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2010 Star Raider S Comparison Review

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
The Star Raider S has custom-quality paint and is dressed up with plenty of shiny chrome accents.
The 2010 Star Raider S has custom-quality paint and is dressed up with plenty of shiny chrome accents. 
The 2010 Star Raider S is no slouch in the engine department itself. In contrast to the dual overhead cam arrangement of the Suzuki, the Star is equipped with big pushrods that operate four overhead valves per cylinder. Instead of the oversquare arrangement of the M109R, the Raider S has undersquare bore /stroke dimensions of 100 X 118mm (3.94 in. X 4.65 in.) Similar to Suzuki’s proprietary SCEM system, the Star keeps its forged pistons fluidly stroking by using ceramic-composite-plated cylinder heads that are cooled by oil jets. Its 1854cc engine doesn’t quite have the horses of the M109R as it peaks out at 83.80 hp, but it did top the charts in the torque department at 103.44 lb-ft of pop that’s available at only 2500 rpm. The 48-degree V-Twin of the Raider S lacks the initial hit of the M109R but still has plenty of juice throughout the powerband and easily paces with the big Suzuki in our high-speed test runs. It also has a slight edge in the efficiency department with a 36.0 mpg average, but its small capacity 4.1-gallon tank means you’ll be stopping at the gas station earlier because of the limit the fuel cell places on its range.

Overall, engine output is fairly equal, but the Raider’s fueling system is much more spot-on and even. Its twin bore electronic fuel injection monitors the 12-hole fuel injectors with each twist of the throttle courtesy of its throttle position sensor. A transistor-controlled ignition keeps the twin spark plugs in each cylinder firing regularly and the result is a steady stream of power on demand. The Raider S doesn’t have the same heavy hesitation if you back off the throttle that we experienced on the M109R, and its more even spread of usable power didn’t tax our shoulders as much either.
The Raider S has a tank-mounted console with the bare necessities  an analog speedo  twin tripmeters  an odometer and a few lights for self-diagnostics.
The Raider S has a tank-mounted console with the bare necessities, an analog speedo, twin tripmeters, an odometer and a few lights for self-diagnostics.
The clutch lever on the Raider S requires a tighter squeeze, but the multiplate wet clutch helps the 5-speed transmission pop into gear with less friction. Neutral is easy to find and it never failed to engage into first gear on the initial kick. The carbon fiber-reinforced belt final drive transfers the power to the back wheel smoothly, and the fluid power delivery prevents the belt from lashing, even when the throttle is twisted wide-open.

Despite running a more chopper-esque 33-degree rake angle and a 6-degree yoke angle, the Raider S has a light feel at the bars for a bike that sports almost 40 degrees of total rake. A 30mm-smaller rear tire, slightly more relaxed ergos thanks to higher pullback handlebars, and 39 lbs less on the scale make the Raider S much more neutral handling than the wide-bodied M109R. This is especially noticeable at lower, parking lot speeds and in transitions. You can attack corners with greater aplomb on the Raider S, but both motorcycles exhibit about the same amount of stability mid-turn.

The Raider S has a conventional telescopic fork with 5.1 in. of travel. Despite its heavy rake angle, the fork isn’t garishly overstretched thanks to a high neck angle. The stretch does appear in the wheelbase dimensions, which measure out at a lengthy 70.9 in. The single rear shock is tucked neatly out of sight and connects to a controlled-fill, aluminum swingarm. The suspension on the Raider S provides a pleasant riding experience and has just the right amount of give to smooth out imperfections in the road without feeling spongy. It definitely is a little more compliant than the stock set-up of the M109R, but the Suzuki gets the benefit of the doubt due to its adjustability that we didn’t tap in to.

