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2009 V Star 950 First Ride

Thursday, October 23, 2008
2009 Yamaha V Star 950
Yamaha's Star Motorcycles delivers the 2009 V-Star 950 as an entry-level ride for the cruiser market.
The idea is simple: make it look big and stylish, but handle light and nimble, while still feeling large. Okay, maybe not so simple. Sounds almost contradictory, right? Not when you are in the business of making an entry-level cruiser. You see, everyone wants that "big-bike" feel, but not everyone wants a 700-pound pig that handles like a John Deere - especially less experienced riders. And while this may sound easy enough to achieve, it's not. It is, however, extremely important. This is why Star has spent a great deal of time and money developing the all-new V-Star 950.

According to recent market research, in the United States cruisers find their way into the hands of the highest percentage of new buyers each year, more than two-fold over the competition. Of that, over 80 percent of those choose an "entry-level" (under 1300cc) machine with that percentage increasing slightly over the past year. This is one of the few growing (yes, even in our current economy) market segments today, adding to what is an already very large number of entry-level machines currently on the road - Hence the aforementioned importance of the new 950.

Innovation, From Inspiration

Star (and their parent company Yamaha) never have, and hopefully never will be, one to sit back and relax, trying to make an easy dollar by hyping up minor changes to an existing model. They could have easily just given their highly successful V-Star 650 a quick-fix steroid injection and a new gas tank with flashy paint and called it a day.

We here at MotoUSA, on the other hand, have never been fans of companies who care too much about the so-called "bottom line" - we like daring and new. So does Star. And always one of the first to push boundaries with their machines, the boys in blue have started with a clean slate when designing the all-new Star 950.

Design for their latest street sweeper originated in our very own Long Beach, California, at the GK Design International house. In fact, everything about its styling was done here in the LBC, right up to the final engineering stages (Japan handles that). Considering the majority of cruiser sales are U.S.-based this seems like a wise idea.

Called a Sport Classic look, much of their inspiration for the bike came from Italian car manufacturer Bugatti's iconic café-racer of the 1920s, the Type 38A Roadster; never seen it? Google it. It's hard to argue with the styling of one the most sought-after and valuable cars in existence. Their idea was to make it dynamic, extending beyond just flashy wheels, with a modern facade and authentic roots. More specifically, it should have a sporty stance and classic look all while feeling very light, slim and tight; the rider sitting very much "in" the motorcycle, in order to become one with it.

Every girl s crazy bout a sharp-dressed man. Oh yeah  that s what Star is hoping to capture with the stylish appearance of its latest cruiser.
Every girl's crazy bout a sharp-dressed man. Oh yeah, that's what Star is hoping to capture with the stylish appearance of its latest cruiser.
Achieving this effect starts up front with a new 18-inch front wheel and low-profile Dunlop or Bridgestone tire (more on that stuff later), housed in an authentic steel fender. A stretched out, sleek fuel tank aims for the "sporty" side of things, holds 4.4 gallons. With a claimed 47 mpg, that equates to more than 200 miles between fill-ups (unheard of range in the big cruiser world). A stylish gauge cluster sitting atop of the tank, features more of the classic look, but still offers a full array of indicator lights, trip meters, fuel mileage, and so on. High quality, wide-faced brake and clutch levers add to the beefy, big-bike feel as well.

Beating strong at the heart of the new machine is a new air-cooled (got to stay true to those cruiser roots), 60-degree V-Twin lump which sits at an official 942cc. This it the result of an almost square 85mm x 83mm bore and stroke, featuring single overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. Valves are now actuated via roller rocker arms for reduced mechanical friction and a single-pin crankshaft is utilized for that said "Big V-Twin Pulse." Claimed torque output is 58.2 lbs.-ft. at 3500 rpm, measured at the crank (figure about 50 or so at the rear wheel).

Air intake is via a larger, 3.0-liter airbox, while petrol is delivered via a Mikuni closed-loop fuel injection system. FI is highly requested by you, the people, in Star rider surveys. The side-draft dual throttle body has two 35mm bores, each with their own injector. Fuel is then combusted in ceramic composite plated cylinders at a 9.0:1 compression ratio, propelling new forged aluminum pistons.

