2011 Yamaha Royal Star Venture S

 Once upon a time motorcycle engineers in the land of the rising sun had a great idea. The perfect touring engine should be a V-four. The configuration allows the space efficiency to pack plenty of displacement into a relatively small space, the four cylinder design provides for ample generation of horsepower and torque, and the mellow exhaust note has hints of the luscious Harley potato potato potato to satisfy the retro crowd.

With this decision in hand, the Suzuki folks set off to create a truly memorable V-four tourer and named it the Cavalcade. It sold about as well as God Bless America bumper stickers in Tehran and soon disappeared beneath the waves of the Sea of Japan. The counterparts on the Yamaha side developed the Venture along the same lines. It managed to hang on a bit longer than the unfortunate Suzuki but it also succumbed to apathy eventually. However, the Yamaha true believers brought it back after a prolonged hiatus and renamed it the Royal Star. This time it managed to hold on until the present day when the Venture moniker was reborn and tacked on to the end of the name to produce the 2011 Yamaha Royal Star Venture S.

Unlike the engine of the V-Max which sprung from the same engineering genealogy, the Royal Star Venture S did not benefit from the redesign to a pavement shredding 1.7 litres. The engine powering the Royal Star Venture S is effectively little changed from the one fitted to the first Venture in those faraway days of 1983: A 1294cc liquid-cooled 70 degree DOHC 4 valves per cylinder V-four powerhouse fed by four 32 mm Mikuni CVs that still somehow manages to crank out nearly 100 horses and 90 ft-lbs. of torque.

The Royal Star Venture S is one long bike. It's not the freight train that the Gold Wing has become but with a 67.1 inch wheelbase it certainly allows for plenty of room for two adults to spread out on the saddle. The size is actually amplified by what is essentially a fairly small fuel tank with a capacity of barely 6 gallons. Given the Royal Star Venture S' touring credentials, it should hold a lot more fuel than the FJR1300A ABS sports tourer, but unfortunately it does not. That's the story with most of the Royal Star Venture S. It's one of those bikes that has passed it's sell-by date and it falls short in too many areas to be considered a true 2011 model.
 
The 2011 Yamaha Royal Star Venture S is dated. That's all there is to it. It's not especially retro, nor nostalgic, it's just long in the tooth. It doesn't hold a candle to either Gold Wings or Electra Glides, and there are several bikes in the triple tuning fork line up that not only are better tourers but much better value. At nearly twenty grand, Yamaha can't really be serious about selling any of these.

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35 comments

Alan Pease 6 years ago

You have to be kiding, i rode a goldwing on a test ride, YOU COULDN'T GIVE ME ONE.The veture has got to be one of the best touring bikes out there & 10,000 cheaper than the wing


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Overpriced.

Outdated.

POS.

:)


richb 6 years ago

I have a 2004 RSV. I bought it used in 2008 for $12K, with 1k miles on it. It's a good bike for the money, but WHY won't Yamaha upgrade the motor, tank and electronics to compete with the Ultra or Gold Wing? I really believe that with these improvements, Yamaha could have a real winner here! It's a good bike that is SOOOO close to being a great bike.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

It's completely ridiculous in light of the fact that they have even retired the prehistoric Vmax V1 which shares its motor. But the triple tuning fork gang hasn't done much of anything the past 5 years or so that I've been able to understand. I think they've gone off the deep end. :(


Phil 6 years ago

I purchased a RSV new in 2009. I have previously owned Honda's Goldwing and two Harley Ultras and all I can truly say is if you are being perfectly honest and have ridden the RSV it is so far superior to the two I mentioned earlier it is unreal.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Superior? In what respect?


Venture Rider 6 years ago

Hal has obviously never riden a venture. The HD Ultra is 10,000 dollars more for a less equiped bike with 60% of the horse power. The wing is a different animal, which doesn't have the heart of a bike. The venture develops close to 100 hp, get almost 200 miles per tank and blows every HD except maybe the VRod off the road, GET OFF YOU POMPUS BUTT and ride a venture.


