The 2012 Stars are out, and there are not a million. In fact there aren’t any completely new models at all, but that’s not a problem. Making the most of what you already have has proven way successful for Harley-Davidson, and Star has decided to further pursue that line of questioning with a new premium “CVO” –type line of its own, which it calls “SCL” for Star Custom Line. Star wants some of those big H-D spenders.
Why not? When it comes to cruisers bigger than 900cc, Star says its sales ride cupcake only to H-D, and that it sells more than twice as many over-900cc cruisers as the next metric manufacturer. Furthermore, the Star Raider (say the Star people) is the biggest-selling big (over 1301cc) metric cruiser sold, with over three times the sales volume of the second-place big cruiser. Which is pretty impressive. And you can see why if you’re a cruiser guy: Star’s 1854cc (113 cubic inch) air-cooled V-Twin looks the part and walks the walk. In a category where style is paramount, a lot of buyers seem to agree that Star got it right with the Raider (especially if an unstated goal is to sell the buyer new exhaust pipes immediately). And when it comes to quality paint and chrome, the Stars are right up there with the best.
Going with what works, then, and flipping to page 2 of the H-D playbook, brings us to the first of the SCL premium line—the 2012 Raider SCL; 500 of these special Raiders will be run up the exclusive-cruiser flagpole to see who salivates.
Photos don’t really do the six-layer-deep orange marmalade metal-flake paint job justice, and the real leather two-tone seat goes with the flow like your favorite broken-in boots. Chrome Performance Machine wheels and a matching rear drive pulley, along with braided stainless hoses and a few other custom touches all add up to an even more “custom” factory custom. H-D claims its CVOs have been very successful. At $19,990, the SCL will sell for a $5400 premium over the base model. Compared to a current CVO’s $30K-plus price, that’s bargain basement.
Speaking of $20K Stars, the beloved VMax ($19,890) now gets side panels to match its brushed alloy intake scoops, and gray saddle stitching. The $20,190 Venture now comes with a free iPod. The better to celebrate its newfound iPod integration capability. Star’s littlest V-Twin, the V Star 250, gets a new flat, drag-style handlebar for 2012.
The Stratoliner Deluxe ($17,990), which was a little light in the entertainment department before, is now a much more appealing package for 2012 thanks to the addition of a standard Garmin Zumo 665 GPS and iPod/iPhone integration: Now you can navigate through your playlist with your left thumb—and there’s a door to hide your device when you’re parked. In addition to navigating, the Zumo brings with it Bluetooth and Sirius/XM connectivity. The stylists have backed off a bit, leaving the bike with a simpler tank badge, deleting the front fender stay, and drenching the whole thing in tasteful Liquid Silver paint (same for the non-Deluxe Strats).
Minor updates to the Venture, V Star 950, V Star 1300, Stryker and Road Star round out model-line changes.