Best Of The Best 2006: Yamaha Star Roadliner

<< Back to Robb Report, June 2006

The Yamaha Star Roadliner’s designers say that they based the bike’s Art Deco styling—which includes such de­tails as beehive rear turn signals, a heart-shaped dual-element headlight, and a seamless teardrop fuel tank ornamented by horizontal strakes—on that of the streamliner locomotive of the 1930s. These retro design elements notwithstanding, the Roadliner takes full advantage of modern technology. Digital fuel injection feeds the four-valve, air-cooled, pushrod V-twin, and dual counterbalancers quell the engine’s vibrations. You would expect a hearty torque delivery from an engine with 113 cu in (1,854 cc) at its disposal, but Yamaha has intensified this power by adding an exhaust back-pressure valve—called EXUP—like the one on high-revving Yamaha sportbikes.

The Roadliner is a big ma­chine, but its frame and rear swing arm are made from aluminum, which helps to keep the bike’s weight at just over 700 pounds. That still is substantial, but on the street the Roadliner seems to shrug off much of this mass, steering with precision and banking willingly at the rider’s directive. Throttle response is smooth and immediate, and it produces an emphatic bark from the bazooka-sized muffler without any competing valve-train or drivetrain racket.

The Roadliner has a long and wide rider’s seat and longer-than-usual footboards. Owners of widely varying stature can find a comfortable perch on this bike, and its low seat height, low center of gravity, and long handlebars enhance maneuverability at all speeds. The Roadliner is sold in three forms: a base model starting at about $13,600, a mostly black model with minimal ornamentation called Midnight, and the S model, which sports chrome and polished metal wherever Yamaha could find space for it.

Yamaha also offers a full range of accessories for the Roadliner, but for those who cannot be bothered with making decisions about which extras to buy, or who do not want the burden of installing them, Yamaha offers fully dressed versions of the same machine. They are called Stratoliners, and their prices start at about $15,200.

Yamaha
www.yamaha-motor.com

Lotus claims the sports car will embarrass its more expensive rivals...
Gooding & Company auctions a vintage Lamborghini to fund mental-health-care initiative…
Photo by Gerald Farber Photography
The pebble beach Concours d’Elegance and the surrounding four days of automotive auctions (...
Photo by Patrick Ernzen/RM Sotheby's
RM Sotheby’s has assembled a special sale of approximately 30 postwar sports cars dubbed the...
Ferrari 488 Spider front quarter panel view
The $275,000 open-air roadster can lower its top in 14 seconds and hit 62 mph in 3 seconds…
Photo by Basem Wasef
The new edition features a striking monochromatic color scheme and carbon fiber accents…
A half-century after its historic victory in Europe, Shelby’s iconic racer returns to celebrate…
Today’s german auto museums are much more than vaults filled with old cars: They are structural...
Battery pack improvements give the car the ability to go from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds…
Classic Ferraris and Porsches will be on display in all of their glory…