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2011 Star Stryker C Comparison Review

Tuesday, January 4, 2011
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2011 Star Stryker Cruiser Comparison Video
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Star Motorcycles first factory custom chopper, the 2011 Stryker, is tall up front, wide in the back and a raked-out at 40 degrees. Watch the Star Stryker Comparison Video.
Our initial stint on the 2011 Star Stryker left a positive first impression. We already dissected the nuts and bolts of the bike in our 2011 Star Stryker First Ride, but a few of the bike’s particulars deserve a second mention. Within the double cradle steel frame of the Stryker sits a 60-degree V-Twin with a single overhead cam, a mill developed initially for the V Star 1300. The Stryker’s powerplant does have different ignition and fuel-injection mapping than the standard V1300 to go along with a higher cam lift and different roller rocker arms. Its 2-1-2 pipes have been re-designed and its three-liter airbox is also larger, adding a bit more punch to the Stryker. The 1304cc powerplant was good for 71.82 lb-ft of torque on the dyno but feels much livelier at the throttle. Its powerband is fairly wide and its torque curve linear. All this while operating efficiently, as dual crankshaft balancers quell vibes in the rigid-mounted engine in all but the highest rpm when a buzz in the foot controls becomes noticeable. The Stryker was the victor in our fuel mileage tests with a 38.10 mpg average, further testament to the mill’s efficiency. Internally run coolant hoses also gave it an advantage in the engine heat department over the air-cooled Twin Cam 96B of the Rocker C during idle periods of freeway traffic jams.

The fuel-injected Stryker utilizes dual 40mm throttle bodies with 12-hole injector nozzles. Each cylinder utilizes four valves, two 36mm intakes and two 32mm exhausts. The Stryker has an abrupt on-and-off throttle with a bit of gear lash accompanying the abruptness. On the opposite end, the bike will lug a bit if you let rpm drop too low and you’re too light on the throttle.

The 2011 Strykers 1304cc powerplant was good for 71.82 lb-ft of torque on the dyno but feels much livelier at the throttle.
The 2011 Stryker's 1304cc powerplant was good for 71.82 lb-ft of torque on the dyno but feels much livelier at the throttle.
Running through the gears of the Stryker’s five-speed transmission is a hassle-free affair thanks to a gearbox that makes less noise and is less notchy than the Rocker C. Engagement in the lower gears was louder than the top end, but we were pleased with the fact that it never slipped out of gear and it isn’t a struggle to find neutral. The gearing of the five-speed gearbox felt fairly wide, a fact corroborated by our 0-60 test. The Stryker was able to reach the 60 mph plateau in the first two gears while the Rocker C always required an extra shift into third to reach the same speed.

The Styker’s front end is pushed out at a deceptive 40-degree rake angle, 34 degrees in the steering head and six more in the trees. We say deceptive because a tall 21-inch Bridgestone Exedra tire bridges the gap between the fork and the downtubes of the frame, making the angle less prominent. Star also used an extra brace to fill some of the void created by the frame’s open neck design. The Stryker features new top and bottom triple clamps that anchor the 41mm fork and the pullback handlebars. With that much rake, you’d expect the front end to flop, but instead the Stryker is very planted and stable in turns. Combined with its 26.4-inch seat height, the lowest among Star cruisers, the Stryker has a light feel at the bars and is a very manageable bike. Star made a wise decision in tire size as the 120mm-wide front tire gives the tall hoop a bigger contact patch than some of its competitors who run skinnier tires. On the backside, the 210mm wide rear achieves the desired custom bike appeal without totally sacrificing handling.

The Stryker’s combination of a seat that provides a tad of lower back support and a suspension package that’s well-balanced made for comfortable miles in the saddle. Its low center of gravity also took off a bit of windblast at highway speeds. Damping from both the shock and fork impressed us for the most part. We only experienced the full range of the rear shock’s 3.9-inches of travel in larger potholes at higher speeds on the 405, but overall the suspension is well-sorted.

A close  side-by-side look shows how the 2011 Star Stryker and 2011 Rocker C share comparable dimensions and styling cues. The Stryker sources a 60-degree V-Twin with a single overhead cam  a mill developed initially for the V Star 1300.  Both bikes are fun bar-hoppin rides. The Rocker C wins in the power and styling departments while the Stryker handles and shifts much better and provides a more comfortable ride.
A close, side-by-side look shows how the 2011 Star Stryker and 2011 Rocker C share comparable dimensions and styling cues. Both bikes are fun-to-ride bar hoppers. The Rocker C wins in the power and styling departments while the Stryker handles and shifts much better and provides a more comfortable ride.
Blacked-out components have been a hot commodity for the last couple of years, and Star opted to cash in on this trend with the Stryker. The five-spoke cast wheels, frame, swingarm, chain guard and the majority of the engine’s cooling fins are given the dark treatment. The 2-1-2 pipes on the Stryker we tested were provided the biggest splash of chrome. The bike’s steel fenders and thin, wide tank are two of its strongest features. The horn mounted by the right footpeg and charcoal canister mounted outside the frame on the left footpeg detract from its tidiness and leave the parts susceptible to damage.

The four-gallon tank looks sharp but range is limited. A daily 60-mile round trip commute meant we were pulling into the gas station every other day. The low fuel light comes on at around 110 miles, beginning the countdown to empty when a Trip F display starts to flash and count your miles. We got Trip F up to 26.3 miles where there was only 0.142 gallons left in the tank. Our final grievance was with the fuel gauge itself which is composed of digital bars. The bars are empty and can be confusing to decipher.


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Comments
bryan harley -Stryker tank  January 5, 2011 01:55 PM
Hey Jesse,
The tank is thin and wide. Look at it from the side. Top to bottom it’s thin and thins out even more as it tapers back, but side-to-side it’s wide. It only holds four gallons so it’s not very big. Hopefully that helps clarify what I wrote.
Jesse -How can the Stryker's tank be thin and wide?  January 5, 2011 11:16 AM
Your article states, "bike’s steel fenders and thin, wide tank are two of its strongest features." How can a tank be thin and wide?
Al -Not a fair comparo, really...  January 5, 2011 09:55 AM
The Stryker may be $8500 less, but it looks it. The pipes go all over the place, the wheels are butt-ugly, the radiator looks like an afterthought...I'll stop there. It's performance is ok, but I doubt the typical buyer of either of these is thinking performance first.

Look, a large part of why folks buy cruisers is the mind movie -- rolling down the boulevard, wind in your face, "Born to be wild" playing in your head. Nothing wrong with that; that's why Mustangs and Camaros still sell. It's part of the American myth - and myths are what keep life from being just about the daily grind.

Therefore, looks and attitude count here. For that reason, I gotta go with the Rocker. Two points though - that seat has to go unless you always ride alone. Second - buy a low-mile used one and save yourself five large.