of torque providing smooth and responsive power delivery even when fully loaded. The huge torque and relaxing V-twin pulse are complemented by lightweight forged alloy pistons, carefully-tuned twin counterbalancers and advanced composite engine mounts, which combine to deliver a smooth and comfortable ride on long days in the saddle while reducing fatigue. The engine’s semi-dry-sump design lowers the effective center of gravity by allowing the engine to sit lower in the frame. An external oil tank is integrated into the aluminum subframe to centralize mass and reduce weight, and a compact oil cooler is hidden between the front frame downtubes to help maintain ideal engine temperatures.

There was also a very cool line drawing of the new double-downtube steel frame the bike uses, along with its aluminum subframe. Those new “composite” mounts transfer into everyday speak as rubber, but the line drawings showed some kind of Buell Uniplanar or H-D FL-like deal that restricts the engine’s movement to the vertical plane. Those and the primary cush drive add up to the smoothest big V-Twin I’ve ever ridden, both accelerating from a stop but especially cruising along at 80 mph and 2800 rpm. (And even moreso at 100 mph and 3500 rpm, where the thing is perfectly serene. If you live in Montana or Germany, this is your big touring cruiser.) Some big Twins, most big Twins as I remember, start feeling a bit vibey when you’re really in a hurry. Not this one.

That 126 claimed pound-feet of torque (more than the VMax, says Yamaha) builds somewhat slowly, but hang on once the Venture gets up a head of steam. You get 20 mph for each 700 rpm, and the thing lugs smoothly down to 40 mph in sixth gear. (C. Rogers photo)

That 126 claimed pound-feet of torque (more than the VMax, says Yamaha) builds somewhat slowly, but hang on once the Venture gets up a head of steam. You get 20 mph for each 700 rpm, and the thing lugs smoothly down to 40 mph in sixth gear. (C. Rogers photo)

Two-creature comfortable

Comfort, of course, is job one when it comes to luxury touring, and this bikes gives you 957 pounds of it – 963 for our bikes outfitted with the Transcontinental Package, which ads GPS navigation, SiriusXM, additional speakers and Yamaha-exclusive Dual Zone audio control. Also LED fog lights, a couple of additional storage cubbies and an alarmed security system which gives me Space Invaders PTSD every time it activates itself. Which it does a lot. That’s a lot of motorcycle, in fact I think the heaviest one I’ve ridden since Roaddog. But it never feels like it. Strange.

Accept this every time you start the bike or no Infotainment for you.

Accept this every time you start the bike or no Infotainment for you.

The passenger backrest is 17 inches across, I believe the press materials said, which should be wide enough for any North American, and there’s plenty of room fore and aft also to give rider and passenger some space. To prove it, Yamaha even invited us to bring a passenger, which all of us did. I chose a smaller, hundred-pound model called Chrissy Rogers, just to keep things slightly lighter. She also has some fused vertebrae and zero experience on back of a big motorcycle, so I was braced for anything and ready to accept any useful critique or blows to the head and kidneys. After the Japanese techs along for the ride (in a minivan) adjusted the passenger floorboards into their high position, she had no complaints and nothing but happiness after two days in the saddle. Happy enough that I even got some nice massages en route. I could get used to traveling like this…

The very swell places we rode to, like the Couer d’Alene Resort in Idaho, may have had a lot to do with the lack of negative feedback.

The very swell places we rode to, like the Couer d’Alene Resort in Idaho, may have had a lot to do with the lack of negative feedback.

Come to think of it, my own hindquarters felt great too, so did my shoulders and back. That low seat is plush but supportive, and the backrest is three-way adjustable fore and aft. Forward worked great for my 30-inch legs. (One taller guy expressed his back was killing him even with it all the way rearward.) Long floorboards mean you can move your dogs into a variety of positions. Cruise control, of course, means you rest that right paw as needed.

It’s a little sketchy every time I get on one of these big things after not riding one for awhile. The seat’s only 27.4 inches though, which meant my 30-inch legs could flatfoot both sides at once, and the bike’s low cg makes it easy to balance. Nobody in our group fell over in two days of riding and paddling round parking lots. (Late-breaking news: One of our party did drop their bike in a parking lot, and it only falls about 45 degrees with no damage.)

It’s a little sketchy every time I get on one of these big things after not riding one for awhile. The seat’s only 27.4 inches though, which meant my 30-inch legs could flatfoot both sides at once, and the bike’s low cg makes it easy to balance. Nobody in our group fell over in two days of riding and paddling round parking lots. (Late-breaking news: One of our party did drop their bike in a parking lot, and it only falls about 45 degrees with no damage.)

The wind-tunnel-tested windscreen adjusts up and down 3.6 inches. It was best for 5-foot-8 me all the way down, where the top edge is just below my line of sight. But Christine liked it better, far better, all the way up, where it was less blustery for her. And there was no way of not acceding to her wishes thanks to the intercom. Up or down was a little blusterier for me than it might’ve been, though, I think because the Yamaha doesn’t use a low-pressure relief hole at the base of the screen like many others do. The styling department must’ve won that one.

Nobody likes it hot

There’s a smoked/transparent wind deflector on each side you move back and forth with your hands, which dramatically affects airflow into the cockpit. There’s another pair down low. Together, they work very well to dissipate engine heat. Up to about 95 degrees F anyway, which is as hot as it got in Idaho. Balmy, really.

