2006 Yamaha Roadliner S Road Test Rider Magazine

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Yamaha Roadliner

2006 Yamaha Roadliner S Test

Photo Credit: Tom and Brian J. Nelson


January 1, 2007

Open any that covers the hyperactive of customized cruisers (such as our publication Cruising Rider), and see a healthy percentage of customs on Yamaha’s Road Star With its big-inch, traditional-looking, air-cooled V-twin engine and styling, the bike has been a run for Yamaha. Add in the abundant supply of parts produced for it by Yamaha and the and you’ve got all the ingredients for motorcycle pun intended.

The market continues to ever larger and more high-end factory cruisers. offers five versions of its Kawasaki presents its mammoth Vulcan 2000 stroker, and has several models designed by the team of Arlen (“The of the Customizers”) and Cory Ness.

distinguishes its 2,294cc Rocket III as being simply the largest-displacement motorcycle on the planet. Not to be outdone, is now stepping up to the plate with the Roadliner, an all-new model art-deco styling and Road roots. Holy mother of will it ever end?

we hope.

Sure, the 1,602cc Star was impressive when for 1999, and more so when it to 1,670cc (102 cubic a few years later. Now for 2006, the standard Road Star that displacement, the Roadliner with a new engine that to 1,854cc (113 cubic and an aluminum frame. In cruiser the Yamaha Roadliner S is not just a Star with a new suit of but the next leap forward in cruisers.

At last, a traditionally styled that makes good and handles acceptably well.

To the Roadliner unique styling, chose an art-deco design evokes the 1930s and ’40s, a when discovery and experimentation in ushered in an age of streamlining. During time everything from to automobiles, from buildings to radios, took on that look of wind-sculpted motion. underlying the Roadliner’s airy, whimsy is a functional base of steel fenders and an honest, engine, a clever blending of and function with fancy.

its bulbous headlight lunging out that relatively thin fender, the Roadliner evokes age of fast-moving, forward-weighted machines, an confirmed by the fat tank over a engine. Climb aboard our S test bike (three levels are available) and notice the chromed vista from the Pull the key from the ignition on the fluted headlight, and you can slide a cover rearward to conceal the for a very clean look. some annoying acquaintance you to ride your new bike, have a lot of fun flipping him the key and saying, you can take it for a ride-if you can start it three minutes.”

Yamaha S crusies down the road.

The handlebar clamps hold a buckhorn-style, 11.4-inch handlebar adorned at each end with switch hardware and chromed and clutch and brake master reservoirs. Switch wiring is inside the handlebar for a cleaner A wide, chromed avenue down the fuel tank and the gauges.

The fine lines on the of that huge speedometer me of those on the big Philco console that used to sit in my uncle’s den in the Below it are a small, round and fuel gauge with an LCD Styling touches abound. The fuel tank has no flange its bottom and those 12-spoke wheels are classy, as are those flowing, chromed accents on the

The engine has tapered, chromed tubes, and the fin edges have machined for a bright look. Out thrusts that classic-looking headlight, and out back rests a LED taillight; the cone-shaped rear lenses look like pointy bra.

The air-cooled, V-twin engine features new heads, pistons, crankshaft, balancers and the rest-and with a and … of 100 x 118mm, it’s at the stroker side of the equation. It four-valve heads, two spark per cylinder and a compression ratio of You know those high prices you’ve been about lately?

Well, to that compression ratio be pumping the 92-octane premium into your Roadliner if you to keep it happy. Power the rear wheel via belt drive.

Slide that cover forward to reveal the switch (that annoying has finally left) and start bad boy with a push of the starter Thanks to its twin-bore 43mm fuel injectors it requires no or fast-idle lever.

Retro include fuel gauge, and LCD panel.

Yamaha has done a lot vibration control on this single-crankpin engine. Twin allow the rider to feel a bit of rumble at idle, and a bit more acceleration in the grips and seat-but not else. During straight-line with the engine at steady the rider can more hear the than feel it.

Under acceleration the stock system, which is bulbous and looking with its covers over heat shields, an impressive (but not obnoxious) and quality of sound. It seems to up around the rider, providing desired “mellow” bellow riders all seem to seek. The incorporates Yamaha’s EXUP valve, which boosts at low- and midrange.

The Roadliner is a big designed for big people, an impression from its wide handlebar, the rubber-mounted footboards and that wheelbase. Yet, seat is an acceptable 28.9 inches, and you pull it up off the sidestand you’ll the bike is lighter than you have expected.

