First Impression - 2007 V Star 650 Custom - Star Motorcycle Forums: Star Raider, V-Max, V-Star, Road-Star Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-08-2015, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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First Impression - 2007 V Star 650 Custom

I've had my new-to-me V Star 650 Custom for about three weeks now, and thought I'd write up my first impressions, - maybe it will help those who are contemplating a similar purchase. I won't call this a review, since I'm basing this off of only a few hundred miles. I'll do a more complete review after a few months. Also understand I'm riding again after 41 years, so I lack experience with similar bikes.


The Purchase:

I bought this bike from a kid who listed it on Craigslist. It's a 2007 650 Custom (red), with just over 18,000 miles. It has aftermarket (loud) pipes, a windshield, and I added some Sedici Toscana Saddlebags (the bike already had saddlebag supports). After buying it, I had an oil change, and replaced the speedometer cable. I asked the mechanic to check it out and make a few other minor repairs ( I live in a retirement community, and it is against the rules to work on your vehicles in the driveway). The clutch is about gone, so that is scheduled for replacement in a week or so. I spent $2,200 for the bike, about $100 for the cable and installation, and the clutch will be just under $300 - so my total cost is about $2,600. Considering the age and condition of the bike - and the price of comparable bikes at dealers and on Craigslist - I think I got a fair deal.

Performance:

Back in the70's, a 650 was a big bike - now it's "entry level". Before riding it, I couldn't understand why anyone would want more power. After just a couple hundred miles, I get it. I would have to say that freeway performance is adequate - I can easily accelerate on the on-ramp to freeway speeds (today my speedometer read 85 as I merged into traffic). Cruising at an indicated 70 mph is comfortable, and there's still some throttle left for acceleration, but it's not "snappy", by any means". Move the speed to an indicated 80mph and it feels uncomfortable ( although to be fair, I'm not at all sure if it's the bike or me that's the problem at that speed) I can't tell you what the top end is, but I was still accelerating at 85, so I'm pretty sure I'll stop before the bike does.

If freeway speed is a strain, everything else is a breeze. This bike seems to be made for cruising at 60 - it's very smooth, very little vibration, and quite responsive. Around town, it's a lot of fun - as quick as you could ask for. If all your riding is around town or on highways, I dont see any need for a larger bike.

Handling:

I was worried that a 650 cc cruiser would feel heavy and awkward around town,but those fears were entirely unfounded. This bike feels light and nimble. Cornering is fine - I was worried I'd be constantly dragging the foot pegs, but that hasn't been a problem.

Freeway handling is ok. I've ridden in some decent winds, but I haven't felt pushed around. I don't feel comfortable on the freeway, but that, again, may be more me than the bike. It does feel stable - the bike tracks straight, and there's no wobble at speed, or while decelerating. Everything is quite predictable, handling wise.

Economy:

I can't really give you fuel economy numbers - I just haven't used enough gas to get a good feel for it. I rode it for a week and a half, and could only squeeze 2 gallons in the tank. Unfortunately, I neglected to note the mileage, so I don't have a number. I'll fill it up tomorrow and note the mileage. I suspect I'm getting close to 50 mpg, but I won't know with any precision for quite some time.

Overall:

So far, I'm thrilled with my purchase. The 650 is the perfect compromise for me - small enough to be easy to handle and fun, large enough to keep up on the freeway when needed. My mechanic says it should be reliable, and i feel comfortable in the seat. With the saddlebags, it's practical. It's also great looking!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 08:54 AM
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Great write up. Your impressions are very similar to my experience when I rode my sister in laws 650 home for her a few years back about 120 miles. It's seems the 650's I have had a chance to ride all 2 seemed to feel strange with the clutch might just have been me. Great bike plenty of go around town on the highway little different but then the 1100 I have When I ride it like my previous bikes I'm not impressed. Just curious when you were doing 70 and rolled on the throttle did you shift back into 4th? These stars are geared strange compared to other bikes. I had a hard time going from my harley where I could just roll on the throttle at 75 to pass to the star where one needs to down shift to make a quick pass on the Interstate.

congrats on the new bike post a picture!

2008 V-Star Silverado 1100. K&N filter, airbox mod passenger floor boards, all light visors, ISO grips, Cobra slash cut mufflers, Saddleman touring seat/ tourpack. Lots of little extras.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SSC View Post
Great write up. Your impressions are very similar to my experience when I rode my sister in laws 650 home for her a few years back about 120 miles. It's seems the 650's I have had a chance to ride all 2 seemed to feel strange with the clutch might just have been me. Great bike plenty of go around town on the highway little different but then the 1100 I have When I ride it like my previous bikes I'm not impressed. Just curious when you were doing 70 and rolled on the throttle did you shift back into 4th? These stars are geared strange compared to other bikes. I had a hard time going from my harley where I could just roll on the throttle at 75 to pass to the star where one needs to down shift to make a quick pass on the Interstate.

congrats on the new bike post a picture!
The clutch is wierd - it doesn't grab until it's almost completely released ( I expected that from reading on-line reviews) - but it slips just a bit under hard acceleration. My mechanic - who I trust - says it needs to be rebuilt, so I'm going to go ahead and get it done. He said I could get by for a few months, but I'd just as soon have it done so I don't have to worry about it.

I didn't downshift at 70 - with no tach, I'm not sure how high I can rev in each gear. Acceleration at freeway speeds is similar to some smaller cars I've had in the past - it takes a little more planning, rather than just punch and go. I really think I'm more uncomfortable than the bike at high speed - not used to the wind!