There’s a smoked/transparent wind deflector on each side you move back and forth with your hands, which dramatically affects airflow into the cockpit. There’s another pair down low. Together, they work very well to dissipate engine heat. Up to about 95 degrees F anyway, which is as hot as it got in Idaho. Balmy, really.

Heat management is an issue on all big air-cooled bikes like this one. On the Yamaha in a pair of normal jeans, the backs of my legs only really felt it when temps climbed above about 88 (according to the TFT display), and really only in slow going. I’d give the Venture about a “B” for heat control. It’s hotter than the typical H-D dresser, not as hot as the Indians. Christine says it was only a problem when she stuck her boots onto my floorboards occasionally for a stretch but really because she craves constant attention.

Great seat, with more heated things than the Golden Buffet, including the passenger backrest. Heated passenger grab rails are optional. Under the right side panel is the shock’s screwdriver-adjustable preload adjuster. Naturally there’s central locking for all the bags, which look like they’d be way waterproof.

Great seat, with more heated things than the Golden Buffet, including the passenger backrest. Heated passenger grab rails are optional. Under the right side panel is the shock’s screwdriver-adjustable preload adjuster. Naturally there’s central locking for all the bags, which look like they’d be way waterproof.

Infotain me

Great in the twisties, possibly unbeatable on the slab, and 42 mpg… (JB photo)

Great in the twisties, possibly unbeatable on the slab, and 42 mpg if you believe the computer… (JB photo)

Your base model bike gets two stereo speakers up front, your deluxe model gets two more in the back. Yamaha’s music department stepped in to lend a hand in its design, I’m told, and it sounds great. But at 28 watts per channel, it can’t compete at highway speed with the more powerful systems on the Indian Chieftains we rode awhile ago in San Diego, whose stereos go to 11. Natch, you got AM/FM, weather band and all that, and it’s a snap to Bluetooth it up to whatever you like with your own music, plus Pandora, etc., and Sirius XM (on the Transcontinental) for when you’re out of cell-phone range, which is most of the time on this bike. Yes, there’s a CB.

Your trunk’s huge and supposed to take two XXL full-face lids. There’s a USB port in there and one up front in the cockpit, also a 12V outlet in the left side of the bike. Two 375-watt alternators, mounted low on the engine, produce 750 watts of power.

Your trunk’s huge and supposed to take two XXL full-face lids. There’s a USB port in there and one up front in the cockpit, also a 12V outlet in the left side of the bike. Two 375-watt alternators, mounted low on the engine, produce 750 watts of power.

Our helmet speakers were hard-wired into the bike, which was kind of a PITA, but Yamaha says there are too many transmissions going on for Bluetooth to handle all of them at once at this time. Our main problem with the intercom was it wouldn’t mute the external speakers when the mic was keyed, which made it hard to hear each other over all the head-banging tunes we were cranking: Turning down the speaker volume also turned down our intercom volume. Probably operator error, since nobody else was having that problem. Or admitted to it.

There are a million functions and adjustments built into the Infotainment system (with seven-inch screen), and the manual is 116 pages. Have a look if you’re a techie. Among the tricks you’ll learn to perform is to place phone calls with voice commands, program the little voice in your head to read your texts (in English or French) when you’re on the move… and the bike will even send you messages if a tire or the remote fob battery is low. With the Dual Zone audio systems on the Transcontinental, you can listen to one channel while your radio officer listens to something else. The most valuable function may be the ability for your passenger to have a phone conversation while you “deselect” yourself and listen to music.

I had trouble with the little buttons on the left handlebar; luckily the TFT is also a touchscreen that works great even with gloved fingers.

071817-2017-yamaha-star-venture-bjn12071

Speaking of the little voice, the Transcontinental also gets an advanced navigation system with all the adjustable functions you’d expect. Our route was laid out ahead of time on a thumb drive and inserted into the USB port. There would be no excuses for getting separated from the group and lost on this ride. Even if I’d been able to switch the voice directions to French, there was no missing the arrows on the screen telling you to turn left or right 500 yards in advance. Now go straight for 28 miles…

071817-2017-yamaha-star-venture-bjn29068

Ride/handling

As you’d expect from Yamaha, the Venture goes, stops, and corners really well considering the size of the package, with extreme stability and a rock-solid feel at any velocity of which it’s capable. Not that we got the chance to really blitz any backroads; passing Yamaha’s lead rider for some reason didn’t feel like it would be the politically correct thing to do, though like I mentioned earlier, the thing felt just as planted at over 100 as it did at 65 mph. A couple of times I did drop back from the group in some tight sections of road so I could catch back up, and the steering is light enough, linear and very accurate, with good feel. You’re going at a pretty good pace when the floorboards start throwing sparks. Braking and turning with the really strong and progressive (linked) brakes is no problem. Feel free to ride this one like the world’s biggest sport-tourer.

(C. Rogers photo)

(C. Rogers photo)

Then again, that’s loaded with maybe 300 pounds total of human and gear, and your only suspension adjustment is rear preload. Structural integrity-wise, it reminds me of the Victory Cross Country Tour I got to spend a few weeks on a couple years ago – but it is sadly no longer with us.

More grunty than revvy

For me, we could use a few more rpm. That claimed 126 ft-lbs of torque comes at just 2500 rpm, which is nice, but you bump into a strict rev limiter just 2000 rpm later, at 4500. I get that there’s not much payoff in revving the big Twin past that (though the Raider the engine’s based upon made max power at 4600 rpm), but sometimes you just wanna peel out and wow the crowd a little. Sometimes you’d like to hold a gear a bit longer between corners. I bumped against the rev limiter lots of times – many of them just to be obnoxious if I’m honest. You do get used to the low rev ceiling, but I’d be happier with another 500 rpm.

