Driving report Yamaha XVS 650 Drag Star

Driving report, Yamaha XVS 650 Drag Star

Yamaha XVS 650 Drag Star

After the fat Royal Star, the little Drag Star appears in the chopper firmament. An XV 535 descendant that targets Honda’s VT 600 and Kawasaki’s VN 800 Classic.

The first news that Yamaha is building a new, small chopper, the editorial team was relaxed.

Nobody seemed surprised. After all, the XV 535 is getting on in years and has now been sold so often that – to put it bluntly – every motorcyclist household should soon have a small Virago. The second piece of news was astonishing. The XV 535 will of course remain in the range, after all, the interest among newcomers and those returning who are looking for an affordable motorcycle is unbroken. The new one, the XVS 650 Drag Star, is a completely different motorcycle and intended for a completely different group of buyers. True to style and based on the American model: massive tank, widely spaced, massive fork tubes, massive fork bridges, narrow front wheel, but an all the thicker rear wheel roller, a duck-tail-shaped rear fender. The V-Twin is right in the middle. An engine that tried to create the appearance of a large-displacement structure in the XV 535 with a few sheet metal dummies here and there and finely ribbed cylinders and heads. The Drag Star continues the fraudulent labeling even more specifically. The lids on the engine block and elsewhere are larger, the chrome is even more lavishly distributed. In addition, nostalgic style elements are skilfully staged. For example the frame, a double loop structure, the tubes of which merge into the triangular swing arm towards the rear, as if the frame were rigid and directly coupled to the rear wheel axle. Then the angle drive, a component that looks like it came from the 1930s, plus an open-running cardan shaft, so the invitation to a test drive to Japan could still be very interesting. Should Yamaha have succeeded in putting a chopper on the big wheels, as beautiful as a Honda VT 600 C or as perfectly trimmed for Harley as a Kawasaki VN 800 Classic? Only the information about the drive of the new ones initially irritated. The 70-degree V-two-cylinder from the XV 535 is actually not chopper-like at all. The 44 hp engine in the little Virago, thanks to its maneuverability and consistent performance characteristics, tends to play the role of a gentle tourer rather than a rough chopper, but this was apparently easy to change. With a modified crankshaft with a longer stroke, new connecting rods and cylinders with a larger bore, the Drag Star has a displacement of 649 cm³. More was not possible. The capacities offered by the XV 535 engine have been exhausted. Changed cam profiles, a modified combustion chamber shape and smaller 28 millimeter carburettors with sensors for detecting the throttle valve position for the map control also influence the other character that the Drag Star specifies. The maximum torque is already at 3000 and not only at 6000 tours as with the XV 535. More power in the lower and middle speed range are the result of the sum of the measures. However, Yamaha did not want to give exact details any more than about the top performance of the drag star. However, it was suggested that the engine might have lost a bit at the top in favor of a fuller power curve, but with choppers it is of secondary importance anyway. The main thing is that the draft is right. During the first test drive, MOTORRAD was curious to see how well the Drag Star engine played its role as a powerful, but nonetheless small chopper drive. From the first few meters the signs were good. Accompanied by a rough, somewhat uneven engine run, the Drag Star glides chugging up and away from the lowest speeds. Shift through the five gears – the revised gearbox can be operated more precisely than the doughy XV counterpart – and from around 40 km / h you can leave the gearbox untouched for the rest of the journey. From now on, all you have to do is open the gas and the Drag Star accelerates so powerfully and gently, vibrating, as if it still had one or two hundred cubic centimeters of displacement in reserve. The higher the speed, the stronger the vibrations. And the performance curve flattens out significantly in the upper third of the speed. The engine can only be revved up slowly and encouraged to accelerate further. But the drag star is not good for lawn anyway. That alone forbids the attitude. With the handlebars protruding and the wide, 16-liter fuel tank, the driver is exposed to wind and weather. On the Drag Star even more than on any other chopper. In addition, the footrests are positioned very far forward so that the knees are hardly bent. A thoroughly relaxed and relaxed seating position and on top of that practical. The XVS 650, which weighs 227 kilograms, can be maneuvered forwards and backwards and in a circle with the feet without any annoying stops. The Drag Star is easy to handle thanks to its seat height of just 695 millimeters. In the Japanese version, it is even four centimeters lower – the seat cushion is less padded. But at Yamaha they are convinced that Germans wind down more kilometers than usual and therefore expect more seating comfort. They get it and a telescopic fork that swallows bumps sensitively. The central spring strut also does its job well on bad roads, but shows its harder side in short, hard impacts. On the other hand, you shouldn’t expect too much maneuverability with a 1600 millimeter wheelbase and 153 millimeter caster. In return, the Drag Star runs around every corner with great precision and stability. She only has her problems with brisk driving. Not because of the brakes, which decelerate reasonably well and can be dosed well at the front and rear. But the footrests touch the ground too early, scraping across the rough asphalt with an ugly noise. Not earlier than with the others, too, says Yamaha about the criticism and makes no secret of the fact that the comparison to Honda’s VT 600 C and Kawasaki’s VN 800 Classic is pulled. It should therefore be clear that the XV 535 will continue to be inexpensive without competition. One can only hope that the Drag Star will be found at the lower limit of the two competitors. We will know at the IFMA in Cologne.

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