J&b fog 6 years ago

Yamaha is not trying to replace the Goldwing but compete for a share of the market and the Royal Star Venture fits in between what Harley & Honda offers. The Goldwing is a tour bike, but it is in a class of its own, so one must be carful when making comparisons. One must give the Venture a serious run of 3000 miles and by then you will have a fair idea of what the venture is all about and Yamaha is not about to change things just to get review in the Rags.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Venture, I've had a Venture grace my crotch from Jax to LA and it should never have made it out of the 90s.

J&b, Yamaha has gone off to Timothy Leary Land for years now. Everything they do is suspect as they have been doing nothing but cranking out overpowered, hideous POS bikes since the early 2000s. The current venture is outdated, ugly, pointless and belongs in the extinction section of the museum.


NCbluerider 6 years ago

To each his own. Ridden the venture and loved it. Ended up with the RSTD due to the economics. Ridden the HD Ultra and the power and comfort are very lackluster. The v-4 has more power and in my opinion more comfort than the Ultra. I've had my RSTD since may of 09' and just turned 26000 miles. The HD vibrates you to death at lights. The Goldwing is in a class of its own and needs to be treated as such.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

My Electraglide was a giant POS, so I'm not defending it. But just because the competition is lacking does not make the Venture anything but antiquated, overpriced, and pointless. :)


Phil 6 years ago

I thnik a Harley is a pretty machine , however, lets be realistic. They are extremely overpriced, still air -cooled, belt driven and Hal says the RSV is out of the stone age. I have owned two Harleys and several Hondas. The RSV has them all beat. The five year unlimited milage warranty ought to say everything.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

The Venture V-4 engine is completely unchanged for 25 YEARS! Sheesh!

PREHISTORIC

OUTDATED

POS!

Thank you. :)


Phil 6 years ago

I went for a long ride today up through the mountains with friends of mine, mostly Harley riders. At the red lights the Harleys were vibrating like they were going to fall apart. On the inclines the RSV V-4 pulled effortlessly, couldn't say as much for the Ultras. 25 year old engine, yes, but when it comes to antiquated Hal needs to truly examine his ride.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

The Twin Cam 88 was released in the 99 model year and the Twin Cam 96 is a 2007 issue. You can ride a three year old engine or a 25 year old junker beater motor. Your choice. However, your choice would also be foolish if you go with the prehistoric one. :)


N5ZHM 6 years ago

I realise that the RS Venture has some room for improvement such as EFI but I have owned harleys and Gold Wings and the Venture has them beat overall as far as being a well made and good running Touring Bike. I have made many long trips on my 2007 RSV riding 2 up and am never as tired and worn out as I have been on other bikes. Don't write it off yet.


Phil 6 years ago

It seems to me that the 25 year old engine (as Hal put it) is still superior to the recent inovations(?) that appear in the HD. The choice is simple, you can ride a bike that out performs the HD has a 5 year unlimited warranty, doesen't vibrate you out of the seat, gets fantastic gas milage, shall I go on? Yes superior and you don't have to be a rhodes scholar to figure it out.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

N5ZHM, yeah, if you can compare a Venture to a Goldwing, I can compare a Pinto to a Bentley. Gimme a break, dude.

Phil, you definitely need to go give your head a good shake. The only thing that the Venture and the HDs have in common is the number of wheels. The Venture is nothing more than a long in the tooth detuned senior citizen VMax mill surrounded by a chassis designed when a hot computer was a 386 was the latest hot CPU. Keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeripes!


venturerider 6 years ago

Hal you need to ride one. Clearly you haven't. Or you're just a harley biggot. I've put 10,000 miles on my RSV so far this year and you couldn't give me a harley. The ultra doesn't have the power or the smoothness the rsv does. Furthermore, the ultra is significantly more expensive. I am not sure what you're smoking but I want some.


phoenix 6 years ago

Hal... you don't like the venture, you said ,"My Electraglide was a giant POS"so what the hell do you like!!!!!what bike do you have in your garage!!!!

