Perhaps the biggest news for the Stratoliner Deluxe is the full, fork-mounted front fairing and lockable hard saddlebags. Within the fairing are integrated speakers and iPod jack (there is no radio or CD player) along with a hidden amplifier. The system (and iPod) is controlled via easy-to-use handlebar mounted audio controls. The audio is loud and crisp, partly due to the more centrally located speakers; your hands don't block the sound like on many other audio equipped motorcycles. To keep the cockpit as clean as possible all of the wiring is concealed inside the 11/4-inch handlebars.
Placed on top of the 41/2-gallon teardrop fuel tank is a retro-styled speedometer with analog tach and fuel gauge. A digital LCD displays twin tripmeters as well as odometer. All of the sheetmetal comes in one flavor: black, or Raven as Star puts it. The flow of the bodywork from tip to tail has a retro, art deco-inspired look to it-from the tank ribbing, to the supported and slightly skirted front fender, right down to the long, bullet-shaped turn signals. The turn signals and taillight are high-vis LED units that are bright and long lasting. Locking, top-loader saddlebags provide a decent amount of storage. Due to the right-side exhaust pipe the bags aren't as big as they could be, but they are wide and easily held a weekend's worth of gear.
Star's newest bagger should feel right at home for anyone that's ridden the main American competition. The seat height is manageable at a little less than 28 inches from the ground. Although the bike is big it's easy to ride and comfortable. During spirited canyon carving the floorboards touch down a little sooner than we would have liked, but we tend to ride more aggressively (in the name of investigative journalism of course) than the average rider. All of the controls were easy to use and the mirrors provided good visibility. The bike could use another gear if you're one to spend a lot of time on the interstate, as the mirrors get buzzy above 70mph.
Fit, finish, and performance are all top notch here and the pricetag reflects that attention to detail. The price point puts the Strat Deluxe right in the ballpark of other very worthy contenders in the big bagger market. We liked this bike and the direction Star is going in. Hopefully we can revisit the Stratoliner Deluxe and put it through its paces with a passenger. Star has an extensive line of accessories and apparel to get you and the bike right for you from the outset.