I'd had my new '02 V-Star Silverado only seven weeks when, just a couple of days ago, I traded it for a new '02 Kawasaki Vulcan 750, a bike that in some ways could be considered its diametric opposite. Sure, they're both "cruisers," but that's about where the similarity ends. First, I have to say...
I'd had my new '02 V-Star Silverado only seven weeks when, just a couple of days ago, I traded it for a new '02 Kawasaki Vulcan 750, a bike that in some ways could be considered its diametric opposite. Sure, they're both "cruisers," but that's about where the similarity ends. First, I have to say that the V-Star has a lot more going for it visually. It has the retro look that has become so popular lately, and it has a lot of chrome. It gives the impression of being a lot larger than a 650, and in fact, it <i>is </i> a lot larger than most 650s. At 545 pounds, it's also a lot heavier than a 650 needs to be. It's a lot of machine for 40-something horsepower to push around. For me, the trouble started on the first ride out of the city, up into the Front Range of the Rockies just west of Denver. On two occasions during this 160-mile ride, the bike started to behave as though it was running out of fuel, even though there was at least half a tank left. Unable to maintain speed and forced onto the shoulder, the bike died. After a brief pause and look-see for any obvious problems, the bike started up, but only after the fuel pump audibly went to work after the key was turned on (and before the starter was pushed). Each time this happened, I was running up a long, steep grade at around 65 mph. After 10 days back at the dealer, the bike was returned to me with the message "We can't fix what we can't reproduce. Maybe you got some bad gas." The problem persisted, so the bike spent another week back at the dealer. Seemingly grasping at straws, the dealer replaced the fuel pump, even though the original unit was within specifications. When I got the bike back after this second visit, I took it for a 100-mile ride without incident, and hoped the problem was solved. But the fix didn't last long. Soon, the fuel starvation gremlin was back. By this point, I had become somewhat dissatisfied with the bike's cornering clearance. I know it's no sportbike, but I'd found myself able to ride other cruisers briskly without dragging things. Not so the V-Star. Between this complaint and the persistent fuel starvation issue, I decided to cut my losses and trade. I don't want to write a review of the Vulcan here, but it is so much better, functionally. It is vastly smoother, more powerful (as one would expect) and it handles much, much more capably. Plus it has liquid cooling, a tach, a centerstand, etc. I've seen few other reports of fuel issues with the V-Star, so I may have become the victim of a rare anomaly. The cornering clearance is another matter. If all your roads are straight, you won't have a problem. If you like to ride at a very relaxed pace, you likewise won't find fault with the bike's handling. If you like to carve corners, you may want to look elsewhere.