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Tech Specs at a glance

Type: Air-cooled, 0HV, 4-stroke, 48° V-twin
Displacement: 1,670 cc
Comp ratio: 8.3:1

Front tyre: 120/70 ZR18
Front brakes: Dual discs, Ø 298 mm
Front suspension: 41mm USD forks
Front travel: 135 mm
Rear Tyre: 200/50 ZR17
Rear suspension: Swingarm (Link suspension)
Rear travel: 110 mm
Rear brakes: Single disc, Ø 282 mm

Overall length: 2,385mm
Overall width: 955mm
Overall height: 1,120mm
Seat height: 715mm
Wheelbase: 1,665mm
Ground clearance: 155mm
Dry weight: 275kg

There are a whole host of accessories for the Warrior.

These include an alternative 'Drag Bar' set up from Yamaha's extensive accessory catalogue, this also includes seats, trick billet pieces, and stylish mirrors. And on that note about accessory seats, a word of warning, don't carry a passenger for very far, the rear seat is possibly the most uncomfortable piece of token foam I have ever had the misfortune to sit on for 75miles! With the rear pegs set so high and the tiny almost unpadded seat I couldn't feel a thing down below as everything had become numb after that fairly short trip on the back. I'm glad to say that for 2004 yamaha have announced that the Warrior gets repositioned rear pegs and a much better pillion seat, roll on 2004!

Directly from the USA

Road Star Warrior Stage IV Speedstar Competition Kit

Boost the power output of your Warrior from 80 to over 100bhp at the rear wheel, plus your torque goes up to approx 130lb-ft - awesome!!!

For closed-course race application only. This kit increases torque and horsepower throughout the rpm range, with a 30% increase in peak horsepower. Stage IV Kit includes: Competition Velocity Stack Set; Competition Air Intake Scoop; Competition Stage IV ECU; Competition High-Flow Fuel Injector Set; Competition High-Compression Forged Piston Set; Competition Clutch Spring; Competition Valve Spring Set; Competition Camshaft Set; Competition Stage IV Gasket Kit; Drag Pipes.

Fits '02-'03 Warrior

order code: SPD-5PX09-01-04

All this for only $2,999.95

Order from the US only


yamaha road star Warrior - outrageous!

Road Test & photographs by Adrian Percival

Only a year or two back the term Performance Cruiser was totally unknown. Virtually the entire cruiser market has been geared toward looking "authentic" (old really) at the total expense of functionality. Cruisers have been, and are currently based on a decades-old designs and styles of early generation Harley-Davidsons and Indians. These bikes were in designed for long straight roads with no corners and top speeds of around 60mph! They handle and brake poorly, and almost any other motorcycle on the streets regardless of size can out accelerate them.

But those clever people at the manufacturers, and those radical motorcycle designers couldn't ignore the huge business of customizing cruisers, and making them go fast with some radical engine surgery. This has brought us into the dawn of a new era in cruiser technology. Gone are those preconceptions of slow speed, can't get round that corner, let the scooter go because it will embarrass me, and so on.

Now we have a new game to play with our cruisers, its called 'Hunt and annihilate the superbike'

This category is best represented by the two leaders of the current pack of performance cruisers, the V-Rod and Yamaha's Road Warrior (well Road Star Warrior really, but Road Warrior sounds so much better!). These two bikes are at the top of the tree in the latest designs of the 'Hot Rod cruiser'. There is the Kawasaki Mean Streak, but until the new 1600 version is launched next year it will remain the aspiring little brother. Honda do actually produce a bike in this category but it is way too heavy and bulky, and the VTX1800 just hasn't got the ground clearance or street cred to compete for the coveted crown.

Now Yamaha is at the top end of the high-tech motorcycle manufacturers, a pioneer in 5-valves-per-cylinder technology, and a serious participant in the super-tech Formula 1 world. Therefore we have a bike that has massive fully adjustable USD forks, laid down adjustable rear shock, a trick cruiser-first aluminium frame, XJR1300 brakes, a 4 pot rear brake and super grippy sportsbike tyres. So what are they thinking of by putting an air-cooled, 4-valve, pushrod engine in it for the performance cruiser battle?

Yamaha have entered the world of the performance cruiser with the Road Star Warrior, a 1700cc low slung beast of a bike with the biggest exhaust can in history resembling a rocket launcher pod from a US Tankbuster plane!

