Yamaha XVS950A Midnight Star Reviews

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Yamaha XVS950A Midnight Star
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“Yamaha XVS950A compared to Yamaha XVS650, V Star”


written by on 05/01/2013

I owned a Yamaha XVS650 for over two years and have just recently upgraded to the Yamaha XVS950A. What a great bike! I always rode the XVS650 with a pillion and it was a bit under powered two up. I didn't realize till I'd upgraded how many other disadvantages the XVS650 had. I was worried that the XVS950 may not be enough of a power increase over the 650, but I was very wrong. The XVS950 has much more power than I'd expected and more than enough for two up. With the XVS650 it was a bit of a struggle pulling away ahead of traffic, but with the XVS950 you leave the cars behind without any effort. I was also worried about ground clearance and excess scraping on corners, after reading lots of reviews, but after about 200 km I've only scraped once, no more than on the XVS650. Ground clearance isn't a problem for me at all. The engine sound is absolutely addictive, much better than the XVS650 and draws looks from every direction. The XVS650 had a loud annoying shaft whine, the XVS950's belt drive completely eliminates this extra noise, quietly driving the bike without a sound. We wear helmet-to-helmet bluetooth headsets, we've noticed that there is far less background noise with the XVS 950, I think predominantly because the engine is running much slower and quieter and isn't heard as much in the headsets. With the XVS 650 I was always running out of gears, I'd always be trying to change up one more time.....with the XVS950 you don't have that problem the gearbox is very well spaced for both slow and high-speed riding. The bike's looks are really head turning too, I've had lots of positive comments in just a few weeks. I've replaced both the rider and pillion seats with Mustang seats and added a Cobra sissy bar. My pillion has experienced a marked increase in comfort over the XVS650. She was initially unhappy about selling the XVS650, but after just a few rides she's very happy with the XVS950. The thing that has really excited me is the handling. This bike handles backroads and corners absolutely exceptionally. I was worried that the bigger bike would be more of a handful on the open road, but it's just the opposite, corners have become even more of a delight and I've been amazed at how effortlessly the bike negotiates corners. I'm not an engineer, but it seems as if the bike design and the ability to control power to the wheel have improved control of the bike significantly over the old XVS650 I rode. Fuel consumption has been real good, I've been taking it easy.....but got 28 km's to a litre on my last tank. My XVS650 gave me about 23 to 25 km's to a litre, so that's a very welcome and surprising improvement.......with the increase in power it's unbelievable! Lastly, the XVS650 'bottomed out' a lot and provided some unwelcome back pain at times for both rider and pillion, It's hard to believe how much better the XVS950 handles bumps and jolts in the road, very welcome. All in all, I'm delighted with my purchase and would recommend the XVS950 to anyone who's after an upgrade from a smaller cruizer, but who is afraid of going too big, but wants a significant improvement in power and pleasure.

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“The plastic fantastic.”


written by Starman42 on 05/04/2012

I am a big (6 foot) fan of cruiser bikes and had owned an XV535 Virago for the 10 years or so since passing my test until the carbs started playing up and I felt it was time to trade it in for something a little larger. I hadn't done a lot of research on the XVS950A Midnight Star, but saw it in a dealer's showroom and instantly liked it. It looked huge by comparison to my little Virago. Wide, cow-horn handlebars, massive fuel tank, wide seats (for the pillion as well, which was important as I do a lot of 2-up riding), the wife and I both sat on it and liked it even more. We left it for a week to have a think about it, then went back and arranged the swap. I'm not good at bargaining and think I got diddled on the trade-in value of my old bike, but as it was just about a non-runner and needed a serious looking at, I wasn't too bothered, it would have been difficult to sell privately. I was nervous about riding something so big, never having done so before, so had it delivered and just pushed it into the garage for starters, then one nice day plucked up courage to take it out. Checked no cars parked nearby, no neighbours watching... fired it up... started first time, clunked easily into gear, and smoothly pulled off. It took a few minutes to get used to the different handlebars and lack of windscreen, but actually, I really liked it like this, and still do. That was two years ago. Since then, I've put more miles on it than I did in my entire 10 years on the Virago. This is so much nicer to ride, mainly because it doesn't keep stalling or leaving me stranded in the middle of nowhere with a long walk to find help, unlike my old bike. The engine is so smooth and powerful, I really have to hang on to the handlebars if I give it full throttle. I can't understand people who think they need to fit aftermarket air kits and exhausts - it's just fine as it is! Amazingly, it does more miles to the gallon too (I'm getting about 65 on average, and that's mostly with two people, though I do tend to ride very carefully and stick to speed limits - this is a cruiser after all, and I like to cruise, not thrash the thing). I've got my confidence back and am enjoying riding again. There are a couple of minor niggles with it, I wouldn't class them as faults really. Firstly, I thought I was getting lots of chrome, but on closer inspection, much of it is shiny plastic and not metal at all, and the metal bits are mainly stainless steel. However, this isn't such a bad thing, it keeps the weight down and looks pretty much the same. Takes less cleaning actually (and I do like the black wheels in this respect too!). Secondly, the gear shift from first to second has a tendency to miss and end up in neutral if you don't push the lever firmly enough. All the other shifts are fine, it's just this one which has let me down on numerous occasions. I've been practicing using the heel shift to go up the gears and toe to come down, and this has just about resolved this one. You can give it a good stamp on the heel peg to go up to second and this seems to work better than nudging the toe end of the lever up. I'm doing this more or less automatically now and haven't had nearly so many problems with the shift, only when my legs are getting tired near the end of a ride and I miss the lever, but that's more to do with me than the bike. Finally, luggage space - there isn't any. No room for anything under the seat other than the supplied toolkit. For some people this might not be a problem, but I like to take a few bits with me and had a nice tubular steel sissy bar on the Virago (proper Yamaha one) with a little rack on the back to fasten a few things to. They don't make a similar one for the Star, and I don't like the look of the quick release square section ones available (quick release = easy to steal), so ended up making my own - took some doing, but I like the end result and am happy that I really do have a custom bike now! A pair of throw-over Highway Hawk saddlebags fastened under the seat and a huge Yamaha engine bar completes my additions. Oh, and some of that blue reflective tape on the wheel rims - this is a dark bike and I want to be seen from the side at night! I don't think I need forward pegs or controls, the standard footboards are fine where they are for me, but then I'm used to riding the Virago with my knees on my chin (well, not literally, but it wasn't as comfortable as the Star). Would I recommend it to others? Definitely. I did look at other bikes for a similar price, and had toyed with the idea of a Suzuki or Harley Davidson, but am glad I went for the Yamaha. Just looking forward to next year when I finish my monthly payments for the beast and can really say it's all mine!

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