I just got back from my backpacking trip through the Montana/Wyoming wilderness with my dog and wife which was rejuvenating and exhausting at the same time. On my way up to the trailhead on Highway 212 I stopped in Cooke City for a bite to eat where I saw a somewhat familiar but unknown motorcycle across the street. After ordering my food I went over to check out the bike. It turned out to be Yamaha’s newest bike in it’s new Star line of motorcycles, the Roadliner. It was a bit of a shock to see it since it is not supposed to be available until later this year. The license plate was from California and was not a dealer plate, but had the word “DIST” on it. Was this a Yamaha test ride across the US or did one of the motorcycle magazines get their hands on the new model?
Waiting for the owner to return I checked out the bike more closely. The bike was the Midnight model, with blacked out engine parts, no windshield and only small aftermarket saddlebags, not the hard bags that come with the Stratoliner model. The front wheel, which appeared small in the pics I had seen was actually quite wide, but with the low profile appears smaller from the side. The giant triangular headlight has two bulbs, apparently one for the low and one for the high beam. The large instument cluster is on the tank and its design is similar to a 40’s era auto dashboard with speed and fuel analog gagues and electronic odometer and trip meters. The pipe was a two-into-one ala the VTX stock pipe. The handlebars were wide with normal Yamaha controls next to the grips. The floorboards had a heel-toe shifter. My food finally came and even after I ate the owner had not returned so I left for my motel to prepare for my wilderness trip.
The Beartooth Highway and Chief Joseph Highway are great proving grounds for new motorcycles. The road winds through glacier carved valleys at elevations from 7,000 ft to 9,000 ft, with vistas of heards of buffalo and pronghorn grazing in Yellowstone National Park. It is definately on the top of my list for next year’s vacation, but this time the dog will stay at home and my wife and I will ride there.Permalink
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