Five transmission speeds are at your disposal via a heel-toe floorboard-mounted shifter and benefit from straight-cut gear dogs and nine, large-diameter (10mm bigger than V-Star 1100) fiber clutch plates; oil filter is now spin-on for added convenience. This mill connects to the rear wheel via a belt drive system. The Aramid-reinforced belt sits at a beefy 28.6mm for durability. Belt drive allows for a smoother connection to the rear wheel as well as much more customization options as compared to the shaft drive used on the smaller Star 650.

A double-cradle steel frame makes up the base for an all-new chassis. Features include four-point rigid engine mounting with a 32-degree rake and 145mm of trail and an extremely low 26.6-inch seat height (V-Star 650 Custom is 27.4-inch as comparison). Up front a 41mm KYB fork provides 5.3 inches of travel, while out back a link-type SOQI shocks features 9-position adjustable preload and has 4.3 inches of travel.

Slowing things down is a sole 320mm disc and 2-piston brake caliper in front accompanied by a single 298mm disc and single-piston caliper out back. These attach to new, lightweight aluminum wheels which measure 18 x 3.5 in front and 16 x 4.5 in the rear. Bikes will either come shod with Dunlop or Bridgestone tires depending on production date. Color options for the standard model include Raven Black, Tommy Blue and Candy Red. The Raven will retail at $7,890, while the other two will be $200 more at $8,090.

There is plenty to like about the Star 950 including the nice lines  smooth motor and the attention to detail that Star and Yamaha are famous for.
There is plenty to like about the Star 950 including the nice lines, smooth motor and the attention to detail that Star and Yamaha are famous for.
And if you are one to log some serious miles with comfort on your mind, a V-Star 950 Tourer will be available as well. This treatment includes a short windscreen, leather-covered saddle bags (11 gallon capacity), and a quick-release passenger backrest. Available colors are Raven Black, Black Cherry and Liquid Silver, with the Raven Black and Black Cherry retailing for $8,990, while the Liquid Silver hits the showroom floor at $9,090.

Both models will be hitting dealers by the end of November, as will a full line of Star accessories - 87 total, 47 of them brand new for the V-Star 950.

Looking Big - Feeling Small

Climb aboard the all-new Twin and in no way does it feel small, or "entry-level." Physical size between your legs is substantial, with a wide spread to the bars, looking forward at a sleek tank that bleeds into a large, chrome-lipped headlight bucket that appears to be pulled straight from a 60s classic roadster . The view from the cockpit says big-bore cruiser in every way. Just one look out at the stretched out handlebars and classic-styled bucket headlight and you will be evoking scenes from Easy Rider.

Ergonomics proved to be equally as accommodating. Legs rest at a very comfortable angle, with the floorboards feeling the perfect distance away from center for yours truly - easy to reach but not too cramped, making for great long distance comfort. Not to be overshadowed was the seat, which you sit very inside of, as opposed to on top of, providing great support as the miles racked up.

The sound emitted from the 2-1 exhaust says bigger-bore as well, with a nice muffled rumble. As does the power and torque produced at the 16-inch rear wheel. In fact, if put in a drag race with their V-Star 1100, I wouldn't bet against the new 950, feeling easily as quick off the line as its big brother.

At speed the engine is more of the same - very smooth, seamless and easy-to-use. Some may complain that it lacks the character of a rumbling, carbureted Big Twin. And while the 950 is close to that elusive Big Twin feeling, thanks in-part to the new single-pin crank design, sometimes there really is no replacement for displacement. On the other hand, this bike is very rider-friendly starting every time on the first push of the button, running flawlessly no matter how hot or cold.

Vibration at low speeds is next to nothing; though due to the low gearing and use of a 5-speed transmission, at freeway cruising speeds over 70 mph it is a tad high in the rpm range (over 5K), causing a bit of a buzz on the feet and hands. Far less than that of its littler 650cc brother, but this is where that full-size 1500cc engine, chugging along at 3,000 rpm, would be nice.

