A Custom Yamaha Road Star That Could Look At Home In The NASCAR Paddock

Fast company

Yamaha Road Star
Baron and Hatch (kneeling) pose by their creation.Dean Groover

This article was originally published in the February 2000 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser.

Who says cruisers can’t look good and scream performance at the same time? Not John “Baron” Vaughan-Chaldy. Take a gander at his Power Star here. The bike practically begs to be ridden hard and put away sweaty. Just the way Baron wanted it.

Yamaha Road Star
While most of the lower sections of the bike were chromed, the instrument nacelle and the speedometer face blend into—not detract from—the classy paint.Dean Groover

Power Star began life as a mild-mannered Road Star—until it was shipped off to boot camp at Baron’s Custom Accessories. The owners of said Star, being ardent auto racing fans, asked Baron to build them a bike that would look at home in the paddock of any NASCAR or Indy car event. Not surprisingly, a racing theme was decided upon right away. Baron turned, once again, to the talented hands of Dan Hatch for Power Star’s custom paint and graphics. Although Yamaha racing blue was initially chosen, it wasn’t quite up to snuff. Hatch worked his magic with the amount of pearl in the blue base coat until it met Baron’s approval. Checkered flags, being an integral part of racing, had to be in­­­cluded in the design. They decided on a torn checkered graphic that would appear on various parts of the bike—as though the bike had just ripped through the checkered flag at a finish line. (One has to wonder what happened to the poor flag man.) Look closely, and you’ll see that a bit of the flag graces every piece of Power Star’s bodywork. The checkered design itself was possibly the most challenging part of the project. Every square had to be taped off at some point in the painting. Add in the torn edges on curves of the waving flag—not to mention the shading—and you’ve got a real challenge for a painter.

Yamaha Road Star
From the calipers to the art deco machining in the air filter cover, the Yamaha racing blue theme unifies the style of Power Star. The detail work in the torn flag alone sets this bike apart from the crowd.Dean Groover

The bodywork under all the fancy paint couldn’t stay stock. All extraneous hardware, like turn signals and license-plate mounts, were removed, and the holes in the metal fenders were filled and ground flat. The front fender was also slimmed down while the rear was lengthened and tapered around the fat 180/70 16 Dunlop. To facilitate the low-profile look, the front and rear suspensions were dropped one and a half inches with Baron’s fork lowering kit and relay arm, respectively. A teardrop shaped LED brake and running light highlights the clean look of the rear. Flush mounted in the fender the LEDs are painted over with a clear base and polished until the junction with the fender is perfectly smooth. A thin coat of the pearl blue base color hides the trick lighting until the power is turned on.

Yamaha Road Star
When Baron saw the pro­genitor of this fairing on Mike Corbin’s personal bike, it stopped him in his tracks. Being the nice guy that he is, Corbin agreed to knock off a copy for this project.Dean Groover

Perhaps the most striking piece of bodywork on Power Star is the Corbin Sport Fairing. At the Laughlin rally Baron happened to walk past Mike Corbin’s personal Road Star, which sported a prototype fairing that stopped Baron in his tracks. When he caught up with Corbin later, he said how he thought the fairing would fit in with his current project. A copy of the fairing showed up at Baron’s shop less than two weeks later. One nifty feature of the fairing is its convertible mounting system. Less than a half-hour’s work will yield a bare front end.

Yamaha Road Star
No part of the bike was allowed to keep its stock finish. If it wasn’t polished, it was chromed. The cut-outs in the Jardine Raptor wheels were painted blue to match the caliper and fender.Dean Groover

Underneath the fiberglass fairing and the pretty bodywork, loads of chrome and polished metal surfaces light up the lower portions of the machine. Much of the brightwork hails from the Baron’s Custom Accessories catalog. A Baron Billet Tachometer mounts to a Star Bar which is then snuggled up to Triple Tree Covers (with built in turn signals for when the bike is in convertible mode). Aeromach mirrors and reservoir covers also help to shine things up. At both ends of the bike, a pair of Jardine Raptor wheels help set the shiny tone. All the front end’s stock components met the polisher’s wheel or the chrome bath. The engine compartment, as well as the drive train, benefited from George Uribe’s Quality Polishing. The black brake and oil lines were swapped with braided stainless steel items.

To keep all the metalwork from blending into a sea of silver, some of the shiny stuff was—gasp—painted over. The calipers and the wheels’ cut-outs were painted pearl blue. The rear wheel received a similar treatment. However, the most noticeable use of blue on billet is the painting of the art deco milling on the air cleaner cover. In the case of the instrument cluster, only the chrome bezel remains. The housing itself now wears pearl blue, while the speedometer face betrays a checkered past.

Yamaha Road Star
The rear fender features one of Baron’s flush mounted LED brake lights. The clever painting keeps the lights in­visible when the ignition is off. Note how the flag theme carries onto fender rails, causing them to disappear.Dean Groover

True to form, Power Star carries the performance goods to suit its racy styling. The engine breathes through a Baron’s Big Air kit into a carb that is assisted in its mixing duties by a Baron’s titanium needle and a Torque Master. Samson Big Gun exhaust pipes dispense with spent combustibles. Extensive dyno tuning insures that plenty of power flows through the Dunlop D206R tire to the pavement. Of course, the suspension was beefed up to handle bump absorption duties in the bike’s inch-and-a-half-lower state. Race Tech Straight Rate Springs and Cartridge Emulators take care of the front while Baron’s relay arm provides progressive travel in the rear.

Anyone who spends some time admiring Baron’s creation will attest to the fact that this bike would look good in the pits of any track. But we hope Power Star isn’t restricted to just paddock duty. A bike like this belongs out in public—on the boulevard.