After riding Yamaha’s all-new Star Venture last summer, I returned home pretty damn spoiled. The bar had been set. Two-up, long-distance touring took on new meaning. I was impressed with Yamaha’s attention to detail for rider and passenger, but more importantly, my better half decided that all of our future trips would need to take place on a Venture. With Yamaha’s announcement of the Star Eluder, I was eager to see what the stripped-down bagger sibling was all about and, more importantly, if it retained the features that make the Venture such a stellar machine.
At the heart of the motorcycle is still Yamaha’s 113ci (1,854cc) air-cooled V-twin powerplant that churned out 112 foot-pounds of torque at 2,560 rpm on our dyno. The beauty of Yamaha’s low-end torque machine is that it doesn’t violently shake when rolling on the throttle in the low revs thanks to the twin counterbalancers.
The Eluder also comes equipped with traction control and Yamaha’s D-Mode, which allows on-the-fly throttle-response adjustments from Sport to Tour with the push of a button (located on the right switch cluster). Very close attention was also paid to tuning the exhaust note—Yamaha music engineers made spent gases a symphonic priority, which is a great example of Yamaha’s vision of blending emotion with function.
The Eluder enters the blacked-out bagger market with three color options: blue, black, and silver (in Yamaha speak that’s Impact Blue, Raven, and Liquid Silver). Most components that are either chrome or polished on the full-dress Venture get a black powdercoat on the Eluder, which is all the rage for a bagger in the current style climate. Chrome still adorns the meter bezels, pushrod tubes, and a few other accents.
The Eluder’s chassis is identical to the Venture and the suspension goes unchanged, which means canyon carving remains a solid selling point for this bagger. The beefy 46mm telescopic fork works harmoniously with the linkage-type rear gas-pressurized shock setup to provide effortless cornering with an overall buttery smooth ride. For storage, you won’t find the Venture’s cavernous touring trunk, but the spacious saddlebags still net you 67 liters of cargo capacity. Plus, the cockpit is equipped with two glove boxes up top, and one storage compartment on the lower left side, adding 4 liters of storage.
If you were curious if the Venture’s electronically adjustable windscreen found its way onto the Eluder, it didn’t. Instead you get a chopped and fixed windscreen that is less than desirable because of severe wind buffeting at highway speeds, at least for my 5-foot-10-inch frame. And I fit into the “pretty average” category (just ask my wife!). I can see a taller or shorter rider escaping the abuse, but for the average Joe, get ready to be annoyed after a long ride. However, a taller windscreen option is available from Yamaha accessories ($170), which will hopefully combat this issue. The fancy, electronic, Sure-Park assist feature didn’t make it from the Venture either.
Sadly, the heated grips also didn’t make it. Not standard, anyway, though you can also order them up as an accessory from Yamaha’s catalog ($280). You will find rider and passenger heated seats though, which did a great job of keeping my buns toasty on a wet and cold ride. You’ll also find a great ventilation system when you want it—two adjustable vents to direct airflow when it’s hot, or fully block out the elements when it’s cold or raining. I made sure both vents were closed and my legs and boots stayed pretty dry during a downpour along the ride.
The three-position rider backrest that I liked so much on the Venture didn’t make the cut on the factory Eluder. It really made a difference having some lumbar support after long hours in the saddle and, according to Yamaha, it’s not available as an accessory yet.
One of the main selling points for both Eluder and Venture is the infotainment system. The 7-inch full-color LCD display is controlled via touchscreen, handlebar controls, or voice commands—it really is one of the best and most comprehensive infotainment packages on the market. You can easily link your Bluetooth-equipped smartphone for fielding calls or actually receiving text messages too. Listen to your local radio stations, rock out with pre-recorded music, or stream Pandora from your smartphone, thanks to the onboard USB, auxiliary stereo, or Bluetooth wireless connection options. Do yourself a favor and opt for the GT version of the Eluder ($1,500 more than the standard Eluder) since it includes navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, and CB radio
In tallying the cost savings by buying the Eluder over the Venture, I’m leaning toward spending the extra dough for the Venture. Considering that when taking long trips, I always try to include my wife (and when she says she likes something, I listen). MSRP for the standard Eluder is $22,499, which is only $2,500 less than the standard Star Venture. Pricing for the Eluder with GT option is $23,999, which incorporates turn-by-turn navigation GPS, a security alarm system, CB radio, and satellite radio, which is $3,000 less than the fully equipped Star Venture Transcontinental Touring model.
Overall, the Star Eluder is a very capable bagger that is one of the most comfortable on the market, handles and rides extremely well, features plenty of torque to inspire confidence on the open road, and offers ample storage for a solo tourer ready to explore. The Eluder’s worst enemy might be its bigger sibling—if you’re planning on doing any long-distance riding, especially with a passenger, I say spend the extra $3,000 for the Star Venture. Remember: happy wife, happy life, amigos.
|MSRP||$22,499 ($23,999 GT Option Package)|
|Engine Type||113ci (1854cc) air-cooled OHV V-twin; 8 valves|
|Bore x Stroke||100.0mm x 118.0mm|
|Fuel Delivery||Yamaha Fuel Injection with YCC-T and D-Mode|
|Ignition||TCI (Transistor Controlled Ignition)|
|Transmission||6-speed; multiplate assist and slipper wet clutch|
|Front Suspension||46mm telescopic fork; 5.1-in. travel|
|Rear Suspension||Single shock with remote preload adjustment; 4.3-in. travel|
|Front Brakes||Dual hydraulic disc, 298mm; Unified Brake System and ABS|
|Rear Brakes||Hydraulic disc, 320mm; Unified Brake System and ABS|
|Front Tires||130/70R-18 Bridgestone Exedra|
|Rear Tires||200/55R-16 Bridgestone Exedra|
|L x W x H||98.0 in. x 38.4 in. x 50.2 in.|
|Seat Height||27.6 in.|
|Maximum Ground Clearance||5.5 in.|
|Fuel Capacity||6.6 gal.|
|Fuel Economy||34 mpg|
|Wet Weight||Star Eluder / Star Eluder GT 875 lb./877 lb.|