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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!