The Gift of Motorcycling
In celebration of Cruiser Customizing’s 10 Year Anniversary, we are building and giving away a fully customized Yamaha V-star 650 Classic.
The “Gift of Motorcycling” will be officially announced the first week of June in the Cruiser Customizing Newsletter. We will showcase the steal of a bike we have found, as well as the brands and parts we plan on adorning this motorcycle with, making it the least expensive custom you have ever seen.
Over the course of the next six months, Cruiser Customizing will take you on a step-by-step video transformation of this stock motorcycle into a truly customized machine. The Gift of Motorcycling build will be directed by Kyle and performed primarily by CruisersKelly, our engaging female co-host. As will be shown, this is a build that anyone can complete in their own garage over the course of several weekends.
Throughout the build, you can enter to win this do-it-yourself custom bike that will be known as “The Gift of Motorcycling.” Click here to Enter to WIN!
Choosing the Bike
In many ways the Yamaha V-Star 650 was an easy choice for for the build as it is one of the best and most well known entry level cruisers. This bike was introduced in 1997 and for more than 12 years has remained virtually untouched and unchanged through 2010. What this really means is that you can shop for a used V-Star, dress it up, and make it uniquely yours for much less than the cost of the same bike sitting new on the showroom floor today. The V-Star 650 Classic and Custom models have introduced thousands of riders to the motorcycle experience.
Why was the V-Star the perfect platform for the “Gift of Motorcycling” project? For us, the bike is perfect for many reasons:
- Perfect for a new or inexperienced rider
- Superb fuel economy
- Light enough for any rider to handle
- Seat height low enough for most riders
- Many aftermarket accessories available
- Good as either an around town commuter as well as a long distance tourer
- Good for a single rider as well as 2-up
- Priced less than $3,000
History of the Bike
The bike you see here is a 1999 Yamaha V-Star 650 Classic that we found in the San Francisco Bay Area in near-pristine shape. It has fewer than 15,000 miles on the odometer and is virtually 100% stock. We purchased it from the second owner, who purchased it over 10 years ago with only 1,500 miles on the odometer. Other than tires, scheduled maintenance, and 1,000 miles per year, this bike is unchanged from exactly how it rolled off the showroom floor 11 years ago. ??We paid $1,500 for our V-star, which-based on its clean condition is right about the market value for its age. In our search, we found bikes from nearly new ones priced at around $6000 to some high-mileage beat up units we could have purchased for $1,100. We chose this bike as we thought it was the best “bang for our buck.”
Now that the V-star is in our hands, we plan to build it week by week and we hope you join us for the ride! Below is a list of the categories and accessories we plan to tackle:
Engine and Drive Train
The Yamaha V-Star came with a 649cc air cooled 70 degree V-twin. This motor has proven reliable with years of use and very little maintenance. It has an A+ report card when it comes to durability. In honor of this motorcycles reliability we will not be opening the motor to give it more power power, but will instead will be adding up to a 12% increase in use-able power with the following enhancements :
- Complete Air Kit with K&N filter (TBD)
- Jet Kit (TBD)
- Exhaust Pipes (TBD
Suspension and Tires
From the factory the V-Star has very soft suspension as it was designed for comfort and long distance cruising. As expected, our V-star with almost 15,000 miles has even softer suspension. We will improve the ride by adding the following products:
- Front Fork Lowering Springs (TBD)
- Rear Shock (TBD)
- Rear Lowering Kit
- New Tires (TBD) Front 130/90-16 and Rear 170/80-15
Our V-star is running the stock OEM brakes that it had when it rolled off the showroom floor twelve years ago. We will be updating the stock pads, as well as replacing the front and rear brake fluids.
- Brake Pads and Shoes (TBD)
- Brake Fluid (TBD)
When it comes to ergonomics we will change the seat, risers, handlebars, and footpads to find the perfect combination. The V-star can be modified to fit a wide variety of riders.
- Seat (Mustang)
- Handlebars (TBD)
- Risers (TBD)
- Barons Extended Lines and Cable Kit
- Show Chrome Heated Grips
- Kuryakyn Chrome for the controls
- Highway Bars
Stock lighting on any motorcycle leaves a lot to be desired. We will completely remove the existing lighting and replace it with the following parts:
- Modern Headlight
- Driving Light Bar
- Updated Turn Signals
- Custom Tail Light
- Run-Turn-Brake Controller
- LED Accent Lights
Staying true to the current “Bagger” trend, we will outfit this bike with a quick release mounting kit, which will allow the rider to attach a touring windshield, bullet fairing, batwing fairing, or sport shield.
Saddlebags are a feature many only want when needed for long trips, but would like to remove once the destination has been reached. For this build we will add a set of quick release saddlebag brackets, as well as a set of hardbags making this bike into the perfect economical bagger.
We have not yet determined if we will outfit this bike for solo or 2-up riding. If we do, we will address the following:
- Passenger Footing
- Passenger Backrest / Sissybar
- Rear Seat
Summary: The Gift of Motorcycling
A major benefit of choosing a long-running model like the V-Star 650 is that the aftermarket will have a wide selection of accessories from all of the aforementioned categories. The purpose of this build is to:
- Celebrate the Cruiser Customizing 10 Year Anniversary
- To give “The Gift of Motorcycling” to a lucky community member
- Show the complete step-by-step video build out of a perfect entry level motorcycle
Motorcycle Sweepstakes: Enter to WIN this motorcycle at: