2011 Star Stryker

Text: Ken Freund • Photography: Tom Riles, Brian Nelson

One morning not long ago some folks at Yamaha's Star Cruiser Division woke up and decided they needed to fill the gap between their V Star 950 and 1854cc Raider. The new Stryker was penned with help from custom bike-builder Jeff Palhegyi, an outside design firm named GKDI, and Yamaha's R&D department. The result: a stylish yet functional, easily customized mid-sized bike.

Powertrain

Star uses the capable 1304cc (80 cubic inch) V-twin engine from the V Star 1300 to power the Stryker, with a larger three-liter intake airbox and revised ignition and fuel-injection mapping. The flashy dual mufflers in a 2-1-2 arrangement are also unique to the model. Fuel injection feeds the juice and a single overhead cam design with four-valves- per-cylinder aids breathing. Dual counter-balancers keep vibration under control. Starting is instant, warm or cold, and when you roll on the power, the engine responds cleanly with a nice torquey feel. There’s ample hill-climbing and passing power, and the engine is nicely matched to the bike.

A five-speed gearbox carries power aft through a multidisc cable-actuated wet clutch. It works well and is easy to modulate, although five gears is getting to be old-school as the cruiser industry moves to six cogs. The belt drive is smooth and quiet and free of lash.

Chassis

A double-cradle steel frame and swingarm hold things together and give the Stryker a long 68.9-inch wheelbase. In front, a 21-inch wheel combined with the kicked-out fork give the Stryker a chopper look, which is reinforced by the fat 210-width rear tire. A 6-inch yoke and offset triple clamps provide a total of 40 degrees of rake, without making the trail excessive (it’s only 4.3 inches). As a result, steering is lighter than you’d expect with that much rake. Handling is better than you’d expect with a wide rear tire, skinny front and extended fork, but it’s limited by ground clearance in corners. Also, the turning radius is still quite wide; leave plenty of room for U-turns.

Features and Ergonomics
Central to this bike is a low 26.4-inch seat height that allows just about anyone to ride it. The handlebar design works well with the footpegs and seating position to produce that “relaxed” posture so many cruiser riders desire.

Designers squeezed in a speedometer, tach, and indicator lamps into one handlebar-mounted gauge cluster. A pair of right thumb-switches mounted above the starter button allow you to toggle through the two trip meters, gas gauge, and clock on the dash readout.

Final Thoughts

There was a time when an 80-cubic-inch motorcycle was about as big as you could buy, but today’s market now considers this a mid-size bike. We still find it to be a good size: not too big, not too small. Stryker is available in three colors: Raven at ,990 MSRP; Impact Blue and Reddish Copper cost more at ,240. Overall the new Stryker is well-designed and made, with quality fit and finish, a strong drivetrain, and good value for dollar.