Yamaha Midnight Star 1900 XVS1900A review

Packing the biggest and most powerful Yamaha cruiser engine yet, plus a bag of styling cues lifted from the 1930s, the Midnight Star is bristling with modern technology. It's even got an EXUP valve

Ben Cope's picture
By Visordown on Sun, 1 Jan 2006 - 12:01

Details
Manufacturer:
Yamaha
Category:
Custom
Price:
£ 9999
Overall
3
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Not a bad looker and a decent engine.
It's just a bigger pretend Harley.

When Yamaha's Californian design team set out to create a new cruiser, their first plan was to style it traditionally and to make it big. Real big.

But they found the prototype too tall and heavy-handling, so took the bold decision to scrap it. Instead, they built a smaller and more distinctively styled bike inspired by Streamline Moderne, a branch of the Art Deco movement of the 1920s and '30s.

The result is the Midnight Star, known as the Star Roadliner in the States (where from now on all Yam cruisers will be sold under the Star brand). Whatever the name, it's a cool-looking bike. There's a flavour of old cars like the Chrysler Airflow in the way the headlight flows into the tank with its three chromed lines on each side, and in details including the conical indicators, pointed fender and tapered swing-arm.

It's more high-tech than its air-cooled, pushrod-operated V-twin engine layout suggests. That 1854cc motor, the largest and most powerful yet version of Yamaha's eight-valve V-twin, is fuel-injected and breathes out via the cruising world's first EXUP valve. The frame and swingarm are made from aluminium, not wrought iron.

This bike is every bit a laid-back cruiser, though. Despite twin balancer shafts the big V-twin lump judders enough to give some character, and it has heaps of grunt.

Stability isn't a problem, thanks to the compliant but well-controlled suspension. Ground clearance is reasonable, and there is plenty of stopping power from a front brake whose specification of twin 298mm discs and four-pot calipers was good enough for the YZF-R1 a few years ago.

That high level of technology, most of it disguised by decades-old styling cues, is the key to the Midnight Star. It looks like something out of The Maltese Falcon but performs with all the efficiency you'd expect of a 2006-model cruiser.

When Yamaha's Californian design team set out to create a new cruiser, their first plan was to style it traditionally and to make it big. Real big.

But they found the prototype too tall and heavy-handling, so took the bold decision to scrap it. Instead, they built a smaller and more distinctively styled bike inspired by Streamline Moderne, a branch of the Art Deco movement of the 1920s and '30s.

The result is the Midnight Star, known as the Star Roadliner in the States (where from now on all Yam cruisers will be sold under the Star brand). Whatever the name, it's a cool-looking bike. There's a flavour of old cars like the Chrysler Airflow in the way the headlight flows into the tank with its three chromed lines on each side, and in details including the conical indicators, pointed fender and tapered swing-arm.

It's more high-tech than its air-cooled, pushrod-operated V-twin engine layout suggests. That 1854cc motor, the largest and most powerful yet version of Yamaha's eight-valve V-twin, is fuel-injected and breathes out via the cruising world's first EXUP valve. The frame and swingarm are made from aluminium, not wrought iron.

This bike is every bit a laid-back cruiser, though. Despite twin balancer shafts the big V-twin lump judders enough to give some character, and it has heaps of grunt.

Stability isn't a problem, thanks to the compliant but well-controlled suspension. Ground clearance is reasonable, and there is plenty of stopping power from a front brake whose specification of twin 298mm discs and four-pot calipers was good enough for the YZF-R1 a few years ago.

That high level of technology, most of it disguised by decades-old styling cues, is the key to the Midnight Star. It looks like something out of The Maltese Falcon but performs with all the efficiency you'd expect of a 2006-model cruiser.

When Yamaha's Californian design team set out to create a new cruiser, their first plan was to style it traditionally and to make it big. Real big.

But they found the prototype too tall and heavy-handling, so took the bold decision to scrap it. Instead, they built a smaller and more distinctively styled bike inspired by Streamline Moderne, a branch of the Art Deco movement of the 1920s and '30s.

The result is the Midnight Star, known
as the Star Roadliner in the States (where from now on all Yam cruisers will be sold under the Star brand). Whatever the name, it's a cool-looking bike. There's a flavour of old cars like the Chrysler Airflow in the way the headlight flows into the tank with its three chromed lines on each side, and in details including the conical indicators, pointed fender and tapered swing-arm.

It's more high-tech than its air-cooled, pushrod-operated V-twin engine layout suggests. That 1854cc motor, the largest and most powerful yet version of Yamaha's eight-valve V-twin, is fuel-injected and breathes out via the cruising world's first EXUP valve. The frame and swingarm are made from aluminium, not wrought iron.

This bike is every bit a laid-back cruiser, though. Despite twin balancer shafts the big V-twin lump judders enough to give some character, and it has heaps of grunt.

Stability isn't a problem, thanks to the compliant but well-controlled suspension. Ground clearance is reasonable, and there is plenty of stopping power from a front brake whose specification of twin 298mm discs and four-pot calipers was good enough for the YZF-R1 a few years ago.

That high level of technology, most of it disguised by decades-old styling cues, is the key to the Midnight Star. It looks like something out of The Maltese Falcon but performs with all the efficiency you'd
expect of a 2006-model cruiser.

Score Breakdown
Overall
3
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