2012 Star Raider SCL Review
Introducing the Star Custom Line
Neither the Raider nor the Raider S is a new model for 2012, however the Raider platform is the progenitor for Star Motorcycle’s new Star Custom Line series of limited editions. The SCL program roughly mimics Harley-Davidson’s CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) line that offers premium upgrades to existing models.
Available this year in a 500-unit production run, the Raider SCL combines the reliability of an OEM motorcycle with the recognition of individuality and distinction of rarity.
Most eye-catching of the Raider SCL's features is its metal flake Blazing Orange paint scheme. Utilizing a six-layer process the high-metallic color appears wet enough to be dripping off the bodywork. The fenders and fuel tank feature an attractive tribalesque design, while attached to the top of the tank is a numbered, limited-edition aluminum tank badge.
Two other distinguishing attributes of the Raider SCL are the two-tone black and tan leather seat with orange stitching and “SCL” embroidered into the passenger pillion, and its chrome 21-inch front, 18-inch rear, wheels co-developed between Star and Performance Machine with matching chrome drive pulley.
The SCL also receives steel mesh brake, clutch and throttle lines, a chrome belt guard and the same chrome upgrades the S model boasts over the standard Raider model. What’s the value of these paint, chrome and leather upgrades? At 19,990, the Raider SCL is $4,800 more than the MSRP of the Raider S ($15,190) and $5,400 more than the standard Raider ($14,590).
Assuming a similar set of new, chrome, forged PM wheels and matching chrome belt pulley retail for $3,200, leaves only $1,600 to spend on custom paint, a leather seat, and the other upgrades if you were to do it yourself — making $4,800 seem reasonable.
The SCL delivers equal performance to its two Raider stablemates. All three Raiders are powered by a fuel-injected, 1854cc, air-cooled, pushrod, V-Twin producing a claimed 123 ft-lbs of torque at 2,500 rpm. The bikes utilize an all-aluminum double cradle frame, five-speed transmission and belt final drive.
The high-compression engine (for a cruiser, 9.48:1) delivers a seemingly unending stream of power with no perceived hiccups in the fuel delivery process from its EFI system. Minor, steady and large throttle inputs result in appropriate engine response.
The claimed 730-pound (wet) Raider rolls on a 71-inch wheelbase and compared to other Star models with wider bars, the Raider requires more effort to initiate a turn, but its confident handling manners allow grinding of hard parts when cornering aggressively.
The bike’s size and seating position is welcoming to taller riders while its 27.4-inch seat height keeps things manageable for shorter riders. If your arms are long enough to reach the bars while still leaning back, the dished saddle provides some lower back support.
For a complete riding impression of the Raider, read our review of the Raider here.
As a factory custom billed by Star for exhibiting “a level of style and quality rarely seen on a production motorcycle,” there exists a few oversights that if attended would elevate the Raider SCL to such a claim.
- An unsightly black plastic emissions box and horn are haphazardly attached to the left-side frame downtube next to the shift lever. These should be positioned to a less visible location.
- The polishing on the cooling fins around the spark plug cutouts ends abruptly, before turning inward, leaving the unpolished fins exposed (not unlike a lazy man failing to shine the back of his dress shoes).
- Among the sea of chrome covering everything from the triple clamp to the handgrip tips, protrudes a black plastic ignition switch from the chrome switch cover — a recurring eyesore every time you start the engine.
- The chrome front blinkers are attached to the chrome fork tubes with black plastic blinker stalks.
- There’s an unused tab on the frame’s left downtube.
- This is supposedly a Star motorcycle, but the right-side engine cover is branded Yamaha.
These cosmetic nitpicks may seem trivial, but on a production custom, emphasizing style and quality while offering no increase in performance over the standard Raider or Raider S models, warts of this nature shouldn’t exist. Otherwise, the Raider SCL continues a reputation for clean (flangeless fuel tank) and aggressive design established with the original Raider.
The Raider SCL is the first in a series of production customs to come from Star. And although Star representatives were unwilling to discuss what the next SCL model will be, rest assured the 2013 model SCL will be equally stunning, scarce and expensive as the Raider SCL is this year.
2012 Yamaha and Star Motorcycles Model Preview
Mainstream Chopper Shootout: Star Raider S vs Harley Rocker C vs Victory Vegas Jackpot
2011 Bagger Cruiser Shootout
2012 Honda Fury vs. 2011 Yamaha Star Stryker - Video
2011 Star Stryker Review
2010 Star Stratoliner Deluxe Review
First Ride: 2008 Star Raider
All Things Star
All Things Yamaha
All Things Cruiser