Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Yamaha V-Star 950 Tourer

Wed, June 16th, 2010

2009–10 Yamaha XVS95CT V-Star 950 Tourer
The V-Star 950 is built to cruise, not race, and this motor is perfect for laid-back, low-RPM cruising without being a slow-revving dog. It has one of the most perfectly calibrated FI systems ever, and pulls flawlessly right from idle, even when cold. The clutch is one of the most pleasantly light and predictable ones I've ever used. For a un-counterbalanced 60-degree motor, it's remarkably smooth, though the floorboards vibrate at certain engine speeds.
It steers lightly (perhaps a bit more lightly than I'm used to, thanks to the leverage afforded by the extremely wide bars) and it hides its 657-pound wet weight uncannily well. The only drawbacks are the wide floorboards, which scrape readily in corners, and the long wheelbase, which makes close-quarters maneuvers a chore on an otherwise effortless bike.
It looks like a Buick, from back when Buicks were really stylish and desirable. A few crude details such as the the misplaced horn and rear master cylinder mount mar an otherwise well-executed design. The chrome drive pulley cover is a bit big for my tastes, but that's unavoidable with belt drive, and the ignition cover below the tank on the left side is fake-looking and overstyled. The two-into-one exhaust is a fresh change from the usual staggered duals. The Touring model's accessories are some of the nicest I've seen.
You can buy this bike and with proper maintenance have a reasonable expectation of never breaking down or having a catastrophic failure.
The long wheelbase and touring accessories would seem to bias this bike more toward the open highway than urban spaces, but there's actually very few riding duties (besides maybe dirt riding and knee-dragging) that the V-Star 950 isn't good at. The price is even reasonable. For trips over 50 miles, a Corbin seat is a must, however.
I realize that I'm rating this very highly for a mid-displacement, mid-price cruiser. If you don't ride this bike yourself, you probably won't have any idea how good it really is.
The V-Star 950 hits that perfect spot, just big enough to be secure and relaxing out on the road without being 'too big.' On paper, the V-Star 950 is nothing special, but the whole is much more than the sum of its parts.