Yamaha's New Star Venture Brings Muscle Back to Touring

Christmas may’ve come early for lovers of long-distance rides on big, touring motorcycles with a new, sexy model from Yamaha guaranteed to turn biker heads.

Ignoring tough industry-wide sales of heavier motorcycles in North America, Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, introduced the all-new Star Venture touring motorcycle model combining a new level of power, technology and comfort features they hope will redefine the luxury touring motorcycle market.

Looking through the press kit, Yamaha may have done just that.

This model has been teased by a series of videos under the title of ‘Journey Further’, one of which was a motorcycle video pick by Clutch and Chrome. Understanding riders have their own unique tastes, the new Star Venture touring motorcycle blends classic muscle looks with modern curves. If any comparison were to be made with existing models, we could cheat by bringing up the now discontinued Victory line and its affection for similar muscle designs.

However, this is a disservice to the Star Venture touring motorcycle as Yamaha engineers have clearly carved out their own unique look for this new model.

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The muscle of this motorcycle isn’t limited to style. Powered by an air-cooled 113 cubic inch (1854cc) V-twin fuel-injected engine, the Star Venture is definitely a modern bike, bringing over all the luxuries and technologies found on any of its peers, and some new ones as well.

Incorporating never-before-seen features on a touring model like forward-reverse ‘Sure Park’ parking assist, dual-zone audio capability, “Drive Mode” settings that adjust throttle response, traction control, adjustable rider backrest, heated grips as well as rider/passenger seats and backrests, a fully featured infotainment system and more. These features set the all-new Star Venture apart, while Yamaha’s renowned quality, performance and reliability plant it firmly on top of the luxury touring segment.

“The all-new Star Venture is one of the most highly anticipated and important new motorcycles to come from Yamaha in years, and everyone here is extremely excited to introduce this impactful new model to the world of touring enthusiasts,” said Mike Doughty, General Manager of Yamaha’s Motorcycle Group. “As the ‘Journey Further’ tagline indicates, the Star Venture will make you want to travel farther and experience more while enjoying the comfort, performance, and technology features you expect from Yamaha.”

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The Powerhouse

The Star Venture boasts a massive and torque-rich 113 cubic inch (1854cc) air-cooled V-twin engine with a class-leading 126 pound-feet of torque providing smooth and responsive power delivery even when fully loaded. The huge torque and relaxing V-twin pulse are complemented by lightweight forged alloy pistons, carefully-tuned twin counterbalancers and advanced composite engine mounts, which combine to deliver a smooth and comfortable ride on long days in the saddle while reducing fatigue. The engine’s semi-dry-sump design lowers the effective center of gravity by allowing the engine to sit lower in the frame. An external oil tank is integrated into the aluminum subframe to centralize mass and reduce weight, and a compact oil cooler is hidden between the front frame down tubes to help maintain ideal engine temperatures.

Developed specifically for the needs of long-distance touring, the Star Venture’s new six-speed transmission features ratios chosen to make the most of the huge low-end torque – from brisk acceleration in lower gears to relaxed highway cruising. At 75 MPH in sixth gear, the Star Venture cruises along at an ultra-smooth 2750 RPM.

A feature making its way onto more motorcycles, parking assistance. While easy to poke fun at, deep down every rider can think of a situation when they wished for this type of mechanical helping hand, whether with a tight space or awkward parking moment. According to the motorcycle manufacturer, this makes it ‘the most technologically advanced luxury touring model in history’.  The new Yamaha Sure-Park System provides forward and reverse drive modes, simplifying otherwise potentially tricky parking situations. With this system, parking maneuvers controlled from the handlebar and an electric motor provides forward and reverse drive to assist during tricky parking situations, especially on rough or poor traction surfaces.

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But touring motorcycles are best enjoyed when discovering new roads. For these moments, Yamaha’s Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T), a ride-by-wire throttle control system, converts the rider’s grip input into calculated throttle control providing precise and refined responsiveness. Yamaha D-Mode allows the rider to choose from two different throttle response settings – an ultra-smooth touring mode, and a sport mode for sharper response, while the traction control system helps prevent wheel spin when dealing with reduced traction road conditions.

Following a familiar theme with the Star Venture, Yamaha is the first manufacturer to offer this type of system in the full-dress touring class. A finely-tuned cruise control system also comes standard on the Star Venture providing for less fatigue and improved fuel economy.

The Star Venture’s exhaust system features a twin-muffler design with a throaty V-twin exhaust note. Important to some, to achieve optimum sound quality, Yamaha carefully developed the exhaust tone throughout the entire RPM range in collaboration with the audiophiles at Yamaha Music.

Paired alternators, mounted low and forward in the engine cases, provide ample electrical power for the heated seats and grips, audio system and lighting. With 750 watts of total output, riders can add common electrical accessories and usual heated apparel without taxing the motorcycle’s charging system.