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When it comes time to halt the Raider’s forward progress, dual hydraulic 298mm discs with monoblock calipers up front and a 310mm hydraulic disc on the back are up to the task. The front arrangement has a solid feel at the lever to go along with great braking power. The rear set-up has good bite but will lock up the rear easier creating power slide situations. Together, the brakes modulate excellently and have an abundance of outright power for full-on hard stops. Overall, both power cruisers get stellar marks in the braking department.

The S designation of the Raider means it’s all dressed up with custom-quality paint and plenty of chrome trim, from its triple clamps to its handlebar risers to its engine covers. More chrome is found in the form of tank-length strips that extend from the instrument console, ribbing streaks down the side of the tank, and in angular headlight mounts. The higher neck angle tilts the Raider’ tank at a slight incline and leaves an openness that shows off the beautiful machining of the engine heads. Its big pipes have a slight crook and add to its hot-rodded stance but don’t put out the same bark as the M109R’s.

The Star Raider definitely has a lighter feel at the bars and is the more nimble of the two.
The Star Raider S has a lighter feel at the bars and is the more nimble of the two.
The Raider S handles well for a motorcycle with 33 degrees of rake and a 6-degree yoke angle.
Instrumentation is about as bare-bones as it gets. A conventional round analog speedo sits in the crest of the chrome tank-mounted console. The tank is angled up so it sits up high and is easily visible. Inside the speedo casing are small lights for high beam, low fuel, turn signals, and a neutral indicator. It also contains a digital clock and a small digital odometer. The small needle of a fuel gauge is tucked into the right hand corner of the speedo. On the left handlebar is a hi/lo beam switch, turn signals, and a button for the horn. The right handlebar houses the starter button and a switch for the driving lights. The stock mirrors are wide where they should be and give riders a great field of view behind them.

The styling of the M109R hasn’t fluctuated much since its inception, giving the Raider the advantage in curb appeal. And while the two power cruisers are fairly evenly matched in power and braking, the Raider is lighter at the bars, its fueling is much more constant and predictable, and its suspension more forgiving. The Star’s bars are higher, seat wider, it has more comfortable, upright ergos, and less wrestling with the bike means you can ride longer, more comfortably. Add in its striking good looks and you’ve got the winner of our power cruiser comparo.

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2010 Star Raider S Specs
The 2010 Raider S features 2-1-2 exhausts equipped with Stars proprietary Exhaust Ultimate Power valve  EXUP .
Engine – 113 cubic-inch (1854cc) air-cooled, OHV 4-valves per cylinder, pushrod 48-degree V-Twin Bore/Stroke – 100 X 118mm (3.94 in X 4.65 in.)
Compression Ratio – 9.48:1
Fuel System – EFI Twin-bore electronic fuel injection monitors w/ 12-hole fuel injectors: throttle position sensor
Ignition – TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission – 5-speed, multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive – Belt
Frame – Double cradle all-aluminum cast frame
Suspension – Front - Telescopic fork; 5.1 in. travel 
   Rear – Controlled-fill, aluminum Swingarm; 3.5 in. travel. Hidden single shock.
Brakes/Front – Dual hydraulic disc, 298mm with monoblock calipers
Rear – Hydraulic disc, 310mm
Tires/Front – 120/70-21
            Rear – 210/40R-18
Wheels – Custom 5-spoke cast
Seat Height – 27.4 in.
Wheelbase – 70.9 in.
Fuel Capacity – 4.1 gal.
Curb Weight – 739 lbs
MSRP - $14,790 Deep Blue $14,990
One year Limited Factory Warrantty

