So I've just bought my first cruiser... - Star Motorcycle Forums: Star Raider, V-Max, V-Star, Road-Star Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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So I've just bought my first cruiser...

A friendly Hello from Austin, TX. Just moved here from Germany in November 2016, and quite frankly I never understood the appeal of cruisers or choppers, but in the last few weeks I came to realize that the motorcycle scene and market in the US is completely different from the motorcycle scene and market in Europe.

But I digress. Like I said, my wife and I have relocated from Germany to Texas in late 2016. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take my beloved Tenere with me and had to sell it. My previous lineup included a 1987 Yamaha XJ600, a 1989 Yamaha XT600 Tenere, a 2008 BMW R1200GS which I hated and sold after a year, a 2009 Yamaha XT660Z Tenere which I loved and would have kept until it's very last breath, and a 1995 Suzuki DR350S for serious offroading. Now, after having travelled around the world extensively in 2016, we've settled down in Texas and I have finally had time to get a motorcycle again. However, I found it really hard to find anything under $4,000 that wasn't either completely bogged or a cruiser. Which, of course, more often than not was also modified beyond recognition, sanity, and reason.

Either way, after a while of looking and going through different ideas (among others a CB1100, a CB900F, a CB600F, an SV650, a KLR650, a Bonneville, and a NC700X) I realized that the only reasonable and viable option for less than $4,000 would be a small cruiser. So, without further ado, I present to you my very first cruiser: a 2007 Yamaha V-Star 650 Custom with 10,000 miles on the clock, unmodified with only minor additions (grips, saddle bag support rack, crash bars, and a leather protector on the tank) for $3110 OTD.



What it still needs and what I plan to do in the coming months: sissy bar for the wifey, saddle bags, possibly a wind screen, possibly replace the floor boards with pegs, and most importantly make the passanger seat much more comfortable for the wife. I will thus be around for quite a while and rely on this forum's collective expertise.

Since, as you can see from the list above, I have absolutely zero cruiser experience this is definitely going to be interesting. It feels so different from anything that I have ridden before, and cornering seems like I'm violating the bike and forcing it to do something it was never meant to do in the first place. The brakes... well, supposedly it does have brakes but I'm still not convinced they haven't been replace with anal lube dispensers. The levers and everything exist, it's just that I was expecting an actual decrease in momentum when applying them. But, as always, I'm sure it's something I will be able to get used to. Hopefully

I'm really looking forward to this completely new and different riding experience. Even after having done more than 100,000 miles on dual purpose and enduro bikes in Europe, Africa, and Asia this cruiser feels like having to learn how to ride from scratch again
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"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, shouting GERONIMO!"

Last edited by killermilchschnitte; 03-03-2017 at 11:57 AM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 03:36 PM
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Well that's quite the collection of bikes you've had! I would love to try that Tenere you say you loved.

I was looking at adventure bikes over the winter, and then I don't know what happened. Well, I started looking at custom bikes online. Then, cruiser popped in my head! The fact that there are plenty of them, and usually well priced.

I wanted something comfortable for long rides, and my V Star 950 has fit the bill. It's good looking too!

Welcome to the forum. The cruiser style is different, but it's chill. You just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

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Keep moving, learning, loving, and living.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 04:00 PM
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Congrats and nice bike. The 650 is a great bike. Light weight and nimble yet still capable of running high speeds on the highway. I've looked at other bikes but nothing price wise that will let me keep the 650 too, lol.
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Ais disable, 4.5 inch risers, V&H cruzers, jetted with pods, viking saddlebags, Kuryakyn mini boards and memphis fats windshield, fuel solenoids deleted, star solo seat and 4 inch extensions. Boss audio sound system.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 05:26 PM
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Welcome to the forum forum East Tennessee killer. Very nice intro! I owned a 650 prior to getting my current 950t, it was a great bike with good mileage and handling. This is a very knowledgeable forum with lots of helpful members. Please keep us updated as you make upgrades and ride safely!


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 06:43 PM
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Great you've joined our forum! Your adventure in the US just on a different kind of bike. Glad you were able to find a ride for you and the wife. Please keep us informed as you make some upgrades, etc. I find it interesting what others find satisfying to add, or change from stock. Perhaps that is what makes your ride, personal. Ride safe and enjoy~YammyV
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 06:58 PM
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To be fair, I own a VS 650, and I dont think we can really call these Cruiser bikes in the pure American tradition.

The idea of the early HD motorcycles was to have a really big 2 cylinder engine ticking over at a low rpm, so the bike was barely breathing while cruising down the highway at speed.

You can definitely get that on a VS 650 on back roads and 2 lanes going 50 - 60mph, the bike putters along nicely in 5th gear all the way down to 45mph.... but if you want to get the same experience on the highways at 70 to 80mph you would need a bigger engine and a bigger bike.

The thing that is different in the US compared to Europe is America is crazy vast. Many of the states in the US are bigger than entire countries in Europe, so for us, the great american road trip on two wheels is either to take the secondary roads, and wind along and a lower speed, taking in the country a bite at a time, or getting on the interstate highways and slugging it out for days at 80mph.

texas is one of those huge states. Before you spend too much money maxing out your 650, ride it for a few months first. You might want something bigger if you are going to ride two up with saddle bags and a windshield in the fast lane on the interstate.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 07:12 PM
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Nice find, yes being from Texas myself. Its nothing to travel 100 miles and never leave the state LOL. My 1300 can easily do a couple hundred miles in Texas, and never break a sweat. Also welcome to the forum.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 07:32 PM
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Welcome from Houston Texas. Make sure and post any issues or concerns you have with your new bike. I commute daily in Houston and one warning about Texas heat, it will drain you in a heartbeat. Dress right and keep hydrated at all times. It's cooler to me with a mesh jacket that keeps the sun off of me. Ride often and safe.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-03-2017, 08:56 PM
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Welcome from Indiana!

Welcome from another newbie on the forum. Our weather is crazy this year , it has been close to 70 deg. several times the last two weeks but is below freezing the next two days. Be careful on the height of the windscreen when you decide on the one to get. Too low may not work for the passenger and too high may not work for anyone! I bought a 2014 VSTAR 1300 Tour (left over) last year and I am cutting around 4 " off the screen this year before riding much. Another thing you may notice after a new windscreen is too much air blowing under it due to low pressure behind the screen. I added lowers to my bike and they really help. Anyway, Welcome ,Welcome Welcome!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2017, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I've already taken in the vastness that is the United States and Canada. My wife and I travelled from Texas to Alaska and back between June and October 2016 in a campervan converted minivan (a trusty 2006 Kia Sedona, awesome car!), and the distances are simply stunning. Texas itself is already twice as large as Germany, with only 1/3 of its inhabitants. So yeah, it's huge. However, I'm not worried about highway/freeway speed since I've been avoiding these for centuries anyway, and I plan to do so in the foreseeable future. I'm also trying to find the smallest and less travelled road possible and avoid anything with more than two lanes. Also we're not planning any several week long trips anytime soon - we don't have the time for that right now and won't be doing anything more than three-day-weekend trips this year anyway. In that respect we've already decided to postpone on the saddle bags for the time being and purchase a sissy bar with a small baggage rack instead that we will simply strap a backpack to if we go away for the weekend.
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"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, shouting GERONIMO!"
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