 Maybe the limiter is set that low for noise compliance? Which is a shame, because the (missing) Powerpoint presentation also boasted about the extensive sound tuning Yamaha did to get really nice exhaust noise out of the tuned duals, which it achieved. The bike’s exhaust note is just burly enough to let people know you’ve arrived without scattering their livestock. Then again, that 4.6-inch stroke is nearly an inch longer than the big-block Chevy of yore… then also again, every time I looked at the fuel consumption average, it was saying 42 mpg, which is really good for such a big motorcycle pushing so much frontal area. With its 6.6-gallon tank, getting stranded on the Venture shouldn’t be a problem.

071817-2017-yamaha-star-venture-img_6751

Elsewhere in the powertrain, the slip-assist clutch is light and progressive, the new six-speed gearbox drops clunklessly into first, and shifts light and positively between all the other gears – including overdriven 5th and 6th.

Little things can move mountains…

Sure Park parking assist is a stroke of genius. Sure, other bikes have had reverse forever, but being able to move this 950-pound bike in both directions without the need to start the engine is a thing its owners will no doubt really appreciate when trying to wedge in and out of tight spots without waking everybody up.

You may have to own the Venture a while to remember how to operate all its systems. The fuel filler door will only open when the ignition is OFF and the button is held down for two seconds. (Or use the remote, which will also home in on your bike if you lose it in a big parking lot.) People who are proficient with their personal electronic devices (Evans Brasfield) will love all the Infotainment system offers. Some of us technophobes will need years of remedial training. But even I had mastered the basics by the end of day two (maybe not mastered), but luckily I’m still entertained by the voices in my head anyway.

Style

As a sportbike guy, I love the menacing giant R1 facade melding into the ’65 T-Bird tail. Parts of the dashboard are a little plasticky, but not too bad. And the effortless way the thing swoops along makes you forget its few shortcomings. What shortcomings?

All the lights are LEDs, and we’re told the headlight is fantastically amazing – but we were all in the bar before it got dark. Sorry.

All the lights are LEDs, and we’re told the headlight is fantastically amazing – but we were all in the bar before it got dark. Sorry.

Here we’re parked above White Bird Battlefield, where the Nez Perce tribe got into a little incident with the U.S. Cavalry that didn’t end well for 34 troopers (in spite of the fact that, according to Wiki, “the Nez Perce had stolen a large quantity of whiskey in their raids and, on the morning of June 17, many of the men were too drunk to fight.”) Stuff happens.

Later, it didn’t end well for the Nez Perce. But it’s still God’s country all over up in here, children, along the Salmon River and the Payette, McCall and Coeur d’Alene, and the new Star Venture is a pretty damn deluxe way to see it. These will be in dealers in August, Yamaha says, and in the meantime they’re schlepping them all over the country for test rides, including the the big Star Days festwhich is going on in Red Wing, Minnesota, as we speak.

To paraphrase Chief Joseph, I will fight the giant luxury touring bike no more forever.

Lots of times, says Yamaha, the passenger makes the decision when it comes to bikes like this. Chrissy Rogers gives the Venture two thumbs way up (not that she has anything to compare it to), and thanks Dainese and HJC for her smart outfit.

Lots of times, says Yamaha, the passenger makes the decision when it comes to bikes like this. Chrissy Rogers gives the Venture two thumbs way up (not that she has anything to compare it to), and thanks Dainese and HJC for her smart outfit.

2018 Yamaha Star Venture
+ Highs

  • Smooth running mile-muncher
  • Expansive, luxe accommodations for two
  • Five-year warranty
– Sighs

  • I’d like another 500 rpm before banging into the limiter
  • Windscreen is a tad blustery but I can fix that with a hole saw
  • Where is the karaoke machine?

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  • john phyyt

    I have never ridden one of these large luxo bikes. What happens when they tip over?
    All that pretty .painted plastic, steel and glass must cost a fortune. If there is no mobile crane available how do you lift it off your leg? There is a photo of john at about 12 degrees and if foot slips; well. Pretty scary stuff.

    • john burns

      It’s on the sidestand there, and the cg is so low it’s easy to pick up even with 100-lb biker woman on back. I didn’t see it, but they tell me one guy dropped his and it only fell to about 45 degrees. That’s how Gold Wings and BMW K1600s are too. God forbid it should fall all the way over…

      • Alexander Pityuk

        On K1600 forum i heard many (supposedly real) strories about garage drop downs which cost a couple grand easily. Fog lights did most of the damage. With goldwings it’s a different story.

        • Funny thing about the beemer is that a lot of people that buy them aren’t tall and it seems that’s who the bikes are made for. I ride a 2009 RT and it’s a light bike to me. I can lean it all the way over to either side and back up with basically one leg, but I am 6’5 and weigh more than John, his pillion and luggage…So the point is I’ve read some the same things and I don’t know what the attraction is, other than the left brain thing, that short people buy the beemer and end up in tippy toe hell. A cruising tourer would be easier for them to manage. All that said, I just can’t see spending 26K on a japanese bike that weighs 37lbs shy of half a ton. At least it comes with everything though and it’s up to date. With the gold wing, the top model must be bought to get ABS and it’s seriously long in tooth. I’ll stick with my RT for now.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            The only downside of being Japanese instead of German is how long it will hold its value.

