WhyBike Motorcycle Blog

New Yamaha Model - RoadLiner

By James - 6/17/2005

As I was looking for an alternative to the seat on my Yamaha V-Star, I went to look up a part number on the Yamaha website. To my surprise I came across a new model in the Star line of Yamaha Motorcycles, the Roadliner. It looks good, with retro styling and a low stretched frame. The most distiguishing feature are the three chrome accents on the tank giving it the Art Deco 1930’s airliner look, which is probably where the engineers got the name for the Roadliner’s touring version, the Stratoliner. It looks like the main differences between the Roadliner and Stratoliner are the hard bags and windshield. For about $1300 more you can get a dolled up version, the “S” with polished wheels and chrome engine casings.

With an 1854cc engine Yamaha is looking to compete with Honda’s VTX 1800, Kawasaki’s Vulcan 2000, and Suzuki’s M95 (and to a lesser degree Harley’s Road King) which has been very popular with the “boulevard touring” crowd. Yamaha seems to be diverging from a company just chasing the Harley look and inventing it’s own identity as a cruiser brand. In hindsight, their recent change to Star Motorcycles emphasises this. The name “Stratoliner” and “Roadliner” could use some help . . . I can only think of a slow lumbering vehicle when I hear the name.

Here are the specs, right off of their site:

Type: 113-cubic-inch (1854cc) air-cooled pushrod 48-degree V-twin
Bore x Stroke: 100mm x 118mm
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Carburetion: Twin-bore electronic fuel injection, w/ 43mm throttle bodies and throttle position sensor
Ignition: Digital TCI
Transmission: 5-speed, w/multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive: Belt

Suspension/Front: 46mm telescopic fork; 5.3″ travel
Suspension/Rear: Single shock, link-type; 4.3″ travel
Brakes/Front: 298mm hydraulic, dual discs
Brakes/Rear: 320mm hydraulic, single disc
Tires/Front: 130/70-18
Tires/Rear: 190/60-17

Length: 101.6″
Width: 36.8″
Height: 43.3″
Seat Height: 28.9″
Wheelbase: 67.5″
Ground Clearance: 6.1″
Dry Weight: 705 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons

Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)



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  1. The Roadliner looks like a nice bike, particularly the chromed up version. But I’d be weary of buying a 2006 model. There’s a whole set of new emissions laws that start with the 2006 model year. Try to find a 2005 model first, as that will protect from any emissions laws.

    My thoughts are that if any state tries to enact mandatory smog-testing, it will be with the 2006 models and up. They will most likely check for exhaust modifications as well, and bust you for tinkering with it.

    Yeah, the Roadliner looks cool, but I’ll wait several years before I buy anything after 2006.

    Comment by Steve — 6/27/2005 @ 12:18 am

  2. Oh by the way, if you’re looking for a different seat on the V-Star, I recommend Ultimate Seats. The most comfortable seat I ever sat on. http://www.ultimateseats.ca

    Comment by Steve — 6/27/2005 @ 12:20 am

  3. its a great looking bike with several chrome pieces that are standard. it’s also made by yamaha so you know the reliability is there. i was thinking about buying a harley til i saw the roadliner s.

    Comment by dog — 12/12/2005 @ 10:19 am

  4. The bike is brand new so we won’t know how reliable it will be. My V-Star is like clockwork so chances are the Roadliner will be as well.

    Comment by James — 12/12/2005 @ 9:13 pm

  5. I have rode to Roadliner and have also purchased a new Stratoliner_S (Black Cherry/Raven). I own a V-Star 1100 Classic which I bought in late 2000. It now has 30,000 miles on it. I love the V-Star. It is the best bike that I have ever owned. Now I will have the Stratoliner with rides and handles as good or better than the V-Star. The Stratoliner is a mix of the Warrior and the Road Star, so it’s not totally new. We’ll have to wait and see just how the Stratoliner holds up. I believe that it will not only be as good but better. It looks great and also runs great.

    Comment by Tom — 1/18/2006 @ 2:49 pm

  6. I bought a Stratoliner S in Feb. 2006. I’ve had a 2003 H-D Road King since August 03. The Stratoliner is a much better and more powerful bike than the Road King. There is no comparison between the 88 cu. in. Harley and the 113 cu. in. Yamaha. When I want to go slow, I ride my Harley. :-) It would cost about $8,000 to upgrade the Road King to the same level of power in the standard Stratoliner.

    Comment by Biker Don — 4/6/2006 @ 11:32 am

  7. I’ll be the first to admit that the bike is awsome to look at. The looks drew me in right away. And the more I looked at it, the more the technology jumped out at me, and that’s why I bought it. But from the moment I started it up, I knew something was wrong. What’s up with that loud whining noise coming out of the engine? It sreams like a friggin banshee!! Is mine the only lemon out there? And if so, why won’t Yamaha and my dealer fix it?

