First Ride: 2010 Star Stratoliner Deluxe

Star’s new-for-2010 V-Twin bagger takes on Victory and Harley-Davidson American touring bikes.

2010 Star Stratoliner Deluxe - First Ride
2010 Star Stratoliner Deluxe - First Ride

V-Twin baggers are all the rage right now. We recently sampled the2010 Star Stratoliner Deluxein Southern California. Yamaha's cruiser division, Star Motorcycles, has taken the Cycle World Ten-Best-winningRoadlinerand added hard bags, a bat-wing fairing, an iPod/MP3-compatible audio system and comfortable touring seats to create its entry in this segment of the classic American-style touring-bike market.

At first glance, the 48-degree, 1854cc (113-cubic-inch), air-cooled, pushrod V-Twin looks like standard cruiser fare. But a closer look reveals ceramic-composite cylinder liners (featuring a 100 x 118mm bore and stroke), four-valve heads, two spark plugs per cylinder, twin-bore 43mm Mikuni EFI throttle bodies with 12-hole injectors and an EXUP exhaust power valve, all of which proves that the Stratoliner has a whole lot of technology packed into its traditional engine layout.

This technical package helps make the big Twin a very flexible engine. But its very large displacement doesn't hurt! In any case, Yamaha claims a peak output of 91 horsepower and 117 foot-pounds of torque at the rear wheel. That is Big Business, and, after some time in the saddle, the latter figure is pretty easy to believe. The Stratoliner not only grunts away strongly from a standstill, but also easily torques past traffic, rarely requiring a downshift with the slick five-speed transmission. Twin counterrotating balancers keep engine vibration in check.

An excellent chassis features at its core an aluminum frame and die-cast aluminum swingarm. Suspension consists of a stout, 46mm fork and a preload-adjustable shock. The Strato Deluxe provides a cushy-yet-compliant ride, ably soaking up road imperfections while maintaining enough control to allow the bike to attack twisty roads with impressive stability for a bike of this type. Overall chassis behavior and grip were very good, even when the floorboards were buried into the asphalt with sparks flying. Steering is neutral and light, making low-speed U-turns simple and curvy-road carving enjoyable. Top-notch monoblock front-brake calipers and 298mm discs provide very good stopping power. Polished, 12-spoke cast-aluminum wheels carry radial tires in a 130/70-18 front and 190/60-17 sizes.

A comfortable, upright riding position, supportive seat and good wind protection make eating up miles on the $17,490 Stratoliner Deluxe relaxing; you'll happily get lost out on the open road. While our first ride was somewhat limited in mileage and seat time (just two days of cruising), it will be interesting to see how this bike stacks up against the bag-equipped V-Twin competition.

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