          • Actually there is another downside: Try getting parts for a japanese bike over 10 years old. BMW has parts for 50 year old bikes.

          • The German bikes value plummet after purchase. Do you think the Japanese bikes do better or worse?

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I was thinking BMWs hold their value better than Japanese bikes. Plus a lot of leftover brand new one or two year old Japanese bikes are available on the market depressing the price of new bikes.

      • therr850

        It actually isn’t too bad. You lift it from the full side down to the 45° degree position and then to upright position. Put your butt against the seat and use your legs while pulling on the lowest hand grip and something solid under the seat.

      • Chrissy Rogers

        John & his 30″ (inseam) had zero issues of keeping our 935lb Star upright with or without me on it. I’m a former gymnast, the bike felt solid as a pummel horse in my man’s hands. I mounted & dismounted gracefully. If it fell, I would help with a rump bump if asked.

        • Mad4TheCrest

          Uh, Ms Rogers, please check John’s pulse. I think he may have died and gone to heaven.

          • john burns

            wow.

    • 12er

      I dropped a rented K12LT way back when. I failed to fully extend the kick stand and slowly she went down… It had bumpers in case and 0 damage. Wasnt that hard to lift either due to the lack of angle on the fall. Assume similar on these…

  • LOL you misused “schlepping!” I’m telling DE.

    Edit: oh, no, wait, you used it right.

    • john burns

      it’s not really that difficult a word. Do you have a google search set for schlep?

  • Junker

    I don’t think they’ll sell many at those prices… I like it, though, even if I can’t handle the feet-forward thing.

    • john burns

      it’s only feet forward in the way your favorite comfy chair is feet forward.

      • Junker

        I’ll add that at the end of the list of reasons I can’t ride my chair down the road

      • Sayyed Bashir

        This is the first time I have heard a good defense of the feet forward position.

  • Starmag

    A typically fun read from JB.

    Even though I have no interest in this type of bike, it seems like a player in this category, though it can’t touch the branding of an H-D. It may however, induce some torque envy.

    That’s some Caribbean-level blue water. Is that the lake or an infinity pool?

    It looks like you had a good time. Is the Jim Beam gratis on these junkets?

    • john burns

      Yes! Ms Rogers was picking up the cocktails. It’s an infinity pool at couer d’alene lake resort. That place does not suck.

      • Old MOron

        Ms Rogers was a nice addition to this review for us MOronic readers, too. I hope she accompanies you on future rides.

        • Chrissy Rogers

          My thoughts exactly! Thank you Old Mo.

      • Paragon Lost

        Coeur d’alene is definitely a beautiful area, worth a trip to for sure.

  • spiff

    Ha, you rode the Roadog.

    • Paragon Lost

      He’s braver than I, that thing was huge!

  • RyYYZ

    What’s the actual HP rating on this rig?
    4,500 RPM redline? I’ve never owned a car or truck with a redline that low. I’ve driven some diesels that rev higher than that.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      It has a long 4.65″ stroke. Piston speed limits rpm. Harleys don’t rev too high either. They are more about low end torque than horsepower. What difference does it make as long as it takes you to triple digit speeds in the blink of an eye?

      • RyYYZ

        Well, that’s the question. I don’t know whether it really has adequate power, or not. By my calculations, at its torque peak at 2,500 rpm it’s making just shy of 60 HP, which is respectable. If the torque curve is fairly flat, making say 100 ft-lbs at 4,000 rpm (only 500 rpm before redline), it would be making ~80 HP (crank HP) at that speed. Enough for hauling around over half a ton of bike and rider? Probably adequate, but it’s certainly no Goldwing or K1600 (which can actually rev at least to reasonable, automotive-type levels.)

  • SRMark

    The Victory looked like it had a stylized toilet for a top case. This thing looks like it has an early 60s sports car rear end for a top case. It needs a roof and air conditioning.

    • toomanycrayons

      Someone’s already working on a trike version, for sure. It might even come with a Peterbilt 379 grill, and dualies to support a sleeper. Hold your breath!

  • John B.

    This is the third, and by far the best, review I have read on this motorcycle, and I’m beginning to better understand this category. With Harley posting dismal quarterly results, however, this may not be the best time for this motorcycle to come to market. Having done a 700 plus mile ride last week, my neck, back, and shoulders appreciate this bike’s appeal. Now, to get my heart and brain on board.

    • john burns

      I could be wrong, but I think there is quite a chunk of buyers who this kind of big V-Twin appeals to, but who don’t want an H-D for whatever, possibly sociological, reasons. The few who bought Victorys seem really attached to them (I loved the Cross Country Tour), and as far as the price goes, it sems the well-off will only be getting more well-off in the coming years…

      • Old MOron

        I read a funny quote on another web page: “rather be seen going into a VD clinic than an HD dealership.”

        • Sayyed Bashir

          People have a false fear of going into a HD dealership. I go there all the time and it is full of friendly normal people. You don’t have to buy a bike. Just look around. Maybe buy a T-shirt. Used bikes are reasonably priced. Some are gems like beautifully painted couple years old CVOs that you couldn’t afford to buy new.

          • Fivespeed302

            I went to one for the first time last weekend and everyone was really nice. I was on my R1 and not one person busted my chops. I’ll definitely go back, they throw parties nearly every weekend.

