The 2009 Yamaha V-Star 950 accomplishes something that not many entry-level cruisers can claim–it's a big, meaty-looking bike that's deceptively light and agile. This is the introductory year for the Yamaha V-Star 950, and it is available in a base model, as well as a Tourer model. Both models feature the same engine, chassis, and exhaust, with the only differences noticeable being the Tourer's included windscreen, passenger backrest, 11-gallon saddlebags, and alternative color schemes.
At the heart of the Yamaha V-Star 950 lies its 942cc, air-cooled, 60-degree, V-twin engine. Rigid-mounted to the bike's all-new double-cradle frame, the engine features ceramic composite plated cylinders and 85mm forged aluminum pistons capable of producing an impressive 58 lb-ft of torque at 3500 rpm. Yamaha put a lot of effort into researching what its customers wanted in a larger cruiser bike, so the five-speed transmission delivers power to the bike's thick 16-inch rear wheel via a belt, instead of a chain.
The 2009 Yamaha V-Star 950 rides incredibly smooth, thanks in part to its 41mm front-end KYB fork suspension and link-type rear suspension. The front end's 5.3 inches of travel, and the rear's 4.3 inches cushion the road into a seamless and comfortable driving experience, which is especially important on lengthier rides.
Yamaha's inclusion of a 320mm single-disc, two-piston brake on the front wheel and a 298mm single-disc, one-piston brake on the rear helps ensure that control and stopping power are at their optimum during all riding conditions. The innovative braking system offers more than enough stopping power for the bike's 612-pound curb weight (658 pounds for the Tourer).
The 2009 Yamaha V-Star 950 has a super-low 26.6-inch seat height and wide-set handlebars, making it an ideal bike for vertically challenged riders. Its low center of gravity makes it easy to balance the bike when at a standstill and also helps improve maneuverability when on the move.
The Yamaha V-Star 950 has a reliable electric ignition and a regulation two-into-one exhaust system with a dual expansion chamber muffler and a single element catalytic converter that delivers a tremendously satisfying deep rumble when driving. Yamaha claims the V-Star 950 gets 47 mpg, so careful drivers can expect more than 200 miles of road time before having to stop and fill up the bike's 4.4-gallon tank.
The instrument panel on the 2009 Yamaha V-Star offers everything one looks for in a cruiser, including the speedometer, trip meters, fuel gauge, and a host of indicator lights. It lacks the tachometer, however, so shifting does become more of a personal preference issue.
The 2009 V-Star 950 base is available in Raven Black, Candy Red, and Tommy Blue, while the Tourer offers a Liquid Silver finish, along with the Raven Black and Candy Red color schemes.