Today’s luxury touring motorcycle market is a much different kettle of fish than it was in the 1980s and ’90s, when sophisticated German and Japanese bikes with their smooth multi-cylinder engines defined the genre. Harley-Davidson’s subsequent dominance of the heavyweight touring market and the modernization of its bikes has had a huge influence on luxury-touring preferences, to the point that today we’re left with just the Honda Gold Wing and BMW K 1600 GTL carrying the multi-cylinder flag among a sea of V-twins. And as our Kings of Comfort comparison showed (Rider, August 2015), the latest Harley and Indian dressers have evolved to the point that a flat six or four-cylinder engine is no longer required for a motorcycle to excel as a flagship luxury touring machine.
So, what’s the problem? Riders who want modern luxury still have the Wing and GTL, and the traditional/emotional crowd can choose among any number of well-equipped V-twins with retro styling. Well, Yamaha says these two approaches have left many riders confused and unable to choose between them.
The new Star Venture luxury touring bike you see before you aims to solve that dilemma, with a giant, smooth but rumbling V-twin wrapped in modern, muscular styling and most every convenience and comfort feature you can think of, as well as a few firsts. Yamaha’s answer to the “modern or traditional” question was simply, “Why not have both?” This daring approach ignores the norms and taps into a new and potentially large customer base. To experience its capabilities, my wife Genie and I rode a Star Venture TC on a 3-day, 700-mile ride with the Yamaha team from Boise, Idaho to Coeur d’ Alene via McCall, Lolo Pass and Missoula, Montana. The scenery was gorgeous, the weather warm and the roads twisty, and we got plenty of seat time with the new bike and a solid understanding of how it works for luxury touring.
Development of the Star Venture began about six years ago with a clean sheet of paper, though Yamaha’s surveys and focus groups had already concluded that any new long-distance luxo had to have a V-twin at its core, and surprisingly an air-cooled one with visible pushrods at that. Much of the expensive R&D for a new engine goes into the basic architecture—bore and stroke, bottom end, etc.—so Yamaha repurposed the layout of its 1,854cc Raider 48-degree OHV V-twin, which has four valves per cylinder. The ample mill was redesigned with hydraulic valve lifters that never need adjustment, and camshaft and primary drive dampers to quell the shudder that often occurs at low rpm in big twins. Twin gear-driven counterbalancers eliminate shakes throughout the powerband without robbing the engine of its rumble, and instead of solid mounting the engine a’ la Raider, the big twin is supported in the Venture’s frame with special composite engine mounts that also absorb some vibes. An overdrive sixth gear was added to the gearbox, and a new assist-and-slipper clutch reduces lever effort.
It’s been a long time since an all-new Japanese luxo has landed, so we couldn’t wait to get the Venture on the Jett Tuning dyno to see what kind of low-end torque machine it might be. With 109.4 lb-ft at 2,750 rpm at the rear wheel, the Venture’s peak torque equals or edges out all of its V-twin competition and the Gold Wing (but not the GTL), and more than 100 lb-ft are available from 2,000 to 4,000 rpm. Moreover, with the torque peak hitting at well below 3,000 rpm and the engine turning just 2,750 rpm at 75 mph, it’s unnecessary to rev it anywhere near its redline of 4,750 rpm, though the rev limiter cuts in quite softly should you hit it. Yamaha spent a lot of time getting the feel and sound of the Venture’s engine just right, and it paid off in genuinely smooth, brisk acceleration even two-up and loaded with a healthy bark from the exhaust and crisp, clean shifting. The engine loafs along pleasantly in its top fifth and sixth gears on the highway, handles twisting roads easily in third or fourth and whips the heavy motorcycle, you and your passenger around slower traffic with ease, often with a single downshift.
Perhaps the greatest concern about an air-cooled engine in this application is engine heat creating discomfort for the rider, and the Venture definitely generates plenty of warmth around the rider’s lower legs. On hot days some heat from the oil tank, which is integrated into the frame just below the rider’s left buttock, can seep through the seat, too. The engine has the usual oil jets under the pistons and an oil cooler, but otherwise no special effort was made to reduce its heat output. Yamaha’s approach was to use airflow management instead, and it has succeeded quite well. As long as you’re moving, adjustable vents in the fairing lowers and a pair of adjustable wings on the sides keep the air moving around your legs and lower body and prevent the engine heat from settling in behind the fairing…unless you want it on cooler days, of course. Wind protection for the rider is quite good when desired, in fact, with an electric windscreen that raises 3.5 inches to the point the rider is looking through it, and lowers below your line of sight. The mirrors and a pair of bolt-on deflectors on each side help deflect the wind as well. Passengers experience a bit more noise from the wind, even with the windscreen up, but are otherwise protected nearly as well as the rider.
In addition to the base model, the Venture’s TC or Transcontinental package adds LED fog lights, a security alarm, rear speakers, passenger storage compartments and GPS navigation, CB radio and SiriusXM satellite radio to the infotainment system, bringing its wet weight up to a whopping 963 pounds. It’s all supported by a robust steel double-cradle main frame, aluminum subframe and steel swingarm for the suspension, which is surprisingly basic for such a fully loaded bike. The non-adjustable 46mm fork and progressively linked single shock with remote reservoir do work quite well, though, and the rear shock has remote hydraulic preload adjustability under the left side cover. Rolling on radials with a huge 200-series tire in back, the Venture handles much better than you would expect for such a heavy bike, with neutral, low-effort steering, predictable cornering manners and good suspension control in bumpy corners without any harshness. It’s easy to ride briskly two-up until you start scraping the floorboards, in fact, and quite fun to ride fast on winding roads.