        • sgray44444

          I like the bikes; the image they are selling, not so much. I think the marketing that grew their sales in the last decade will be to their detriment in the end. People have largely turned on the narcissistic types who gravitate towards that kind of thing. It has become a laughable stereotype that middle-aged men going through their midlife crisis put on the leather, do-rag, and play outlaw on the weekends.
          The younger generations gravitate toward performance and efficiency, and don’t have the memories to create the revenue-generating nostalgic longing for a time when muscle cars ruled the streets.
          With disposable income going away, it’s going to be a hard sell for HD in the future.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            They are still selling more bikes above 600cc than anybody else. Apparently the image they are selling works. Most people bored with their ordinary and stressful 8-5 job and humdrum home life long for something different on the weekends. The freedom to go out with friends and enjoy life. Harley sells that lifestyle.

          • sgray44444

            No doubt it’s still working, but for how long? It doesn’t take a $20K+ bike to enjoy the freedom. What’s the freedom in having a $300 a month payment?

          • Sayyed Bashir

            People keep asking the same question and people keep buying bikes for $18K and up regardless of the payment. If you want something bad enough, you will do whatever it takes. I paid for my Harley for 7 years. It is a love affair that doesn’t have a price.

      • bvail

        Harleys are so ‘common’. They’re everywhere you look.
        The Honda GL1800 is much less seen and is a great bike (I have one with all the gadgets and pull a camper trailer with it), but this new Venture really looks to be a great machine. If I were in the market for a new machine I surely would consider this. Especially like the 60’s styled rear end and the sporty view from the front. About time MamaYama get back in the fray with a nice, up to date heavy touring machine.

        Now for me, it would be a toss-up between this bad girl or the FJR. I would probably lean towards the FJR – more bang for the buck.

        Wonder if there will be any new Venture entrants in the 2019 Iron Butt Rally? Hmmmm….would be interesting.

        • Lance H

          I had an ’06 Wing and IMO, that flat six just can’t be beat. It was like flying your own personal F-16 in the twisties. Oddly, the Wing is the least comfortable bike I’ve been on for big road trips. My back was killing me after only 600 miles in the saddle. I was one of those Harleyphobes that wanted to be different, but I’m a true believer in ’em now. They’re solid, comfortable, and the dealer network & experience just can’t be beat.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I keep saying that but nobody believes me. Harleys are comfortable and reliable and the support network (both dealer and independent) and camaraderie are great. What else could anyone want? Even people who bought Indians just to be different are going back to Harleys.

          • Lance H

            I really like the new Indians, but I ride too far and too long. I don’t want to break down in the middle of nowhere in flyover country and the nearest dealer be 500 miles away. I’ll never have that problem on my Harley (and I’ve had two Harleys now and over 100K miles without any breakdowns.)

          • Steve McLaughlin

            Take a look at how many Harleys are in the used lot at the Indian dealers. Harleys new 8 valve is still just catching up to the performance of all the other big twins. They make a pretty good bike now, but still don’t have any solid reasons to buy it rather than any other big twin.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            What other big twin? As I said earlier, many Harley riders switched to Indian based on all the marketing but were not happy and are switching back to Harley. Performance is not the only measure of a bike. The important thing is how it makes you feel once you own it.

          • Ben Dover Jr.

            The only thing I care about in the “end”, is not having my “end” screaming bloody murder after 600 miles…..
            I ride a Kawasaki Vulcan Voyager with a Day-Long Saddle.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I did 1000 plus mile rides on my 1986 Harley Softail Custom comfortably. The longest ride was 1228 miles non-stop from Daytona Bike Week to Fort Worth TX. My 2007 Softail Custom has the most comfortable seat of any bike.

          • Ben Dover Jr.

            I’m starting to re-think Harley’s. They look like they have a good stock seat, something most metrics lack.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            My original seat is worn out after 156,000 miles of riding but it is so comfortable I hate to replace it. It is wide so it supports your entire backside, not just the tail bone. It is like sitting in a sofa chair but you can easily reach the ground due to the low seat height (27″).

          • Stuki Moi

            The E-Glide is shorter than the other biggies. With a seat further forward. So you sit more on top of the COG, than behind it. Almost like a VStrom or KTM. Which helps make them feel les heavy and clumsy at low speeds, as the weight is between your legs, not a foot in front of them.

            Not saying they’re “not heavy and clumsy”, as they’re still half ton bikes. Just less clumsy than the other biggies. For pure long distance touring, that may not matter much, but for all those who use their touring bike as a day to day ride as well, the E-Glide is just more well rounded.

            Kind of like the RT, compared to the GT, in BMW land. Less power, perhaps ultimately less optimal for pure 1000 mile days, but still in many ways a better allrounder.

          • Paragon Lost

            Agreed on the strengths of the support network. It’s quite nice to be able to get parts and repairs easily across the country.

          • Depends on what’s important. I don’t care about tee shirts or camaraderie or the false sense of being an individual. I see more HDs that any other bike, so there’s nothing individualistic about the brand. It’s just another tribe. I care about functionality and well roundedness. The bike has to be able to do it all well.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            And what is it that Harleys don’t do well? No one said anything about being an individual. Harleys are very customisable so everyone can make their bike their own. They come very different from the factory to begin with. That is why they keep their value for a long time. You see more HDs because they have nearly half the large bike market. And that is because more people buy Harleys than any other bike.

