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Basem Wasef

2012 Star Motorcycles Stratoliner Deluxe Review: Out With the Art Deco, In With the Garmin

By May 29, 2012

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Star Stratoliner Deluxe Review

Can I come clean and admit that I don't fully understand the bagger genre?

These big-boned genetic mutants are neither bona fide cruisers nor dedicated tourers, and they usually combine an odd blend of physical characteristics: swollen but smallish saddlebags, surprisingly short windscreens, and massive bodywork for a hulking stance.

Star Motorcycles' Stratoliner gets a few upgrades for 2012 and a slight bump in price; I tested one on some of Georgia's twistiest hills, though I'm not sure the experience shed much light on this curious two-wheeled strain.

Here's my 2012 Star Motorcycles Stratoliner Deluxe Review... now, can someone please explain the bagger fascination, once and for all?


Photo © Basem Wasef; click for review

May 29, 2012 at 8:01 am
(1) Pete says:

I am not a Cruiser fan on any level…but couldn’t the same objection / query / argument be directed at Sport Tourers? Which I might add, I very much like. Again…neither fish nor fowl.
- Small bags
- Semi effective windscreen
- Heavier than a sport bike with all the handling & performance flaws that accompanies that weight.
- Considerably better handling however than 900lbs of arm chair. – Not quite as comfortable as tourer, but certainly better on the long haul than pure sport bike.

I like sport bikes and I find the appeal of really good ST type bike appealing. That said, I can relate to the cruiser guys liking the ‘bagger’ for the same reason.

It’s “adventure” bikes I don’t get……..

May 29, 2012 at 10:20 am
(2) Joe says:

I think Pete said it well, different people like different bikes. I not one for sportbikes but I understand some people love the performance that they can get from one. I would consider a bagger if it had good luggage space for long trip and good features like a sound system, air suspension, cruise control, etc. That being said, it does seem from your review that Star may have missed the mark with this bike. Luggage capacity is small, no radio, no choice of colors and a price not much better then the competition.

May 29, 2012 at 10:49 am
(3) Scottie says:

Hey Basem,

As you may remember, my bike is an ’07 Stratoliner that I got (cheap) as a leftover in ’09. I love the bike. At 6’2″, it fits me perfectly. For a big bike it handles incredibly well. The power is wonderful. Probably the best stock pipe for those that want the v-twin sound without going aftermarket. I rarely ride more than 100 miles in a day and rarely more than 60 mph. So I probably fit the bagger profile, sans the fairing.

Yamaha is not in touch with the forums out there. Many want a sixth gear, ABS, and, for the Deluxe, a better featured fairing.

The bags on the Deluxe are essentially the same, with a slightly taller top. Shapely they may be, they don’t hold much other than your insurance cert. and registration. On the way back in the other day I had a hankering for a beer so I stopped to pick up a six-pack. That had to be dismantled to fit in the bag.

With the competition out there, no dealer should expect to get anything close to MSRP.

May 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm
(4) Basem Wasef - Motorcycles Guide, About.com says:


Are you kidding? Sport tourers make perfect sense to me because they tend to be extremely effective touring machines that aren’t boring to ride; their windscreens are usually tall, their saddlebags big (and easily removable), and their motors powerful. Think of the Kawasaki Concours 14, the Triumph Sprint ST, the Honda VFR– all bikes I wouldn’t hesitate to take on long rides. I’m testing a Honda ST1300 right now, and while it’s great for long rides, it’s too heavy to be considered sporty.


I don’t think Star missed the mark with the Strat Deluxe; it intentionally conforms to the genre, and essentially succeeds at doing what it’s expected to do. Scottie’s assessment is spot on; while it’s not exactly a technological groundbreaker, it’s got a lot going for it.


Yes, I remember your Stratoliner– didn’t recall, though, that you had bags. At least you could transport the beer at all; without the bags, you’d have to bring along a backpack. Yuck. Which, I guess, kinda explains baggers just a tiny bit.


