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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to the vstars, ridden them but never owned one. Are there many changes to the 650 year to year? Were there any major changes in a certain year? The reason I ask is because I'm considering a 2004 so I want to do a bit of research on the older ones.

Thanks everyone!
 

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this is an older post, but it covers everthing I know about: https://www.starbikeforums.com/forums/49-v-star/58722-what-changes-were-made-650-custom-recent-years.html

the only changes were modifying the ECU and adding the cat to the exhaust. I think the ECU changes added a throttle position sensor or a cut off switch to the carbs.

The whole drive train goes back to the Yamaha virago 535 from the 1990s. It is one of the most reliable motorcycle engines ever sold (cant say on the market anymore).

There are no design issues with the entire drive train. Early on (around 1999) a handful of bikes got out of the factory without the shaft drive splines being properly lubed with 60% moly paste, and the splines wore out - which is an expensive repair. If you check your drive shaft splines and lube them properly if needed everytime you change your rear tire, the bike is easily good for 100,000 miles with proper oil changes, plugs, filters, and valve adjustment maybe every 16 to 20k miles.

The two models are the custom and the classic (both stupid names). they have different size front wheels (custom is bigger diameter) and different fenders, and the classic has floorboards while the custom has footpegs.

The Silverado is a classic with factory windshield and saddle bags.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! I guess the year doesn't matter as much as the condition of a particular bike. It's great to hear about the long term reliability too. I've been going through bikes for the last couple years looking for the right one and honestly I don't like it but I think the V Star650 is the ticket
 

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It matters the most if you try to put parts from one year onto another bike. I think it was around 2000 when they did the ECM and cat changes, so you cant jump an ECM or carb across those years.

Have you been riding long or is this your first bike?

The Vstar line has a lot of options out there, depending on what you are looking for.

Ive had my 650 for 6 years now. Its a great bike around town and for taking casual rides on secondary roads: 60mph road trips. To me the bike feels like it wants to go 45 to 50 something mph - it feels like it would run forever at those speeds, and a stock bike gets close to 60mpg. It will go 80mph on the thruway, it does not hit the redline till 100mph, but compared to riding at 55 I dont enjoy the 80mph thruway dash at all.

The VStar 1100 is more or less the same bike, but pumped up with a bigger everything. From 50 feet away they look almost identical, but the 1100 is more highway worthy.

From there you can jump to the vstar 1300, the royal star 1300 V4 (water cooled), which is the bike under the touring Venture bikes (except for the "new Venture" which is an all new bike).

And then there is the Road star, a 1600 or 1700 bike (depending on the year and trim version) that has one carb (on the early ones) air cooling and pushrods instead of cam chains.

I just got a 2000 Royal Star. Between that and my VS650 I have commuting and errands covered nicely with the 650, and for longer rides or when I need some pure motorcycle theraphy to put a smile on my face, I take Ursa (the she bear).

There are photos of both in my garage page on the left side of the screen.

<= click on the garage, then click on the thumbnails again in the garage page to see the full size photos.
 

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BTW, the weird thing about Vstar bikes, I can find one around here that is several years old, for about $3000 for a bike with reasonable low mileage in good condition (taken care of, good tires... ready to ride)

and it doesnt matter which one: the 650, 1100, Royal Star, Road star... once they get several years old its about the same price for a bike in good riding condition.
 

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The 650s are great bikes, agree with previous posts on its niche. Where are you located? I went up to a Royal Star now that my wife wants some creature comforts and would like to sell my 650 :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've been riding for about 20 years, 8 or 9 bikes. I'm not stuck on the 650, but I have never ridden the bigger ones for whatever reason. I am pretty small, 5'6" 165lbs so ergonomically I tend towards small bikes. Blessing and curse. I'll look at the 1100 more specifically, maybe ride one? Just to get a feel.
I like the simplicity of air cooling and weight saving. More because of the simplicity factor, weight saving is just icing on the cake.
I also like the idea of a V4 but for no good reason. Is there anything specific to that engine, good or bad?
 

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at 5'6" a VS 650 could be perfect for you. Find one at a dealer or craigslist and take one for a ride.

Where do you live BTW, Im in upstate NY near Rochester.

Im 6' zero and I feel a little cramped on my 650, more so now that I have the Royal Star and switching between bikes.

The V4 engine is great. On my RS its 74HP, and the closest thing you will find to an early goldwing boxer.

The engine looks almost the same from the side as a 650, but its like there are two of them side by side. The engine is wider, I have to plant my feet wider, its harder to duck walk the bike around, and the bike is about 700 lbs, almost 200 lbs heavier than the 650. Unless you are a really athletic person you might find the royal star is a bit much. When its cruising it handles easily, but walking it around and riding slow you really have to respect the weight.

I call it Ursa (the SheBear) for good reasons, she has earned the name: big, strong, heavy, fast, and robust. I rolled it over on its crash bar once already doing a U turn, and there was no damage. Its just a blast to ride. WFO in 3rd gear the quad exhaust sounds like a small block Chevy V8 spooling up. All the Vstar bikes are good for 100,000 miles, and I think the V4 1300 will go well past that.