From the low seat height to the belt drive everything about the Star 950 is easy on the rider.
From the low seat height to the belt drive everything about the Star 950 is easy on the rider.
In contrast, where not having that big 1500cc beast is nice, is when it comes to handling. Very easy to flick from side to side, the new 950 is equally poised and balanced once at speed. During our numerous photo shoots, tight-quarter U-turns were required when making multiple passes. No sweat for the 950. From 5 to 85 mph, the Star chassis feels right at home, balanced and responsive to rider input, never feeling vague in any way; no doubt Yamaha did their homework.

The only limiting factor in the turns is cornering clearance? As is usually the case with a cruiser, the large and wide floorboards quickly turn into pavement feelers as speed and lean angle increase. They fold up quickly and don't inhibit handling much, if at all; that is until the floorboard frame mounts touch down, at which point we would highly recommend reducing your pace and lessening your lean angle. While the tires and suspension are more than up to the task, hitting solid-mounted parts could result in some not so pleasant results.

Unnoticed throughout the day, but in a good way, were the brakes. While they didn't stand out as being amazing, they were more than up to the task at hand, easily getting the new Star slowed down in any situation. Good feel is there as well, giving us plenty of feedback as to what they were doing at all times from both the front brake lever and the floorboard-mounted rear pedal.

Another big factor in this appealing equation is the price. With it retailing at only a tad over $1200 more than the little V-Star 650 Classic, and feeling far more like a full-sized cruiser, we would venture to guess the days of the 650 are numbered. Bottom line is the V-Star 950 does everything really well; handles light, feels big, looks stylish. Plain and simple, behind the controls of the Star 950 is a very, very nice place to be.

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Dealer Locator
2009 V Star 950 Specs.
Folks looking to get away from the urban sprawl and explore the country from the seat of a motorcycle will be interested in the Star 950 Tour. Equipped with saddlebags and a full-coverage windscreen  the touring version rings in well under ten-grand.
2009 Star V-Star 950/950 Tourer
Engine:
942cc, air-cooled, V-Twin
Bore x Stroke: 85.0 x 83.0 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.0:1
Fuel Delivery: Mikuni fuel injection
Transmission: 5-speed, mulitplate wet-clutch
Chassis: Tubular steel trellis
Front Suspension: Telescopic fork, 5.3-in. travel
Rear Suspension: Single shock, 4.3-in. travel
Front Brakes: 320mm Single disc, 2-piston caliper
Rear Brake: 298mm Single disc, single-piston caliper
Tires (Front; Rear): 130/70-18; 170/70-16
Wet Weight: 612 lbs
Wheelbase: 66.3 in.
Seat Height: 25.5 in.
Width: 39.4 in.
Fuel Tank Size: 4.4 gal.
MSRP: $7,890-$8,090/$8,990-$9,090

