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V-Star 650 Classic: An Owner’s Review

The best part about the V-Star is the shaft drive. No chain lubing, no stretching. You do need to change the shaft oil every 10,000 miles. If you have never had a shaft drive it is so much easier than a chain. Everything else is standard. The oil filter is inserted into the engine instead of a screw on oil filter.

Big front wheel/customization
The big front wheel and full fender makes the V-Star look like a bigger bike. Not only does it look good but it helps make the bike the bike more stable on our grooved and cracked California highways. The looks are what initially attracted me to the bike and there is a ton you can add to it to make it a personal work of art. Yamaha offers a bunch of their own accessories but you can find all sorts of aftermarket accessories for the V-Star that will really make it unique.

The V-Star 650 could use a 6th gear. It runs fast at 80mph, although I have cruised at 80 all day and the bike is fine. The Yamaha engine can take it, but it would just sound better with a 6th gear, and maybe help the range of the V-Star 650 which tops out at around 170-180 miles per tank. The stock seat on the other hand requires dismounting every 100 miles on a long ride. It is hard and looks great, but creates pressure points that need to be relived. Windshields vary in size to give you a lot to minimal wind protection. The switch was made the year after mine to floorboards instead of pegs. If you do a lot of twisties the pegs give you a little more clearance but for touring the boards are best. Aftermarket pegs are cheap and easy to install.

The fit and finish of the V-Star 650 cannot be beaten for the price. It will never be a specialized touring bike, but if you can get used to a high reving engine, it won’t let you down. The bike is a favorite among shorter riders and women because of it's low seat height, but for me at 5'10" it offers a lower center of gravity and increased flickability factor. The V-Star 650 comes from the dealer well suited for everyday riding but I would recommend you an air kit and less restrictive pipes to help it breathe better. Horsepower and fuel economy will increase if done well.


Hey all, Bought my 650 V-Star Classic new in '99. I had never ridden before, and this has been a great bike. A few aftermarket add-ons make it even better. Put the Hard Krome Kicker pipes on it and made a Hugh difference in sound. Looking to put new tires on within the next week or two, leaning towards the Metzeler tires. (Upgrading to the 200/70/15 rear) Other than changing the oil and fuel filter, I have never had a single problem with this bike. Looking to upgrade to the 1100 or new 1300 soon.
- Kevin

I like the Vstar which I got to replace the '83 Goldwing that neighbor Alan totalled at the intersection of 135th st. and rte 59 with his Chevy Lumina. Thank God I wore my helmet that day! Anyway, the 650 looks cool, not as good as the Wing on the open road, in fact I think my Nighthawk 750 with a small shield was probably better road machine. But the vstar is a blast to cruise around on as long as I don't get in too much of a hurry. The little mill sounds pretty busy above 65 mph even though the top speed is about 90 according to the test bike index of Motorcycle Consumer News, April 2003. And, in my opinion looks pretty cool with the solo seat and bags. Fun stuff and inexpensive - bought from private party with 4000 miles on the clock. So what if it only puts 33 hp to the rear wheel, it is well balanced and fun to ride. Which is where I think I will go now. Ride safe!
- Lynne

Bought this, my 18th bike a little over a month ago. Just finished it's 1000k break-in tune up (very costly and the prices vary greatly between dealers!!!). The bike is fantastic with great throttle response, good MPG. I constantly get raves on this bike. I have no problem keeping up with the pack when riding with others in town/country (the 6th gear IS really needed). I have had them all from 50cc's to 1300cc's. Ya know (at my age 50) I think I enjoy this bike the best.

I have an '05 VStar 650 Silverado ... 11,000 miles on it ... and love it. A 6th gear would be nice especially on the highway ... I ran approximately 100 miles a day round trip to and from work... all at 70+ ... averaging approximately 48 miles to the gallon with all stock gear. Added a GPS and have no hessitation with saddling up and heading which ever way the wind is blowing. I recently added a '98 Royal Star to the garage but still find myself getting on the "baby star" for the runs to and from work.

Bought my 05 650 custom with flames in March of this year. Ride it about 40 miles a day to work and home. Im 6ft 1/200lbs and love the bike. Dealer installed windshield, everything else is standard equipement. I agree on the extra gear, but i cruise on the interstate around 70-75 mph with no problem. Only if accessories were so expensive, but thats anything nowdays. Do all the maintenance myself, oil/filter, final drive oil in my garage with the help of my lift purchased at sears. Picked up a nail in the rear tire about a week ago. Removed tire/rim myself, pretty easy after taking my time and re-install a little tough, but i finally eased the tire, final drive/shaft back into place. With gas prices nowdays, you cant go wrong with any bike, but for the money the Yamaha 650 a great bike.
- K. Coe

I am very happy with my 2005 V Star Silverado. The one thing about the bike that annoys me though is a gear whine from the transmission. I thought at first that something was wrong with it but the dealer let me ride two other 650 V Stars and they too had the same gear whine. I am told by the service manager that the gear whine is inherent in these bikes because of the way the gears are cut. I have to agree with everyone else's comments about needing a 6th gear. I wish that the V Star was available in an 800cc motor size. I considered buying an 1100 V Star, but did not want that big of a bike. I passed on the Suzuki C50T because I did not like the styling and the fact that it has a much harder to maintain engine. I have over 5500 miles on my bike and I have done all of the maintenance myself. I like how easy this engine is to work on. I also like the availability of after markt parts for this bike. The quality of the Yamaha saddle bags that came with my bike leave much to be desired in workmanship. The first day that I had the bike, the stitching on one of the bags came apart at the zipper. I did not take it back to the dealer because I did not want to hassle with them over replacement. The windshield is not as protective of wind and road debris as I would like it to be. That is because of my preference to a full windshield, not because of design fault though. This motorcycle seems to be geared a little higher in 1st gear than I would like it to be. In traffic, I have to slip the clutch or use the clutch too much because the bike moves too fast for stop and go creeping in traffic or riding two up. Overall, I would say that this bike is a lot better than others on the market in the price range.
- Joe B.

I have a V Star 650, 2006 classic. I really like it. I drive about 50 miles a day to work and back. The sixth gear thing would really be a plus but the bike runs great and I like the style of it. It has been a while since I had a bike. My last one was a BSA 650 Gold Flash. Now that I am in my 60s I cherish every day I have on the road. I have had a lot of good comments about the bike. Folks really like the looks of it and the sound is pretty good too when cruising around town. Safe biking gang!!
- Wayne S

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