2018 Yamaha Star Eluder First Ride | Baggers


2018 Yamaha Star Eluder First Ride

Yamaha’s all-new stripped-down bagger

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.

2018 Yamaha Star Eluder

Riding the new Yamaha Star Eluder along Montezuma Grade toward Borrego Springs, California.


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.

2018 Yamaha Star Eluder

We were testing the following gear on the Eluder ride—Helmet: Arai Signet-X in Place Black Frost; Jacket: Spidi MotoCombat Wax Jacket; Boots: Spidi XPD X-Village Boots; Gloves: Spidi Leather Gloves; Jeans: Rev’It Memphis H2O).


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.

2018 Yamaha Star Eluder

The Impact Blue with black trim is an eye-popping colorway.


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.

2018 Yamaha Star Eluder

The Star Eluder is a great solo touring machine.


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.

2018 Yamaha Star Eluder

The Star Eluder’s cockpit is very ergonomically comfortable.


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

2018 Yamaha Star Eluder

The LED headlamps on the Star Eluder are some of the brightest on the market.


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.

2018 Yamaha Star Eluder

The Star Eluder is also available in a Raven finish (gloss black).


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.

2018 Yamaha Star Eluder

If you’re the flashier type, choose the Liquid Silver paint scheme with pinstripe graphics.



Year/Make/Model 2018/Yamaha/Eluder
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
Compression Ratio 9.5:1
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
Final Drive Belt
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.
Wheelbase 67.6 in.
Rake 31.0°
Trail 5.7 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.
 20018 Yamaha Star Eluder First Ride | Baggers

Motocycle Touring Motorcycling

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