It says out loud 'I'm bad, I'm mean, don't mess with me - you'll be sorry'

Well the simple truth was discovered when I rode it, the engine in the Warrior is bottomless pit of power and torque. It's enough to pull your arms off and it seriously worries almost every sports bike around. It is actually based on the 48-degree V-Twin found in the cooking model of the Road Star, but that's where the similarities stop. The Warrior's engine gets a 2mm bore increase taking the displacement up to 1670cc. The motor then gets new cylinder heads and cams which are fed by a pair of 40mm throttle bodies feeding through much straighter intake ports, and this is then complimented by a two-section airbox that has 115% greater capacity than the Road Star. What you get here then is a motor that has seriously improved breathing making the rev range now go up to 5000rpm instead of 4400rpm on the Road Star. In addition to this the cylinders have an extra 30% more finning for better heat dissipation and a left side mounted air scoop that sends cool air directly to the rear cylinder. The compression ratio is increased to 8.4:1, and a 7% stiffer clutch help harness the 40% increase in power over the standard Road Star motor.

Yamaha have made the Warrior a true Hot-Rod amongst bikes, and the improvements really work. The power is now up to approx 80bhp at the rear wheel, outshining it's Road Star stablemate by some 25bhp. But there's more, the huge low down torque is truly impressive, this is the main difference between standard V-twins and the Warrior. At just 3500 rpm, the Hot-Rod Yamaha is cranking out 100 ft-lbs. of tyre-shredding torque, enough to send the 200 section rear tyre into spin up mode at low speeds. During one crazy moment we managed to get the rear wheel spinning at standstill on tickover, what other bike can you say that about!

Tip of the day, when you let off just make sure you are not in a heavily populated pedestrian area or next to a 600 sportsbike, the intake roar and suction from the exhaust will drag small children off the pavement and inhale any passing sportsbike without blinking an eye!

Blip the throttle on the Warrior and you get an immediate response, that of two huge pistons thudding under you and an exhaust note through that rocket launcher of a silencer that's worthy of a fully tuned Harley! A super high-tech ECU helps the bottom-end power by closing one of the dual intake ducts at low revs for better a throttle response. This gives the Warrior a massive amount of grunt from standstill, just twist and go, there's no shortage of power at any speed you care to try it! Twist it to the stop and the exhaust note can break windows at 100 paces, it's totally addictive!

This enormous amount of tractor-like pulling power combined with a huge 200-series rear tyre results in some seriously quick launches off the line at lights and junctions, there's nothing around that's going to beat this beast of a bike away from a standing start, and it absolutely refuses to wheelie thanks to it's long-long wheelbase of 1665mm. Out on the ordinary roads the Warrior's frame and steering geometry wins hands down. It is almost flickable into corners and roundabouts, and on country roads it's just a pleasure to ride. Motorways are a bit of a pain as the Warrior will easily cruise at way beyond legal speeds, but it's your arms that can't take the strain. The riding position resembles that of an impersonation of a parachute with the wide bars offering plenty of leverage, tuck in a bit and it becomes a little easier to tackle high speed motorway runs. Those wide bars and the rigid chassis allow a you to quickly lean it over in a corner without any instability at all, all I will say on this one is watch your boots, the pegs will touch down first quickly followed by your heels, so keep your feet up in corners!

At a comfortable 80mph the engine is turning at just under 3500rpm, there are no real vibrations only a gentle reminder of what lays beneath you in the form of a slightly throbbing seat as those huge pistons go up and down. The bars are set at a somewhat canted forward position from the factory, I played around with this to get my preferred position and moved them forward a little until they were almost directly in-line with the fork tube angle. This change in position made a big difference to the comfort at higher speeds and it became easier to ride at slow speed as a bonus.

The Warrior has been designed effectively and Yamaha have not gone overboard trying to get the lowest possible seat height, it still comes in at a low 715mm, low enough for the majority of potential riders I would say. The huge fuel tank is a bit of a design exercise really as it only holds some 14lts, the underside is mainly filled with air box stuff and plumbing, but under the seat is another tank of approx 5 lts remotely linked, so all in all the capacity is approx 19lts which is enough to give you a respectable cruising range - if you can ever cruise on the Warrior! In addition to this capacity the Yam is fitted with the family count down mileometer when you go to reserve, a feature I wish all other bikes had as standard sometimes.

