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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Folks - new guy here - I have lurked on this site from time to time, and this year as one of my 2019 resolution was to finally get myself a bike. I took the MSF back in 2013 but never got around to buying a bike. So 6 years later still no bike, well this year I told myself I was going to get myself a bike before I turn 50. My son mentioned earlier this year he wanted to learn how to ride a bike, so we both are going to take a class together. I already have a license but wanted to take a refresher course since it has been years since I was last on one. And the same time take a class with my boy which is awesome! So I have been looking into the Star bike series - kinda want to find a bike that would allow me to grow into it, and when my wife wants to ride with me she can. I have looked at Harleys but at this time the $$ they go for and having a daughter in college is a no go. But I have heard good things about the Star bikes so jumped on here as I look into my journey of finding my first bike. Not sure what I am going to get - I know I definitely want to get a bike that will allow me to have a passenger on the bike with a back rest that is comfortable for long rides. From Atascocita, Texas myself (just Northeast of Houston), we got two older kids who have moved on, and just have one youngster who will eventually graduate and move on to college. So hope to pick up and learn more about the bikes from here - as I look for my first bike. I am going to be looking for a used bike until I get better and grow with it before jumping to a more expensive bike. Also to add in, I used to ride (sneak off) with my dad's bike when I was a kid in the mid 80's and I loved the feeling of it - it was awesome. So it was time to get back into it.

Thanks yall!
 

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you dont really say how much riding experience you have

if you are up to maybe 6 feet tall, and you are not more than maybe 240 lbs, then the Vstar 650 is a great bike for commuting and taking short trips by yourself. Its very forgiving if you make a mistake riding slow and need to put your feet down, and the engine compression is on the lower end, so you can putter around town at 30mph in 4th or 5th gear, and the engine wont balk or buck on you. A relatively light passenger would be ok riding locally or for maybe a couple hours, but the stock passenger seat is not designed for touring/long rides. You should be able to find one in good riding condition for about $3k in the US.

If you are bigger/heavier, want to ride longer distances from the start, then you are going to want an 1100 at least, one of the 1300 (V twin or V4 royal Star).. or one of the 1600/1700 bikes (Road Star). You will need to practice riding slow and make it a habit to stop cleanly and put both feet down (not trying to ride around at 1mph). I would get a front crash bar/ engine protector, just because if you do blow a U turn or it sputters in a corner or parking lot, it will roll over before you know what happened, and at 700+ lbs or more for the bike it does not have to lean over very far before it gets away from you and you cant stop it from going over. Still in the $3.5k price range for an older bike in good condition with less than 20k miles on it.

If you think you are really going to be into riding long distances, you could go right for the SVTC... looking at $20k for a new one.

Its not really harder to learn to ride a bigger motorcycle, like the SVTC. The difference is with a smaller lighter bike if you make a mistake you can manhandle it, throw your body weight around, plant a foot if you are going walking speeds, and keep it from falling over or rolling backwards. With a bigger bike, if you make a mistake its nearly impossible to keep it from going over. As long as you have good crash bars, its ok, stand it back up and should be fine. All this dropping the bike stuff only applies to riding slow, less than 5mph. Once you get these bikes up over 10mph they are stable as a rock, and very easy to steer and brake.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the feedback - actually I’m about 5’8” and about 185. So as for my wife she’s 5’2” and about 125 lbs. so what about the 950s? Would that be a happy medium? I currently live in Atascocita which is NE of Houston but at times we do go up to Austin which is about a 2.5 hour drive. So that’s what I am kinda looking at - something that could be comfortable for about a 2-3 hour ride at a time.

I have thought about going with a 650 and then maybe in a year or 2 upgrade but what I understand - please correct me is they don’t handle high speed on freeways well?




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The thing that people discover with vstar bikes compared to HD V twins, Vstar bikes have a wide piston with a short throw. Its has a higher red line, a higher HP peak RPM. So when you are on the highway going 80mph on a 650 you are about 5mph above its peak HP RPMs. The engine is spinning faster than a HD would be (with its longer throw crankshaft), so it sounds to most people like it needs another gear.

It doesnt. It will run all day at 80mph, it wont overheat, and you have some throttle left and can hit 100mph on a 650 (with no windshield, or maybe close with a small windshield). The 650 is dead stable and solid at 80mph.