Rider and passenger comfort reigns supreme on the Star Venture, with a low 27.4-inch seat height for the rider, wide, plush seats, floorboards, a 3-position rider lumbar support, adjustable levers and large, supportive passenger backrest. Extra long rider floorboards let the rider move his or her feet back and forth more than a foot, and the wide handlebar can be rotated in its clamps to move the grips up or down a few inches. Heated seats, backrests and grips that get seriously hot on “high” are standard, and heated grabrails for the passenger are included among the 24 accessories for the bike along with a trunk rack, heel-and-toe shifter and bag liners. You will be comfortable on this bike, even at the end of a long day.
To power the raft of accessories that touring riders like, the Venture’s V-twin also gets twin 375-watt alternators, for a total of 750 watts of electrical juice, and its all-LED lighting with distinctive quad headlights uses very little. Y-CCT throttle-by-wire enabled the incorporation of D-Mode Touring and Sport engine modes (I preferred Sport for a crisper feel starting out from stops without any abruptness elsewhere), very precise cruise control and switchable traction control, and of course the bike has ABS for its super-strong, unified triple disc braking system, which dynamically proportions braking force front and rear depending upon conditions. Parking and maneuvering the bike is cake thanks to the Sure Park system, which engages a separate electric motor to move the bike forward and back when the transmission is in neutral and the engine is stopped or running. It’s especially useful for backing into and out of parking spaces without starting the engine—sometime down the road Yamaha may even offer a backup camera!
Besides its engine and R1-meets-1960s-Americana-muscle styling, a key focal point of the Star Venture is its high-output audio and infotainment system, which is so comprehensive that the manual is 116 pages long—allow yourself plenty of time to learn how to use it all. Music, navigation, communications and motorcycle systems monitoring (for things like the tire pressure, seat and grip heating and the electric windscreen) are controlled with an integrated button panel on the left handlebar. You can also use the clear, concise 7-inch LCD touchscreen display or even voice activation to control all of the features. Connect your phone via Bluetooth and optional J&M headsets via cable (Bluetooth headsets don’t offer enough separate data channels) and you can make and receive calls, stream music from multiple sources, chat on the intercom or CB and ask the GPS for directions. Two-zone audio lets the passenger listen to a different audio source and control volume separately, though my wife found the 5-button control panel for the passenger a little difficult to use until she got the hang of it. Sound quality from the 28-watt per channel system’s speakers is quite good, though I recommend the headsets for the best fidelity.
More convenience features include 144 liters—picture 38 gallons of milk—of luggage capacity in the cavernous trunk, top-loading saddlebags, three fairing pockets and two passenger compartments (on the TC version). The trunk easily swallows two XL full-face helmets, and the luggage and one fairing pocket can be locked or unlocked with a single button on the center console and Smart Key keyless ignition fob. USB ports front and back and an auxiliary jack and 12V outlet in front connect and charge devices. Though the test bikes had to go straight to the Star Days rally in Minnesota from Idaho, I was careful to monitor our bike’s fuel economy with the trip computer, and it averaged 41.1 mpg on premium fuel, for a nice range of more than 270 miles from its large 6.6-gallon tank.
While many existing luxury bikes offer similar features, none to date has combined them into a single package quite as cleverly as Yamaha. The Star Venture raises the bar to the highest level yet in this category with unprecedented levels of comfort, convenience and performance. We’ll have a comparison test with its chief competition quite soon.
2018 Yamaha Star Venture Specs
Base Price: $24,999
Price as Tested: $26,999 (TC package)
Warranty: 5 yrs., unltd. miles
Type: Air-cooled, transverse 48-degree V-twin
Bore x Stroke: 100.0 x 118.0mm
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Valve Train: OHV, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: NA
Fuel Delivery: EFI w/ 46mm throttle body
Lubrication System: Semi-dry sump, 6.7-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: Belt
Charging Output: 750 watts max.
Battery: 12V 18AH
Frame: Tubular & forged steel double cradle w/ cast aluminum subframe & steel swingarm
Wheelbase: 67.6 in.
Rake/Trail: 31 degrees/5.7 in.
Seat Height: 27.4 in.
Suspension, Front: 46mm telescopic, no adj., 5.1-in. travel
Rear: Single linked shock w/ remote preload adj., 4.3-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 298mm discs w/ 4-piston opposed calipers, UBS & ABS
Rear: Single 320mm disc w/ 2-piston floating caliper, UBS & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 18 in.
Rear: Cast, 6.00 x 16 in.
Tires, Front: 130/70-HR18
Claimed Wet Weight: 963 lbs. (as tested)
Load Capacity: 408 lbs.
GVWR: 1,371 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 6.6 gals.
