Yamaha announced it will introduce a new touring motorcycle during the opening ceremonies of the 2017 Americade Rally, June 5 in Lake George, NY. The presentation will also be streamed online at YamahaMotorsports.com.
“Everyone at Yamaha is very excited about what the future holds for all motorcycle riders who choose to experience the journey of a lifetime on two wheels, and we are looking forward to introducing a new model that embodies this spirit,” says Derek Brooks, Yamaha motorcycle product line manager. “We invite you to join us for the countdown to June 5th as we prepare to journey further.”
While we had hopes for a FZ-10-based model to be called the “Tracer GT” after Yamaha trademarked the name in Europe, indications are this new model will be a heavyweight touring cruiser instead of a sporty-tourer. The choice for the launch venue, in the U.S., is a strong indicator for something in the cruiser realm, but the bigger clue is the “Journey Farther” campaign Yamaha is using to hype the launch of the new model.
The model launch announcement came with the third in a series of videos for the “Journey Farther” campaign, all featuring stories from Star owners. The campaign’s landing page, as well as the three videos, all bear Star branding despite the company’s move to bring its cruisers back into the Yamaha brand.
You can watch part 1 and part 2 on YouTube. In Part 3, embedded below, the Star owners offer a wish list of features they would like to see on a motorcycle. These include an audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, built-in GPS, heated grips and seats and even a reverse drive, and their mention makes it likely the new model will offer all of these features.
Reverse drive in particular – a potential feature one man in the video calls a “game changer” – would suggest a fairly heavy motorcycle. Think Gold Wing size, as Honda’s 900-plus pound tourer is one of the few motorcycles out there that uses an electric reverse to help maneuver backwards.
The final clue is the photo mosaic Yamaha released which features 630 photos of Yamaha Star owners. The mosaic forms an image of four headlights spread wide horizontally in what appears to be a large fairing. Yamaha’s website has a thumbnail of the mosaic on its home page with text reading: Transcontinental Touring Arriving Soon.”
Such a large touring machine will require a powerful engine to pull it around. Yamaha’s current catalog contains the 1854cc V-Twin from the Raider, but that air-cooled motor might be nearing its developmental lifespan. A more exciting powerplant option – and perhaps more likely – would be the 1679cc V-4 from the current VMAX, taking a cue from the Venture Royale created in 1983 around the original V-Max’s 1198cc V-4. It’s possible this big transcontinental tourer will resurrect the Venture Royale or Royal Star nameplate.
We’ll have more information as it emerges leading up to the June 5th launch of this new Yamaha tourer.