My first real road bike after 30 years off dirt bikes, and sitting on every cruiser from 900cc to 1700cc landed me on a mint 2007 V-Star 1100 Silverado. Genuine Yamaha accessories above the included windshield, saddlebags and backrest are: Highway bars, front spotlights, rear passenger floorboards, windshield bag and rear luggage rack. It's loaded.
Build Fit and Finish: Chrome and paint, hardware far exceed expectations for a bike in this price range.
Styling: Super looking low slung chassis with a large tank, full fenders and beefy rubber. Lots of honks and waves at stoplights. Classic lines of a bike from long ago, with the brakes and features to make it easy to live with today.
Engine: The 75 degree air-cooled V-Twin has single overhead cams and is fed with (2) 37mm Mikuni heated carburetors. It starts instantly and runs perfect from idle to full power. It's not a silent engine. There is ever present whining from the straight cut gears, and mild valve flickering at certain speeds and temperatures that are characteristic of a mechanical valve train. Power is so seamless it runs like an injected bike.
Suspension: 5.5 inches of front fork travel and 4.5 inches of rear wheel travel are class leading, and provide a ride just short of plush, even when riding two up.
Brakes: Large twin front discs and a single rear disc do a fine job of stopping the bike in a safe, controlled manner, even under hard braking.
Transmission and Final Drive: The five speed transmission shifts with some noise, and the shaft final drive can lurch under certain conditions. Otherwise it operates smoothly.
Road Manners: The ride and handling of this bike far exceed what one would expect from a cruiser. The Dunlop D404 tires are smooth running and provide good grip. This machine builds confidence quickly because it nearly drives itself. It's that easy. Acceleration is VERY strong 0-60 MPH, and trails off somewhat over 80 MPH. A taller 5th gear or 6th gear would be welcome; the engine has plenty of torque to pull either. Top speed, untested by me, is a governor limited 110 MPH.
Servicing: Being above average with the wrench, the following can be done correctly: Spark plug change under 30 minutes, air filter 10 minutes, fuel filter under seat - 20 minutes. Oil change takes a solid 2 hours, because based on the year, some or all of the exhaust must be removed to access the internal oil cartridge. 2005 and later machines have a more robust rear muffler bracket that requires the rear header to be loosened. The most painful aspect is paying $40 for 4 exhaust gaskets. I use AMSOIL 10W40 motorcycle oil so I only service it once a year or 6,000 miles, the life of the oil filter, whichever comes first.
There are oil filter relocation kits available, but at considerable risk to upper engine damage, as they are very restrictive. Yamaha had nothing to do with the design of these kits, and I confirmed that on the phone with them. I would not put one on my bike or buy a bike that had one installed. That's my informed choice, your call is your own.
Ergonomics: I stand 5'7" tall, and everything on this bike falls perfectly. Much larger riders complain about the seat and foot controls, but most of them are far over 6 feet tall and weigh over 200 lbs. The levers, grips and hand control switchgear are well placed, and quite comfortable.
Clutch: Some riders complain of low speed stalling. It's related to the clutch adjustment. A dime is a perfect gauge to put between the lever when the engine is stone cold. Any more freeplay is too much, as it increases 200-300% when the engine is hot.
Touring Ability: This bike is more than capable of going coast to coast in comfort. The saddlebag volume is limited by stacked exhaust pipes, a limitation shared by any bike with like configuration. Combined city and highway fuel consumption is 40 MPG. The machine is very smooth and stable at highway speeds, with very minimal wind turbulence.
Overall: This machine is well done. It's comfortable, easy to manage and has the power to rough up bigger cruisers if you're the sporting type. Not many 1100 class machines compare to its look, performance and reliability. Not one issue since I took ownership and went through it. It's highly recommended for novice or expert riders seeking an affordable, well done cruising machine.