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Infotainment

As mentioned, some of that juice is used by Star Venture's all-new, state-of-the-art infotainment system mounted high in the cockpit for maximum visibility.

A 7-inch full-color LCD screen displays an array of information. Controlled via touchscreen, handlebar controls or voice commands via accessory headset and mic, the infotainment package gives the rider access to vehicle control and data, a range of audio sources and wireless Bluetooth communications options. The locking fairing storage includes a USB charging and interface port. By integrating vehicle systems into the infotainment console, running data such as trip computer functions and tire pressure can be easily confirmed on-screen, while elements such as the heated seats can be controlled by the rider.

Boasting paired high-performance speakers, the Star Venture audio package features AM/FM radio and can also play pre-recorded music or stream Pandora from a smart phone via the onboard USB, AUX stereo or Bluetooth wireless connection options.

Handling

The Star Venture is built around an advanced hybrid chassis designed for light, agile handling with confidence-inspiring stability. The main steel frame provides optimal rigidity, while the rear aluminum die-cast subframe reduces weight and centralizes mass creating balanced straight-line stability with agile handling on curvy roads.

A 46mm telescopic fork features damping and spring rates selected to offer an ideal balance of bump absorption and high speed handling, all without losing a light and responsive road feel. The rear suspension system features a linkage-type, gas-pressurized, remote reservoir shock to create a compact design for optimized handling. As with the front fork, damping and spring rates were carefully considered to give the Star Venture an ideal balance of comfort and road feel, with convenient rear shock tuning thanks to a remote preload adjuster.

Braking confidence is achieved through high-performance, triple-disc brakes featuring advanced electronic control. Yamaha’s Unified Braking System dynamically adjusts front and rear brake force balance in real time to ensure linear braking feel and power, and Yamaha’s refined antilock braking system (ABS) prevents wheel lock-ups when dealing with reduced traction road conditions.

Lightweight front and rear aluminum alloy wheels are finished with machined detailing that highlights the combination of lightness and strength. Up front, the 18-inch wheel features a 130/70 radial tire for light and neutral steering feel, while the rear 16-inch rim mounts a large 200/55 radial for stunning style and road grip.

Both rider and passenger can customize their comfort and ride position. Five-position hand levers and a 3 position back rest with adjustable heat control on both the seat and backrest cater to the rider, while height-adjustable passenger floorboards and a heated seat and backrest keep the passenger comfortable.

Air management is crucial for any long distance touring motorcycle and Yamaha answers this with a few unique ideas. Providing more air flow in hot conditions and reducing air flow in cold weather was a key element in the development of the Star Venture. A stylish full-coverage fairing provides ample wind protection, and the electronically adjustable windscreen offers more than 3.5 inches of vertical positioning. External visors at the middle of the fairing can be adjusted to direct air towards or away from riders depending on conditions. And ducted vents inside the lower fairing can be opened or closed to further customize airflow for changing conditions. An array of heated contact points, including grips, rider seat, rider backrest, passenger seat and passenger backrest all come standard.

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The Other Stuff

The Star Venture also includes a class-leading 6.6-gallon fuel tank and all-LED lighting. The side cases, top case and upper and lower faring storage compartments provide a combined total of 37.3 gallons of storage volume. The USB outlet-equipped fairing storage compartment, side cases and top case all feature electric locking lids straight from the factory. Yamaha’s Smart Key system with remote key fob allows for easy access to the luggage system and fuel tank cap, offers an “answer-back” function for locating the motorcycle in a crowded parking area and provides for simplified starting.

What is a new model without the ability to accessorize? A range of infotainment upgrades are available with the Star Venture Transcontinental Option Package, including GPS navigation with points-of-interest and route logging to help simplify the planning, sharing and uploading of ride routes from a home computer.

A CB radio system can link riders to other road users, while SiriusXM and SiriusXM Travel Link provides satellite music, weather and traffic information. With an extra pair of high-output passenger speakers and Yamaha’s exclusive Dual Zone audio control, rider and passenger can select different audio sources, hold private phones calls and more with an accessory headset and mic.

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Along with the infotainment upgrades, the package includes supplemental LED fog lamps, an additional pair of storage compartments for the passenger and an alarmed security system.

Yamaha promises the Transcontinental Option Package offers ‘one of the most advanced infotainment systems ever featured on a motorcycle’.

The all-new Star Venture will be available in Granite Gray and Raspberry Metallic at Yamaha dealers beginning in August 2017 with a MSRP of $24,999 for base models, and $26,999 for models equipped with the Transcontinental Option Package. This price puts it firmly alongside its touring counterparts, leaving the buying decision down to what matters, whether the Star Venture stirs the rider’s passion.

There is no doubt the Star Venture is a sexy-looking machine and features much of what bikers expect from this style of motorcycle, and some they may have never considered. For those whose souls have already been stirred by Yamaha’s latest offerings, authorized Yamaha dealers will begin taking orders through a Priority Delivery Program immediately following the model introduction on June 5th, 2017.

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