Star Motorcycles, a division of Yamaha Motors Corporation was created to help distinguish Yamaha’s sport bike line from their fleet of cruisers in order to hone in directly on the needs and preferences of the vast cruiser market. Has this branding decision paid off? That question is still being determined. However, one thing is certain, the decision-makers at Star are listening to their customers while passionately creating an edgier appeal.
Case and point. I wasn’t thrilled with Star’s 2011 Stratoliner Deluxe as noted in my review of that model. The over abundant retro chrome horizontal lines on the tank were a bit excessive, limiting its appeal to those digging that 50s retro look. There were areas such as this where Star went overboard while other areas were simply overlooked. The 2011 model also felt large and heavy. Fast forward a year later and it appears that Star took heed to customers’ comments by offering a more refined and improved Stratoliner Deluxe for 2012. In short, I was pleasantly surprised with the very noticeable improvements during my seat time. The integrated flip down Garmin 665 navigation unit is positioned dead center within the rider’s line of vision, and the integrated iPod/iPhone radio controls are easily accessible with the left thumb, while the new chrome trimmed speakers add a nice visual element. In this instance, new and improved isn’t a tricky marketing tactic. The 2012 Stratoliner confidently lives up to that claim.
My ride time didn’t stop with the Stroliner Deluxe, just one offering in Star’s stable of bikes which includes everything from their entry level and daring V Star 250 cruiser to their insanely fun VMAX, and right to the new Star Custom Line (SCL) starting with the hard-core Raider SCL. So as you see they literally have a product for every level of experience.
But that’s not all folks. They also wanted to ascertain riders were taken cared of for many years after the purchase of their new machines by providing an extensive array of accessories that are sure to satisfy even the wildest of imaginations. These custom parts are not mere afterthoughts. They are created in tandem with the associated bike as it’s being designed or retooled in order to ensure a perfect fit and integration. Once the design has been approved, the accessories are then put through rigorous lab and road tests long before going into production. Again, ensuring a perfect integration for “built to last” and “built to be ridden” quality.
Another interesting fact is that Star Motorcycles’s styling takes place in southern California by GK Design International with 3D modeling work by Jeff Palhegyi Designs.
All in all, I found a new level of appreciation and to be honest, respect for Star’s diverse yet strategic stable of iron horses with the Roadliner S taking the title as my personal favorite. While the Roadliner S was my top pick, a fellow journalist found it too big for his taste and preferred the maneuverability of the Raider SCL. One of the female journalists preferred the V Star 950’s ease of use over the raked-out wicked Star Stryker while another found the Stryker’s styling to be exactly what she wanted in a bike. This is what makes Star’s line-up strategic while offering a product for riders from all walks of life. And for those moving from the sport bike world to the cruiser market, rest assured the same precision engineering tuning forks you’ve come to trust from Yamaha are aptly applied to their Star line-up, making it that much easier to stay in the family. In living up to their lifestyle commitment, Star turned our media trip into a charity Poker Run with donating the winnings to each journalists’ charity of choice for a total of $5,500, $250 of which going to Bikers Against Breast Cancer for my chosen charity.
Do yourself a favor and check out Star’s line up. Just be forewarned, you will sub-consciously find yourself being tugged into the gravitational pull of the Star Motorcycle lifestyle. For more info visit www.starmotorcycles.com.