ROAD TEST: 2019 Yamaha Star Eluder Review

Get Your Kicks on Route 62

By Koz Mraz

In the dark battle of blacked out low profile street fighting motorcycles the Yamaha Star Eluder is a force to be reckoned with.  Whether you’re eluding the police or angry ex-wives this stealthy rocket ship may just be the hot ticket. This “Big, Black Bagger Class” takes a full size tourer, strips the frills and paints everything black. This category includes the Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special, BMW K1600B, Honda Gold Wing F6B, and Kawasaki Vaquero (see Quick Throttle May issue).   All of these motorcycles are fixed fairing design and personally, I am a big fixed fairing fan.  You’re not muscling the weight of the fairing around corners or fighting wind buffeting.  I feel it’s an overall more stable riding experience.

Launched in 2018, the all new Star Eluder is the lighter, less expensive little brother for riders who do more solo riding and prefer a leaner, more aggressive look. The Star Venture luxury tourer on the other hand is designed for two-up long distance riding. Both are built on the same platform and have muscular bodywork wrapped around a 113-cubic-inch, air-cooled V-twin.

When I say the Eluder is the lighter of the two, it still weighs in at 875-pounds and the visually large faring and air scoops enhance this beast.  With a 67.6-inch wheelbase, the Eluder is also a long bike. Hitting state Route 62 to the high desert, I pass the army of wind farm giants waving their massive blades in defiance.  The road turns into big sweeping turns that soon drop into Yucca Valley.

The Eluder handles quite well and the suspension is tuned to perfection. The front 46mm telescopic fork affords 5.1-in travel, while the rear single shock with remote preload adjustment offers 4.3-in travel. I got the sense that I was floating, rather than riding. Adjustable preload is easily accessible from the removable right side panel.

The Eluder’s 1,854cc air-cooled 48° V-Twin is an all new design created specifically for Yamaha’s Transcontinental Touring line, which includes both the Star Eluder and the Star Venture.  The engine features two counter balancers and composite motor mounts, and runs smooth. The massive front air scoops are designed to trap some of the air-cooled engine’s heat in the cockpit when it’s cold. If it gets really cold, Star Eluder keeps both rider and passenger comfortable with standard  adjustable heated seating. Accessory grip and hand warmers are also available. When it’s hot, the Eluder’s lower fairing has hand-operated vents that allow cooler air in. The vents don’t mitigate all engine heat, particularly on the left side, and that’s been a real bone of contention for owners in hot weather.     

I stopped at Route 62 Diner for lunch and riders immediately came out to admire the overall aesthetics of this bad-ass looking bike, they called it Euro-modern Anime and actually, I have to agree, it’s a mix of Transformers meets Testarossa.

Yamaha’s Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T), a ride-by-wire throttle control system, is also carried over from last year’s model, as is Yamaha D-Mode which allows the rider to choose from smooth or sport riding modes. Traction control, ABS, and cruise control are standard. Equipped with modern technology such as throttle-by-wire, riding modes, linked ABS brakes and Smart Key System; the remote key fob only needs to be in the rider’s pocket.

Between the two saddlebags and the front storage compartments, the Star Eluder has 18.8 gallons of space available for your gear. The two saddlebags hold nine gallons each and are completely weatherproof.  Up front, three small storage compartments handle your small necessities, and the one to the right of the instrumentation has a USB charging port and an AUX audio input.

The Eluder’s infotainment system delivers with a 7-inch screen located close to the rider’s line of sight on the dash. While the screen’s size makes it easy to see at a glance, the reach to the touch screen is a stretch. Yamaha provided a handy button array on the left grip to make all of the system’s functions available with just your thumb. Aside from GPS navigation and a ton of data about the trip, the infotainment system features your choice of Pandora, Sirius XM, USB, AUX input, AM/FM radio, and CB radio. You can listen to your tunes via the fairing’s built-in speakers or through a wired helmet audio connection.

The Eluder’s dual exhausts were tuned with assistance from Yamaha’s music division with the pipes tuned slightly differently. The result is a harmonic purr 105.8 lb-ft at 2,800 rpm, which is right where the engine is turning in sixth gear at 75 mph. The 6.6-gallon fuel tank will net you well over the 200 mile range.

Yamaha calls the Eluder and the Venture their Transcontinental Touring models, and I understand why. One could easily be lured into floating over endless tarmac as state lines roll by like speed limit signs.

Special Thanks to Lee, Owner of Palm Springs Motorsports for loaning me this awesome cruiser. Next time I’m not bringing it back.  They offered to let me ride and review the new 2020 ZERO S/RF electric motorcycle so keep an eye out for that!

GT Option Package Special Features

Riders stepping up to the Star Eluder GT Option Package are provided with a range of infotainment upgrades. GPS navigation with points-of-interest and route logging makes it easy to plan, share and upload ride routes from the comfort of your home computer. A CB radio system keeps you in touch with other road users near and far. SiriusXM® keeps the tunes pumping across the state or across the country, while SiriusXM Travel Link® satellite provides weather and traffic info.

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