It probably doesn't come as much of a surprise to all of you reading this that baggers are the hot commodities in the motorcycling world. Despite the downturn in motorcycle sales somehow the big touring bikes and the associated higher price tags are amongst the best sellers in the market. We're not only seeing the aging Boomers straddling baggers either, but also later generations of riders choosing comfort, style and convenience over a played out contrived coolness.
For the past few years manufacturers have been offering much more stylish, custom-accessory appointed Touring bikes straight from the factory. Star Motorcycles' 2010 Stratoliner Deluxe combines awesome aesthetics with the most powerful air-cooled V-twin motor offered in any manufacturer. At first glance it's hard to imagine that the bike presented here is completely stock; from the totally blacked out frontend, chrome accessories, the ribs along the fuel tank and frame, and an audio-equipped Batwing-style front fairing. It seems like the folks at Star listen to and watch the market and what's happening on the streets as the Strat Deluxe follows many of the current trends that riders pay thousands of dollars extra for the look and power of this machine.
We recently had the opportunity to put the new Deluxe through its paces in a variety of riding conditions. Starting out in the L.A. area at Star's headquarters we headed south on the freeway to San Diego County before riding eastward into the foothills and mountains. We got to ride 250 miles before reaching our posh Rancho Mirage hotel. Before even hitting the highway it became immediately apparent that the 113ci pushrod actuated stroker-motor had plenty of low-end torque. Star claims that maximum torque is reached at only 2,500 rpm.
Inside each cylinder head resides a quartet of valves along with dual sparkplugs to aid in airflow and for efficient combustion. Much thought went into the heat management properties of the motor including ceramic-composite lined cylinders and cooling jets that spray oil on the bottom of the forged pistons. An oil cooler resides between the downtubes to further help with heat management. Cylinder and head fins were given a machined treatment that increases surface area for cooling, but also looks good by reflecting light. Exhaust gasses are expelled through a 2-into-1 system featuring an Exhaust Ultimate Power valve (EXUP) that alters the internal diameter of the exhaust to varying loads and engine speed. The EXUP in this bike was tuned to maximize torque in the midrange. A five-speed, left-side-drive transmission delivers the torque-thrust through a belt final drive.
The massive engine is cradled in a light, aluminum frame with a beefy cast swingarm out back. Swingarm movement is controlled by a single, hidden, shock with adjustable preload. Holding the front 12-spoke, 18-inch front wheel are conventional forks with 46mm tubes. The entire frontend was blacked out with a mixture of flat and gloss treatments. Suspension compliance was decent overall with some minor freeway disturbances when getting over 85mph. It's possible that the center groove in the front Dunlop radial tire contributed to some of the felt "dancing" while riding on the rain grooved California freeways. On smooth roads and at lower speeds the bike behaved as it should. Despite the 30.9-degree neck rake the bike felt nimble at parking lot speeds and stable at supra-legal speeds. Hauling down the bike is a pair of front calipers gripping floating rotors with another in the rear. The brakes are unlinked and at this time there is no ABS offered.