MPG: 91 PON min. (avg) 41.1
Estimated Range: 271 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 2,450
So let me get this straight: This motorcycle “equals or edges out ALL of its competition” with 109 lb. ft of torque? When for the same money you can get a BMW K1600 GT or GTL with 130 LBS./FT. OF TORQUE (and 160 HP)??? AND get dynamic electronically adjustable suspension (which isn’t offered on this motorcycle at any price)??? AND MUCH HIGHER END engine mapping and traction control??? Shaft drive, 6 cylinders, keyless ignition, etc., etc., etc.
This motorcycle might be an alternative to a Harley, or other metric cruiser, but is not really competition for Honda, and isn’t in the same GALAXY as the BMW GT/GTL.
Buy for $26K in 2017, worth $12K in 2019. Have fun!
You’re comparing two different measures of horsepower and torque. Manufacturers always report those figures measured at the crank, on an engine dyno. Whenever possible, we report horsepower and torque measured at the rear wheel on a DynoJet dynamometer, which takes into account the parasitic losses of the drivetrain and is the torque you actually feel when riding the bike. The Yamaha Star Venture makes 109 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel. When we tested the BMW 1600 GT/GTL, it made 114 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel, which is within 5% of the Yamaha. And the Honda Gold Wing GL1800 made 106 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel, which is less than the Yamaha.
But your other points about horsepower, electronic suspension, etc. are indeed major points of difference. Different bikes for different folks.
– Greg Drevenstedt, Senior Editor
Greg: Thanks for the clarification. I don’t recall that distinction being made in the article, but perhaps i missed it. In any event, the GT/GTL still makes more torque at rear wheel than the motorcycle the article says exceeds all its rivals.
Indeed, different bikes for different folks…
Read it again – it distinctly notes the 109# figure coming from a dyno.
Nresq, while our Sr. Ed makes a good point above, you’re right, and the story has been updated in the fifth paragraph. I was really only referring to “equalling or edging out” its V-twin competition and the Gold Wing, not the BMW. In addition I was only referring to doing so power-wise. How the Venture compares in other respects is best left to a comparison test. EIC
Thanks for the update. Rare to see such followup and editorial integrity! 👍
BTW: Your route was epic! Some of the most beautiful roads in the Northwestern U.S.!
Keep that top heavy BMW, I bought this bike over that one….
Not to mention the GT/GTL have the greatest payload capacity of any bike in the touring class. Pretty important when hauling two heavy Americans and their gear.
me and my wife are Heavy Americans, i am 320lbs and she is 200lbs. do they make a bike that can haul that big of a load plus luggage around the USA safely ? just got my second bike, a Yamaha Statoliner after having a Road Star for 8 years and she still dont wanna ride but its a much better bike. PS, great review !
I ride a 2015 Harley Davidson Ultra Limited. 103 ci. I weigh in at 350 the Wife weighs in at 230. We travel cross country with sadle bags and travel pack full! A Rack on the back of the bike lugs our luggage bags all 3 are around 100lbs. We do not have any issues at all riding and the Harley is still extremely safe! Ride safe and enjoy the open road!
I hope this helps
Scott, the HD touring (Ultras, etc) bikes have a higher load carrying capacity than the gt/gtl. My Road King has a capacity just shy of 550lbs. The gt/gtl is around 420lbs.
And the highest service costs of any of the bikes mentioned. And God forbid it breaks down and something major needs fixing.
Where do you get your data? You checked the cost of Yamaha service and parts lately?
BMW also has 3 year tire-to-tire warranty. Does Yamaha?
Finally, you EVER broken down on a BMW? Thought so…
So you did put this bike on the dyno when you got the torque number. What was the horsepower at the real wheel, and why don’t you mention it? Is Yamaha telling reviewers not to disclose horsepower numbers, as no one has as yet.
Our apologies, we forgot to include our Dyno chart in the story. It has been added. We’re guessing that the reason no one else has disclosed horsepower numbers, is that we were the only magazine to get the bike on the Dyno before the press launch. -Jenny
I am with you. I had Victory Vision, which tried to combine Gold Wing type ergonomics with a V-Twin, and it was too much of a compromise. I now have BMW K1600 GTL for work and long distance touring, and an Indian Chieftain Elite for when I want a classic look and feel of a V-Twin. I am sure there will be folks buying this bike, just not at this price point.
Exactly. To me both the Honda Goldwing and the BMW 1600 are in another galaxy of quality, comfort, and performance. It’s obvious Yamaha simply wanted to take on Harley with their bike which in comparison offers some upgrades at a lower price rather attempt to take on either Honda or BMW. It seems their thinking was to produce a Harley like bike at a reduced price which might appeal to more riders riding Harleys today, and not bother competing for those riders who have already abandoned Harley and found a truly superior ride and bike in BMW and Honda
You are wise! 😉
I agree maybe some competition for HD but certainly not BMW Or Gl1800
Have you actually saddled the Yamaha yet with any part of you other than prejudice? I own a BMW K1200LT and an Indian Roadmaster, and I’m highly interested in the K1600 Grand America and the Yamaha — but I’m not about to say either of my machines are better than, or not as good as, one I have not seen in the flesh, much less ridden. My opinions are formed in the saddle, not in an arm chair.
One note from research data: Yamaha is in the top three brands in reliability, depending on which body of research is considered, and BMW is near or at the bottom, excluding Slingshots.
