The Yamaha Star Venture, unveiled today at Americade, is aimed directly at the North American touring cruiser market.
While the other Japanese manufacturers have seemed happy to let their cruiser lines remain more or less unchanged for the past few years, Yamaha seems to still retain some interest in its big V-twins, developing the Bolt platform and now this behemoth.
The location of the bike’s unveiling was a big clue to Yamaha’s intentions, and V-twin fans were not disappointed with the result. Instead of building a touring bike around its parallel twin or inline triple platforms, Yamaha has built a machine that ought to challenge Harley-Davidson and Indian at their own game. The Star Venture is definitely built in the mold of the Great American Cruiser.
Like the competing bikes from those manufacturers, this machine has massive luggage capacity (around 140 litres), full fairing and on-board entertainment system (with 7-inch screen, controlled by touchscreen handlebar toggles or voice command). There’s also a new “Sure-Park” system, which helps you move your bike forward or backward at slow speed for parking-lot maneuvers.
The bike also has ride-by-wire throttle, which means Yamaha was able to include cruise control, traction control, riding modes, and all the other modern electronic bells and whistles that riders have come to expect. There’s a key fob system that allows for remote bag unlocking, an electronically-raised windscreen, heated grips and seats, and adjustable seats, backrests, and floorboards. Fuel capacity is 25 litres, and range is expected to be over 300 km. The Star Venture has a belt final drive, and hydraulic assist-and-slipper clutch.
The Star Venture uses Yamaha’s 1854 cc air-cooled V-twin (with six-speed transmission)—even the US-built competition is moving towards liquid-cooled touring bikes these days. However, this bike will face the same challenges as any other Japanese cruiser: It does not have the all-important “made in America” tags that so many riders are looking for.
Although the US market will see two versions of this cruiser, Yamaha’s Canadian website only lists the Star Venture TC model, with a $31,999 MSRP, available in red or black. Find more details there.