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Comments
mcflyrider   October 12, 2011 08:20 PM
Just bought a 950 Touring. Awesome. Period.
big mike -big mike  January 29, 2011 05:20 PM
the 950 v star is essentially my first bike other than a cb350 back when???i love this bike,period.it handles great looks great and feels great.no complaints from me.the fellow who asked about fork knock may want to check the rear shocks,i heard and felt the same thing and adjusted the rear shock.the bike rode better and the knock went away...i'm 6,1 and 265 lbs so it should work for almost anyone....ride safe everyone
M.J. -Been A While  November 13, 2010 01:48 PM
Just got a hellacious deal on a new 09 950. Over 30 years since the Super Glide and I am not disappointed in the least. Floorboards hard to get used to! Working on making it wife friendly.
cycle head -head to head 950 star vs kawasaki 900 custom  November 10, 2010 08:43 PM
the Star 950 times are 0-60 in 6 seconds flat. the Kawasaki 900 custom 0-60 times are 6.2 sec's 1/4th mile times are 950 14.38 vs 900's 14.57 curticy of rider magazine
pete and repete -middle class  October 26, 2010 03:20 PM
When I get my cruiser I could care less who or which one is faster, Quote the 900 Vulcan or the star 950. What I'm after is comfort and show -- Via liquid cooling also. With mostly city driving the Vulcan 900 classic looks the best for my money. They are both great bikes, but in stop and go riding and sort hops here and there the Yam 950 will get to hot during the dog days of summer. I do not want my thighs roasted nor the heat from the air cooled engine. Besides the water cooled Kawasaki will last longer, the engine is built with tighter tolerances. And a higher state of tune because of the stable water temperature's. I have owned all my life air cool bikes and now I am going to buy a brand new red Kawasaki 900 classic that is liquid cooled for once.
tc -tetterbug  October 25, 2010 07:43 PM
looks nice, 1000cc and no hydraulic valves yet? i see some phenominal deals on evilbay for new 950s and the old 1100s
Chuck -Fork Knock  October 9, 2010 11:30 AM
I purchased a 2009 950, I have had it two months and have 3,500 miles on it. I get a knock once in a while when I go over a slight bumb. It sounds like the front forks does not have enough fluid or the seal may be defective. Has anyone experienced this?
thrilled to ride -air or water cooled  September 23, 2010 04:22 PM
For me I do not like roasting over a air cooled mill in the hot summer so but comfort and fit are the most important things to consider custom or classic I could either buy the kawa 900 or wait for the new stryker custom to come out in Feb 2011 and it too looks fetching as the the new 950 or 103 CID raider
wayne -9000kawa/950yama  September 20, 2010 07:01 PM
I'm an older man rode a little when I was younger 360 Honda, 450 Honda 650 Yamaha but that was over 30 years ago. I'm 56 and counting.I am just really torn between the water cooled 900 Vulcan classic and the custom 950 V Star air cooled late model.My second cousin had a cb750 Honda one of the early first models with 60 hp and that crude thing would get up and move back then.If the 950 mid night star runs as good as they claim it will then be my wife and I will most likely buy the V Star 950 Star
Silent Rider C -Star 950 Vs. Kaw 900  September 16, 2010 09:49 AM
My dad bought the 09 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT and I bought the 09 Star 950 Midnight Black. Take off on the 950 whooped the 900 no problem, although the gearing in 5th is a little bit higher than the 900 for interstate speeds, at 75mph It feels like you need a 6th gear. All and all I've had my bike for a year and 3 months and I still love it. I put custom hard bags on it, and custom modified a Harley full front fairing with stereo on it for the "Bagger" look. I love my bike and fully intend to keep it, even if I go larger this is still plenty for me and my girl to ride through the curves in Northwest Arkansas. IF i go bigger it will be another Yamaha... Possibly the Stratoliner Deluxe...

Peace out...

Silent-Rider-C
cecil -mph/km  September 4, 2010 05:47 PM
just bought a vstar 950 in the usa ,odometer large scale is mph..anyone know if there is a decal to km available

thanks
Louise C -Year 2  July 13, 2010 11:43 AM
I traded my V-Star 650 last year and purchased the 950T. I love the bike and I average 10,000 - 12,000 kms per riding season. I live in Toronto (we have winter for many months). I immediately changed the exaust and elected for twin 3" Hard Chrome pipes that emits a pleasing (legal except in Qc and Manitoba)growl. I also added some decorative bling (grips/throttle boss). This bike is exceptional value for the low price. Yes, there is evidence of cheap plastics and I really do hate the horn (what were they thinking with placement and sound?). All in all, a bike I enjoy booting about in T.O. traffic and stretching it out on hwys and back roads. It even handles dirt road quite well. Recommend this bike completely.
Horatio -Lots and Lots and Lots of PLASTIC  July 2, 2010 07:30 PM
Nice riding bike and priced low but it has tons of fake chrome plastic covers that look good in pictures but a very cheap up close. The fake pin-stripping stickers are pretty low rent as well. The rear fender ones are over the clear coat which is pretty lame, the tank stripes are at least under the clear coat. The front brake mess is...well a mess of junk. The rocker box covers are plastic, the air box is plastic, the headlight housing is plastic, the speedo housing (chrome on tank) is plastic, all the chrome on the drive side is plastic, the signal housings are plastic, mirrors are plastic, even the hand grips have plastic end caps. Too much plastic makes the mike seem cheap but it still represents a good value overall.
Jim -09 Star 950  June 30, 2010 10:33 AM
I got it off the show room floor with 13 miles on it, I hade a kaw 1500 before this one.I realy enjoy riding the bike. I agree that the exhust is hot on my foot. and is a bit uncomfretable on long rides but I think the seat just needs to be broke in. nice looking bike over all, and plenty of preformans.If you have any fedback for me I would appreceate it.

