In our almost six months with the 2018 Yamaha Star Eluder in the collective MO garages, we’ve learned a lot about the bike. In that time with the Eluder, we’ve only grown more fond of it as the numbers click by on the odometer. The quibbles are few: a first gear that is surprisingly short and a rear cylinder/exhaust that puts out too much heat on the left side. So, in case you’ve missed our previous coverage of the Eluder, here are five things you need to know.
The Eluder’s 1,854cc air-cooled 48° V-Twin is an all new design created specifically for Yamaha’s Transcontinental Touring line, which includes both the Star Eluder and the Star Venture. To keep things silky smooth, the engine features two counterbalancers and composite motor mounts – and the effects are noticeable from the saddle. Top it off with ride-by-wire throttle controls, and you also get cruise control and ride modes to make your travels easier and more fun. The Eluder’s dual exhausts were tuned with assistance from Yamaha’s music division, and the result is a pitch-perfect 105.8 lb-ft at 2,800 rpm, which is right were the engine is turning in sixth gear at 75 mph.
Split between the two saddlebags and the front storage compartments, the Eluder has 18.8 gallons of space available for your gear. The two saddlebags hold 9 gallons each and are completely weatherproof. Purchase the accessory bag liners, and you’re ready to move from road to hotel room with ease. Up front, three small storage compartments handle your little necessities, and the one to the right of the instrumentation has a USB charging port and an AUX audio input.
In cool weather we want to trap some of the air-cooled engine’s heat in the cockpit, but when it’s hot, we want to flow cooler air in. The Eluder’s lower fairing has a hand-operated vent to do just that. While the vent doesn’t mitigate all of the engine’s heat – particularly on the left side – it makes a noticeable difference when opened in warm weather or closed on cool, damp days.
Long-distance travelers need access to lots of information, and the Eluder’s infotainment system delivers with a 7-inch screen located close to the rider’s line of sight on the dash. While the screen’s size makes it easy to acquire the info you need at a glance, the reach to the touch screen is too long to be practical on a regular basis. Fortunately, Yamaha provided a handy button array on the left grip to make all of the system’s functions available with just your thumb. Aside from GPS navigation and a ton of data about the trip, the infotainment system features your choice of Pandora, SiriusXM, USB, AUX input, AM/FM radio, and CB radio. You can listen to your tunes via the fairing’s built-in speakers or through a wired helmet audio connection.
The Eluder is a large, heavy bagger. Don’t believe us? Push it around a parking lot. Still, once moving, the bike’s balance gives it a poise that one wouldn’t expect from an 874-pound machine. Despite that girth, the Eluder handles quite well, with responsive steering and ground clearance that compares favorably to other bikes in the bagger class. The suspension does its job the way you’d want it to: swallowing road irregularities with suppleness while still controlling chassis pitch when the pavement gets ripply. Only under braking do you really feel the weight of the bike. Fortunately, the binders are more than capable of handling their job.
The Eluder is visually large, too. Opinions have been split on the massive-looking fairing, and one look will tell you exactly where you stand on the issue. With a 67.6-inch wheelbase, the Eluder is a long bike, a fact that translates into stability out on the road and when battling winds.