The 650 has a resonate buzz in the engine from about 60 to 65mph in 5th gear. I find it useful on secondary roads, I can tell Im hitting 60 without looking at the speedo. Above 65 it quiets down again. Its not annoying or intrusive, its just there enough to notice it.

2 to 3 hours on a 650 is reasonable, stopping a couple times for a break. It has a 200 mile range before you flip to reserve, then you got another 40 miles, so you are stopping for gas at least once each way.

I had my 650 for 5 years riding solo before i decided to get a 2nd bike
<= photos in the garage page, click on the thumbnails in the second page...

The difference with a bigger bike is very noticeable. Compared to my 1300 V4, riding the 650 feels like a dirt bike now. The V4 takes off like a small block chevy V8, will go twice as fast in each gear as the 650 (easily leaps to 50mph in 3rd gear) and the over drive 0.75 5th gear is just cruising at 85mph. The V4 will hit 135mph if you are crazy enough to hold the throttle WFO.

The other thing, once you get over 60mph you are going to want a windshield, fairing, and maybe fork deflectors, to keep the wind from beating the hell out of you for hours. A bigger engine is not loaded up by a windshield so much as a 650.

Like I said, you can get either bike in good condition for $3k to $3.5k and easily put another 70k miles on its odo (up to about 100k miles) before you have to think about anything but oil, filters, plugs and tires. Its not harder to ride the bigger bike except for slow speed manuvers - so if you are definately planning on 2 up riding for 3 hour trips, I would lean towards a bigger bike. I really like the 650 and the 1300 royal star V4, they both have shaft drive and carbs (up to a certain year on the royal star) and have no known design issues. As long as you keep your carbs clean, and stabilize the fuel in the tank if you have to park the bike for a few months, you should never have any issues with the carbs.

The 950 is kinda in between. Its a great solo bike, but the 1100, 1300s and 1600s are better on those wide open texas roads.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So 1100 it is -

Thanks for your input - the 1100 are going for anywhere from 2500-5000 here in Houston. For the used models - any particular years I should look into?


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Someone with an 1100 will chime in, probably after work hours.

I dont think there were any major design changes in the 1100s. The engine was used in another model Yamaha bike before Vstar, so its been rung out design wise for a long time.

The only minor 1100 issue: if you give the engine gas while you are starting it, and rev it before the starter clutch has a chance to release, you can damage the starter clutch. Its a pain to replace if you do. As long as you are religious in your start up sequence and dont burp the throttle while its cranking, it will never be a problem. I think one other engine size has the same potential problem, but the rest of the Vstar bikes dont. Its a subtle thing about how the starter clutch is designed and how it releases.

dont let that scare you away from a 1100 - its a very reliable 100,000 mile machine.
 

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I got back into riding after 20 years on an 1100 and I'm glad I didn't go any smaller. I did about 2 years of research before pulling the trigger and after going through all of the interweb info I could find and talking to people, it was obvious the V Star was the only choice. Dependable, the right look, and affordable - it hit all the marks.

Like KCW says, the 650 is a great bike that can keep up with larger displacement bikes, but that buzz he talked about at speed would drive me crazy. The 1100 isn't much heavier, the seat height is the same, and it has a low center of gravity so it's easy to handle at low speeds. I'm 5'9 and about 185 so we're about the same size. I have no issues handling it and it fits me perfectly. I did add some risers so I didn't have to lean forward as much, but otherwise I'm happy with it. Well, there's the rock hidden under the seat cover, but that's typical of pretty much any stock seat on a cruiser.

I looked at a 950, which probably would've been fine. But the reason I went with the 1100 was because my wife said she might want to try to go with me sometimes. She'd never really been on a bike before I got this one so I didn't know if she'd like it or not. Turns out she loves it and with the two of us on it we can cruise happily on secondary roads and even on the highway cruising along at 70 or 75 is no problem. I'm not going to give her weight but let's just say the two of us weigh a little more than you and your wife. It does slow down some on hills with her on back, but not enough to be a real hinderance. I am looking to trade up to a Road Star at some point so we can take longer overnight highway trips with the added weight of luggage, but for the most part, I'm very happy with my 1100.
 