          • Read the motorcycle test results of the LA Sheriff’s and Michigan state police and get back to me. BMW comes out on top every year. HD may nearly give cops the bikes, but cops rather ride the beemers.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            You are mistaken. The CHP has converted to brand new Harley Davidsons. No more beemers. I see them every day. And they look beautiful (even while they are giving you a speeding ticket).

          • LASD isn’t CHP and from a friend that just retired from there as a captain in the motor division, he said they’d rather have BMWs.

          • Stuki Moi

            If I was a cop, I’d rather ride an RT than a Full Dress Tourer as well. But for never ending, leisurely tours, not so much.

          • My riding is varied, a lot of commuting and some short trips, once in a while, a longer one. I ride 1 up 99.99% of the time and most importantly, I can only afford one bike, so it has to do it all well, hence my point above. How about I take a full dress HD or that Yamaha on the Apache Trail and see how it goes. I can do it on my RT and it’s nothing for a GS/GSA. I can also cover a lot of territory expeditiously if I need to, like going 780 miles in 11 hours with stops. the heavyweights just don’t fit into my game.

          • bvail

            I had back issues early on but with a seat modification and utopia back rest that particular issue went away. Also installed Kuryakin highway pegs.

          • WalterFeldman

            I haven’t ridden a Wing but it sure felt cramped compared to my Road King when I sat on it. I’m sure the motor is awesome but it needs more leg room.

      • John B.

        I’m one of those people who probably would avoid HD for mostly silly and idiosyncratic reasons (No, it really is me!). I too suspect there are enough people who also don’t want a HD to create a niche for bikes such as the one featured above.

        I am also very concerned at the rate wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated in a smaller and smaller group of elites, while the middle class can’t seem to get any traction. Very bad things happen when wealth becomes overly concentrated at the middle class’s expense.

        Of course, we have gone through periods of great wealth concentration before and the country survived. Hopefully, this trend will reverse itself soon, but it doesn’t look like it will.

        If I were in the market for a lux cruiser, my top two prospects would be the new Yamaha and some iteration of the BMW 1600.

        I think I have a Super Duke GT and/or an adventure bike in my future before I enter the lux tourer market. Man, there are so many great bikes available these days!

        • Sayyed Bashir

          The Super Duke GT may be too racy for you. It is the crazy Super Duke R with saddlebags. The 1290 Super Adventure T may be good for touring as it has all the bells and whistles as well as electronic suspension.

          • John B.

            That sounds about right Bashir. I have to decide whether I want to keep two bikes (one for long distance and the other for everything else) or just one. I don’t like taking care of things so I’m leaning toward one bike that does everything. The 1290 you referenced would work!

          • Sayyed Bashir

            You are talking to a guy who has three bikes: a cruiser, a adventure bike and a sport bike. And I don’t even have a garage. I let the dealers take care of them. Two are paid off so they don’t cost anything except registration and minimum insurance. I ride a different bike to work each day of the week, and ride them on the weekend depending on which group I am riding with: the adventure/off-road group, the sport bike group or the cruiser/street bike group.

        • Paragon Lost

          I was really excited about the BMW 1600 but the color options are so limited. I’m so tired of black as a color, I’m wanting lighter/brighter colors anymore.

          I’ve pondered that if I took one of the new 1600’s for a ride and fell in love with it that I could blow a few grand on a custom paint job. lol. Wife will just love that.

    • Old MOron

      Where the demo ride goes, the heart and brain will follow.
      So be careful.

      • John B.

        You’re so right OM. That’s why I avoid test rides until I’m ready to pull the trigger.

    • If your heart and brain ain’t there, don’t bother.

  • madskills

    Maybe I’m missing something, but almost a 1,000 lb, motorcycle. I have a r1200r with windscreen, every feature but the radio, under 550 lbs. Oh yes the Yamaha costs $10,000 more…..

    • Born to Ride

      You must’ve got a great deal on your bike. My local dealership has the fully loaded model marked within a stones throw of 20 grand.

      • madskills

        I put on the nav for $600.00 Still should be around $16 and change. Got 1.9% financing for 5 years, nothing down… $295 a month…. It was a demo with 2500 miles but with EVERY feature and was 13,500 before tax and such.

    • bvail

      But Yamahas are not known for driveline failures. Just sayin’

      • madskills

        1 year warranty on Yamaha, 3/36,000 on BMW. That’s part of the cost of the bike people forget about.

        • Rich

          My Star came with 5 years/unlimited miles…nothing quite says confidence like that warranty. Too bad it’s long gone….or maybe it’s not gone? 5yrs unlimited came with my Royal Star. I think it was an add on when I got the Road Star…should have saved my money…the only that ever needed r/r was the durn horn. Took three before they sealed them against rain… since it expired, I have only replaced the fuel sending unit…’cept tires, oil, filter, etc….no Jinxing, now…it’s still running smooth.

          • Stuki Moi

            Wow! Wasn’t aware of that. 5/unlimited. That’s pretty impressive!

        • john burns

          this one’s 5 years.

  • Fausto Carello

    I like this tipe of bike, i ride a Gold Wing. The market is full of V Twin, why Jamaha didn’t continue with the V4 configuration?

    • Sayyed Bashir

      And why a air-cooled V-twin?

