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Yamaha Royal Star Deluxe is a classy cruiser

November 13, 2004|by ARV VOSS/Motor Matters

Second only to Harley-Davidson, Yamaha has perhaps the biggest followingin the heavy cruiser department. I attended Star Days held in Roanoke, Va., this past July and witnessed what was probably the largest gathering in the country of predominantly metric cruising bikes: stockers and customs.

Star Days isn't sponsored by Yamaha, but is strongly supported by the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer. The actual sponsor of the event is the Star Touring and Riding group, which boasts a membership of some 33,000 who just happen to favor the Yamaha brand of motorcycle and who enjoy family-oriented motorcycle gatherings and rides that benefit worthwhile charitable causes, their primary focus being on the "Feed the Children" program.

I was Yamaha's guest and arrived to sample some of their wares, which included Royal Stars, Road Stars and V-Stars. While there, I managed to crawl aboard a Road Star Warrior, the Road Star Midnight Star Silverado and the Royal Star Tour Deluxe, in that order. There wasn't enough time for me to ride the Royal Star Venture, Yamaha's ultimate big cruiser. I spent the most time on the Road Star and Royal Star Tour Deluxe, enjoying both, but preferring the latter.

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The Tour Deluxe version of the Royal Star is actually two bikes in one, offering a stripped-down street mode, as well as a posh long-distance cruising setup, thanks to a quick change package. This package includes a detachable windshield and removable backrest that allow the rider to go with a solo look for around-town cruising, or a two-up format with plenty of storage and added comfort, without using any tools. Other worthwhile features for hitting the open road include: an electronic cruise control with easy-to-use right handlebar controls; a 5.3-gallon fuel tank that adds range as well as style; a 67.1-inch wheelbase providing not only a smooth ride, but added room for rider and passenger; hard shell, locking saddle bags; and rider leg fairings.

The big bike moves down the road with power from a liquid-cooled 79-cubic-inch (1294cc) 70-degree DOHC liquid-cooled V-Four with four heated Mikuni 32mm carburetors. Throttle response is seamless with plenty of power across the complete rev range. A single-axis internal counterbalancer reduces vibration, and the four-into-two, dual-side exhaust system with changeable tips emits a heartwarming throaty note. Gears are changed via a wide-ratio five-speed transmission with 4th and 5th gear overdrive, while the low-maintenance hydraulic clutch and rocker-style, heel/toe shifter make life easy. Motive energy reaches the rear wheel by means of shaft drive.

My Royal Star Tour Deluxe was finished in a two-tone Raspberry metallic and Raven Black (the other available color scheme is Charcoal Silver and Raven) and came with a base price of $13,999. After bolting on a host of chrome and billet accessories, and adding some touring goodies ($3,726.35 worth), the final sticker totaled $17,725.35.

SUMMARY: The Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe for 2005 fills the void between the air-cooled V-Twin Road Star Silverado and the top-of-the-line liquid-cooled V-Four Royal Star Venture quite admirably. The first Royal Star, which first bowed in 1997, was a tad short on power according to many - not so with the Tour Deluxe, which draws its power from the same hot cam, counterbalanced motor found in the Venture. Simply roll on the throttle and enjoy smooth, rapid acceleration.

Clutch operation is light and easy, though the shifter requires a firmer input for moving through the gears. The ride quality is smooth and comfortable - what one would expect from a heavy cruiser (dry weight is 787 pounds), while the maneuverability is more akin to a much lighter bike with excellent balance, tracking and handling attributes. Dual discs up front and a single disc aft provides plenty of whoa power.

The Royal Star Tour Deluxe lends itself to personalization and customizing, and there is a full line of Yamaha accessories to aid in that process. Customizer Jeff Palhegyi had several show bikes on hand at Star Days, including a specially modified Tour Deluxe "Deville" featuring

genuine Yamaha accessories attached to a lowered Tour Deluxe with a chopped frame, extended bags, stretched tank and custom paint. The Deville rang up at the register for $35,238.95, not counting prototype parts. Stock or custom, the Tour Deluxe is one classy cruiser and comes with a 5-year, unlimited mileage warranty and 24-hour roadside assistance program.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe

Base Price: $13,999.

Price as Tested: $17,725.

Engine Type and Size: 1294cc (79-cubic-inch), 70-degree DOHC liquid-cooled

V-Four

Horsepower: 98 at 6,000 rpm

Torque (ft/lbs.): 89 at 4,750 rpm

Transmission: Five-speed manual

Drivetrain: Final drive - shaft

Suspension: Front - Dual telescopic forks with air assist and 5.5 inches of travel. Rear - Single shock, link-type with air assist and 4.1-inch travel.

Brakes: Dual front discs front/single disc rear.

Tires: Bridgestone Exedra 150/80/16 M/C71H front /150/90/B15 M/C rear mounted on 7-spoke cast alloy wheels.

Wheelbase: 67.5 inches

Length Overall: 98.6 inches

Curb Weight dry: 787 pounds.

Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gallons

Seat height: 29.1 inches

Copyright Motor Matters, 2004

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