Ultra Classic Star Roadliner 1850 Leads Yamaha's 2006 Cruiser Line

For 2006, visual cues from the streamliner era of styling give Yamaha's new 1850cc V-twin cruiser motorcycle flagship, the Roadliner, a distinctive look and attitude. It's strong too, and there is a touring version called the the Stratoliner. **By

At its 2006-model dealer convention held in Las Vegas, Yamaha unveiled the new flagship model for its Star Motorcycle cruiser line. The machine is the elegant, ultra classic Roadliner. In a fresh styling tack, the Roadliner wears lines inspired by the streamliner era of design, and is powered by a 113-cubic-inch (1854cc) air-cooled V-twin. It comes in three trim-level versions, with a Midnight model and the S, which wears more chrome, joining the base model.

In a unique move for a big, classically styled cruiser, the Star Roadliner has an aluminum frame, perhaps a sign that cruiser buyers are finally realizing that weight is a liability. The frame and die-cast alloy swingarm are painted a matte black, so they don't advertise their makeup, but the lightweight metal lops a few percent off the Roadliner's tonnage. At about 705 pounds, the Roadliner is still about 25 pounds porkier than the base model Road Star 1700.

But the headline feature on the Roadliner is its graceful, elegant lines drawn from the Streamline era. This school of styling was prompted by the first aerodynamic advances back in the 1920s and `30s and inspired the designs of everything from trains to toasters. The resulting lines created some of the prettiest automobiles ever. The theme echoes through the Roadliner's flow-through lines.

The eight-valve pushrod engine shares the same 48-degree V angle of the Road Star series, but little else. It has a 100mm bore and 118mm piston stroke (compared to 97 x 113mm for the 1670cc engine. The transmission mainshaft has been moved 5mm farther from the crankshaft. It inhales through dual fuel-injector throats, and an EXUP valve in the two-into-one exhaust, a first in a cruiser, broadens the powerband.

Unlike the Road Star, the Roadliner gets a counterbalancer, though Yamaha makes the point that the engine retains a "pulse." On the visual side, the engine has machinedd cooling fins aznd tapered pushrod tubes.

And it's apparently rather powerful. Yamaha sources quietly told us that it will out-run the other big twins, 2000s included.

At 67.5 inches, there is an additional inch between the Roadliner's axles compared to the Road Star wheelbase. The Roadliner rides on 46mm fork legs offering 130mm of travel. The single link-type damper provides 50mm of travel for the rear wheel. You sit 28.9 inches off the road behind a stretched headlight, a wide low-rise handlebar, and a single tank-top three-gauge instrument cluster that effectively imitates 1930s dash design.

You need to get up close to a Roadliner to appreciate many of the pretty details. The big dual-element projector-type headlight carries the ignition lock atop it beneath a sliding chrome panel atop its drawn-out nacelle. Many components--turn signals, fender braces, and shift lever, for examples--are sculpted particularly for the Roadliner and heighten the elegant character of the bike.

When it hits showrooms this fall, you will have three versions to choose from. The base Roadliner is $13,880. As with other Star Motorcycles, there will be a blacked-out Midnight version of the Roadliner for $14,780. Topping the series, the Roadliner S has an MSRP under $15,000 and shines with additional chrome and polish throughout the bike.

Of course, such a big, luxurious motorcycle begs you to go places, so Yamaha also announced a touring version of the Roadliner. The Stratoliner is a Roadliner with a windshied, leather-covered hard bags, and a passenger backrest. The windshield and backrest have a quick-detachable feature, allowing you to simply pop them off the bike in less time than it took to read this sentence—even if you speed-read. These quick-detachable pieces add a new level of security with locks for both pieces, so they don't get detached and walk away. The saddlebags also lock. The Stratoliner comes in the same three trim levels as the Roadliner. The base model is $15,180 and the S version is $16,580 with the Midnight in between at $15,480.

Yamaha also has some pretty intersting programs to help you decide to buy. First of all, it is helping dealers provide demo bikes by covering the cost of liability insurance. And for those potential buyers who are wondering if they should put down money to lay claim to one of these bikes before they hit dealers, Yamaha's "Purchase First" program offers a series of incentives in financing, in accessory discounts, and other areas, that could constitute heavy persuasion (and a great return on your deposit).

For more breaking motorcycle news, visit the home page of www.MotorcycleCruiser.com.

This is the Roadliner S, the top of the line for the 2006 Star Roadliner series motorcycles. It features additional chrome and polish than the other trim levels.
The Midnight version of the new Roadliner blacks out the headlight nacelle, the front fork leg covers, most of the covers on the 1854cc engine, the top belt guard and various smaller components such as the handlebar switches and master cylinders.
The standard, base model Star Roadliner carries a suggested retail price under $14,000.
Widened bore and longer stroke give almost 184cc more than the Road Star
Polished trim wraps around the tank and steering head for windswept look.
Stretched headlight has reflector optics and ignition lock on top under a cover.
Classic fender lines are complemented by sculpted lower rear braces.
Even the die-cast swingarm has been shaped to match the streamliner style.
Roadliner Standard
Roadliner Midnight
Roadliner S
The Stratoliner is a traveling Roadliner.
The Stratoliner S