2009 Yamaha V-Star 950 and V-Star 950 Tourer Review

2009 V-Star 950

WherePlochny/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Yamaha’s V-Star 950 is a potent offering in the growing middleweight cruiser field. A Tourer version adds a windscreen, saddlebags, and a passenger backrest.


  • Reasonable pricing defies upmarket styling
  • Not too big/not too small sizing
  • Low seat height of 26.6 inches makes it accessible to many body types
  • Pleasing exhaust note
  • Strong enough acceleration shouldn't leave you craving a bigger engine


  • Seat comfort gets a bit iffy for taller riders on long rides
  • A few rough edges (like sloppy wiring) remind you of the pricepoint
  • Some engine vibrations at higher RPMs
  • Floorboard scraping inevitable on twisty roads
  • The option of a taller stock windshield on the Tourer version would be nice


  • V-Star 950 MSRP: $7,890 (black), $8,090 (blue or red)
  • V-Star 950 Tourer MSRP: $8,990 (black or black cherry), $9,090 (silver)
  • Tourer comes equipped with a windscreen, saddlebags, and a passenger backrest
  • 942cc air-cooled, SOHC 4-valve V-twin
  • 5-Speed transmission with belt drive
  • Double-cradle steel frame
  • Fuel capacity: 4.4 gallons
  • Estimated fuel economy: 47 mpg
  • V-Star 950 wet weight (laden with all fluids; gas, oil, etc.): 613 lb
  • V-Star 950 Tourer wet weight (laden with all fluids; gas, oil, etc.): 657 lb


We rode 120 miles through mountainous North Georgia roads and walked away impressed with the maneuverability of both bikes. Swing a leg over the V-Star 950, and you’ll not only notice that the 26.6-inch seat height is exceptionally low, the saddle’s tapered front makes it easy to touch pavement with the soles of your boots. Taller riders may experience some discomfort on longer rides (due to the steep seating contour that places the rider inside the bike), but Star’s accessories catalog has numerous seating solutions for those craving long-distance comfort. A low center of gravity and reasonable weight makes handling surprisingly manageable considering its long wheelbase, but as is the case with many low-slung cruisers, the floorboard feelers have a tendency to touch down on sharp turns.

Powered by an air-cooled 942cc V-twin, this baby’s got a nice, deep rumble that makes it sound like a bigger bike- and strong enough acceleration to keep you from eyeing that Triumph Rocket III. But a light clutch lever, low handlebar effort, and tight turning radius make it easy to manage at lower speeds. Engine vibration seeps through the floorboards, grips, and seat at higher RPMs, but the V-Star 950’s mellow personality (and lack of tachometer) makes those sensations rare. The Tourer version’s stock windshield is short, so serious long distance riders might want to pick up a medium or tall screen (around $200).

Despite the few areas that beg for an accessories shopping spree, the V-Star 950 offers plenty of strong selling points and a helluva value in the midsize segment.