There are a lot of clues to tell the casual onlooker that the Warrior is something special. There are subtle touches like the sculptured handlebar clamps, hi-tech yet strangely retro (if that makes sense!) instruments that glow neon blue at night. Even if the tacho is difficult to read as it sweeps up it's digital dial, it still looks great, and who needs a tacho when you can almost count every beat of that stonkin' motor! Then there's the blacked out cylinders of the enormous engine and the giant exhaust can, no there's no way you could mistake this bike for anything ordinary!

The all black Warrior attracts considerable attention. I always surprised when people came up to me in the street and complimented me on my choice of bike, comments ranged from "Wow cool bike" from a bunch of 16yr old schoolgirls (they did say other things but I just had to resist temptation!), to "what a lovely colour, and doesn't it shine", this was from a rather upper crust lady and her friend out shopping, they were both well into their 50's I would think! Comments like that whilst on your average sportsbike are a little like getting let off a parking ticket by a warden, so street cred it has - by the truck load!

I totally enjoyed riding the Warrior during the time I had it, it was a real eye-opener to the world of the Performance cruiser only having previously ridden the mean Streak in 2002. The Warrior handles well, has power in reserve whenever you want it, looks wicked and will eat superbikes off the line for breakfast (he says as a superbike rider most of the time!). Not only that it's pretty exclusive as there won't be that many around, so get down to you local dealer, if they stock them, and be prepared to be converted into a Road Warrior.


So how is it made and who conceived the idea.

We obtained this design and development information regarding the Warrior directly from Yamaha, it makes some interesting reading as to the concept and construction of the bike.

Project leader Tatsuya Watanabe: "We liked the idea of using Road Star's big v-twin to give cruisers a new flavor. Many riders told us they had a strong preference for performance. We engineers immediately had an affinity to these needs. What we envisioned was a bike you could ride easily but still enjoy its performance."

Watanabe and his men increased the performance of the big V twin by 40% and at the same time reduced the weight by 40 kg comparing to Road Star XV 1600. Watanabe explains how the decision to use an aluminum frame for a cruiser came about: "As we were thinking to reduce weight, the suggestion of an aluminum frame came up almost as a joke at first. But after a few days of studying, members of the development team were convinced "Hey, this will really work".

Even the shape is conventional yet the Warrior's frame is made of aluminum.

With less weight, higher performance and dual brakes, upside down fork and sporty rear suspension, and a higher ground clearance when banking, the Warrior is more than a cruiser. Hiroshi Tanaka, in charge of engine design is convinced:"If you take the Warrior for a ride, you will ask yourself - with an acceleration like this, can you still call this bike a cruiser?"

Fuel injection cuts emission and gives the big V-twin a fantastic throttle response

Derek Brooks, motorcycle product manager at Yamaha Motor US has been deeply involved in the product development of the Warrior. He adds:"We've been hearing from lots of riders, particularly those who grew up with sportbikes and dirtbikes, who said they wanted something more in a cruiser than was currently available- more performance and better handling in particular." Derek adds: "At the same time they didn't want to lose those things that make cruisers great, like the traditional styling, character and sound of an air-cooled pushrod V-Twin engine and a clean design that can be customized to their own tastes."

The heart of Warrior: the 1700 cc V-twin with plenty of torque

Jun Tamura, from GK Dynamics took care of the styling: "One of the basic elements of cruiser design is, how powerful you can make the engine look". The 1700 cc V- Twin looks powerful and is powerful. Based on the XV 1600 powerplant, the new engine has undergone significant changes. Next to many detail changes including an increased bore and cylinder head changes, a major contribution to the high power and torque is the new injection system. Hiroshi Tanaka explains: "We were not able to fit twin carburetors in the engine's narrow V-bank, so a 40 mm downdraft type Bosch twin bore fuel injection system replaces conventional carburetors".

The large diameter 2 into 1 exhaust is one of the character features. Engineer Fumio Takatani knows, "we got comments like - it looks like a bazooka - but we kept it." This large displacement engine simply needs a high volume muffler to ensure a high output. Also to increase banking clearance for cornering the muffler is mounted rather high. With a new close ratio 5 speed transmission the Warrior engine gives a real sensation of acceleration in particular out of corners.

To give a more direct running feeling and a sense of pulse, rigid engine mounts are used. The lightweight aluminum rear arm, the upside down front fork and the optimized rear suspension damping force ensure a high level of handling and stability.

Warrior's aluminum swingarm construction is based on layout of sportbikes.

The brake system is identical with that of XJR 1300. Comparing cruiser standards this system with its Yamaha patented single body brake calipers has an outstanding brake force, operability and operational feeling, which gives a ride on winding country lanes a new cruiser dimension.







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