May 29, 2012 at 5:38 pm
(5) Joe says:

Basem, when I said that Star “miss the mark ” with this bike I just feel that they could have gone a little more with features on this bike for that price. I believe Scottie did say it well and agree with his assessment, I do like the looks on this bike, one of the best looking baggers in my opinion.

May 29, 2012 at 7:01 pm
(6) Pete says:

Maybe I stated things poorly…I like sport tourers..quite a bit. But, to a degree, they are a bit of a compromise when compared to either of their parents. Both VFR’s are superb, I’ve always been an ST1100/1300 fan and a good friend of mine has a Concours that’s racked up 120,000km in 3 years.
It’ll be an ST long before a GL……….

May 30, 2012 at 11:17 am
(7) Joe says:

Pete has some very good points. Sport tourers are similar in concept to baggers. There is a compromise in both bikes, but that’s the point. Baggers are now Harley’s best seller big twin bike. Many riders want the comfort of the wind screen, but not too big to stop feel the wind. And let’s face it, a large wind screen isn’t at all visually appealing. Saddle bags sure are handy, but many riders (especially Harley riders) don’t want to look or feel they are ready for a Goldwing.
I’ve ridden Street Glides on a number of occasion and do find them to be a nice comfortable bike to take on a multi-day trip. I still like getting on my sport bikes to ride through the twisty back roads of New England, but nothing wrong with a change of pace once in a while.

May 31, 2012 at 9:41 am
(8) Scottie says:

Unlike the Deluxe, standard equipment on the Stratoliner is the passenger backrest (if you want it check the price before you buy). That can be mated with a $100 rack and an inexpensive and spacious roll bag.

For the record – I have never used the roll bag and usually ride solo without the passenger backrest. For me it’s perfect for back roads.

And even though this bike was designed in California, don’t take it to a Memorial Day or Fourth of July parade. Off shore automobiles are acceptable, but bikes must be ‘merican.

June 1, 2012 at 11:55 am
(9) Peter says:

“but bikes must be ‘merican” …. Don’t forget a large percentage of HDs are made in China or elswhere.

I don’t understand big fat swollen touring bikes. If your surrounded by a heap of plastic and you have to open a vent for fresh air on some. Then I’d sooner have a convertible sports car and be done with it. I like the breeze, the free feeling of an unloaded bike, and the asphalt dance. The same especially applies to trikes or Spyders.

June 1, 2012 at 3:16 pm
(10) Scottie says:

Hey, Peter,

I realized a long while ago that my next “bike” may be a convertible. A few miles here or there – it gets a bit daunting when you consider pulling on all the gear. Not sure that just jumping into a car is any safer, but it seems simpler.

I can appreciate your minimalist perspective, but if going cross the country I’d be riding a BMW K1600 with all its plastic.

June 2, 2012 at 1:55 am
(11) Peter says:

When I was young, there was no gear. I rode a motorcycle like it was a car. No gloves, shorts, no helmet for local riding and even rode with flip-flops some days. Getting old means becoming sensible and killing the joy. I get in my Miata now and it’s like it was then. Shorts and all. As far as long rides, with all the stuff, I don’t do that so baggers are not important. I am a local rider with just a 1-200 mile range at most.

June 30, 2012 at 1:10 am
(12) steve says:

my strats perfect for back n forth to work during the summer, w/the short windshield n lack of fairing.i carry a cover n pack my lunch bucket n a thermos.i will need to make adjustments for longer rides, like bringing the bars back, n put some road pegs on.i just had a crash bar put on w/ the bag gaurds n some kuryakin grips.i traded a loaded vstar for the bigger motor n taller gears.if i want a case of beer , i just ride my ’85 goldwing , it,ll hold a 36 pack in the trunk. i get looks from people on the strat.it,s about comfort n enjoying the ride.it,s pretty powerful at 60-70 mph ,too. over 40 mpg.handles great.corners well,seating position is the only problem i have, like i said, i have to make some adjustments.

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