Yamaha’s latest venture into the chopper genre
By Kevin Duke, Courtesy of Motorcycle.com, Photography by Yamaha
Yamaha’s Star Motorcycle division today released details of its latest cruiser, the chopper-styled 2011 Stryker.
The Stryker’s most distinctive attribute is its raised steering head proudly and clearly on display in front of a peanut-y fuel tank cocked skyward. “The muscular, forward-lunging look reinterprets classic custom ‘chopper’ styling for the 21st century,” according to Yama-Star.
Continuing the chopper theme is a front end kicked out at a radical 40 degrees thanks to a 6-degree triple-clamp offset. Unlike Star’s Raider, which has a similar profile but isn’t as lean, the Stryker’s double-cradle frame is made from steel rather than aluminum. Its seat has the now-customary low height (26.4 inches) that showroom riders love, aiding sales conversions. Foot controls are placed relatively close to the rider, and the one-inch tubular handlebar connects directly to the upper triple clamp for a clean appearance.
At the heart of the Stryker is the same fuel-injected and liquid-cooled V-Twin seen in the V-Star 1300. Displacing 1304cc and boasting four valves per cylinder, the 60-degree Vee burbles the requisite single-pin crankshaft lope through a swoopy new shotgun exhaust system. Other high-tech engine features include single overhead cams actuating roller rockers, ceramic coated cylinders and forged connecting rods.
Incidentally, the V-Star 1300 is revised for 2011 with a new black frame, extra chrome, and a new handlebar and seat. The rest of Star’s lineup returns mostly unchanged.
But while the V-Star is tastefully styled in a fairly nondescript idiom, the Stryker screams for attention. Its jaunty style plays bad boy to the V-Star’s nice guy.
In the custom cruiser segment, detail touches can make or break a bike, and the Stryker is successful on many accounts. It has likeable minimalist touches like the shorty ducktail front fender (made of steel, not plastic), thin-spoke wheels, and a small round headlight that looks retro with its chrome housing but has a modern multi-reflector lens.
A 21-inch front wheel is de rigueur for this type of machine, steamrolled forward by a moderately fat 210/40-18 rear tire and a belt drive. A single 320mm front disc promises decent stopping power, backed up by a 310mm rear rotor.
In several ways, the Stryker is Star’s retort to Honda’s Fury, a bike that sold far better than many pundits predicted. They are both powered by 1300cc V-Twins, and both use internal engine passages and hidden hoses to hide the plumbing necessary for their liquid-cooling systems. Both also sport unusually tall steering necks that define their styles.
The Fury gets higher marks for its surprisingly bold and clean design from one of Honda’s American designers. Say what you want about Honda building a chopper, but it’s undeniably a looker and makes better use of negative space.
The Stryker counters with an MSRP that would make a $13K-plus Fury blush, ringing in at a relative bargain of $10,990 for the blacked-out Raven model seen in these photos. An extra $250 will get Impact Blue or Reddish Copper colors with more chrome.
The final obvious difference is the Fury uses a shaft drive to the Stryker’s belt. A shaftie requires slightly less maintenance but is heavier. A belt makes a bike easier to extensively modify.
It will be interesting to see the public’s reaction to the Stryker. Some might say Star’s a little too late to the chopper party. But some consumers will find it impossible to ignore the Stryker’s bargain status.
The tally begins later this month when Strykers start hitting local dealers. Full information on all Star models can be found at http://www.starmotorcycles.com/.