I have seen venture's with over 100,000 miles on them

25 year old motor....

if it ain't broke, don't fix it !!!!!!!!


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

It's broke. Take it to the crusher. :)


Roadstar 6 years ago

Hal i have to be honest , that i don`t own any of the three you are talking about (FJR1300 owner). But lets be fair about that the Goldwing should not be includid in any touring comparo, as it is the best made (yes it`s needing a looks update too) But to be honest the Venture sure does need an update "BUT" Having ridden both other bikes you are compairing , the Venture is top of the heap, in power, smoothness, and rider comfort. I have been waiting a couple of years for Yamaha to step up to the plate & redesign & will wait somore until that day i`ll just ride my FJR. (or buy a Victory) :-)


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

I'm not clear on what you're saying. If you are stating that the Venture is smooth as compared to other tourers Goldwing EXCEPTED, I might even be able to agree to that. You INCLUDE the GL, then noooooooo way Jose. :)


BearsBoy 6 years ago

Hal, you must have been picked on by a Gen 1 Venture rider or VMax rider when you were a kid. (Last year?) It's obvious that you don't have an unbiased bone in you body when it comes to the Yammi V4. Yes, the basic engine is unchanged since it's inception. The Harley VTwin was first built 101 years ago. Their first OHV VTwin was built in 1947. Just because H-D changed a few things on it's engine when they introduced the TwinCam doesn't make it a new engine. The Yammi design has been shown to run a quarter million miles with just decent maintenance. Running hard, too. You'll never see a claim like that from H-D.

Sure, the Venture is a bit long in the tooth but it still hangs with and surpasses many 'new' bikes out there.

Lastly, until you learn to write an unbiased review of a product I think people will learn to pass on your "reviews". I know that I will.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Good riddance and don't let the door slam you on the butt on your way out if you continue to state idiocies like you just have. There is not a single bolt that was in the original HD engine present in the 2011 models. However, the Venture has EXACTLY the same engine right down to its smallest component as OVER a quarter century ago. Go play on the freeway. :)


phoenix 6 years ago

I don't think you even ride a bike , mabe you should just stick to reviewing wine


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

You should stick to discussing what you know best too. Fisher Price ride'ems. :)


Rumble44mag 6 years ago

First off, I bought a brand new 2007 RSV for $12,999 not the 20k that the article says. Secondly, I took a HD Electra-Glide for a test ride and with my wife on the back felt like she were sitting on my back.(no room on back seat). Also took a trip from Pa. the Colo. and the RSV rode like a Caddy. Never once had to rest because of Monkey-Butt. Save your money on HD's and get a great riding bike like the RSV.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Geez... I wonder if the valuation has anything to do with the fact that the bike is four model years old. DUH. :)


cnclowe 6 years ago

Why do you guys even bother to respond to Hal? It's obvious that his only joy in life is baiting people.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

No, my joy in life is telling people that they're idiots to defend buying a 26 year old POS. :)


Mike K 6 years ago

The Star Motorcycle web site shows a MSRP of $20,090.00 for a 2011 Royal Star Venture. Which is not to bad considering how far the dollar has fallen against the yen over the past year. (25 to 30 percent I believe) I think you can probably buy a Venture for quite a bit less though if you shop a little. I have a 2008 Venture S and it compares very well against my friends 2010 Ultra Glide Classic. Of course he invested in the Stage 2 engine kit, a new computer and some dyno time so horsepower and torque are very close. My Venture is a little bigger so he has a slightly smaller turning radius. I have more room. He has fuel injection I have carbs. But last time out I got 47+ mpg to his 43. I use regular gas to his premium. I am quite pleased with that. We both have six gallon fuel tanks so no advantage there. We both added some lights but I think the Ultra's are better. The luggage on the Ultra is roomier so another plus for HD. He is on his third seat trying to find some comfort. I think the Venture has the most comfortable seat available on a production motorcycle. Oh yes and my Venture came with a five year bumper to bumper factory warranty. His didn't. I have ridden both bikes. I like the low end torque on the HD, I like the high end torque on the Venture. Once you get off idle the Ultra is very smooth. The Venture is smooth at all speeds. So the bikes compare very well against each other except in one very important department. I paid about half what his Ultra cost. That's over $14,000 less. The question becomes "Would I make the same buying decision again knowing what I know now?" Ohh yes. I like riding the Venture and I can buy a lot of regular gas for 14K.