Karen -First 500 Miles  May 17, 2010 10:36 AM
Hi There-I just bought a 2010 950 Tourer about a month ago. I am 5'2", 130#, and have been riding for just about three years. My first bike was a Rebel, my second was a 750 Honda Shadow Spirit. I would like to compare the Spirit to a Corolla and the 950 Tourer to a Camry. The bike rides smooth and is just fun to ride.

However, the bike runs hot; check out where the exhaust is coming from. I may want to upgrade the exhaust system in order to enjoy it during the dog days of summer.

The seat for me gets uncomfortable after about 30 miles. Although I stand flat footed at a stop, the controls are hard to reach with my short legs.

The bike gets a lot of long looks...it's a beauty.

Good luck on your research.
Josh -1st bike  May 6, 2010 01:16 PM
I'm 5'9" 200 lbs 20 years old, never been on a bike in my life until i bought the 950 little over a year ago. I love it, have about 7000 miles on it now and always ride with my wife on back and doesnt change a thing. This bike is great! learning to ride it came very natural. I would say its great for beginners and vets alike. It has all the power i have needed and more. No need to upgrade. The only complaint i can give is the seats aren't that comfortable after a while, but other than that i would recommend the 950 to any one.
Bart M. -Awesome test ride  March 31, 2010 01:52 PM
Just started riding last year. I'm 5'9" at 157 lbs, and am looking to upgrade. I started out with a Honda Rebel 250cc. At the time I needed something that if i dropped it in the driveway, I wouldn't hate myself too much. Dropped it twice by the way! oops! After much research in the $8k class, I thought i'd take a test drive of the 950. All i can say is wow! This bike fits so much better than the cramped Rebel. After a 15 min ride on the rebel my back would hurt for days. Also, the increase in power is amazing! I no longer have to downshift when climbing these Ozark mountains to get home. I am definitely going to buy one of these when i sell my Rebel. The few downsides I have are there isn't much ground clearance with the floorboards. I scraped them on the way home around some twisties, but I'm too used to slinging the Rebel around. Also another downside is the cluster by the back brake. It is a mess, but once you are on there you forget all about that. The only thing I'd change as soon as I get it is the exhaust. It sounds great at idle but a bit tinny when you twist the throttle when sitting still. I plan on upgrading with some noisy rumbly bumbly Vance and Hines 2 into 2 Power Core exhaust. Thanks for all the input guys and gals! Happy cruising!
stratrat -v star 950  November 16, 2009 06:29 AM
All of the commentaries are interesting and for the most part insightful. I am also considering this bike and owner experiences are helpful! However,(proverbial fly in ointment!)Honda will soon be releasing two new Shadow 750's with E.F.I. and shaft drive. One of these bikes will have "standard" ergonomics (mid mount foot pegs;standard handle bar shape;fork mounted instruments.)They have not released any specifications and fuel capacity is an unknown at this time. Any one privvy to this info? Thanks to all who participated in this forum!
"Alf" -950 vs 1100  October 20, 2009 11:59 AM
The 950 reports are quite glowing and it feels good to support Yamaha's on-going engineering... however I'll keep my (shaft-drive) 1100 with performance upgrades and give thanks that I finally found a bike that suits this 77 year old. After riding for a few years (hah!) the bike and I are very well suited to each other.

Alf, "Star" Member
"Alf" -950 vs 1100  October 20, 2009 11:58 AM
The 950 reports are quite glowing and it feels good to support Yamaha's on-going engineering... however I'll keep my (shaft-drive) 1100 with performance upgrades and give thanks that I finally found a bike that suits this 77 year old. After riding for a few years (hah!) the bike and I are very well suited to each other.