The 1100 is in between. There are some 5'6" VS 1100 riders on here (Lesblank for one) and they have no problems handing it.

All the Vstar bikes are designed for riding - fill it with gas and push the start button. If you look around this website you will see a lot of conversations about other things, but people with a broken bike that cannot be used are rare, and most of those are from old jello/gas, or dead battery with a loose wire.
 

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TThere are some 5'6" VS 1100 riders on here (Lesblank for one) and they have no problems handing it.
To me the 650 is a great around town bike and short interstate or 2 up riding. The 1100 you can ride all day on interstate and 2 up. I'm about 5'6 when I stand up straight and all of 125 pounds. No issues with bike size or weight what so ever. It might seem a little big at first but you woukd get used to it real quick. Good luck on your hunt.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks guys! I found a nice used 650 but I gotta move a bike before I can squeeze another one in. Single car garage, 4 motorcycles, 4 bicycles, 2 welders.... do want to swing a leg over an 1100.
Unfortunately (?) I'm not very wide so the v4 may be a foregone option. Recently found out I'm not a fan of wide bikes!
 

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Don't discount the V Star 1300, I did because I thought it was too big. I bought a Kawasaki 800 because I thought the 1300 was too big for me. 5'8" and 240 lbs with a 29" inseam. I didn't like the Kawasaki at all and traded it for my 1300 after owning it just 6 weeks. I think the V Star 1300 is a great bike, handles great and has plenty of power. Much easier to ride than the 800, and can cruise on the interstate just fine, but I don't. I've never ridden a 650, but did sit on a couple at the dealers when I bought the Kawasaki. To ME the 650 doesn't seem much if any smaller than the 1300. Now the 650s I sat on both had bags and windshields so that may have made the difference. I'm 68+ years old and love my V Star 1300.

The plus for me was water cooled and fuel injected. I've never owned a bike that has started as good as this one. I fire it up, put my helmet on and go, never a hiccup.
 

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yamaha really covered all the bases with the Vstar line

you can get a V twin or V four
belt drive or shaft drive
over head cam with timing chains, or push rods and rocker arms
air cooling or water cooled
1, 2, 4 carbs or fuel injection
a naked bike, a bagger with traditional windshield, or a full up fairing touring bike

and a 650, 950, 1100, 1300, or 1600/1700 CC engine.

If you cant find a Vstar bike you like, then you dont want a cruiser.
 

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I'm 5'9" and about 185lbs. I picked up an 1100 Classic a couple of years ago as my first bike in about 20 years. It fits me almost perfect (I did add some risers). Seating position is comfortable but the factory seat is only good for an hour or two without a break. I have no trouble handling it around town or in parking lots. I can flat foot it easily and the low center of gravity makes it feel much lighter than it is.

Dependability? It's a 2000 and I wouldn't hesitate to ride it anywhere. Just keep up with the maintenance and you'll see 100,000 miles without any serious issues.

On the highway, it will cruise at 75 or 80 all day. I looked at the 650, but my wife expressed an interest in riding with me (she'd never been on a bike before) so I thought a bigger bike would be a better choice. As it turned out, she loves riding as much as I do and I'm glad I didn't get something smaller. Actually, I'm looking at upgrading to a Road Star. The 1100 works ok riding two up for the short highway day rides we've taken, but adding the weight of luggage for longer trips would be a little much for it. Plus I just love the sound and torque of a long stroke v twin.

But whichever Star bike you choose, you can count on excellent fit and finish, best in class reliability, and timeless styling. What more could you want in a bike?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A local dealer has a 950 for sale. Any comments about those? Has efi, low miles, windshield and 'leather' saddle bags
 

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A local dealer has a 950 for sale. Any comments about those? Has efi, low miles, windshield and 'leather' saddle bags
Bevo and Keith, he's singing your song.

There are a lot of 950 owners here. I'm sure they will post shortly.
 

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I'm 5'9'' with a 28-9 inseam. The 1300 Tourer fits me.
Love the power, no problem riding 2 up with full saddlebags, or solo with full bags & tour pack.

I'd rather have more power than I need, as opposed to needing more power.
I have no problem passing tractor trailers on the highway even with a headwind.

It's also excellent on back roads, where I do most of my riding.
I've scraped the boards several times when hot-throttling through a corner.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I agree with having the power if it's needed. I guess I just never "graduated" to bigger bikes. I guess? I'm as comfortable on an Aprilia Tuono as I am on a 50cc scooter. Just need to mentally readjust your expectations. Basically for me the 650 means lower insurance rates, better mpgs if you ride it like it's a 650 and don't wring its neck trying to go 90 2 up and loaded. Did I mention there's one for sale near me and all I have to do is sell my Honda? It's bright red, low miles, has GPS... any takers? Just saying
 

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you are correct about both fuel and insurance

my 650 gets 58mpg
my RS1300 gets 45mpg

full coverage for my 650 with progressive is $85 / year
for my royal star 1300 its $270

$270 / 5000 miles = 5.4¢ per mile
45 mpg at $3/gallon = 6.6¢ per mile

its actually a challenge to save money by riding instead of driving.
 

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maybe 950 riders are not reading this thread much, because the title is about 650s?
 
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