  • Bubba Blue

    Heat is a big issue on large tourers. If the Indian is the hottest, this one comes next and the Harley the least hot, I take Harley. Also this is an awfully large motorcycle. Really large. It looks like a semi from the rear. I wouldn’t want to get stuck behing that thing in a traffic jam, that’s for sure. I don’t think that’s good. I’d be more interested in the standard Bagger / Road King version, but that’s just personal preference. I’m a gitt’n’ a Road King.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Good for you!

    • Steve McLaughlin

      Indian still out performs all but the newest Harleys (although HD did have to put in a completely new and non retro parts interchangeable engine). The single hottest motorcycle I ever owned and got rid of was a 2006 Road King. Got a 2010 Ultra that turned off a cylinder while it idled? Seriously? Sold it and got an Indian. The Indian Chief engine is not that hot, but the catalytic converter behind your right foot is a a barbeque. We just replaced that one foot piece of pipe with an hollow one (the O2sensors are in the headers) and reduced the heat there by 50 degrees. For real. Got pictures of the thermometer readouts. Can’t see getting a Road King when you can get a Chieftan with everything on it better than the RK for the same price. Just my experienced yet humble opinion.

      • Paragon Lost

        HD did the same thing with it’s new Milwaukie Eight engine setup. Finally moved the CC down out of the headpipe and down into tailpipe. Really lowered the heat. Also you know the one cylinder turning off is a standard HD thing. It’s called EITMS.

        Personally I loved my riding experience on the Roadmaster but there is a lot of plastic on it that I was concerned about and it was a much hotter ride than my Road Glide Special.

  • Jason M.

    This is at the top of my touring bike list. I do not want a Harley and Indians are getting weird styling cues lately.

    • toomanycrayons

      “This is at the top of my touring bike list.”-Jason M.

      It’s at the top of mine, too.

  • toomanycrayons

    Interesting you should mention the ’65 T-bird. The backass-styling does remind me of stacked wrecks on some WelderUp Garage scavenger hunt. Combine that with the overall impression that someone’s SUV-Dream now comes with the option of falling over, and I’m done trying to explain the existence of things like these.

    There is a thread on LOUD PIPES. While they can be annoying, even fatal, nothing quite says a/hole like a blaring m/c stereo.

    ‘The most valuable function may be the ability for your passenger to have a phone conversation while you “deselect” yourself and listen to music.’

    [OFF] might be a nice “deselect” option for people who don’t choose to make [YOU] the centre of their lives. The music is predictable. So is the attitude.

    • john burns

      so young, so angry…

      • toomanycrayons

        They all look old to me. Maybe not so much angry as lost in a world no longer great in its own mind, again? First time through it was hormones, now it isn’t.

  • Buzz
  • therr850

    Beside the price for this class bike I don’t like the excess weight. I traded a GL1500 in 2002 for a Sport Tourer and haven’t looked back. (and now I’m 70+)

    • Sayyed Bashir

      What sport tourer did you get?

      • therr850

        An 03 Kawasaki Concours, ZG1000 followed by an 05 Concours, an 06 Triumph ST1050 ABS and now an 08 Suzuki Bandit 1250S with accessory bags and a Zero Gravity shield and Sargent seat. Love ’email. Would like an FJR1300 but all it takes is money.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          That is funny! I just bought a 2007 Suzuki Bandit 1250S and love it! Also have a Harley and a KTM 1190 Adventure R.

  • Larry Kahn

    Puke.

  • WalterFeldman

    Nice bike, but Yamaha really should have used the Vmax powertrain if it wants to compete with the Goldwing and K1600GT.

    • Stuki Moi

      …or a two stroke, if they wanted to compete with a Husky or KTM…..

  • Mad4TheCrest

    I get that it has good cg/balance and a low seat plus smokin’ torque, but 935 pounds and a half-acre of bodywork seems ponderous to me. I AM intrigued by that electric park assist feature though – if I read that bit right, that’s cool!

    • Sayyed Bashir

      It is a crossover between a bike and a car. The only difference is the number of wheels, and when it rains, whether you get wet or not.

      • And the lack of a steering wheel. And air conditioning. And cargo space. And passenger accommodation. Hmm… this is sounding NOTHING like an automobile.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          The lack of a steering wheel is what scares most car drivers about motorcycles. They could never even dream of driving a tank.

  • Bunkster

    1) Interesting that Yami opted for a steel frame on the new Venture when their previous cruisers (Roadliner, Raider, Warrior) all had aluminum frames.
    2) The fairing lowers/cowls likely provide good weather protection but they look awfully bulky to me.
    3) I wonder if Yami designed it so the tour trunk is removable. I’d really dig a bagger version of this bike.
    4) Forget the Transcontinental option – a Ms Rogers pillion pkg would make any Venture better.

    • Craig Hoffman

      Yamaha needs to get on that and make Ms. Rogers an option – LOL

  • Ozzy Mick

    Never ridden a monster tourer before, but happy to ride pillion going by this road test.
    Who’s the ole geezer looking down on you in the 12th photo?

  • Steve McLaughlin

    Looks like my Indian is going to have some competition now ! Harley is catching up finally with their 8 valve, and Moto Guzzi is just amazing. I used to have a 1984 Venture Royale. Loved it . Wore it out. Loved the removable luggage it had – with handles. You could put all three bags on the conveyor belt at the airport. Loved the old entertainment system that would turn it’s volume down or up depending on traffic. I hope this one is as good. Not a fan of the humongous air scoops. Wonder if Kawasaki is going to catch up with there Nomad/Voyager any time soon? 900 pounds !!!