Same value retention for a BMW…but without the lowest reliability rating of all motorcycles (except Ural).
I stopped reading the article after learning of the heat management issues. A big FAIL on YAMAHA’s part.
Same here…S.E. Texas
Sure the BMW makes more torque at 5,250 rom’s, who rides a touring bike at that, I’m cruising 80 mph at 3,000 rom’s.
5,250 “rpm’s”. An edit function sure would be nice.
You’re comparing several different things. The GT is cruising at LESS THAN 3,000 RPM AT 80. And yes, it makes its MAXIMUM torque above 5K RPM, but also OVER 90% AT JUST 1,750 RPM. Important to understand THE FACTS before posting.
Oh, I know the ” FACTS”. Like to exagerate much? The BMW makes 70% of its maximum torque at 1700 rpm’s, this information comes straight from BMW’s website. 70% of 129 = 90.3 ft lbs of torque. The Yamaha has a claimed 126 ft lbs at 2500 rpm’s, only 3 ft lbs less than the BMW but its maximum torque is purduced at much lower rpm’s. The Yamaha down low should have a torque advantage.
Dude, so you were way off in your original post. You’ve been babbling the same thing over and over. Buy the Yamaha, or stick with your HD. Either way you’ll be less comfortable, go a lot slower, and have 1950’s technology. To each his own.
I was off? You’re the clown that claimed the BMW makes 90% of its peak torque at 1750, when it’s actually 70%.
Well, I actually just bought one and with all that hype about the K1600, you can only top out at 101 mph, you also don’t have dual zone audio controls, and the BMW was lacking in many other areas that the Yamaha clearly was the better choice. The new redesigned Gold Wing also has been narrowed and unfortunately when looking at the bike, reminded me more of a sport touring bike than a classic cruiser as does the BMW. Let’s be honest, if you’re so concerned about horsepower, than why not go with a Kawasaki Consours 14 which will definitely spank the performance of both the BMW or Honda and do so at a much lower price. Not too mention that when you want the same features that the Yamaha has, both the BMW and the Honda come out as significantly higher price. Obviously you’ve never sat on a Yamaha Raider and rode that big V-twin. The torque comes on at a ridiculously low rpm and acceleration is very fluid and strong. I understand your fascination with the BMW or Goldwing, but we’re not talking performance machines, we’re talking luxury cruising. Hey, if I was concerned about hair curling performance than I would have kept my 2016 Yamaha Vmax 1700 which would obviously spank your BMW or the Goldwing with more torque and horsepower than either of those bikes. No, I wanted to settle in to a comfortable long distance cruiser that would be comfortable and durable for the long haul and do all things quite confidently. Oh, and I have owned a Concours and had no problem spanking that BMW or Goldwing, also owned Honda’s ST-1300 and have ridden just about every bike on the planet and for me, the Yamaha was the right choice.
Amen brother I sold Yamaha Kawasaki Suzuki for 28 years. I’ve rode Harleys and owned Harleys Road BMWS, Indians when they few years ago the s&s bikes around in the nineties before Indian took them over and some foreign bikes I can’t remember the name of Ducati and some other ones.
Does the Star Venture have helmet locks? When the wife and I go on trips there is no room for helmets in the trunk.
There are no dedicated helmet locks, but in the (small) toolkit there are small cable loops that go through the helmet chinbar and secure to hooks under the saddlebag lid.
I would like to see numbers on how many people get helmets stolen or messed with….I never have and never have locked them up, but I do live and ride in the remote PNW.
Sounds like a great long distance machine. I just can’t warm up to its looks though… I know that makes me shallow……
Thanks for the helmet lock system info.
I got to ride this thing at Star Days two days ago, and it literally blew me away. I had little hope that such ha heavy motorcycle would, or even could, handle so well. And the engine is sweet!
I don’t have $27k right now, but if i did…
I have a 08 Wing with 114,000 on it. If the Wing rumors are not true and there is no new Wing released this year, I’ll be getting this Yamaha!
It’s about time a Japanese company finally built a cool tourer. Been waiting a long time. This looks like they studied the Victory Cross County Tour and solved all the short comings. Added all the thing that Polaris missed.
The styling is a bit strange I could get used to it.
I believe this bike should have been liquid cooled. For a bike as massive as this is it’s going to get very hot if stuck in traffic.
Hats off to Yamaha for showing Polaris the direction they should have taken with Victory…..
I can’t believe people want to compare the BMW k1600gtl to this bike. Two completely different looks. Can’t wait to try out the TC.
Comparing VALUE. Buy the bike you like and for how you ride.
I currently have a Stratoliner 1854cc and have ridden it for over 14000 miles ,mostly with my wife and on longer trips.
Generally I like the bike, it has great power and cool styling but the mpg is bad, I get only 26 mpg on the hwy with my wife aboard. Combine the small tank and dismal mileage and you see my concern about the 1854 engine on the new Venture.
I noted that the new Venture achieved 41 mpg with two up. What changes were made in either the engine or the transmission to improve the mileage? I’m looking forward to a test ride when my dealer gets one in this fall!!!
