2012 Yamaha V Star 1300 Tourer Review
Yamaha's cruiser brand's overlooked large-displacement model
The V Star lineup is absent a family member for 2012. Gone is the last remaining 650cc displacement bike, the V Star Custom, leaving only five V Stars: a 250, two 950s and two 1300s. Of these Stars the V Star 1300 Tourer is the most elaborate. The 1300 Tourer and its standard model counterpart, the V Star 1300, also own the distinction of being the only two liquid-cooled models in the V Star manifest.
Considering our country’s lingering fiscal malaise, the loss of the moderately priced V Star Custom and continuation of the V Star 1300 Tourer may seem to fly in the face of reason. However, according to Motorcycle Industry Council data, when it comes to a metric brand selling cruisers in excess of 900cc – Star rules.
Boasting 11 V Star models before the recession-forced collapse of motorcycle sales in the U.S. (cruiser sales dropped from an annual high of nearly 500k units to less than 250k), Star has trimmed the proverbial fat. Fifteen of the 16 models in Star’s 2012 portfolio are 950cc and above, leaving only the V Star 250 to represent the sub-900cc category.
With Star’s position in the hierarchy of liter-size cruisers at stake, maintaining a comprehensive selection of models displacing more than 900cc at correspondingly affordable price points is key to the continuing success of the Yamaha subsidiary. Positioned between the $9,490 V Star 950 Tourer and $15,990 Road Star Silverado S, the $12,090 V Star 1300 Tourer fills an important $6,500 gap between the two.
Powered by an 80 cu. in. (1304cc), liquid-cooled, fuel-injected V-Twin, the greater expense in the retail price of the 1300 (versus that of the 950 Tourer), reflects more than the obvious increase in displacement. The 1300 Tourer is a level-up in its attention to detail compared to the 950. Two blatant examples of the 1300’s superiority are visible in its flangeless fuel tank and its rear brake pedal mounting. A seam pressed into a tank is an obvious eyesore to the cruiser cognescenti that they’re looking at a budget build, but the V Star 1300 has no such blemish. And where the V Star 950’s rear brake apparatus was seemingly installed by a Mouseketeer, the 1300’s is clean and tight.
The stopping power from the 1300’s dual front discs are a marked improvement in braking performance over the 950’s single front brake configuration. And with a claimed 712-pound wet weight, the 1300 Tourer is only 55 lbs heavier than the 657-pound claimed wet weight of the V Star 950 Tourer. This marginal weight difference combined with the 1300 Tourer’s superior cornering clearance and power advantage can easily persuade someone to spend the extra $2,600 and step up to the 1300’s retail price.
The 1300 is dimensionally larger than the 950, providing a full-size motorcycle feel to its pilots. The more spacious ergonomics of the 1300 also afford the long-legged a greater amount of comfort compared to the somewhat confined seating position of the smaller 950.
Like the V Star 950 Tourer and its sibling, the standard V Star 950, the V Star 1300 Tourer differs from its standard 1300 stablemate by way of windscreen, leather-wrapped saddlebags and a passenger backrest. Price difference between the two 1300s is $1,100 ($1,000 between the two 950s).
Also mirroring the 950 Tourer, the windscreen of the 1300 Tourer is not of the quick-release variety, and after testing the standard 950 with a quick-release windscreen, we greatly preferred the convenience and adaptability of the quick-release system. We also preferred the less turbulent wind flow produced by the short (16-in.) quick-release windscreen.
Introduced in 2007 as a replacement for the outgoing V Star 1100, the V Star 1300 standard and Tourer enter their sixth year in production. Supported by a virtual mall of Star accessories (both OEM and aftermarket) and the STAR Touring and Riding Association, the V Star 1300, V Star 1300 Tourer and the rest of the Star collection represent the some of the best in metric cruising. With the introduction of the limited-production Star Custom Line this year, Star is showing no signs of relinquishing its position of dominance of the metric cruiser market.
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