Our last comparison test with a Star Venture was back in 2009, when we put a Royal Star Venture S up against V-twin luxury tourers from Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki and Victory. For 2018, with the Star cruiser line subsumed under the Yamaha brand, the Venture has returned after getting a total reboot. Replacing the V-Max-derived, liquid-cooled V-4 with faux cooling fins and shaft drive is a Raider-derived, air-cooled V-twin with real cooling fins and belt drive. And instead of the derivative, Harley Electra Glide-esque styling, the new Star Venture gets modern bodywork that EIC Tuttle described as “R1-meets-1960s-Americana-muscle” in his October 2017 road test.
A raw and rowdy engine may make sense for a flashy chopper like the Raider, but not for a luxury tourer like the Venture. Refinements to the 1,854cc, 48-degree V-twin include self-adjusting hydraulic valve lifters, camshaft and primary drive dampers, twin gear-driven counterbalancers and vibration-absorbing isoelastic engine mounts. The Venture also has two throttle response modes, traction control, a 6-speed transmission, an assist-and-slipper clutch and linked ABS brakes.
Standard equipment includes adjustable rider/passenger ergonomics, adjustable levers, heated grips, seats and backrests, Sure-Park electric forward/reverse, an infotainment system (with a 7-inch color touchscreen, voice recognition, intercom, Bluetooth, Pandora and more), keyless ignition, central luggage locks, an electric windscreen, tire pressure monitoring, LED lighting, a 12V socket and two USB ports. Our test bike has the Transcontinental (TC) accessory package ($2,000), which adds LED fog lights, a security alarm, rear speakers, dual-zone audio, passenger storage compartments and GPS navigation, CB radio and SiriusXM satellite radio to the infotainment system.