Yamaha Star Stryker- Middleweight Motorcycles | Cycle World

Yamaha Star Stryker - Middleweight Motorcycles

A chopper that doesn’t act like one.

Yamaha Star Stryker

Middleweight Motorcycles: Yamaha Star Stryker

After shooting a few cool details of the Sportster 1200 that appears on page 50, photographer Fran turned the camera on the Stryker. We looked all over for cool details—really, we did—but it was tough to find any. There are a few uncool details, like the gothic STRYKER on the speedo face, the chromed plastic engine covers and that you can inspect your sidestand safety switch just by looking down. Is the entire exhaust system considered a detail? Despite those things, to our (okay, my) eyeballs, the Stryker as a whole hangs together reasonably nicely, what with the big, choppered-out 21-inch front wheel and the wide, 210 fattie low-profile radial on the back.

More surprisingly, for being a 68.9-inch-wheelbased, 635-pound chopper, the Stryker’s a hoot to ride. Most cruiser engines are undersquare: torquey but not so revvy, and every time the power is getting good, it’s time to shift. The Stryker, on the other hand, pumps its 100mm forged pistons through a stroke of just 83mm and revs beyond 6000 rpm with real enthusiasm, its 60-degree, eight-valve, liquid-cooled V-Twin sounding almost 900SS Ducati-ish as it sucks up pavement. (The 1312cc Honda Fury makes 10 less hp 1200 rpm sooner.) And because of the Stryker’s dog-sled length and low cg, you feel like you just can’t fall off.

In contrast to things like the Merch-engined Jesse James choppers that inspired it, bikes on which you could only tiptoe carefully around corners, the Stryker lets you bomb around and whack the gas all the way open. If (and it’s a big “if”) those 67 horses cause the rear to break loose, the front wheel way up there gives you about 10 minutes to react. Sort of feels like driving a Chevelle, but with far less chance of sliding into a tree backward.

Steering geometry is another good thing Star did with the Stryker (and big bro Raider): Rake is 40 degrees, but 6 of them are a result of angled triple-clamps so that trail (which determines steering heft and feel) is a not-abnormal 109mm. Once above walking speed, the thing handles fine, even with the 210mm tire out back. Add strongish brakes, okay suspension and really good ergonomics with a wide, comfortable seat just 26.4 in. high, and you’re riding a cruiser that encourages you to gas it up instead of just bimble along. In spite of its length, the Stryker has good cornering clearance, and because of its length, it’s stable as a barn. Zotting along at 90 is smooth and easily doable; the tank and handlebars shove a lot of air aside and over, the big seat bolster keeps you in place and twin counterbalancers keep it smooth.

Whatever you think of its looks or of “factory customs” in general, the Stryker is a great motorcycle to ride. Maybe even great enough for its looks to grow on you.


• Unexpectedly good commuter/traveler

• Ridiculously smooth and comfortable

• You can stick H-D emblems on the bare tank and rankle everybody!


• Few opportunities for heroic roadside repair

• Front tire does not dance spastically at idle

• Does not set off car alarms or frighten children

Dry weight:|635 lb.
Wheelbase:|69.6 in.
Seat height:|26.4 in.
Fuel mileage:|37 mpg
0-60 mph:|4.3 sec.
1/4-mile:|13.24 sec. @ 98.11 mph
Top speed:|110 mph
Horsepower:|67.2 hp @ 5480 rpm
Torque:|73.8 ft.-lb. @ 3840 rpm