2003 Yamaha V-Star 650 Custom
A pleasure to ride and easy to own
The motorcycle has been flawless. Do check the fastener tightness every now and then, as some of the bolts seem to chronically loosen.
This is a great motorcycle for commuting and general fun riding. I have found it to be very comfortable for commutes (50 miles / day) and long trips (6-7 hours / day).
It gets around 54 MPG in town and around 43 MPG on the highway (generally 70 - 75MPH). It starts and stops easily and is well balanced. It carries its weight relatively low.
The maintenance schedule calls for frequent valve adjustments, but with oil changes every 2000 - 2500 miles, the clearances are in the middle of the spec after 7500 miles without adjustment.
Taller riders (> 5'10") would probably be a bit cramped on the bike.
It has some limitations: It's a touch low on power, but will run with the 1100 / 1200's just fine - just lacking some torque. 5th gear is a bit too low for long trips above 65 MPH - vibrations start to creep in (not annoying ones though).
My biggest gripe: Ground clearance - this bike is low - be careful in the twisties and turns, especially on crowned roads. Any decent rider will easily push the cornering limits of this machine. Worse yet, there is very little warning when you run out of clearance. Don't try to keep up with high ground clearance cruisers or aggressive riders. You will reach the bikes limits far before others or the limits of the tires. I hit the pegs daily and catch the bottoms of the highway bars weekly (yes - I like curves).
My general take on this bike - it is good at everything, but excels at nothing. Which makes it a nice bike to jump on and ride. I'm looking for a more capable bike in the curves, but I can't match the everyday comfort and ridability of this bike. So - till then, I will enjoy this machine.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd July, 2008
20th Mar 2009, 12:35
I agree with your review of the 650. I own a 2003 650 Classic and have had very little in the way of breakdowns or problems. I have gone through a few clutch cables, but mostly that's my fault. I run with "apes" and had to use cables that are not OEM (my latest cable came from an old Harley Shovelhead-4 spd.)
I have 49,000+ miles on mine now, in the 6 years I've had it (bought new) and am just now making my first valve adjustment. My experience, from seeing other 650 owners, is do not make unnecessary adjustments!
Spot on about taller riders... I'm 6'0" and feel cramped with stock setup. To alleviate I ditched the seat and put a stock 2006 Harley Duece seat in it's place. This put me lower and farther back plus added better padding. The taller bars keep me from doing the "forward shoulder roll" trying to reach the low stock bars.
Great little bar-hopper bike, but pushes hard trying to keep up with my buddies on the highway (80+mph)... I either need slower friends or a bigger bike!