That’s Yamaha put this big-incher on a incorporating a new aluminum cradle that weighs but 37 pounds Road Star’s weighs 62 and a new aluminum swingarm that only 11.8 pounds pounds less than the Star’s steel unit). At 758 wet, the larger Roadliner about the same as the last Star we tested.

Shifting the transmission is facilitated by an adjustable heel/toe shifter, and by the fact everything just works The clutch requires a moderate and became tiring by the end of the day, but heavy springs are there to a lot of power. The Roadliner spun the dynamometer to 87.1 horsepower at rpm, and an impressive 107.2 of torque at a very lazy rpm!

By comparison the stock Honda VTX1800F we tested in our May issue generated 86.4 and torque peaked at 100.6 it weighed 778 pounds wet. The Victory Hammer in our March issue delivered 77.3 98.4 lb-ft of torque and 704 pounds. The Roadliner’s small indicates that the engine is just 2,550 rpm at an indicated 65 and with peak torque at it means you’ve got a boatload of power at your right when cruising along at 60 even downshifting.

Yamaha Roadliner
Yamaha Roadliner

2006 Yamaha Roadliner S.

We testers tend to be an aggressive lot who sporty bikes over That’s because cruisers to have marginal brakes, power and suspension systems, and cornering clearance, all of which upon our fun. With said, however, the Roadliner was a surprise.

Thanks to its 31.3-degree and 5.98 inches of trail it more quickly than its wheelbase would suggest, and twin front discs are by powerful four-piston mono-block that offer fine the rear disc is a two-piston Finally, instead of sparking and as soon as the ride got interesting, the did not touch down for me till I was into the fun zone.

After 100 miles on that firm I found that the rear of my was getting sore; where it upward at the back especially my backside. Yamaha may have a bike that allows riders to spread out, but though I’m “only” 6 feet I still could have a longer seat. The passenger are quite commodious, and the seat is firm.

Because of the 3.5-liter stuffed under it the Roadliner’s fuel tank holds 3.7 gallons, but there’s also a sub-tank under the seat for a capacity of 4.5 gallons. A big bike big power needs to eat, and our bike turned 40.5 which gives it a theoretical of 182 miles.

The Roadliner is available in three levels. The basic model comes in Black/Cherry with wheels, fender stays, controls and painted or chromed covers. Its fork tubes are and stainless.

The Midnight version features a blacked-out treatment black controls, top triple headlight, fork legs and covers. The S model we test ($14,980) features chromed legs, engine covers, hand controls and fenders and it’s otherwise polished two-tone Charcoal/Bronze paint. Or, you can the S for $200 less in pearl

Yamaha tells us that Star buyers spend to $2,500 in accessories for their and that the more than 50 accessories include bags, a pipes, apparel and (of course) chrome.

Good brakes, and cornering clearance make the great fun in the curves.

If you’re in the touring accessories for the Roadliner, also the Stratoliner to consider, a version that comes the factory with a detachable locking leather-covered hard and a passenger backrest. Standard, and S versions of the Stratoliner range in from $15,180 to $16,580.

not to like? While the art-deco is certainly cool, to my eye the front is cut so thin at its back edge it appears it could rub the tire. the exhaust system provides a sound, with its covers covers it looks to be about the (and possibly the weight) of a submarine; the muffler can be changed losing the EXUP system. The a pain in the rump, and I was a bit disappointed the chromed trim pieces on the were plastic.

Jeff Palhegyi (of Palhegyi in El Cajon, California), who built the for Yamaha, told me that a lot of had gone into them; the was that billet pieces would have been expensive, and they would not looked as good.

We expect Yamaha will once have a huge hit with the The S-model is not only an impressively bike for its $14,980 price but when you consider its size, handling and relative comfort chuck the seat) it’s one enjoyable and impressive ride. It a good amount of power off the showroom floor, is noticeably and more powerful than of its competitors and its styling makes a statement.

If the era of streamlining was truly combining flowing shapes the power to push them then the Roadliner truly an era of Star power for Yamaha.

Yamaha Roadliner
Yamaha Roadliner
Yamaha Roadliner
Yamaha Roadliner
Yamaha Roadliner
Yamaha Roadliner
Yamaha Roadliner
Yamaha Roadliner
Yamaha Roadliner
Yamaha Roadliner
Yamaha Roadliner


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