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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 highway riding.

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 to them.

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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The opinions expressed here have been submitted by a personal reviewer and are not necessarily those of, its employees, affiliates or agents. Mention of another party or its product or service on the site should not be construed as an endorsement of that party or its product or service, nor does failure to mention one imply disapproval.

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