Years sold: 1999-present (except 2010)
MSRP new: $15,999 (1999) to $20,190 (2013)
Blue Book retail value: $5150 (1999) to $16,965 (2012)
Basic specs: A full-dress touring cruiser powered by a more mildly tuned, 1294cc version of the 1198cc V-Four engine used in the original V-Max power cruiser. Over-the-road equipment includes a wide, handlebar-mount fairing with a tall windshield, protective lower cowlings, a four-speaker AM/FM/cassette sound system (with an included iPod on the very latest models), rider/passenger intercom, cruise control, 33.6 gallons of total storage in the hard-shell saddlebags and top trunk, a 6-gallon fuel tank and a low, wide, cushy seat.
Why it’s desirable: With very few exceptions, the Venture has not changed since its introduction in 1999. So, if you can find an early model in good condition, you can buy what amounts to the same motorcycle Yamaha is still selling in 2013 for about one-fourth the cost. These are comfortable, capable, entertaining motorcycles for long-distance travel, even if they do not boast the latest in two-wheel technology. The ride is pleasant, the ergonomics are accommodating and the V-Four engine provides smooth, steady power and one of the more soulful exhaust notes in all of motorcycling.
Useful resources: An excellent variety and quality of information about these bikes can be found at www.venturers.org. Aside from the usual forum chatter, this site contains volumes of technical and maintenance info about any of the Yamaha/Star models that include Venture in their nomenclature. Likewise with www.ventureriders.org, a forum that deals with all Venture models as well as other Royal Stars. And, of course, typing “Yamaha Venture” into any browser clues you to reviews, accessories, travel tips and for-sale listings for these big V-Four touring cruisers.