Yamaha has just taken the wraps off its latest full-size cruiser, the Star Venture. The Venture fits under Yamaha's Star brand that caters to cruiser demand in the US. The bike maker labels this motorcycle an 'Intercontinental tourer' and it is essentially a full-size cruiser along the same lines as motorcycles like the Honda Gold Wing, Indian Roadmaster, BMW K 1600 GTL and numerous Harley-Davidsons, including the Road Glide Ultra (not available in India).
Design and features
The Venture packs flowing lines similar to the recently discontinued line of Victory Motorcycles. Dominating the design up front is an enormous fairing that houses quad, full-LED headlamps. Facing the rider is a 7.0-inch LCD display that can be controlled either by touch, handlebar controls or the rider's voice. This screen allows riders to control navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and other functions. Flanking the LCD display is a traditional analogue speedometer on the left and an analogue rev counter on the right, with the tachometer sitting above an analogue fuel gauge. At the extremities of the enormous fairing are two large speakers that will blare out music to keep the rider entertained on long rides. The fairing houses a stowage with USB charging for any electronic devices. The windscreen is electrically adjustable and offers 3.5-inches of up/down movement. Additional airflow can be adjusted via vents in the middle and lower sections of the fairing. For those chilly rides, it comes with heated handlebar grips as well as heated seats and backrests.
With its large side bags and a top case, the Yamaha Star Venture offers a cavernous 141 litre of total luggage capacity, with the top case being wide enough to accommodate two full face helmets. The luggage cases, as well as the in-fairing stowage, are provided with factory-fitted electric locks. The Star Venture comes with a keyless lock and ignition system similar to the ones we've seen on premium Ducatis and Indian motorcycles.
Powering the Star Venture is a 1,854cc V-twin engine that churns out 171Nm of torque. Yamaha doesn't state power figures but it's the enormous torque that dictates the experience with motorcycles like this. The engine sees a mix of old technologies and new. Keeping the old-school feel is a simple air-cooling solution, but hidden between the chassis down tubes is a compact oil cooler that helps regulate engine temperatures. The engine uses a four-valve head with twin spark plugs. These are fresh technologies for some of this bike's more traditional competition but Yamaha points out that it has been using similar setups for over 20 years. The throttle is electronically controlled and traction control/riding modes are offered as standard. The engine rests on what the company calls 'advanced composite' engine mounts and within it, Yamaha has chosen to use lightweight, forged pistons and tuned counterbalancers. Special care has been taken to ensure that the emotional rumble and chugging sensation of a big V-twin filters through to the rider, while lesser desired vibrations and harshness are ironed out.
The engine sends power to the rear wheel via a six-speed transmission and final drive is handled by a belt, unlike some shaft-driven rivals like the Honda Gold Wing. One feature that will be very welcome is the new Sure-Park system that uses a small electric motor that can be controlled via the handlebar to provide gentle forward or reverse drive. On a 435kg giant, this feature should make manoeuvring on rough surfaces a far less daunting experience.
The Yamaha Star Venture is built around a rigid, hybrid chassis that uses steel for the main frame, while the subframe is constructed in die-cast aluminium. This helps with mass centralisation and weight reduction. A semi-dry sump design for the engine results in a lower centre of gravity – Yamaha claims 22 percent less effort is required in getting the bike off the centre stand as compared to an equivalent rival. Suspension is taken care of by a pair of 46mm front forks and a linkage-type, gas-pressurised rear shock with a remote adjuster for easy adjustment of preload. The Star Venture packs a 130/70 section tyre up front on an 18-inch wheel, while the rear gets a fat 200/55 section hoop-wrapped around a 16-inch wheel. ABS is standard and Yamaha's Unified Braking System adjusts front and rear brake force in real time to provide strong, linear braking performance.
The Yamaha Star Venture is priced at around US$24,999 (approx. Rs 16 lakh) in the US. An additional US$2,000 (approx. Rs 1.3 lakh) gets you the Transcontinental package that brings LED fog lamps, additional stowage compartments for the pillion complete with USB charging ports and an alarmed security system. At the moment, the Star Venture appears to be solely available for the US market and some European reports suggest that the engine may not be able to meet Euro-IV norms. In that case, it's quite unlikely that this motorcycle will make it to India, thanks to our recently introduced BS-IV norms