    • Paragon Lost

      I loved the way the Roadmaster handled and felt. Liked the electronics etc but man the heat was worse than my Road Glide. :/

  • Craig Hoffman

    When I am finally in a position to retire my long serving ’06 FZ1, my mid life crisis sport touring bike is going to be a Motus MST-R.

    Yamaha did a great job with this machine, but I simply am not interested in this much motorcycle. If I was, this new Yamaha would be the bike of choice.

  • Paragon Lost

    Sounds like after market windshield and stereo/amp/speaker combos will be required. Why they didn’t do the smart thing and vent that windshield/fairing to reduce buffeting is beyond me. Also, 28 watts, not good. They really need to add about 100 watts per speaker/channel if they want you to be able to hear it at interstate speeds.

    Other than that and the way to low rpm limiter, there is quite a bit that looks right to me. I do love the overall look of the bike but I also am concerned about heat still with the this design. My Road Glide Special can get quite hot down in the southern heat and humidity.

    Though in the end it’s back to waiting to see what Honda does in regards to a totally revamped Goldwing. Liquid cooled is really becoming a must item for me anymore.

  • CFLAP

    It’s a beautiful luxury touring bike meant for the open road. They should have given it a new name though and reserved “Venture” for well, a Venture.

  • Gee S

    Is is just me that finds it ironic that this motorcycle provides a “Stop Looking at Screens and Ride Yer Dang Motorcycle” warning via the Dang Screen Yer Not Supposed To Be Looking At?

    😉

  • Bubba Blue

    How does the V4 Yamaha Venture size up after all these years?

    “…which should be wide enough for any North American…” and what does that mean? That my big fat Greek ass might not make it?,

  • TheMarvelous1310

    On a completely unrelated note, did you gugs know that nobody to date has compared the Bolt C-Spec with the Roadster? Just a thought.

  • JWaller

    Having just completed a three week, 4500 mile ride on a Ural, which included replacing clutch plates on the side of the road in South Dakota, I could totally appreciate a bike like this Yamaha. A five year, unlimited mileage warranty would be great and finding a dealership to honor that warranty would be easy. I only think that after a Ural, riding like that on ANY other bike would seem too easy. I think touring on a Grom would be easier than on a Ural.

    Back to the Yamaha, this is a nice looking bike. It looks to me like something to replace the Victory touring bikes in the market place. Something fully loaded that is an alternative to a Harley Davidson. I like the variety currently available in this segment of the motorcycle industry. Me, being a tightwad and somewhat of a Luddite, would probably go for a bare bones Kawasaki Voyager.

    Here’s a casual observation I made on my ride: HD is definitely king in Texas and the states around it. Up in the northern mid-west, in South Dakota, I probably saw more Indian/Victory full dress touring bikes than HD. I was somewhat surprised by that. Moving on to Wisconsin, I was surprised that just about every full dress touring bike I saw was a Goldwing, right in the back yard of Harley Davidson. I wonder if this new Venture will carve out a regional preference somewhere or if it will be an also ran like the outgoing Venture and Kawasaki Voyager.

  • Sportcruiser

    I don’t have a Harley now, but have in the past. The one thing I will say about Harley dealers is the people there know their products. My Honda VFR1200F is a wonderful machine, but most Honda dealers are multi-brand establishments and so many of the staff seem to know so little about the bikes.

    As far as the Venture goes, I had a Roadliner that has an engine that is a cousin to this one and I can assure you the Harley engines can’t touch it for performance. But, it’s a high risk purchase in terms of resale… a great bike to keep forever though, I am sure. If you want to ride, I am sure this bike won’t disappoint. Me? I love them all.

  • Franklyn S. Keptic

    uh,”You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the same old 48-degree V-Twin from the Roadliner/ Raider line, since it’s also 1854cc (113 cubic inches) via 100 x 118mm bore and stroke.” Really??

    The “same old” 113ci motor in the Stratoliner and Roadliner generates significantly more horsepower and even exceeds the new motor in torque. if you don’t believe me check out the dyno tests (about 10+ more horsepower and 5 ft-lbs in additional torque for the “old” motor). I own a Stratoliner s converted to a Deluxe (fairing, etc.). Hey Yamaha, what gives??

  • Franklyn S. Keptic

    “Same old” 113ci motor from Stratoliner ; 88 hp & 114 ft-lbs Rider Magazine dyno of 2011 Stratoliner Deluxe. Rider magaizine dyno of 2018 Star Venture with “new and improved” 113ci motor; 76 hp and 109 ft-lbs of torque. Hey Yamaha, if I buy a new Star Venture will you transplant my “same old” Stratoliner motor into the bike?? Just askin’

  • Franklyn S. Keptic

    Uh, “You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the same old 48-degree V-Twin from the Roadliner/ Raider line, since it’s also 1854cc (113 cubic inches) via 100 x 118mm bore and stroke.” Really??

    The “same old” 113ci (1,854cc) motor in the Stratoliner/Roadliner generates significantly more hp (10+) and more torque (5 additional ft-lbs) than the “new and improved” Star Venture motor. To wit, Rider Magazine dyno test of 2011 Stratoliner Deluxe with the “old” motor; 88 hp and 114 ft-lbs of torque. Rider Magazine dyno test of 2018 Star Venture; 76 hp and 109 ft-lbs of torque. Disclosure: I own a Stratoliner (and love it).

    Hey Yamaha, if I buy a Star Venture can I transplant my Stratoliner Deluxe motor to my new bike??