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I had a 2005 V-Star 1100 years ago. It wasn't bad with myself (200lbs) and my wife (115lbs) riding together. I sold that bike and a couple years ago I was back in the market for a bike and bought a 1300. To me, the handling is very similar but I do enjoy the 1300 more. If money is a little tight then the 1100 will be just fine. But you should be able to find pretty nice 1300's around $4-5K.
 

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Welcome from Houston, Texas (Katy). I commuted daily for 4 years on an 1100. My commute was from Katy to 59 @ 610. The 1100 was a very good commuter and occasional 2 up multi day trips. Here's a thread about one of them:

https://www.starbikeforums.com/forums/11-general-bike-talk/109402-anniversary-ride.html

Here's a thread about passenger confort on the 1100:

https://www.starbikeforums.com/forums/11-general-bike-talk/107874-passenger-wife-comfort.html

Being you are in Houston with long straight roads with higher speed limit once you get out of town I would recommend the the 1100 at a minimum and the 1300 being almost perfect. Many people will have different opinions but few have ridden in Texas where if you are not flowing with traffic you can almost get run over. Most local dealers will let you test drive. Go to different dealers and try a few. Find the model you like then check the ads for deals, they are out there. If you want a second set of eyes before you buy one just let me know. I would be happy to assist. Here's a few interesting threads to check out when you get a chance.

https://www.starbikeforums.com/forums/7-starbikeforums-bike-month/

https://www.starbikeforums.com/forums/49-v-star/5655-yammy-ya-got.html?highlight=Yammy

https://www.starbikeforums.com/forums/36-lounge/110258-where-you.html

https://www.starbikeforums.com/forums/11-general-bike-talk/25113-how-experienced-you.html

https://www.starbikeforums.com/forums/36-lounge/113714-how-mature-you.html

Keep us informed on your decision.
 

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NortherRider, very well said: "I'm not going to give her weight but let's just say the two of us weigh a little more than you and your wife." You must have been married for a while. 😂😂
 

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NortherRider, very well said: "I'm not going to give her weight but let's just say the two of us weigh a little more than you and your wife." You must have been married for a while. 😂😂
21 years in April (this time). I've learned a lot over the years :wink::grin:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Someone with an 1100 will chime in, probably after work hours.

I dont think there were any major design changes in the 1100s. The engine was used in another model Yamaha bike before Vstar, so its been rung out design wise for a long time.

The only minor 1100 issue: if you give the engine gas while you are starting it, and rev it before the starter clutch has a chance to release, you can damage the starter clutch. Its a pain to replace if you do. As long as you are religious in your start up sequence and dont burp the throttle while its cranking, it will never be a problem. I think one other engine size has the same potential problem, but the rest of the Vstar bikes dont. Its a subtle thing about how the starter clutch is designed and how it releases.

dont let that scare you away from a 1100 - its a very reliable 100,000 mile machine.
And I have been trying to look into reliability and it showed that the Yamaha VStar has one of the highest reliability rate aka only 11% failure rate as opposed to many others. So the thing is I am trying to determine is what route to go - purchase used from a dealership where I know they might have checked it out or buy it from an individual and not knowing if they have kept up with it as it seems like there is no "carfax" type of reporting for motorcycles.
 

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I dont have an experience with the used MC market in texas

Up here where it snows its a real buyers markets for used motorcycles. Many people buy cruiser bikes on a whim, put a few hundred or few thousand miles on them, and since we put them away for the winter there is a point where you have to decide to spend an hour or two in the spring or summer to get your insurance and registration renewed, pull it out of the garage, check the tires and brakes... get it up and running.. maybe your battery died...

there are many good used bikes 5 to 10 years old with less than 10k on the odo, some were only used on weekends during the summer, and some were only used for a few years and then sat parked for years.

Thats why we can get good bikes here for $3k to $4k, and it doesnt matter if its a 650 or a 1600.. once they are several years old $3500 seems to be the selling price for a serviceable motorcycle.

If you buy one used from a dealer, they will have gone thru it, you will get at least a 30 day warranty, it should have good tires.. and you will pay at least $1k more for it, depending on the bike and how popular that model is.

