Yamaha V-Star 650 Custom
submitted by Marianne "Chrome Nomad"
My first motorcycle was a Honda Shadow 600. Never having
had a bike before, it seemed a manageable size and it looked very nice.
I took a riding course and rode around the area for several months
before taking my first motorcycle trip on it. It was at this point that
I realized that I had made a grave mistake. The first trip out on the
highway, I had the bike up to about 65 miles per hour and the little
600cc engine was wound up tighter than a Porsche on the racetrack. I
felt like the bike was primarily designed for riding around town, not
A few months later, I still couldn't shake that dissatisfaction. After
all, we originally bought our bikes to take wind through hill and dale.
I began looking for a bigger bike. I rode my husband's 1100 cc Yamaha
V-Star and loved the ride. However, there was always that fear of
hitting gravel and getting the bike leaned far enough over I couldn't
right it. I could lean further over on the little Honda than I could on
a bike as big as an 1100 cc.
Eventually, I rode a 650 V-Star Custom. It had the look and feel of a
bigger bike and had 5 gears, as opposed to the 4 of the Honda. On the
highway, it was comfortable at higher speeds. With the narrow Custom
front tire, it was nimble and maneuverable. I felt like a chrome Jaguar
in the concrete jungle! When a truck passed me, I felt the air
displacement a truck throws out more than I would have on a bigger bike,
but less than on the Honda. Never did it feel unsafe.
Like the Honda, this bike is low slung and I am able to stand with both
feet flat down on both sides. I sit on the fence between short and
average, so this was a big thing for me. Additionally, V-Stars come with
such options as heel/toe shifting and highway boards. None of this is in
the way when my feet are on the ground.
The shifting is smooth and the throttle is responsive. This well
balanced bike is a pleasure to drive. There is only one aspect of it
that is less than ideal. That is the clutch. It seems to be designed for
beginners, engaging almost all the way out. This leaves me looking like
a newbie with the engine revved up a little for a second before the bike
starts moving. It does take a little getting used-to.
This bike will get you at least 120 miles down the road in it's deep,
comfortable bucket seat before you hit the reserve fuel. By that time,
it's coffee-thirty anyway. The reserve switch is fairly easy to locate,
just across from the bottom of the speedometer.
The V-Star is warm blooded and takes very little choke on cool days.
Once warmed up, it purrs evenly. Mine has custom pipes for some "hear
me, see me" effect, but even the stock pipes have a little throatiness
Overall, the V-Star 650 Custom is a great looking, great performing bike
on which to rack up some experience before investing over twenty grand
on a trendy stock Harley. At this point, I've customized mine to the
point where I'm not sure I ever will. I'd have to give up too many of
the cool options and accessories I've grown so attached to.
Thanks to Marianne "Chrome Nomad" for submitting this personal review.
Marianne says, "I am a thirty eight year old mother of two, Realtor, and
a recent graduate from the "novice" category of motorcycle riders. I
have owned a Honda Shadow 600 and now own a Yamaha V-Star 650 Custom. I
have thousands miles under my belt and frequently ride alone and in
small groups. I can be contacted through my professional website,
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