I regularly get 40 miles to gal with my stratoliner. Tank is too small especially here in the southwest. I personally will have to ride the bike to comment on the power. I have had many bikes I was totally blown away at how much I love our stratoliner. The minuses are high speed vibration, and small gas tank. I have a feeling it won’t be long I’ll be riding a venture !!!
How can they justify a load capacity of 408 lbs?
Two riders, fuel and baggage could easily put you over the limit. 408# must be a misprint or YAMAHA is just plain out of touch with the touring market.
I hope it’s a misprint. As ‘larger Americans’ my wife and I push the 475lb limit on our current Electraglide when we’re loaded up. 408 makes me nervous. What good is all that storage volume if I can’t load my camping gear in it. My other early concern was reports of poor-ish (32 mpg I think I saw) fuel economy – but real world 2-up at 40+ mpg is very reasonable.
I’ll definitely be looking at these bikes in a couple years when it’s time to upgrade. I think I’m the target market Yamaha was shooting for with this bike – like V-Twins a great deal, but I also appreciate the technological advances the Venture brings. Was looking at sport tourers (Triumph Trophy in particular) but my knees are in rough shape, and the sport/sport touring mid controls give my knees fits in short order.
Howard – Have you looked at the BMW 1200RT or the K1600 GT/L?
I am betting that’s the right load number. All that storage room but you couldn’t carry much in it if you were two up and geared up. Guess that’s why it doesn’t have a center stand and you have to manually adjust rear suspension. Trying to saving weight. Also don’t like the fact it won’t use 87 octane. Compression rate is low but still requires premium. Not wild about the belt drive and air cooling, but it would have weighed 50 more pounds with shaft drive and liquid cooling. 77 hp on the dyno? Not even close to being the equal to the tired old Gold Wing.
Why exactly do you consider shaft drive to be superior to belt drive? Just because BMW’s have them? Belts don’t suffer the power loss to the rear wheel that shafts do, in fact they’re second only to chain drive in power transference, they don’t have the rotational twist that some shafts have, they’re lighter, virtually maintenance free, no fluids to add or change, and riders have gone well over 100K before changing them.
I’m not trying to sell you on a Gold Wing. (or BMW) Shaft drive is smoother than a belt. And quieter. And just about bullet proof. I have seen more than a few shaft drives with over 200k on them. Just changing a tire requires the belt tension to be readjusted and lined up. on most belt driven bikes. Yes the shaft wastes more horsepower than a chain or belt. That is important if you have a 900 pound bike with just 76.8 horsepower. The “jacking” or torsional was never a Gold Wing problem. The power loss is not a problem on the 155 hp BMW or the 100 plus hp Gold Wing. The Yamaha has many features the Wing does not. That’s great. It won’t hurt Honda sales but will appeal to perspective Harley buyers. I really like the features and the looks. Happy Trails!
Belts noisy, or not smooth? I don’t notice my belt at all, I don’t know what better testimonial I can give than that. And I’ll repeat the fact that shafts are less efficient at transferring power to the rear wheel than belts. And a broken belt is far less of an issue than a final drive failure.
It looks like it could have been a updated Victory Vision. The Yamaha has way more Tech than the Vision but the riding position and Air management seems quite similar. The handling of the Venture sounds like it handles like a Vision too, It is very grin worthy!!
I sat on the Venture at the Americade Rally in NY. The riding position with the long floorboards was excellent. The Venture is a lot of bike for the money, Plus a 5year warranty!! $27k is a lot to spend on a bike for me. Personally, I buy bikes to ride not to resell, So I`m not really concerned with the bikes value, 5years from now. I will keep my 14 Vision and my 90 FJ for now.
The GL1800 wing is 417lbs weight capacity not much more of a rating that the Star. Between the 2 of us we easily exceed this by about 90 Lbs. with no noticeable impact on performance, under normal brisk riding conditions. There is only 1 way to judge a motorcycle, ride it for yourself.
I don’t see any mention of ease of maintenance ie changing of simple items such as an air filter / oil changes / spark plugs as these items are a pain with the Raider, same engine, for some do it yourself people. If I gotta remove the gas tank just to change the air filter like on the Raider? I may pass. Also the Raider has had problems with the fuel pump tanks cracking and a $500 price to replace, Yamaha ignores customers who complain and act like they have never heard of this problem, we would like to see a recall on this problem. Since this bike shares the same engine I’ll assume it shares the same problems as the Raider and avoid it till I know different. otherwise I would be all over it
First this bike does not have the same engine, it’s based on the old engine but entirely redesigned. And the bike has a 5 year warranty, so warranty concerns shouldn’t be an issue.
Sounds like the old engine to me..
IT IS NOT THE SAME ENGINE
I’ll have to hold comment
Why does everyone think there has to be a radiator(watercooled) on a motorcycle, Yamaha is trying to show you that you don’t need that extra crap.
You need to come ride SE Texas and get stuck in a traffic jam or two. I am sick of the heat put out by my air cooled bike. It will be the reason I will pass on this one.
Riding a Wing behind a herd of stalling Harleys into Sturgis illustrates perfectly well why having a radiator is a superior choice.
I have a VTX1800, it’s water cooled and while it may keep running in the heat you would wish it would. The rear cylinder and exhaust throw off so much heat. it will cool your leg slowly.