Alf, "Star" Member
Douglas Sockwell -V-950  September 23, 2009 08:34 AM
Well I'v riden my 950 10000 miles sense Feb. 09.Still get 52 to 58 mpg. Longest trip has been a little over 300 miles one way. trying to get the nerve to take a 1000 mile trip to Mich. Just turned 74 so thats a concideration. 73 Honda 350 79 Yamaha 650 special, still have it, 05 V-star 650 09 V-star 950. Loved them all. Not so much the V-star 650. thanks
Roger -1st Bike  September 16, 2009 11:03 PM
I bought a 1975 Honda cb125 and learned to ride a motorcycle. Took the safety course got my license then after doing a alot of research bought a 950. I am very happy with this bike. My buddies who own Harleys like the style and after riding it like the performance. I love that I can grow with this bike and not grow out of right away.The only change I plan to do to this bike is get a Cobra exhaust put on. Great Bike.
Dave -GREAT Bike  September 12, 2009 04:22 AM
Bought the 950T for my first ever "street bike." Rode dirt bike 20+ years ago. I'm 5'9, 190, and it fits like a glove. I've put engins and bag gaurds, as well as passing lights and a fairing... yes I said a fairing. I've put 1400 miles on it and still loving it. I would recommend this bike to anyone thinking of "starting" to ride.
humaidi -newbies..  August 31, 2009 09:21 AM
hello..im actually trying to get my 1st bike..will the 950v star suits me? im only 5feet tall..is the 950 to big of a ride for me?
Richard Stegall -Too Much Bike?  August 19, 2009 05:53 PM
I've been riding some 40 years and I think with your age and weight you would be just fine on the 950. If you get anything smaller it will only be a few months and you will want to 'move up' Lots of Luck.
Ben E. -Asking...  August 19, 2009 11:36 AM
New to the motorcycle game, and SERIOUSLY thinking about selling my truck and getting one.(I only drive 2 miles to work)My wife loves to ride, even though I never have. I have zero experience on bikes, and am wondering if this is too much muscle to start out on. Im 27 yrs old, 6'00', and 220 so I think I'm the right size for this bike, just do not want to over do it. What ya think?
Richard Stegall -Seat  August 18, 2009 03:29 PM
Betty, please post after you have tried the Mustang Seat. Thanks ...
Betty -950 Yamaha v-star  August 9, 2009 06:27 PM
I just traded my v-star 650 for a 950 tourer and I love it ! I have new mustang seats and lowers on the way .I hope to put a lot of miles on it .
Mike W -On my short list  August 5, 2009 07:16 PM
I read the review in Rider, went down to dealer to have a look. Nice bike. Smaller than my '97 1100 Shadow and lighter. The Tourer caught my eye, it's ready to hit the road without having to add cases and a windshield. I am not sure if this bike will win out over the Suzuki 650F but I can have only 1 bike so will have to re-evaluate. Apples and oranges maybe, but each has its strong points.
As for the valves, I'll take the screw/nut valves over shims any day if I have to adjust them. Even at 4K intervals. An easy job. The more I can do, the happier I am.
As for the belt, my last 2 scoots had shaft drive, you sure gain a lot of weight with shaft drives. The belt is more efficient. When looking at "only" 950cc, every little bit helps. My Concours had a shaft but it also had 100 HP.
Richard Stegall -Seat  August 1, 2009 02:57 PM
Love the 950T, however, we are learning to hate the seat. Anybody changed the stock seat? Any advice? Looking at the bead thing, my wife is laughing at that. Thanks, ...
Mike Randall -Love it.  July 22, 2009 01:15 PM
Bought the 950(non tourer) a month ago, been through 2 oil changes and have 2700 miles on her. Added the quick release meduim windscreen, hate the wind above 50mph. Its my first bike, I'm 42, never rode before, 5'8" 180 pounds, fits me like a glove. It was easy to learn on, didn't want to go the 650 route, knew I would want more in a month. I did drill out the exhaust, 1 and 1/2 inch hole saw for a better sound, no decrease in mileage or preformance. I'm getting 55 mph and I drive it like I own it,lol. Some things I would change are the seat, its ok but long rides my lower back hurts, getting a mustang seat with backrest down the road($700). I wish it had a tach, not a biggie, and the speedo should be placed more in view, higher. This bike is a torque monster, I rode 300 miles with 10 other riders, most on 1000cc sport bikes, they would run away from me but I had enough to keep them in sight, it corners great, but be prepared for theboards to scrape, first time scared the dickens out of me, but it only happens when you are pressing the bike, not in normal riding. Bought the wife a 650, rode mine yesterday for the first time and is talking about me getting a bigger bike and she gets my 950! Mike