    Comment by Jeff — 5/12/2006 @ 8:00 am

  8. I too had a V-Star as my starter bike, though the 650, so the Stratoliner I purchased was a huge step up, both in power and stature. The only downside to upgrading was having to repurchase all new mods and accessories. I found that the Stratoliner came around just when I had gotten my bike looking and feeling good. But as someone with a larger frame myself, the 650 just couldn’t pull me along, much less with a passenger in tow. The 1853cc boost is almost 3 times what I had in my v-star, and I can definitely feel it in the wrist. The downside to a new production line is the scarcity of third party accessories. Corbin seems to have the most available. We are seat shopping and Yamaha and Corbin seem to be the only ones available. So far I’ve upgraded to passenger boards, added a chrome RAM mount for my IWAY 500c, and the STARCOM1 com system, with CB, cell phone and isolated music leads. What is it about stock seating, that makes one think of conspiracy theories? I see Yamaha lost no time in providing an alternative. Everyone keeps telling me I should get a Mustang seat, and yet both Mustang (and ultimate seats) state they will be available in summer of 06, so I suspect they may both be the same manufacturing source (just different upholstery). Does anyone have any experience with the Corbin or Yamaha versions. I’ve purchased a AIRHAWK for my passenger to pacify her for the moment, but we’d both like something better, since the stock seats aren’t as comfortable for longer rides. I suspect I’m better off just waiting for the MUSTANG. Thanks.

    Comment by Natureszen — 6/22/2006 @ 3:29 am

  9. I’m in the seat search myself. The corbin seems to be my best option. The stock seat sure sucks! Had an Ultra Classic and a Sporty; I’ll take the Liner but my wife sure misses the comfort of the classic. I baught the Sporty for rippin trips and curve play, but after getting on a Liner the HD’s were history. Now all i need is a real seat (no thanks to Yamaha) and an expense account for rear tires. Lost’s of slippage due to torque. Thanks all and God bless! hjc

    Comment by HJC — 7/13/2006 @ 2:20 pm

  10. I too like the Yamaha’s. I owned a 2002 VStar 650 classic. I loved the big. Great for getting around town and I felt safe taking it out on the highway. A great bike for a new rider. This summer I purchased a raven stratoliner. I too fell in love iwth it’s 1930’s retro look. The black on black color is easy on the eye and easy to keep clean. As far as handeling, I find that there was little diffrence between my 650 and the stratoliner, until I open up the throttle. The bike is built low and stretched out. I have been on several long rides, and have found the seat very comfortable. My friend purchased a new road king at the same time I got the stratoliner. To this day he wishes he had purchased the stratoliner-S.

    Comment by The Chaz — 8/10/2006 @ 9:28 pm

  11. Have had Bikes since 1963 all over the world and so many makes I can’t remember. I went up from a VTX1300 to a Startoliner-S about two months ago. Without a doubt the best ride I’ve owned. Power, Looks, Handling and Price all what I wanted. The only upgrade I think I will do for now are the Ultimate Seats with backrest. Had one on my VTX and they are the BEST. No need for exhaust upgrade.Sounds Great.The only minor complaint I have so far is the ammount of heat I feel on my right leg.Not unusual on really big V-twins though. This thing handles as good or better than my 750 AERO and that one road like a dream. Yes, HD’s are good but this beast is by far much better in every respect except reputation-give it time.

    Comment by TAP — 9/1/2006 @ 2:40 pm

  12. Got my Roadliner Midnight in March of 2006. 5 months and 9,000 miles later, I love it more than the day I bought it. We’re headind for the Blue Ridge Parkway next week. Should rack up about 12,000 miles before the end of summer.
    Even my die hard HD buddies confess they love it. But, only when no one else is listening of coarse ;)

    Comment by Glenn — 9/8/2006 @ 6:43 pm

  13. Just “downsized” from a 1300 cc ROYAL STAR VENTURE to a 1900 cc STRATOLINER S (silver two tone). I’ve only had the bike one week tonight but it has revived my interest in riding and I love the bike. The fit and finish are typical STAR and the ride is smooth and powerful. I wanted to get away from the heavier touring model, so I now have a nimble cruiser that is great on the highway. I too am shopping for aftermarket goodies and some fun accessories also (retro mirrors?). I love the feel of a big V TWIN and am getting lots of stares as I ride down the road. Although my ride came with an extended warranty, no worries there mate. This is my ninth YAMAHA since 1983, this ride appears to have the tradition of quality built into it.

    Comment by Dave L — 9/14/2006 @ 6:30 pm

  14. If you haven’t gotten your seat yet,look up Rick Mayer saddles. Haven’t gotten one yet, but it’s on my ‘to do’ list. Best I’ve seen yet.

    Comment by cycledawg — 10/9/2006 @ 10:16 am

  15. Love the Startoliner S. Is it a boulevard bike? A cruiser? A tourer? Yes. It does it all, and does everything well. Haven’t had any problems in the first 3300 miles, and can’t wait to ride again. I would like to see more aftermarket parts… principally visors for headlights, passing lamps, and turn signals… and a visor for the instrument panel would prevent night time reflection in the windshield. Anyone considering a Road/Stratoliner purchase should get the Strat. it comes with removable windscreen, bags, and backrest. It’s the most economical way to get those pieces. True, you can buy the same parts for Roadliner, but you’ll pay more, so why not get ‘em up front? Then you can pull ‘em off if you don’t want to run with them all the time. Just remember to hand on with both hands, ‘cause that EXUP valve kicks in strong at 2500 rpm.

    Comment by Hot Rod — 10/28/2006 @ 1:24 pm

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