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MJF -Raider vs. M109  September 15, 2010 10:34 AM
Some of the items in this review were accurate while others were just plain wrong. Still it's nice to see these 2 bikes compared. Personally I think the Raider is underpowered for a bike in this class. Fit & Finish is great, handling is adequate, but the competition will leave it wanting. I looked at both these bikes and the M109 won me over. @EAB - Your initial post made absolutely no sense me, and I tried to see your logic. 1800cc's is not too much bike for everyone. Some of us like the extra power. I'm a long time HD rider and I have yet to ride a Harley that has as much seat of the pants fun as either of these bikes. But of course they're not for everyone. We all have different needs in a bike. @milwaukee mike - I once thought much like you, but after purchasing several recent metrics, I would probably not go back to HD given their current model line. You get the same quality with the metrics at a significantly lower price. The V-Rod is a nice bike, and it's a shame they didn't start using that power train in other models. Liquid cooled bikes are a real pleasure in the summer. Test ride a couple of metrics and you might be surprised. @Big Ron - Most of the metrics I've owned have handled far better than all of my HD bikes. Don't get me wrong I love the styling of the Harley bikes, but they handle worth shit. Seriously, my 2005 softail had a single disc brake up front. Try another brand then tell me that your FXD handles better. Oh and with $1200 in a stage 1 kit, your still under 100hp. I'm not knocking the Harley's their great bikes, but there is this misconception that they are worth the price because of better quality & performance. That's not true in today's world.
Fungus -same old crap  July 30, 2010 03:07 PM
buy what you want ride how you want and screw all the same old arguments
Capt. Crabby -Raider vs. M109  July 22, 2010 07:40 PM
Ok, heres's my thing; I've been riding since 1966, & have had Harleys, Hondas, Kawasakis, Triumphs & Yamaha/Star motorcycles. All have their good or bad points, but as for the 2 in this comparo, they are the only motorcycles in recent memory that actually FIT me w/out modification.
I'm about 6'4" tall w/a 36" inseam. The Raider I sit "in" and the M109 I sit "on", but still comfortable on both.
As far as the debate on bags/fairings or naked, as someone said, it depends on what your mission is, but one thing is sure, you can always add bags to either when you need them and remove them when you don't.
I also dislike the annoying ultra high rpm "Flight of the Mosquitos" vs slower rpm/less stress & engine wear side of it, too.
So, if you're an average sized person, a smaller bike will make better sense for you, but that bike which fits you so well will put my knees up under my chin, much like any adult on a child's tricycle.
That's why they come in a wide variety of sizes, displacements & functions.
Big Ron -Why the VROD is not popular  July 8, 2010 09:20 AM
Many people question why the vrod is not popular; this is my opinion. It is a beautiful bike; it is an incorrect assumption to think that most Harley riders dont like the looks of this bike, they do. The problems are as follows: It has a huge rear tire 240 or 250 which means that it doesnt handle well in curves, it is very hard to get the bike to initiate a turn. The seating position is awkward at best and is not comfortable for long rides. It is not a good bike for two up riding. And lastly the engine has no bottom end! It starts pulling around 5k and red lines around 9k; this is not a very usable power band. My fxd pulls from low and peaks somewhere around 4k. I rode a freinds and was extremely disapointed with the engine which I thought would be the highlight of the bike.
Craig -milwalkie mike  July 4, 2010 05:39 AM
Your are absolutly correct in identifying that we are in the year 2010 and in reality the boulevard has remained unchanged since 2006. So its a 2006 Suzuki vs a 2008 Yamaha. If the comparo included a Harley it would have been a 1950 model with some minor changes and after all that is what the buyers want so why change it?

Metrics as you call them will always be around whether in the form of a cruiser, standard, scooter or whatever the market demands and that is why these brands that produce them will always survive.

My opinion is that Harley builds one of their best bikes at this time "2010" being the v rod but unfortunately the purists ( not all Harley riders ) dont accept it because it does not stand for everything a Harley is meant to be in their eyes. This starts to make sense to me why they despise the metrics.

Harleys excuse for the v rod having a radiator, twin cams 60 degree vee etc the list goes on is probably that Porsche just do things differently and not right. In your favour understandably it doesnt even look like a Harley. If it had a Honda badge on it then I bet you would be bashing it because it is ugly and sounds like an excuse for a v twin. Right? Right.