On paper the BMW 6 is hard to beat. Unfortunately after reviewing owner’s comments on various forums it is clear that waterpumps and other niggles have plagued various owners bikes at times and have resulted in being stranded on the side of the road. I have sold Beemers, love and respect them, but acknowledge they do not have GL 1800 level reliability. One thing Yamaha has always built are good seats which don’t have to be replaced right away and the Star’s seat in particular looks like a winner. Wife would probably want a taller windscreen. Can’t wait to ride one and see how comfortable it is after 600 miles.
Now for someone to come up with a trike kit for the darn thing! Until then, I’ll stick with my ’08 Venture Hannigan trike.
Frankly I like it. I ride Suzi’s and Hondas but this definitely has my attention. (although I’m choking on the price tag)
If HD keeps going like it is, there won’t be much competition in a couple of years. Their market is slipping again.
Currently ride a CCT. Had it for a while now and love it for the handling, and power. I have ridden both the BMW, and the Goldwing and cannot get comfortable on either as a result of the limiting foot/let positioning. The wing has reliability that cannot be argued. The BMW, not so much. I have a story of friend bought the 1600 BMW, engine grenaded on him within six months. Factory defect, replaced. He rode the second one about another year, then went back to Harley. Said it was more comfortable for him.
In any case, bike comparisons are, at best, just an excercise in examining features. All that counts is riding the bike that fits. My experience is, there is always a compromise. No bike has ever had every feature I wanted, or had too many to suit me. I don’t ever feel deprived or superior compared to someone else when I ride, because I ride the bike that suits me best. Bout as good as it gets. I like the new bike, so far, but would have to use it a while to know for sure.
For me the biggest deal is the inclusion of ABS. Never before has Mama Yama put ABS on their big V-twins. As a former Star Touring member, I have owned a V-Star 1100, a Royal Star Tour Dlx, a Warrior & a Midnight Roadliner that I took up to Deluxe specs. For over a decade Star members asked Cypress for ABS, so it is heartening to see it finally arrive. Yamaha has had ABS on their sport lines for quite a while, but I would rather have ABS on a 900 lb machine than a 400 lb sport bike.
Pretty and well-equipped. Won’t be trading in my ’15 H-D Limited for one, though.
WAY too expensive and much too heavy to be a real threat to Harley dressers, too. Nowhere near the dealership network or aftermarket parts availability, either.
I’m sure they’ll sell a few, but no real threat to the MOCO.
To expensive and to heavy to run with Harley seriously. lol I’ve got a roadglide in my garage that my victory magnum will run circles around in power and handling and comfort. Get real I can’t wait to test ride this new Yamaha There’s not much out there that’s not way ahead of Harley this from a 43 yr Harley rider . Lol you guys never speak the truth about what we ride
Being a long time fan of Yamaha, albeit a dirt, and dual sport fan of them, I was excited to read about this bike UNTIL…the dreaded in S.E. Texas, air cooled portion of your information. I currently own a HD FLHRCI, looking to buy a new bike. I am tired of the awful heat put out by air cooled engines. BIG mistake, Yamaha. A grand touring machine such as this, without liquid cooling is just crazy!
Honda is said to be coming out soon with a revamped GW. I am betting it wont have an air cooled engine.
I have a water cooled FJR. Being water cooled does not mean the heat magically disappears. It is transferred to the cooling water which is circulated through the radiator which is cooled by air that is flowing through it towards the rider. Sitting in traffic when the rad fans kick on is a real experience, but not a particularly good one. Water cools the engine better but not necessarily the rider.
Hey, thanks for your reply. I got what you’re saying, however it’s not me I’m concerned so much with, it’s the toll it takes on my bike. People here don’t tske kindly to bikers riding past them on shoulders or lane splitting, so usually we are forced to wait it out while engine is bein cooked. I LI’VE Yamahas, but I’ll probably wind up with a Wing…
Ah, I misunderstood your concern, thanks for clarifying. Water cooling is definitely better for the engine. I got stuck in traffic in Denver on a 2006 Superglide a few years ago. Had to pull the bike off the road and sit until the traffic thinned out because it got so hot. Needless to say, I wasn’t too happy sitting in 100 degree heat for nearly an hour myself.
Just as I start thinking maybe a nice new Yamaha would be a good idea I think about my twelve-year-old GL 1800 out in the garage. It has 65000 trouble-free miles on it. I never doubt that it will get me where I want to go and back in Comfort. I would like to see Goldwing revamped. I think until then I am pretty happy. I also have a BMW 1200 GS that I enjoy riding. It is a 2015 with a water-cooled engine. It is an excellent bike. But I don’t have the confidence in it that I do in my GL1800.