I don't have any great pics yet, but here's one:
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Last edited by Gdgarth; 01-09-2015 at 09:59 AM.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 05:37 PM
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That's a nice looking bike I love the color! Yeah that sounds about the same clutch release point as the ones I have rode. Don't worry about a tach as there is a built in system thT cuts the fuel off before you over rev.

2008 V-Star Silverado 1100. K&N filter, airbox mod passenger floor boards, all light visors, ISO grips, Cobra slash cut mufflers, Saddleman touring seat/ tourpack. Lots of little extras.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 08:33 PM
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I've got a Classic and I get 48 mpg pretty consistently, and with a lot of highway miles it drops to 46 or so. You can probably expect something similar.

I grew used to the distant friction zone of the clutch, and eventually moved to a different bike. The bike became my wife's and we went with the Clevver to better suit her.

It turns out in my house, "my wife's bike" just translates into my other bike that I ride less. It stays super fun, even though my main ride is more than twice as big. The Clevver is really nice too. Moving back to the 650 from the Roadstar is like going from squeezing those hand exercisers to something almost effortless. The expanded friction zone makes everything feel really precise too.

My bike was purchased with about 17,000 miles on it and the clutch started slipping after a couple thousand more. It wasn't an expense I had planned on, but it's been super pleasing since the swap 4,000 miles ago. Especially after switching to synthetic oil. Love how the bike shifts now.

Ben C - Cary, NC

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2003 XVS650A V Star Classic
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pangea33 View Post
I've got a Classic and I get 48 mpg pretty consistently, and with a lot of highway miles it drops to 46 or so. You can probably expect something similar.

I grew used to the distant friction zone of the clutch, and eventually moved to a different bike. The bike became my wife's and we went with the Clevver to better suit her.

It turns out in my house, "my wife's bike" just translates into my other bike that I ride less. It stays super fun, even though my main ride is more than twice as big. The Clevver is really nice too. Moving back to the 650 from the Roadstar is like going from squeezing those hand exercisers to something almost effortless. The expanded friction zone makes everything feel really precise too.

My bike was purchased with about 17,000 miles on it and the clutch started slipping after a couple thousand more. It wasn't an expense I had planned on, but it's been super pleasing since the swap 4,000 miles ago. Especially after switching to synthetic oil. Love how the bike shifts now.
I've gotten used to the weird ( virtually non existent) friction zone. Once you adjust, it's no big deal.
I'm still adjusting to riding a bike again. One thing I'd forgotten was how often you are shifting while riding around town - up shift, downshift, stop, start - it keeps you busy!
I absolutely love the bike - no second thoughts whatsoever. My biggest problem is coming up with excuses to go somewhere so I can ride!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gdgarth View Post
I've gotten used to the weird ( virtually non existent) friction zone. Once you adjust, it's no big deal.
I'm still adjusting to riding a bike again. One thing I'd forgotten was how often you are shifting while riding around town - up shift, downshift, stop, start - it keeps you busy!
I absolutely love the bike - no second thoughts whatsoever. My biggest problem is coming up with excuses to go somewhere so I can ride!
Why are you shifting a lot around town? I have a 09 650 Midnight Custom I bought with 700 miles on it. It runs fine in high gear at lower speeds and mine drops to 30 around town frequently with no problem. The clutch engages at the very end which seems odd at first. Mine runs easily at 75-80 MPH (indicated) on the interstate but it seems more comfortable at 60-65. I gotten as much as 54 MPG running around on backroads to about 48 at higher speeds on main roads and the interstate. I do have a windshield on mine.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by osbornk View Post
Why are you shifting a lot around town? I have a 09 650 Midnight Custom I bought with 700 miles on it. It runs fine in high gear at lower speeds and mine drops to 30 around town frequently with no problem. The clutch engages at the very end which seems odd at first. Mine runs easily at 75-80 MPH (indicated) on the interstate but it seems more comfortable at 60-65. I gotten as much as 54 MPG running around on backroads to about 48 at higher speeds on main roads and the interstate. I do have a windshield on mine.
Lots of reasons to shift - stop lights, traffic, school zones. I never have it in high gear at 30 mph - I'd probably be in 3rd at that speed. Lugging the engine is much tougher on it than a little higher rpm's. I don't view shifting as a bad thing, it's just something you don't think about in a car with automatic transmission.

I have a windshield, too. I agree, no problem at 75 or 80, but much nicer at 60.

All in all, a great bike.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-13-2015, 09:19 AM
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i've found my girlfriend's v star 650 custom to be a great beginner bike! having owned i guess around 10 bikes through the years (from crotch rockets to cruisers), i've learned the hard way about buying a bike without really giving it the proper due. i had her sit and feel out quite a number of bikes before settling on the v star 650. at 5' 9" she looked/felt quite "squished" into what many consider "starter" cruiser bikes. not so with the v star 650. it was right on the money.

only real adjustment we've made was the clutch cable. with the friction zone being ridiculously far out, we tinkered with the adjustment so it catches about half-way. much easier to control the bike and ride in the zone for anyone, much less a beginner.

her biggest gripe (mine, too) is the awful contour of the seat! the downward slope of the back of the seat really pushes one uncomfortably forward. i've sent a number of my stock seats to mean city cycles in NC for modification. i'm looking to have a local upholsterer "scoop" her seat and put in some better foam. it'll make a world of difference.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-14-2015, 12:31 PM
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Very pleased with mine as well. I bought a 650 Classic (2004) with 17k and have no qualms except the seat in long rides and not the most comfortable at sustained highway speeds, especially with lots of semis around.


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