Top 3 Yamuglies: Yamaha Stratoliner

 Rounding out the Top 3 Ugliest Yamahas behind the inconceivable, rip your eyes out of your sockets Raider and VMX17, here comes the Stratoliner. Grab your barf bags!

 There are some (albeit precious few) styling touches that Yamaha has incorporated into their current line that you can justify by some measure or another. Maybe you can talk yourself into believing that motorcycles in 2009 should feature some gonzo futuristic hyperbike styling that looks like it belongs in McG's Terminator Salvation movie being ridden by a shiny metal bot. I can't, but to each his own. The bottom line remains that ugly is ugly is ugly, and when we look at the Yamaha Stratoliner, we are looking at ugly to the power of infinity.

Let's start at the atrocious front fender. Starting from the forward tip, see how it approximates the curve of the tire beneath it until it reaches the fork junction. From that point on, it straightens out and actually diminishes its radius for a time, creating an awkward compound curve which makes the tire look like it actually has a flat spot at one o'clock! And what is that horizontal blade stabbing back from the axle to the fender, is it a sword, or did Wolverine lose one of his adamantium claws?

The ickiness of the compound multi-lamp headlight is atrocious enough, but it can't be conclusively shown to be any more disgusting than the one on the standard Kawasaki Vulcan 2000, so I'll let that one slide. The extreme teardrop turn signals, though, do not escape my wrath. Far too elongated and pointy, they look like they belong on a Chinese 250 cruiser and they are completely out of proportion to the gargantuan hyperthyroid chrome headlight enclosure.

There is nothing, nothing, no, nothing at all that can describe how patently idiotic the Art Deco triple chrome stripes look when they continue onto the side panels of the frame behind the triple tree. Overlaying a styling cliche from the tank (where it can be argued that it can theoretically "fit") onto a black matte metal frame part simply betrays the fact that the Yamaha stylists have completely and truly lost the plot.

I have stated in other Hubs that I absolutely love the Road / Wild Star derived engine. It's aesthetically perfect almost to a fault. It's the rest of the Stratoliner that deserves to be crushed into toasters and Hot Wheels cars.

This is a family safe site, so I have to very carefully weigh my words when I describe the muffler of the Stratoliner. Let's see if this description is clinical enough: The muffler of the Stratoliner terminates in a rather accurate chromed approximation of an erect uncircumcised human penis. Although I trust that there are some out there who appreciate this look, I'm not one of them. I find the matte black glans quite distasteful. In fact the entire rear end of the bike is a total eyesore.

The worst offender has to be the extremely awkward rear fender tail that looks like it got hung up on some car's bumper and bent upwards, and don't even get me going on those silly flame pinstripes that look like they were added on at the last minute. As for the rearward pointing teardrop turn signals, they are just atrocious and look like they were drawn up by someone who flunked out of the original Flash Gordon spaceship design class. One of the greatest smears on a part of this bike that is chock full of them has to be the side reflectors that look like Yamaha bought them at Pep Boys for 59 cents a pair and just krazy glued them onto the side of the license plate mounting bracket. They look like they belong on the side of a Schwinn.

Yamaha... what were you thinking?

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Comments 14 comments

stevenschenck profile image

stevenschenck 7 years ago from Sacramento California

Hal.

Nice to see your opinion is intact. The good thing about ugly bikes is that they will sell for a song later in the year when the dealers can not sell any. Sadly I am a clean bike rider, if the item will not improve the ride or handling it has no place on my bike.

Thanks


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Hi stevenschenck. Well, I'm nothing if not consistent. I know of one medium-sized city Yammy dealer who has not moved a single Stratoliner since they were introduced. Things are gettin' tough out there! :)


Misha profile image

Misha 7 years ago from DC Area

LOL, don't see anything ugly about it :P


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Misha, let's put it this way. A comparable motorcycle such as the Kawasaki Vulcan Classic 2000 is Natalia Vodianova, while the Yamaha Stratoliner is Leonid Brezhnev. Which one would you rather sleep with? :)


Misha profile image

Misha 7 years ago from DC Area

Oh, I did sleep with Brezhnev many times - he in presidium, me in front of TV :P


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Sorry... I fell off my chair when I read your first phrase... fortunately I was able to regain my wits and read the end! :)


Misha profile image

Misha 7 years ago from DC Area

LOL that was the plan :D

I have to admit that this is not my creation - it is a famous Russian joke from those times :)


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

My favorite old Brezhnev joke:

The Americans land on moon, so Brezhnev calls the Soviet cosmonauts and gives an order: "By the end of this month a Soviet spaceship must land on the sun!"

"Da, Comrade General Secretary, but the problem is that we will burn alive!" reply the cosmonauts.

"Do you think we are all stupid here in the Politburo?" Brezhnev exclaims. "You are going to land there at night!"


Misha profile image

Misha 7 years ago from DC Area

LOL Yeah, that was there too :)


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

The sun does shut down at night, right? :)


Jerry 6 years ago

Hal, I've. read a number of your posts, stay behind your computer and keep writing. You obviously know absolutely nothing about motorcycles. Geeks like you love to run your mouth but never show your face on the road.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

100 million magazines on the newsstands in the past three decades, millions of pageviews on my online articles, 2 international bestselling books, 37 motorcycles with over half a million miles, and now I gotta listen to a 13 year old wanker like you? Go back to playing Halo in your momma's basement. Have a great pathetic day! :)


Gene 5 years ago

Someone please help me. I bought an 06 Stratoliner two years ago with fifty-six--56--miles on it for $8000 and love its power, handling, care-free maintenance, and.... yes... style. Folks who know nothing about the bike often comment on its beauty. I've owned a Ducati and BMW R60 years ago. I loved them, too, just as they were. Perhaps, I don't know "ugly" when I see it, but I do know fun. I might just make another mistake and buy Yamaha's 2012 Tenere after I see it at the New York Motorcycle Show in January. What's wrong with me? Help? Perhaps a motorpsychiatrist could help me...


Dave 5 years ago

I think the roadliner is one of the best looking cruisers out there and, like all Japanese bikes, engineering takes precedence over style. The roadliner takes cruiser performance to a whole new level too. Until you've ridden it's alloy frame, 113 ci, 4 valves per cylinder, 2 plugs per cylinder...torque out the wazoo, you basically don't know jack and your review sounds like its written like a middle school kid after smoking his older brothers pot.

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