Oh BTW I love the sound Harleys make with a nice set of pipes but in the same breath I am so glad my Boulevard has its own unique sound or people might think its a wannbee, copy, clone or whatever LOL.

The headlight on the boulevard just didnt do it for me but it signifies it as unique and not a copy and hence not a copy or it might confuse a rider like you into thinking its a fast Harley if I come past in the opposite direction LOL. Somebody stop me now I am starting to sound like you but just having fun no hard feelings
Big Ron -Raider = Ugly  July 1, 2010 10:14 AM
These bikes both have great engines but IMO the Raider is UGLY. A freind has the Raider and it reminds me of frankenstein. A bunch of different parts from a bunch of different bikes with no vision of what the end product would be. Its like the designers never went to the drawing board, they just started grabbing parts and putting them on the bike and this is what they came up with. I am not a metric basher but I will take my FXD over either of these any day. IMHO it is better looking, better fit and finish, handles better and for an extra $1200 I can upgrade the exhaust and air cleaner; add a fuel pack and have a bike that fits my performance needs for less money ($13000).
Craig -tc  June 25, 2010 11:20 PM
Kick the Boulevard down to 4th gear and you are guaranteed 128 mph.I have had mine to 140 mph ( in 5th of course ) on a flat road measured courtesy of a gps unit. So I hope the VTX is going to keep up??? Oh BTW I believe the Honda is a great bike and the Yamaha even better but at the moment I stick to my Boulevard.
SoloLobo -Big Inch's  June 21, 2010 08:28 AM
EAB and others wondering why someone would want a huge displacement engine, this is my reason; I much prefer to be doing 2500rpm at 70 than doing 3500 rpm on a 1100cc. Less vibes with the bigger engine and little heavier bike. I would definitely prefer the Raider to the M109R. Looks wise the Raider wins hands down. The M109R's look like they are all bodywork, especially with that huge radiator shroud up front. The Raider looks more like the bike 90% of us would prefer to ride. It has a beautiful engine inside and out, and Yamaha's attention to quality and detail is evident on all their Star Motorcycles. I've sat on both and on the M109R I felt as if I was on top of it, and with the Raider I felt much more like I was part of it. I'll see ya all in the wind...
EAB -TC - The 1800 is still here..  June 17, 2010 06:22 AM
tc -stooge's fan  June 16, 2010 09:32 AM
i know the vtx 1800 is not currently in hondas line but that is king kong in the power cruiser world.wanna do a roll on @ 100mph?
Mitch -Mike  June 15, 2010 01:13 PM
Mike the "truth" is that all the major motorcycle brands have been feeling the pinch the last few quarters even in the midst of a modest sales recovery in the last few months. I know your character likes to predict the eminent demise of any brand that isn't H-D and for that I am glad he is not my stock broker, but logically speaking there will still be a large enough market for the big 4 as well as Triumph, BMW, Harley & Victory to remain in business in some capacity although I can't guarantee their won't be some further sacrifices made by both foreign and domestic manufacturers if the recovery is short lived.
TCR -MR  June 15, 2010 07:45 AM
I am 59, I know "old guy", Have had 7 Harleys, and 13 metrics during 37 years of riding. Just got back from Americade on my 04 Roadking Custom, where I took out a Stratoliner Delux, and Raider S. Both were a joy to ride, both had their advantages & disadvantages. Won't bore you with the changes I would do to make them better for my touring/cruising style of riding. I now am looking for someone who would trade me their Strat for my RK, any takers?
EAB -We all dont' have to agree...  June 14, 2010 12:31 PM
Hey, if you want to ride a 800Lb bike that I can smoke on a 600 in third gear, have at it. It's your money. As far as my bike choice, I am in the minority. They couldn't give the 599 away in the states.
Platter -EAB  June 14, 2010 11:31 AM
What touring amenity does your CB599 have…none but you say the Raider has none. Why didn’t you buy a ninja 500 instead of your CB599? The 500 has plenty of power and more touring capabilities, cost less, has a center stand and is better on fuel. Someone owning a 500 or 250 standard could use the same argument you are trying to use. In your personal preference the CB599 is just right for others it is overkill and others still the CB599 isn’t enough. It’s kind of like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. It is too bad you don’t get it EAB because if you did a whole new world of motorcycles and motorcycling would be opened to you, not the posing or bar hoping, but the appreciation of different types of bikes that don’t fit into your displacement approval. I personally own many different types of bikes and don’t let displacement dictate to me what is or isn’t enough. If I ride the bike and it brings me enjoyment or fills a particular need (commuting, track day etc.) then I consider buying it. Displacement classes are for racing series as for the consumer it can take all types and sizes of bikes to make an owner satisfied.