Mike


Bill W 5 years ago

Have had my 2008 Venture S over two trouble free years .I bought it 7-30-08.We rode a Gold Wing for 18 years.I can't say anything against the Wing except it always felt & looked a little bulky for me,but it was good to me,always brought me back home.I wanted something with a cruiser look but have touring capability with outstanding comfort.This Venture S has everything I really wanted & more.I get 42 to 44 miles/gal.each time I go out.It has all the power you could want.That 97 hp motor will run just as strong at 75mph as at 55mph.I have ridden the Harley an wasn't very impressed with it either.I felt like I was sitting on a 24inch Schwinn bicycle with a 15 horse Briggs & Straton under me.I'm sure it's a great bike,but not for me.I read on some review that the YRSV S was planned in America,but made in Japan,Well so is the Honda Gold Wing now.It seems like I read somewhere that back in the mid to early 80's Harley was in trouble And was using Japan carbs.also something about the steering also,until someone took over the company then they went back to strictly full American.I enjoy my water cooled engine on real hot days out when you sit at those long winded stop lites.The two bikes I talked about above are great bikes to people that like & want them,but as for the wife & I,well we are very,very happy with Yamaha Royal Star Venture S.Don't forget the great 5 year warranty (you probably won't need)It's just what we were looking for.


Bill W. from 12 weeks ago  5 years ago

I would like to say to Bear Boy & Mike that I really enjoyed your input about the YRSV S . The material was really enjoyable to read & I agree with you both.Evidently Hal wouldn't know quality if it jumped up and slapped him. Why would anyone want to change something that has proved itself to be worthy for many years ,You just don't mess with perfection & believe me the YRSV S is "Perfection On 2 Wheels" . Hal should get a grip on quality . Thanks guys for your valuable input on the YRSV S,I love mine so far.Happy & safe riding "Bear Boy" & "Mike" from 3 weeks ago,thanks a bunch.

Bill W.


Bill W. part 2 5 years ago

The main word about the YRSV S is,you just don't screw with perfection,it must be because they have been using that motor from 1986 to 1993 in its Venture Royale,then in its V-Max then started using it in its new Royal Star brand,and still using it in the new 2011 Venture S.I'm very happy with my 2008 Char Coal Silver Venture S.It is just what I was looking for.It wouldn't be right for all to want the same motorcycles ,because there wouldn't be enough to go around .Personally ,I feel special & proud on my YRSV S. All I have to say about which is better is,each to his/her own,I love mine & proud of it on each outting I go on.I'm to darn old to argue about it anyway,if I live till 7-30-11 I'll be 65 & plan to ride this Venture S till the end.It's A great motorcycle.Don't foget that 5 yr. warranty (haven't needed mine yet & you probably won't either)& road side services.

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    2011 Yamaha Royal Star Venture S At A Glance

    Base MSRP: $23,899
    Engine Displacement: 1294 cc
    Engine Type: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve, 70°, V-4
    Bore & Stroke: 79 x 66mm
    Ignition Type: Starting Digital TCI / Electric
    Compression Ratio: 10:01
    Transmission Type: 5-speed
    Final Drive Type: Shaft
    Front Tire: 150/80-16
    Rear Tire: 150/90-15
    Wheelbase: 1,705mm (67.1")
    Saddle Height: 750mm (29.5")
    Curb Dry Weight: 394kg (866.8 lb)
    Fuel Capacity (US): 22.5 litres
    * Specs/pix apply to 2010 model, updates as released

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