Richard Stegall -1700 miles .,.  July 10, 2009 03:46 PM
My wife and I have now put 1700 miles on the 950T and every time I get on it I'm glad she talked me into buying it. The seat is hard and we are considering some options there but other than that, it's a keeper.
Craig -Belt Drive  July 1, 2009 03:09 PM
Bryan commented that a belt drive is a step backwards. Actually the opposite is true. A belt is quieter and requires less maintenance than a shaft. The biggest difference, however, is power delivery. A belt is MUCH more efficient at transferring the engine's power to the rear wheel. Also, if you add a windshield to your bike you tend to hear the sounds of the shaft drive being reflected back at you. The almost silent belt eliminates this. I currently own a Stratoliner Midnight and would no longer consider buying any cruiser that was not belt driven.
John Webb -2009 Yammy 950 Tourer  June 30, 2009 04:46 AM
I am 5'5" short . I have had a Yammy 650 V-Star, 1999 1100 Virago and now the new 950. I find this bike to ride unbelievably smooth and no Interstate stresss at all. Haven't checked mileage yet, still trying to get that first 600miles but, I absolutely love this bike!! I dropped it in my drive way and it did not go to the ground-maybe 35 degrees from vertical? !! Easily picked it up!Don't mind a litle scraping in turns if that's what keeps it from fully falling to ground! It handles more like a 650 but there is a great difference in cruising and vibration/tightness-none in 950!and seat height, for me, is perfect!! FLAT FOOTED! Who cares about the brake cluster crap!? A beautiful bike!
Merlin -beginner bike  June 23, 2009 12:39 PM
For those wondering if they'd be better using this or a 650 for a beginner bike, I would suggest this one, if they can handle it. The only problem would be that if they're 'verticly challenged' as I am, having such a nice bike (a bit larger than the 650) would make it tougher to make the step up to a larger bike. Since I started out with a 650, it's going to be easier for me to get a larger bike (as far as financially having 'rationalizations' for it lol). I may go up to an 1100, which I feel is plenty for me, since I weight about 155 tops and am not even 5'6" tall. But if I had a 950, it would be tougher to get myself to spend the money, only one step up.
Richard Stegall -MPG / Speedometer / odometer  June 22, 2009 03:19 PM
I now have over a thousand miles and am now starting to ride 'normal' I have discovered that the speedometer is off by about five miles per hour (indicating more than what you are actually doing)So riding an indicated 60-70 MPH and with normal traffic I am still getting 55-59 MPG. And yes I think Yamaha has a winner here, what's not to like?
jim pezzillo -v star 950  June 21, 2009 05:26 PM
i have gotten between 65 to 68 miles per gallon i love this bike
Richard Stegall -Beginner or Experience  June 12, 2009 05:22 AM
Frank are you riding single, close to home or double and want to go on road trips? If you're riding single and staying pretty close to home and want to save a little money the 650 should do, however, if you're riding double or going father I would suggest the 950. I have my 600 miles on now and still getting 55-59 MPG and still impressed. No, Mr Sockwell, I don't think you're doing somethin wrong, I think you and I are doing something right. See Ya .....
Frank -Newbie  June 10, 2009 03:35 PM
Would this be a good bike for a beginner or should I get something smaller like the V-star 650 or Honda 750 Shadow?
Douglas Sockwell -Gas millage  June 10, 2009 08:30 AM
The book says 47 mpg.I get as high 59.3 at highway speeds. around 55 most of the time.57.8 the last tank. Am I doing something wrong?