“Each step offers additional performance and comfort. But at some point, the bike is big enough, luxurious enough, and performs well enough.” There is a pretty big step going from a V-Star 1300 to a Raider or M109. This step can be quantifiably measured, felt and appreciated by those who want this step up in performance just the same as you can see the step up of your CB599 from the ninja 500.

It is sometimes very difficult to get non-riding people to understand what I ride and why. I never thought it would be as difficult if not more difficult to get someone who does ride to understand why people ride what they ride.
milwaukee mike -Raider vs M109R  June 14, 2010 10:38 AM
If I'm not mistaken, this the year 2010. But this comparison is between a 2010 yamaha and last years suzuki. Seems a bit strange when you think about it,....doesn't it?

The truth is most metric brands are losing market share and may not be around within the next five years.

I'm not a fan of metrics or even HD V-rods, but if I were going to purchase a metric V-twin; I'd give the V-rod a lot more consideration than these loser machines.
Scottie -agree that it's a bit of an odd comparo  June 14, 2010 10:32 AM
agree that it's a bit of an odd comparo. I have the Stratoliner that shares the motor with the Raider, and it is an amazing motor. I like both these bikes, but I had to have a bike with bags even if just to carry a bottle of champagne back to my wife to apologize that the two hour ride turned into an all day event. So since I own a Strat I'm biased. Yamaha/Star has really done nice work with their latest bikes and I don't like radiators or shaft drives on cruisers. However, while I like my stock exhaust, the Raider would require and aftermarket set of pipes.
EAB -To Platter  June 14, 2010 06:23 AM
Do you need touring equipment to take your honey out to eat? Do you need touring equipment for ....? Of course not; but you don't need 1800cc's either. You want ME to define a real benefit? Ok, usable performance, looks, or usability that justifies the extra many thousands of dollars these cost. As far as the 599's issues in the American market, American's judge their bikes on looks and cc's. Functionality, value, reliability all take a back seat. That's a reality. I use my bike for transportation. Motorcycling to me is not a hobby, it's a fun and economical way to transport myself from one place to another. When it's sitting still, it's worthless to me. I don't care if people look at it, hear it, or find it attractive. It doesn't say anything about me on an emotional level. I acknowledge I am in the minority of American riders, but I make no apologies.... But it goes beyond that. What I am attempting to say is the market as a whole, going to the larger 1700+ size, is a tool for separating one from his/her money and little else. I see the reason for moving from 250 to 500, or 500 to 800, or 800 to 1200-1300. Each step offers additional performance and comfort. But at some point, the bike is big enough, luxurious enough, and performs well enough. I think that line exists at about 1300cc's. For single person riding, I would say it's even less than that. I rode a Shadow 750 and felt it was plenty. It's also about 10 grand less than these bikes. Are these nicer? Sure. Are they 10 grand nicer? Umm, nope!
Platter -EAB  June 12, 2010 09:56 AM
This may come as an apparent shock to you EAB, but not everyone likes the same things in their motorcycles. Not everyone likes chocolate but they still make it. Not everyone likes to drive trucks but they still make them. And, not everyone like the kind of bikes you like but they still make them too. “no touring equipment whatsoever,” do you need touring equipment to ride your bike to work? Do you need touring equipment to take your honey out to dinner on the bike?