Well, here goes & I hope I don’t start rambling.. I’m a 17yr. Star member, (Star celebrated it’s 19th. Star Days this yr),, I live in the West where it’s HOT in the Summer & I’m a block away from an almost 100 mile stretch of Route 66. In the past 17yrs., I’ve owned (3) Yamaha Ventures: 2000′, 2008′ & 2012′. I rode my 2012 just over 2300 miles to Star Days in Red Wing,MN. just so I could Demo one of these Ventures…Before I left for Star Days, I contacted my Yamaha Dealer & put down my $500 deposit so that I could be one of the FIRST to own this New Transcontinental Touring Machine.. the moment I saw it’s unveiling (@ Americade via streaming), I knew I wanted to own one. NOW, after Demoing it (3 times), I can’t wait till it arrives. IF it doesn’t get to me by my Birthday (mid August), then I’m planning on riding up to Draper, UT. on the 25th. & 26th. for some more Demo rides (that’s only a little over 500 miles away). I LOVE my Ventures,, that V4 is Bullet Proof & I expect this Vtwin to be the same… I don’t know about the various comparisons that most of you are making here…I can only say (from 3 demo rides), this New (completely redesigned) Venture is a “BLAST”!!! I’ve tried every motorcycle mentioned here & they ALL have their own set of qualities.. BUT for me ( a die-hard Yamaha/Venture fan).. None of them offer ALL of what I’m looking for in a Large Touring Machine…NONE OF THEM. THIS VENTURE DOES!!
I have not read anything about tipover protection on this bike. I have a 13 vision and a 16 goldwing, these bikes have excellent protection. Does the venture have any tipover protection, or is it going to be heavily damaged if it happens to go over when in a parking lot?
With it’s new “forward” & “reverse” assist motor, you should be able to park it anywhere you like, wherever you feel “safe” that it won’t tip over!!
I watched a video showing how to adjust the rear shock. Remove the side panel and using some type of small rod or screw driver slide it through a hole in the adjuster and turn. 26k and no electric adjustment? Not even a remote knob to turn? Load capacity is a joke, Indian + Harley are at least 50lb higher or more. Are the brake lines steel braided? Not sure bout the BMW 16, but why don’t touring bikes have at least spring preload adjustments for the fork? One can ride solo and then add a passenger + gear and instantly add 250lbs yet the fork stays the same. Hoping one of the world’s bike manufacturers comes out with a smaller tourer or sports tourer. Something in the 750cc range. A new and improved BMW K750 or a Honda 700SC with shaft drive and self adjusting valves and hard bags. Something that doesn’t cost as much as a car yet doesn’t have air conditioning. And instead of all this ride mode crap, how about horns that are loud, shocks that don’t crap out after 10k, seats that are comfortable, and centerstands so it’s easier to clean + work on them.
How about audio delete models of the wing, bmw16, Indian, and this venture. Just bare bones, no infotainment, no GPS, no cb, just the bike. If it cuts a few thousand off of msrp it may bring in extra sales. The road is my entertainment and it’s dangerous enough with out any more distractions. I ride to escape all this modern stuff. He’ll it’s all this stuff in cars that’s causing more accidents with us, the bikers.
I was trying to post my Valkyrie comment here. Anyway, try the 2015-14 Valkyrie. All the power of the wing, better steering, no fluff. 0-60 in 3.5, and just change the oil once a season.
Phil you think like I do.
Your specs list the engine as a transverse V twin. Sure looks like an in line to me. Any one else spot that?
Transverse refers to the position of the crankshaft relative to the direction of travel. The Star Venture is a V-twin, and its crankshaft is perpendicular (crossways or transverse) to the direction of travel.
You can tell what people ride by their biased comments. Sounds to me the Honda, Harley and BMW guys are worried. LOL!
I ride a Harley, and have to say the Yamaha sounds like nice bike. I don’t get the bias some have against a belt. Someone on here actually tried to say a belt was noisier. I’ll say this about that, I don’t hear the multitude of belts running under my car hood, but I hear the driveline.
Thanks for a great article about a great new motorcycle. I have ridden all the big touring bikes, Harley, Indian, Honda, ect… Best handling was the Goldwing. It handles like a big FJR 1300(Which is my current ride)! Yamaha reliability is top of the line as well. Get the bike that makes you happy, anything with 2 wheels and a motor is fun! Everyone one is different and likes different thing things in a motorcycle. But the main reason we ride is for the fun and joy of it! So, just get out and ride on whatever makes you happy!
Try the 2014-15 Valkyrie. It’s all muscle, no fluff. I bought one after a test ride because it was night and day difference from my Goldwing, and runs circles around the other v-twins. How does 0-60 in 3.5 sound?
That was meant for a reply, not a comment on it’s own.
I’ll keep my K16GT – Will take a inline 6 over a V-Twin any day
Owning a Stratoliner Deluxe, I’m mildly disappointed in the Star Venture’s “new and improved engine” dyno results. The “old” 113ci (1,854cc) motor in the Stratoliner/Roadliner generates significantly more hp (10+) and more torque than the “new and improved” Star Venture motor. To wit, Rider Magazine dyno test of 2011 Stratoliner Deluxe with the “old” motor; 88 hp and 111 ft-lbs of torque. Rider Magazine dyno test of 2018 Star Venture; 77 hp and 109 ft-lbs of torque.
Furthermore, Yamaha advertised the torque (at the rear wheel) at a whopping 126 ft-lbs of torque. Where is it?
ey Yamaha, if I buy a Star Venture can I transplant my Stratoliner Deluxe motor to my new bike??
well i have a 1999 royal star venture and if this model rides and handles better than the 99, this is the bike to buy. my 99 blows Harley away not only on the bends and curves but also flat out and way more comfortable. Was able to ride 700 miles in one day and felt good.
