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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks, I'm still searching for the right Yamaha/star cruiser. I was close to pulling a deal on an 06 roadliner and then came across all the talk about 3rd gear problems and the stalling issue. So I'm a little hesitant about it now. I really don't want to sink money into buying a bike and then find out sometime down the road I need to fix an expensive ($$$$) 3rd gear repair. So my question is of the roadliner, road star, royal star and Vstar 1300 which is the most reliable? I understand that no bike is 100% bulletproof but I just don't want to dish out big bucks for a repair like I hear about the 3rd gear issue. Any input is appreciated!
 

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I looked at a 1999 Royal Star with < 2000 miles on it that was listed for sale for $3000. In the end the seller decided to keep the bike, but it got me to thinking about getting a bigger bike for longer trips.

Without all the whys and becauses, right now Im thinking VS 1300 or one of the bikes with the royal star 1300 V4. My only reservation on those two is they are both water cooled, which is contrary to my concept of an ideal motorcycle, but I dont want to sidetrack into a debate on water vs aircooled. They both have their advantages and drawbacks.

Only thing to add is I will also keep my 2005 VS 650. I cannot name any issue with the bike after putting 26k miles on it, and its perfect for anywhere you would want to ride solo below 60mph.

One of the problems with putting all your focus on reliability is that any bike can have a quality issue if one part was fabricated poorly and slipped through the QA system into your one bike, and known issues can be protected by how you ride the bike and maintain it. Also there are some people that can trash a bullet proof bike, and there are other people that ride their machines so easy that even a crappy bike will last for 20 years.

What it really comes down to is how well you will treat your ride, and if something does go wrong, can you fix it yourself, or do you have to pay someone else to fix it for you?
 

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I`ve had no issues with my Vstar 1300 or my Road Star .The 1300 was a 2009 bought new and I would have kept it but got a great deal on my 2013 Road Star bought new. I am happy with both of them.
 

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Idk! The more I read about the 3rd gear failure and yamaha not willing to repair or address the issue makes me want to stay away from the roadliner. Do all the basic maintenance you want correctly but it sounds like you can't prevent the 3rd gear failure. If you don't have a warranty then that is an expensive gamble that the buyer should not be on the hook for. I just want a good bike that when I'm done with the basic maintenance I don't have to worry about such a catastrophic failure. So any suggestions?
 

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You might want to get a copy of the Consumer Reports guide for motorcycles.

The gist of it says that V star motorcycles have the highest reliability overall (to be fair just a little better than Honda),

and that the most reliable Vstars are the mid-size cruisers.

Definitely the 650 and 1300. The 950 and 1100 have a couple things that are more annoying than a no-go (if you deal with them).

Reliability includes all the other things added onto a bike that the smaller ones dont have: fuel injection, water cooling, instrumentation, and to a lesser extent the touring package stuff. Anything that breaks and makes you take the bike back to the dealer is a ping on the Consumer Reports reliability rating, so as Einstein said "everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler".

If you read the report it might give you more insight into what the past issues have been with each bike.
 

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Idk! The more I read about the 3rd gear failure and yamaha not willing to repair or address the issue makes me want to stay away from the roadliner. Do all the basic maintenance you want correctly but it sounds like you can't prevent the 3rd gear failure. If you don't have a warranty then that is an expensive gamble that the buyer should not be on the hook for. I just want a good bike that when I'm done with the basic maintenance I don't have to worry about such a catastrophic failure. So any suggestions?
I also stay away from bikes with known problems that don't have an easy fix or recall. Except for staying away from bikes with known and ignored issues, the answer you're searching for has a lot to do with personal choice. For me the Vstars, although great bikes, are a bit small for me. They may be perfect for you. The Royal Star is a bigger bike and liquid cooled vs. the others being air cooled. I find the Roadstar fits me perfectly (I own two of them) and is a great cruiser, but I've had to do a lot of mods to set one up for touring. I'm currently looking for a total touring bike like the new Venture, brand new Goldwing, or the BMW K1600 Bagger. I would first decide what bike fits you best and what you primarily want to do with it. Is it going to be for day rides, commuting or touring. Good luck!
 

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In regards to the 3rd gear issue on Roadliners and Stratoliners, that issue occurred on a very small percentage of the earlier year models (2006-2009). Yamaha covered some of these bikes, most likely for the original owners. Can you expect them to cover a bike that is over 10 years old and has been through 2-3 owners?

Yes, if you buy any of those years' model, something could go wrong, somewhere around the 30k mark. But, it has not happened to the majority of those bikes. Many are still running strong, way beyond the 30k mile mark.

If you do not want to take the risk, check out the 2010-2014 years. I have a 2012 Roadliner (around 10k miles) and a 2012 Stratoliner Deluxe (around 45k miles). Air-cooled with fuel injection, and plenty of torque. Ride one first, then decide. Go to LinerWiki.com, where you can find detail information on the Liners. There's even information on the 3rd gear issue.

Happy hunting!
 
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