Yamaha has always had a strong
presence in the middleweight cruiser market, and this 650 Drag Star,
introduced in 1997, had to fill the classify chromed shoes of the firm's
successful, long-running XV535 Virago.
The Drag Star uses a
larger-capacity version of the well-proven Virago engine, but in a 'lowrider'-styled
chassis. The imitation hardtail rear monoshock suspension and brushed fork
shrouds, together with the tank-mounted speedometer and deep valanced
mudguards, give the Drag Star typical cruiser good looks.
Many parts are chrome-plated,
including the exhaust, headlight and engine casings, and the wide, spoked
rear-wheel looks suitably authentic.
The simple air-cooled engine uses
a SOHC valve-train and two-valve cylinder heads, with twin Mikuni
carburettors. Using a larger bore and stroke than the 535 donor engine, it
drives through a wet clutch to a five-speed gearbox, and clean,
low-maintenance shaft drive ensures trouble-free final drive.
Performance is brisk enough for a
medium-capacity cruiser. The willing engine's 30kW (40bhp) appears in a
satisfyingly torquey manner, and the capable chassis perforins well to the
limits of its ground clearance. The single front brake disc with a
two-piston sliding caliper looks underwhelming, but together with the strong
rear drum brake provides excellent stopping ability.
The Drag Star is no performance
machine, however, and is best kept for light summer cruises, although its
economic performance and shaft drive make it a stylish alternative for
The low-slung seat height of just
695mm (27in) is ideal for shorter riders, while wide pullback bars and
forward foot controls make for a comfortable riding position.
There is a massive choice of
aftermarket accessories for the Drag Star, including chromed parts, cissy
bars, screens and luggage.