Driving report Yamaha XV 1600 Wild Star
In a brilliant ambience, a huge, powerful engine – the XV 1600 is a star with a very special attraction.
There is a physical relationship between mass and attraction – the larger one, the larger the other. With the XV 1600 Wild Star, however, it is not the six and a half quintals of live weight that make it so attractive.
Not a mirage, as it turns out on closer inspection. Here the tank actually stores gasoline, here the air filter box is really a respiratory system, here veritable sheet steel lies under chrome and paint.
The monumental engine in particular is an example of ruthless honesty. Like no other cruiser engine of Japanese origin, the Wild Star-V2 turns its innermost inside out, just as if its most noble task were to serve as a showpiece on the subject of “This is how a four-stroke engine works”.
A crankshaft of gigantic proportions rotates in the center of the nostalgic, rustic happening, above it – arranged at a slim angle of 48 degrees – towering, air-cooled cylinders in which the pistons oscillate on extremely long distances between dead centers. The valve control is done by rocker arms, camshafts below and long bumpers. Measures to contain system-related inertial forces? Nothing like that.
Modern times only appear in details. The aluminum cylinders are ceramic-coated for good heat dissipation, the cylinder tubes are filled with four-valve heads, hydraulic valve lifters let you forget the word “valve clearance”, and an electronically managed ignition system takes care of efficient combustion processes, flashing two candles per head.
Half a floor above the engine room, at management level, so to speak, the spark jumps over even when the ignition is switched off. Like a tidy desk with nicely arranged, classy accessories flashing on its brightly polished plate, a look at the command post of the Wild Star arouses stately feelings, which are additionally nourished by the deep seating on lushly upholstered chairs.
Pressing the start button completes the illusion of being at the levers of power. The swing of the crankshaft, connecting rods and pistons makes man and machine shiver comfortably, the casually thrown, low-frequency exhaust staccato is a feast for the ears and a promise at the same time: What sounds like this just has to shake brute force out of your sleeve at the smallest of commands.
A grip on the smooth-running clutch lever, a step – click – on the rocker switch, a little gas, and the joyful expectation of ample power delivery gives way to the certainty that the 1600 is actually a real train number. »Shortshifting torque« – a torque offering that allows upshifts at the lowest engine speeds – here it is offered in abundance with a whopping 134 Nm at 2250 rpm. And popular: from idling speed, the engine spontaneously accelerates, whereby the vibrations are kept within absolutely acceptable limits. The locked five-speed gearbox shifts easily, precisely and quietly according to cruiser standards.
In general, the power transmission is above criticism. Despite an unprecedented zigzag course to the rear wheel – spur gear primary drive, back gear via toothed chain, final drive via toothed belt – the engine torque flows smoothly and without load change reactions to its destination.
It is exactly 1685 millimeters behind the front axle, which shows that the Wild Star is very long-suffering. In combination with a flat steering head and long caster, the machine should actually make a wide bend around tight curves. But lo and behold: The load can easily be bent in an inclined position, allows foot-free U-turns within the given turning circle, can be kept on course in city traffic down to walking pace without serpentine lines.
The fact that in view of tight bends it is nevertheless advisable to bring the full effect of the generously dimensioned braking system into play is due to the more than poor lean angle. The machine is also slowed down on the patchwork carpets of third-class back roads: the steering is sometimes fidgeting, impurities in the gait appear which have a moderating effect on the forward thrust. This is a shame as the machine is well equipped for the rough when it comes to suspension comfort.
GThe Wild Star is also equipped for activities in a duet. The rear one is also the cheaper one, but it still offers enough comfort and living space for friendly relationships. And that’s really a nice move.
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