“a naked cruiser that lacks any real benefit over a 1100-1300cc model.” EAB, define “real benefit”.

“Kind of like buying a 4500Lb sports car with a truck engine,” When did Yamaha label the Raider as a sport bike?

“Imagine a Mustang with a 200HP/550FT-LB V-8 stump puller that runs out of breath at 3000RPM. Sounds silly?” No, what really sounds silly is your analogy of a Mustang with a truck engine and the Yamaha Raider. I don’t think the Raider is marketed as a “pony bike”

What is even funnier than you’re ignorant post is your hypocritical stance. Your CB599 is NAKED with NO touring ability.

Your bike EAB is like putting a detuned high output engine into a Kia Rio. Seeing as how the CB599 did not last very long in the American market it is clear many other people couldn’t “wrap their hands around this naked bike” The CB599 may have been popular in Europe but so is Socialism and bashing the USA.
Craig -EAB  June 11, 2010 10:25 PM
My advice to you would be to stay away from either bike considering they dont suit you in anyway at all according to your comments. Why even read the review? Your analogy makes a lot of sense since all 2012 Mustangs will come out standard with cummins turbo diesel and 4.1 diff ratio LOL
gb -i like the yammie  June 11, 2010 10:18 AM
but why did they angle the pipes like that?
john -takes a while to aget used to  June 10, 2010 10:22 AM
I'd say the m109 draws more looks than the raider. The raider looks like a harley nighttrain clone. It's a nice bike but not really unique. Park the two together and see how many people look at the raider vs the m109,if that's your thing. The engine on the m109 is awesome for the street. Yes it is a bit twitchy and you can't downshift like a sportsbike but when you get on the throttle it really clears the cobwebs out of the head. And unlike a faired bike you feel like your going fast at semi legal speeds 75-100 mph. A $40 TRE really helps the throttle and eliminates the rev limits in 1-3 gears and opens up 5th gear. The m109 is not a great tourer but I've strapped my bags to it and had fun. It really is good for the day long ride and short blasts on the freeway.
EAB -To Jake  June 10, 2010 06:22 AM
Love the way people say stuff on these boards, from the privacy of their own keyboard. Say anything with confidence that there is no real retribution. Actually, Jake, you answered my question of who buys these bikes. Compensate much?
Jake -EAB  June 10, 2010 05:05 AM
Your an idiot.
Mitch -Odd?  June 9, 2010 08:52 PM
A bit of an odd comparison at first but then again not so odd when you consider the similar markets these bikes are geared towards. My vote would go to the Raider as well. So far it appears to be the best all around mass production "chopper like" cruiser bike when it comes to power and handling.
Rion -Bare Bones?  June 9, 2010 08:33 AM
You guys clearly never found most of the trip features, the raider also has Stars usual two trip meters, and built in clock (unless they changed that this year). Bare Bones? Have any of you ever even seen a Victory? (excluding tour bikes)
EAB -Standard rant....  June 9, 2010 06:28 AM
I still can't wrap my hands around riding a naked bike, no touring equipment whatsoever, that weighs more than two modern 600cc sportbikes. Over 1200cc's and $15,000 for a naked cruiser that lacks any real benefit over a 1100-1300cc model. Still can't believe a 1340 Evo is now considered an undersized or "midsized" engine. An Electra-Glide Ultra and Gold Wing, at 890Lbs per unit, each weigh only 160Lbs more than these bikes. Kind of like buying a 4500Lb sports car with a truck engine, complete with high torque and no HP. Imagine a Mustang with a 200HP/550FT-LB V-8 stump puller that runs out of breath at 3000RPM. Sounds silly? Guess what? To me it's silly, two wheels or four. Oh well, a fool and his money....