The new Star Venture comes with a 1 year limited factory warranty only. As Yamaha has always done, to get additional coverage one has to buy a YES(Yamaha Extended Warranty) contract and you can add up to 4 additional years. Had noticed in the article that you had mentioned comes with 5 year warranty. It comes with only 1 year of warranty coverage and you can buy an extended warranty with up to an additional 4 years of coverage. Yamaha should have a factory warranty longer than one year on a bike like this one. So don’t go in expecting a 5 year warranty unless you are ready to pony up for the 4 year YES!
Thanks for posting this. I had to check it out myself as your claim was hard to believe. You are completely correct and that is terribly disappointing. A bike in this category should have a much longer than 1 year warranty and, in my opinion, Yamaha is doing some rather deceitful advertising when they promote a 5 year, unlimited mile warranty. I am a Yamaha die-hard, but such deception is shameful, particularly at this price point. Why isn’t the motorcycle press calling them on it?
That’s not the way I read that
Sounds like it comes with a 5 year warranty 1 year factory and 4 year YES warranty
It’s nice to see Yamaha step up to the plate in a big way. I would have much rather seen them use a V-4 , but still looks nice. If I were to want to go to a V-Twin, I’d really have to think about a Harley just because of all the aftermarket stuff available.
I’ll stick to my rock solid performing 13 F6B GL1800 though. Hope the rumors are true about Honda and a new Gold Wing/ F6B.
> I was careful to monitor our bike’s fuel economy with the trip computer, and it averaged 41.1 mpg
I saw elsewhere that Yamaha claims 34.5 mpg, so I wonder if your better results is due to an optimistic trip computer.
I had a chance to ride the TC at STAR Days. I was very impressed. Having only a 27 inch inseam I was able to lift the bike using just my legs compared to lifting my 08 Venture.
But no one is talking about the tires. I average 15-20,000 miles a year. I just returned from a 9000 mile trip with plenty of tire to spare which cost me $500. I was quoted roughly $1000 for the only set of tires you can get for the TC with only an estimated mileage of 6000 miles. I don’t look forward to changing tires in the middle of a trip.
This factor will keep me from purchasing this bike that I was so much looking forward to.
> I was quoted roughly $1000 for the only set of tires you can get for the TC with only an estimated mileage of 6000 miles.
There’s only one tire that will work?
Sounds like BS.
I doubt there’s only one set of tires. For the touring Harley’s there’s 3 differant sets of tires available at the dealership alone, and I have never got less than 12,000 miles out of a tire on any bike, but I am anal about tire pressures. Set of tires installed on the Harley was about $700, or so, $1000 would be extravagant.
I got about 25,000 miles out of my first set of tires on my Harley Ultra Limited, and I have always gotten decent mileage out of tires. My secret, I check tire pressures before every ride, I even carry a Cyclepump when touring, so I can stay on top of checking and airing my tires. Motorcycle tires aren’t cheap, this costs nothing and extends tire life substantially.
5 year warranty is on the TC model. 1 year warranty is on the base model of this Venture. Need to read all the material on the Bike
I really don’t need to read anymore about this bike, though I was seriously considering it until Honda announced release of their new 2018 GoldWing. I’m sure there will still be a market for the new Venture, but I’m going with the Honda camp now.
[…] at 2750 rpm. Torque starts falling off after that so there is no need to have a high reving motor. http://Www.ridermagazine.com/2017/07/21/2018-yamaha-star-venture-road-test-review/ It would be like riding a Honda Trail 50, on the freeway. later…Randy Proud Member […]
I own the 2018 Yamaha Venture Transcontinental !!!! I love everything about this bike !!!!
I was the first in the SouthEast to get on priority deliver and get my new Venture. As a previous owner of a 2nd gen Venture Royale, I can say this is luxury! You can’t feel the weight at all and she’s nimble at slow speeds and corners. Heated seats & grips 43 outside temp will burn your hands thru gloves on high! More than enough power, and I still haven’t been able to drag the boards in a corner although I do have the suspension set higher. Excellent sound system! Also, you can put all your mp3’s On a thumb drive and plug it in! Looking forward to my first REAL road trip on her. Have already been in contact with Bushtec who is shortly developing & producing a trailer hitch for it!
Tribalism makes as much sense as Political Correctness . . . .
I own the 2018 Yamaha Star Venture Transcontinental and my wife and I love it. Traded in our 2016 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited for it.
The Star Venture is hands down the best touring bike on the market right now.
The 2018 Honda GoldWing Tour does not even come close to the Star Venture. Honda really down sized the GoldWing, the storage is joke, one owner blew the engine already, others have had the new DCT transmission get stuck in third gear.
We are averaging 43 MPG and have recorded multiple tanks at 45 MPG and we have had one tank at 47 MPG all hand calculated.
Engine heat has not been an issue and I have ridden in temps as high as 96 degrees in SW Florida so far.
Yamaha hit a grand slam home run with the Star Venture.
Loving my 2018 venture. Heat can be rough on hot days in stop and go traffic, but the lower deflectors help if moving just a little bit. Overall it’s an awesome bike, i chose this over the goldwing after testing riding them back to back.
Who really cares about specs i like the look of it the sound of it the comfort of it and all the added featchers, and the power of it period dont care about numbers !
Lots of emotions going on