Richard Stegall -300 miles and still impressed  June 8, 2009 04:23 PM
We've (my wife and I) been trying to get the 'break in' miles on the odometer so we could actually spread out and see how the 950 preforms. Riding around town and keeping the speed down, we have been keeping the MPG between 55-59. I thought this was terriffic, however speeds above 50-55 will, I'm sure, whittle this down. We both like the bike the only thing we intend to add is back floor-boards. Stay tuned ....
Kim -Star 950  June 6, 2009 10:42 AM
Well I don't agre with the belt drive comments that are made here. I have had a Roadstar for 4 years and have never regreted going to the belt. My wife is getting into riding and we are targeting this bike for her. I am a loyal Yamaha rider so I have no interest in anything else.
Richard Stegall -Just traded  June 4, 2009 12:46 PM
My wfe and I have owned quite a few Motorcycles and we just traded for the 950 Yamaha, haven't had the chance to put any miles on yet but was impressed with the ride on the way home. Will post later.
Rob -Star 950 test ride  April 22, 2009 11:43 PM
I test rode one of these at AZ bike week... It was a very nice ride, I was actually impressed. I'm not really a cruiser guy but I could totally see owning one of these and enjoying it.
Steve O -I like it, a lot  April 6, 2009 11:18 PM
Own one, and am very glad it’s FI. Yes it is a "cluster ----" near the brake, but for 8900, there are bound to be compromises. At 6'1" I find it very comfortable, especially compared to my 87 Virago 1100. A great bike and a great buy.
Jump -Messy clip on by brake pedal  March 15, 2009 04:20 PM
This looks messy and cheap and a clip on. Why on earth they did this amazes me. I doubt this will take long to be damaged, dirty and or caught on something. Totally spoils the look from the front.
Bryan -One step forward and two back.  February 16, 2009 06:08 PM
Why not hydraulic valve lifters to eliminate maintenance requirements? I see the 102 C.I. models have them. Why a belt, when the shaft drive has proven to be all but foolproof and largely maintenance free? I'd take the 650 or 1100 over anything with belt drive. I want a Cadillac, not a model A.
Steve -aesthetics  February 2, 2009 09:17 PM
I agree with the commenter who noticed the "after-thought" stuff crammed in near the brake pedal. It really detracts from the appearance, though when I'd be riding the bike, I wouldn't notice -- or care.
Gina -new rider - could be a woman  January 27, 2009 03:06 PM
I would like to give the 900 a try article is very slanted toward male riders. It should also try to include what a lady rider would like about the new style!
Thomas Bacot -900 shoot out  December 15, 2008 10:18 AM
be kinda like a race with a john deere and kabota tractor, thrilling to say the least
John C -I was bummed  November 23, 2008 05:44 PM
I was pretty excited and went down to see one at my local dealer. I was surprised when I look down at the brake pedal on the bike.. There is a mess down there with the horn and the brake fluid. It seems like at the last second they said, "what about this stuff" and just jammed it in down there... It sure takes away from the clean lines of the bike.
Lee -Star Keeps it fresh  November 17, 2008 04:55 AM
It's nice to see Star continue to come up with new sizes and styles to add to it's cruiser fleet. As the previous owner of a V-Star 650, and current owner of a Royal Star Tour Deluxe, I would love the opportunity to give the 950 a ride!
Justin -Compare III  November 13, 2008 06:52 PM
Do I see a shootout between the Kawasaki 900, Yamaha 950, and Suzuki C50 coming? Sure would be nice. The comparison of the Kawasaki 900 and C50 was about a dead heat when I read that.
Jim -Compare II  November 13, 2008 06:03 AM
As the very satisfied owner of a Kaw 900LT, I, too, would love to see a heads-up against the 950. It's a nice looking ride (aside from that exhaust), but it would take a lot to pry me from my present ride. My dealer has told me that he will have a new 950 available for demo shortly. I intend to do my own testing when it becomes available. Personally, I'd like to see a "mini-Raider" based on this mid-size engine.
John -Compare  November 12, 2008 06:36 PM
I would love to see a head to head with Kawasaki's 900 Cruiser.