Thats where the werid math kicks in, its the same as buying a used car from a dealer. You are betting they have checked it out well, and you get 30 days of warranty if anything serious fails... but you are also betting (hoping) if something does fail it happens within a month.

Otherwise you are paying more for the bike, you are partly paying for future repairs, but only if it happens within the short warranty period.

If you buy a bike for $1k less from the previous owner, and you check it out well, or have a shop look it over... then if its good you have saved $1k.... if it fails at any point in the next 10 years, you will have to pay out some money..... but if you got it from a dealer and it fails at any point in the next ten years, you are still out the same amount of money, unless it fails within the next few months, under warranty.

I got both of my MC's from private sellers, and found them on Craigslist. Im a pretty good mechanic (by necessity over the years) and I know what to look out for. We can share that advice with you.

For me it has come down to finding a good deal on a good bike within a range of models. When I got the Royal Star I was also considering a Road Star (1600 Vtwin) or even an FJR1300 sport touring bike. I found a good deal on the Royal Star: model year 2000, $2500, 22k miles on the odo, always kept indoors, only needed a front tire, so I grabbed it.
 

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I dont have an experience with the used MC market in texas

Up here where it snows its a real buyers markets for used motorcycles. Many people buy cruiser bikes on a whim, put a few hundred or few thousand miles on them, and since we put them away for the winter there is a point where you have to decide to spend an hour or two in the spring or summer to get your insurance and registration renewed, pull it out of the garage, check the tires and brakes... get it up and running.. maybe your battery died...

there are many good used bikes 5 to 10 years old with less than 10k on the odo, some were only used on weekends during the summer, and some were only used for a few years and then sat parked for years.

Thats why we can get good bikes here for $3k to $4k, and it doesnt matter if its a 650 or a 1600.. once they are several years old $3500 seems to be the selling price for a serviceable motorcycle.

If you buy one used from a dealer, they will have gone thru it, you will get at least a 30 day warranty, it should have good tires.. and you will pay at least $1k more for it, depending on the bike and how popular that model is.

Thats where the werid math kicks in, its the same as buying a new car from a dealer. You are betting they have checked it out well, and you get 30 days of warranty if anything serious fails... but you are also betting (hoping) if something does fail it happens within a month.

Otherwise you are paying more for the bike, you are partly paying for future repairs, but only if it happens within the short warranty period.

If you buy a bike for $1k less from the previous owner, and you check it out well, or have a shop look it over... then if its good you have saved $1k.... if it fails at any point in the next 10 years, you will have to pay out some money..... but if you got it from a dealer and it fails at any point in the next ten years, you are still out the same amount of money, unless it fails within the next few months, under warranty.

I got both of my MC's from private sellers, and found them on Craigslist. Im a pretty good mechanic (by necessity over the years) and I know what to look out for. We can share that advice with you.

For me it has come down to finding a good deal on a good bike within a range of models. When I got the Royal Star I was also considering a Road Star (1600 Vtwin) or even an FJR1300 sport touring bike. I found a good deal on the Royal Star: model year 2000, $2500, 22k miles on the odo, always kept indoors, only needed a front tire, so I grabbed it.
Thanks for sharing - here in Texas we see people riding all year around. We dont get the snow and etc like ya'll :) . But I would agree - I do see bikes ranging from 2500-5000 here for the Star 650-1300 - I had contemplated on buying direct - but would have hated to buy something and then only have it break down on me. Alot of them posted on craigslist that I am seeing dont have alot of miles like you indicated. So guess I'll keep working and doing my homework until I come up with that perfect find. :)
 

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If you find one you are interested in from a private owner, dont be shy about asking someone here locally to take a look at it, or take it for a ride.

Even with my own motorcycles, when I first pull them out of the garage in the spring and take that first ride, it dont feel right.. sometimes I think its only running on one cylinder, but after about 20 miles down the road it all seems normal and good again.

If you have never been on a specific model before, you dont know that its suppose to sound like, or how responsive its suppose to be. If someone can go with you that has the same bike, you can tell right away if its running the same, or way off.
 

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If you find one you are interested in from a private owner, dont be shy about asking someone here locally to take a look at it, or take it for a ride.
JustKoch, I'm close enough if you want a second set of eyes. Just let me know. Dealer or individual, doesn't matter.
 
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