Truth be told, this is not a new bike, and maybe not the most exciting bike, but for my uncle this is his awesome new bike. Until last week, old man Rubinson rode a black/olive-green 2005 V-Star 1100 which was his first bike since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, aka the 80’s.
The “olive” was a nice bike for him. Being that he is 5’9″ and roughly 200lbs, the V-Star physically fit him well and was an overall good bike to get him back into riding. It wasn’t crazy powerful, had a extremely comfortable riding position, and a host of accessories for him to choose from. However, as any rider knows, there is always something nicer out there so he recently decided that he wanted to upgrade to something that fit his needs a little better.
What he was essentially looking for was a bike that could mimic a Harley Davidson Street Glide without costing anywhere near $20,000. Sure, he could have bought one used, but the year-range of H-D he could afford isn’t exactly known for their reliability he didn’t feel like having a tinker-toy. This essentially left him going back to metric cruisers. Through talking with myself and doing his own research, he even found a great range of bikes that fit that requirement right around the size of the Street Glide, but then I found what would become the perfect bike.
The black & blue/purple 2009 V-Star 1300 wasn’t a model he was initially considering mainly due to the 1300cc motor. Even I was trying to find something in the 1600-2000cc range to best mimic the Street Glide, but I pulled up this V-Star for him to look at for a couple key reasons.
- Old man wanted hard-saddlebags. After having a nice pair of soft-bags on the 1100, he realized that in order to maximize storage, durability, and security, hard-bags were the way to go. This model came with them out of the factory and look great on the bike, not all accessory saddles can say the same.
- Old man doesn’t want to tinker. The 1100 V-Star ran like a Civic, and by that I mean nothing ever went wrong. While metric cruisers in general are very reliable, V-Stars are always at the top of those click-bait articles about reliability. With the 1300 having fuel-injection, liquid cooling, and belt-drive, these bike is meant to run for years without inconveniencing the owner. Granted, the 1100 was shaft-driven and even more reliable, we realized that belts were more common on the larger “CC” motors.
- Old man isn’t exactly a big man. Probably the most important reason I sent this to him to check out was actually the size. The 1300 has the same seat height, floor board spacing, and almost the same weight of the older 1100. This means that het is getting just about every upgrade he wants without riding a monster. This consideration doesn’t mean much for someone who is six feet tall and can easily flat-foot a bagger, but that gets sketchier and sketchier as your height drops. During the ride home, he even said how it feels great since it just feels like the super version of the old V-Star, which he really enjoyed riding.
Obviously, old man Rubinwrinkles liked the bike and it is now in our garage as the jealous old V-Star get ready to go up for sale, but what do I think of it? In short, very nice light-tourer that doesn’t quick fit my riding style.
The first thing is that I noticed was that it does pull decently hard. At roughly 630lbs, the glass-smooth V-Twin will pull down the road with ease and you can’t comfortably pop it into 5th gear until over 60 mph. This tells me that you can comfortably sit at 75+mph on the highway all day long. Also, the seating position is very standard with you legs not stretched out at all. Now, I personally like a little stretch but my uncle does not, this position fits him great since his legs aren’t that long so I get it. The same can be said for the stock handlebar. It tucks back towards the rider with the grips angled in as well. Your arms, like your legs, are not extended at all which adds to the everyday comfort of the V-Star.
The styling is nice too. This is not trying to copy an H-D but has very nice lines that don’t force a certain style on you. It is actually a tad on the under-stated side which for people like my uncle, is preferable. Going along with the styling, because this particular bike only had 5,000 miles, it really does look and feel brand new. This is a bike that he can ride until that brand new Street Glide becomes a reality. There are a few smaller upgraders he wants to do but the two major ones will be a lighting system for night riding, and a batwing fairing. Once he gets these upgrades bolted on, this unassuming Yamaha will be perfect for him.
However, there is a downside when it came to bringing this bike home. It’s a big one really. I now have to itch to buy a new bike. Why are the motoring gods so cruel!