The Yamaha V-Star cruiser motorcycle series, called the DragStar in Europe and Japan, was introduced in Asia in 1996. A 650 model was released in Europe in 1997, with the 1100 coming in 1998. As of 2010, the V-Star 1100 is still being made by Yamaha. The V-Star 1100 can be found in three models: the Custom, the Classic and the Silverado. V-Stars are re-workings of the long-lived Yamaha Virago cruiser bikes, and are based on the same V-twin engines.
The V-Star is a cruiser bike, which means it has a laid-back body style based on the original 1930s Harley-Davidsons and Indians. Cruiser bikes are built for comfort, as opposed to sport bikes, which are more aerodynamic and built for speed. The V-Star is known for being an especially beautiful bike, winning Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine's "Cruiser of the Year" award in 1998 for its aesthetics, as well as for its value and overall performance. Though the Virago is generally considered the more powerful bike, the V-Star often takes the prize for looks. V-Stars have drag bars, spoked wheels and bobtail rear fenders. The original Custom chassis had a double-cradle frame with an overall length of 94.6 inches and a wheelbase of 64.5 inches, giving it a long, flowing look. Later models have gotten even longer. The 2004 V-Star 1100 has almost the same wheelbase but an overall length of 94.7 inches, and the 2009 V-Star 1100 Classic has an overall length of 97 inches
Engine and Transmission
One of the main attractions of the V-Star is its four-stroke, V-twin engine, borrowed from the Virago. The 1063 cc engine is air-cooled, with dual carbs, an overhead cam and two valves per cylinder. V-Stars come with TCI electrical ignitions and a multi-plate wet clutch. The V-Stars also feature a five-speed manual transmission.
The V-Star 1100 can have a rather heavy dry weight. This changes slightly by year. Dry weight for the 2004 V-Star Custom was a hefty 571 pounds. There are weight differences between models in the same year as well. According to Yamaha, the 2009 Classic weighs 628 pounds wet, while the 2009 Custom weighs considerably less at 513 pounds. The 2009 Silverado, however, may be hard to handle for riders not large and strong. Yamaha lists this bike with an official wet weight of 670 pounds
Yamaha offered several additional features for the V-Stars over the years. The bikes often come with a locking under-seat compartment, tank-mounted speedometers and teardrop-shape fuel tanks. And V-Stars are available in a number of factory colors. The 2009 V-Star 1100 Classics come in Charcoal Silver and Candy Red, while the Customs are available in Pearl White, Midnight Custom and Raven. Enthusiasts often customize their paint jobs to colors like burgundy and white, gray, metallic green, yellow and black.