The 2009 Yamaha V-Star 1100 is a midsize cruising touring bike designed to fill in the gap between the Japanese manufacturer's 1300 and 950 models, thereby satisfying Yamaha's claim to offer a V-Star for every type of rider. Available in three sub-models–the Classic, the Custom, and the Silverado–all three models are built upon this model line's 55-cubic-inch, air-cooled, SOHC, 75-degree V-twin, with two-valves per cylinder engine that's mated to a five-speed gearbox and fitted on a double-cradle steel frame with a 33-degree rake. The 1063cc engine produces an impressive 62 horsepower at 5750 rpm and 85 lb-ft of torque at 2500 rpm, making it more than powerful enough to satisfy any rider's needs.
Unlike the other models under the V-Star umbrella, the 1100 features a shaft drive instead of a belt drive. It also features a durable suspension with front-end forks, providing a generous 5.5 inches of travel and a rear shock offering 4.5 inches of travel. Braking power is delivered by dual hydraulic 298mm disc brakes up front and a single 298mm brake in the back.
Another difference between the 1100 and the other Yamaha V-Star models is the company's decision to stick with its dual-carburetor approach to fuel delivery to the engine, instead of giving it fuel-injection. Each bike also has the stylistic and functional two-into-two dual shotgun style exhaust system that's both throaty and easily customizable. The air induction system keeps CO and HC exhaust emissions to a minimum.
Visually, the 2009 Yamaha V-Star 1100 is a winner. Its extra-long 64.6-inch wheelbase gives it a long and lean profile, and the spacious ergonomics provide exceptional handling and maneuverability, with optimum all-day rider comfort. The instruments are equally eye-catching, with the most noteworthy among them being a tank-mounted speedometer with an extra-large face for easier reading. The tripmeter and odometer displays are digital, and the usual warning lights and other pertinent instruments are all accounted for. The package is nicely rounded out by its best-in-class paint job, chrome bullet-style 60/55-watt halogen headlight, locking compartment under the side cover, helmet lock, steering lock, and convenient bungee cord hooks on the rear-passenger foot peg mounts. Plus, with its 4.5-gallon tank and reported 44 mpg, there are plenty of miles to be enjoyed between fill ups.
The 2009 Yamaha V-Star 1100's trio of bikes differ only very slightly, with most differences being evidenced in their exterior styles. The Classic and Silverado editions are the same in every aspect, with the exception being that the Classic features retro designs, while the Silverado includes several additions geared toward making touring a more comfortable and convenient experience. The Custom differs the most, as it is a lower and shorter bike that's been all but stripped of its fancy accents. In fact, the Custom offers the lowest seat height (27.2 inches) of any V-Star model. With the Custom, a rider gets a bare-bones touring cruiser for less money that's ready to be decked out with aftermarket specialty parts for a one-of-a-kind fit and finish.