2008 Yamaha Royal Star - First impression
On my last long distance trip my Kawasaki V900 died a noble death, and I finished the journey on this Royal Star. It was a shotgun marriage.
So what about this Yamaha?
The bike is not modified in any way. It is 100% stock. 18K miles on it. Rode it from Sac Cal. to where I live, and after that took her through the paces on my playground. Every kind of twisted corner you can think of, as well as county roads, interstates and city traffic. This horse and I got acquainted well.
Out of what was available in my budget and time frame (2 hours or so) I ended up with this. 1300cc (78.96 cu.in
) V4. The power plant compare to 900cc (~54.92 cu.in
) Vulcan is very smooth and noticeably more powerful. This bike is a down grade for most of you in terms of size power output, etc., I am sure, but for me, it is an upgrade. Perspective is everything! It has retro setup with the fuel-switch, the manual mixture control of the carburetors (another retro thing). And it sounds much deeper compared to Vulcan.
On a full fuel tank I was able to make 200 miles. There was still reserve left. I did not dare.
Sissy bar is easily detachable. Left it home since I am just cruising in my playground. The windshield is also easily detachable. The key is on top and doubles as bike lock. The speedo is horizontal (very retro) but display is digital. (more like late 90's palm computer which is also very retro). The dials are accurate however, within a reasonable 2 miles error at 65mph. Battery is much like a car one, no need to mix acid, just buy one, plug it in and ride. It has cruise control and all the dummy lights are visible without moving head position. (Could not do that on V900, had to look down)
Shifting is very smooth and gear spacing is perfect, especially once you know what RPM can do what in which gear. There is no tachometer, but you can feel the engine, which is better then any tach to me anyway, no need to look just feel.
First gear is only there to get the thing rolling, even from a stop-sign up a very steep hill such as we have around here.
Second and Third got plenty of get up and go power and range. (I am riding solo, and my ground pressure is about 180lb).
Fourth and Fifth are long gears. When I put it in to 5th green overdrive (O/D) light lights up. I know not to hunt for the 6th. On the interstate I wish it had that 6th. But not a problem keeping up with everyone in 5th. It just keeps on coming.
When in town I can go up to higher gears and keep the rpm very low. It has plenty of torque to move me around in that mode. If I open the throttle it will obey, get up and go. Have not used the horn yet. Did not need to, they know I am there by the low end rumble of the pipes.
Final drive is shaft. No more squeaky belt problems.
Front dual disk break feels wimpier then that of V900, but rear disk brake is a bit touchy. Careful with that pedal, Eugene. :)
Apparently it has air suspension. Dual shocks front, single back. Compare to Vulcan at about 600lb this one weigh at about 840lb dry. It feels heavy at stops but once rolling it is very smooth. Bumps that would shake me to bits before are no longer that noticeable. Yet is still gives me the feel of the surface, so it is not a wobbly ride.
Seating position is slightly higher and I did two 7 hour days in the stock seat. Don't think I need a custom replacement. (I know it is snowing in hell). A back-rest would be nice and I like to be lower, but not that of a big deal. Bags a large and lockable. Removing the bags is not an easy task, requires some wrenching around. Would be nice if I could detach those too, but I can’t have everything. Windshield reaches way over my eyesight. Good wind / bug protection, but at speeds over 70mph on a windy day it starts to wobble the front end. I like batwings more better. Not sure if Memphis makes a direct swap in wing for this model. Need to check. However with windshield it is not all that bad. I like having it.
The front tubing, the engine guard thing, is smaller then ⅛ inch. Standard Küryakin pegs will not work. But I do not miss them somehow. Maybe I will later.
I had to do many modifications to V900 to make it comfortable for the long distance. Would I do any modifications to this Yamaha? No. It does not need any, except maybe for a removable backrest and a lower seat.
Any buyers remorse? No. At least not at this time. (knock on wood)