Flagship Comparison: 1998 Yamaha Royal Star Silverado

A flagship with elegant, classic style

1998 Yamaha Royal Star Silverado
1998 Yamaha Royal Star SilveradoFran Kuhn

With our proviso of no windshields, there was only one bike among Yamaha’s seven-bike Royal Star lineup that fit the bill for our flagship cruiser. To what used to be the basic Royal Star model, the Silverado adds a long list of gleaming billet pieces, including: pretty hub caps on both ends, brake caliper trim, clutch-bleeder cover, motor-mount covers, an oversize billet choke knob, breather-cap covers and a pleasing selection of nut and bolt caps. In addition, the liquid-cooled cylinders get black-and-chrome fins. In all, the dress-up package would set you back over $1250, though the Silverado, at $13,949, fetches just $250 more than last year’s base-model Star.

The bike under the billet is almost the same Royal Star as before. The 1294cc dual-overhead-cam, 16-valve, V-four engine descends from the potent mill used in the Venture touring bikes, but has been detuned for the cruiser with smaller 28mm carbs, milder cams and other changes. To provide more engine feel, Yamaha disposed of the counterbalancer system. The engine was styled for its new role with new case shapes and more polish and chrome, and finned covers were added to the cylinders. The Silverado exhales through a four-into-four exhaust system. (It’s a four-into-two on the models equipped with saddlebags.)

An upgraded single damper unit cleans up the rear end of the bike, which falls into the standard wide-bike mold: air adjustable fork tubes widened with stainless-steel covers, nicely executed speedometer atop the 4.8-gallon fuel tank, wide two-piece saddle, and fat wheels. The Royal Stars ride on cast wheels—a 16-incher in front and a 15 on the back—and enjoy the stopping power of three disc brakes, each with double-action four-piston calipers.

The Silverado offered the exclusivity and quality we were looking for in a flagship cruiser. The billet additions create the look of a premium bike, and the RS five-year warranty—which includes roadside assistance—gives confidence to match.

1998 Yamaha Royal Star Silverado
Royal Stars have never had to apologize for their looks. But the Silverado sets new standards with beautiful, matched billet covers on a variety of parts that would otherwise be unremarkable.Fran Kuhn

This article was originally published in the August 1998 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser.