When you thumb the big motorcycle’s starter button, the engine cranks reluctantly, and for a moment you think, “Damn, the battery’s flat. Oh yeah,” you remember with a smile of anticipation, “this is the hot rod. Yamaha motorcycle service near me motorcycle manufacturer seems to have taken a different approach to the emerging muscle-twin class. For Honda, it was an entirely new machine, powered by the biggest production V-twin motor in the known universe.
The liquid-cooled 1800cc engine in the VTX employed modern technologies but used them to make plenty of power without a lot of rpm. The VTX1800C’s styling was not shy about stating its performance leanings. Yamaha, too, built on its existing V-twin, the 1602cc Road Star, but when it was done, there was virtually nothing of the original left, other than the look and basic configuration of the engine. Though Yamaha believes muscle-twin buyers want some traditional aspects of a cruiser, like the air-cooled V-twin engine, it also sees a new, younger group of customers buying performance cruisers. However, the engineers and designers started with a clean sheet of paper when they drew up the chassis and other components. It was something of a surprise to learn that the old-tech air-cooled pushrod V-twin engine is wrapped in an ultra-modern aluminum frame, seemingly more at home on a sportbike than a cruiser. The move to a high-performance chassis continues with 41mm upside-down Kayaba fork legs lifted from the R1 sportbike with different rates and all the adjustments except spring preload omitted.
The triple clamps set front-wheel trail at 130mm, down from the Road Star’s 142mm. At the rear end, the aluminum swingarm uses the same preload-adjustable single shock and the same kind of linkage as the original Road Star, but with stiffer spring rates. Yamaha’s remarks about the design and development of the Warrior can be read at the Yamaha Design Cafe. Spinning at each end are three-spoke cast wheels, which contribute substantially to the 71-pound overall weight reduction between the XV1600 Road Star and the XV1700 Warrior and probably also reduce steering effort by reducing gyroscopic effect. The front hoop is over 13 pounds lighter than the 1600’s wire wheel, and the rear is 12 pounds lighter. When we first saw all that exotic chassis hardware a few months back, it had us lusting for a chance to expose it to some careening pavement.
When our chance came, we promptly did just that. First, however, there was a getting-to-know-you period when we plunked down on the beast and learned how it felt. The pegs sit forward, though not as much as the Harley V-Rod. The handlebar is low and quite wide. With the wide handlebar, there is plenty of leverage with the quickened steering geometry to create light steering response, which makes the Warrior very handy in low-speed corners, tight traffic and crowded parking lots. It feels substantially less cumbersome than the VTX but shares some of the line-holding issues that mar the V-Rod in corners. Though we’d never have thought to complain about the standard Road Star’s rigidity or stability in corners, if you ride the XV1600 and XV1700 back to back, you can instantly tell that the aluminum-framed bike is more rigid and steadier, tracking truer and remaining settled as you bend through a turn.
It’s easier to correct your line mid-corner too, and the Warrior does it with less drama than any other big twin. Though we were hopeful that the changes to the engine might bring a solid kick in the pants when we hauled on the throttle, engine performance is about what we anticipated. 1602cc mill, which signs off at 4200 rpm. Of course, we always want more, and there was a little bit of disappointment that the power tapers off sooner than we’d like. Throttle response was slightly sensitive off idle, but the progressive clutch made it easy to launch smoothly, either gently or hard.
No one commented about the added clutch-spring pressure. Shifting was smooth, quiet and precise, and neutral was easy to come by. There was little lash in the drive train. Fuel mileage wasn’t as good as the Road Star’s, though we don’t know yet if that is caused by the engine or just the effect it has on throttle hands. To keep up with all that forward energy, the R1-derived brakes up front make hard stops a low-effort event. One rider felt the rear brake was a bit too sensitive, but others didn’t complain.
We are pleased that Yamaha chose not to link the brakes. The front brake lever offers a screw-type adjuster to position the lever to fit your paw, a nice touch but not as nice as the cam-type adjusters which allow you to easily adjust for changes from thin to heavy gloves. The ergonomic appointments were a satisfactory match for solo rides of a couple of hours and the occasional day trip. The rider’s saddle is broad and well shaped but not deeply padded.