At $14,000 to $15,000, the motorcycle runs a little more expensive than Suzuki‘s C90T, but the Yamaha compensates by offering more amenities. Compared to Honda‘s CTX1300T, the V-Star 1300 Deluxe SE is significantly less expensive. You can do a lot of customization to the Deluxe SE with the money you’ll save, but I suggest you start with heated grips, and an iPhone Lightning to 30-pin Adapter.
Yes, that’s right. The 2017 Yamaha V-Star Deluxe Special Edition still comes with a 30-pin iPhone connector, and not the Lightning connector which has been used with every Apple product since the iPhone 4S in 2011. This is done deliberately for reasons known only to Yamaha senior management and God himself, but one can speculate.
Moreover, the audio controls at the handlebar did not seem to do a good job (or any job) of controlling audio playback from my iPhone once connected. This could be attributable to user error, or a one-off issue, but the problem was aggravated by a lack of FM radio on the bike. While satellite radio is possible via Sirius Satellite XM, a simple AM/FM radio would’ve been an inexpensive and welcome addition.
Another miss was the lack of rider/passenger communication system. While this wasn’t an expected feature given the Deluxe’s price-point, it only further underlined that the audio experience seems to be a bit of an afterthought on this bike.
Where the V-Star Deluxe SE really shines, as far as technology is concerned, is the encased, removable, Garmin Zumo GPS device. With all of my audio woes, more often than not I found myself listening to the GPS’ voice alerting me of turns ahead, and showing me visual distance countdown until my turn. The GPS was easily visible, even in peak daylight, as it is well shrouded in the dashboard. The appearance is that of a sealed built-in unit, however, pressing on a tab will open the carrying area. This makes it easy to remove the device or lock it away for security.
The V-Star’s 1,304cc (80 cubic inch) v-twin engine produces a nice, albeit quiet rumble. Some aftermarket exhausts wouldn’t hurt and a full stage 1 kitting would likely unleash more power. Dyno-testing from Cycle World magazine reveals that the motor puts out 65 horsepower and 81.8 ft-lb of torque at 4,100 RPM (64.8 at the rear wheel) from factory.
Final drive was via low-maintenance belt drive and top speed is about 105 mph or around 170 km/hr. Off the line, the V-Star 1300 Deluxe SE is un-intimidating and shows no will to launch itself at take off. With some throttle twisting it will pull, hard, but never quite lunges itself fully. This is a very Japanese cruiser. Smooth, reliable, and uncharismatic.
The five-speed transmission shifts smoothly. My demo unit had roughly 300 km on it when I picked it up. It never slipped or left me wondering which gear I was in, and clunks between shifts were as expected from a Japanese motorcycle of this class. Not quite a click, but a soft and gentle clunk. I did find that I prefer using only the toe shifter, as my size 12 Harley-Davidson boots felt too big and made shifting cumbersome on the V-Star. This was a problem that I also faced on the Honda Gold Wing F6B. Big-footed folks, watch out for that.
In Canada, the V-Star 1300 Deluxe SE is Yamaha’s only cruiser/tourer to boast liquid cooling. In the US, liquid cooling can also be found on the Stryker, but not on the Raider, as the cruiser community continues to wait on OEMs to provide the same level of standard equipment found on more performance-oriented motorcycles.
Still ahead – Check out the next page for Performance, Storage, and our Final Conclusion