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2010 Yamaha Stratoliner Deluxe Review


by Luc Brière ,

Multiple identities!

Let me first confess that I’ve always had a soft spot for Yamaha’s Stratoliner range. For the Deluxe version, Yamaha has added a fairing and replaced the faux-leather bags with hard ones. Things were off to a good start.

Well known American "Touring" look, sized for compact as well as fuller riders! (photo: Philippe Champoux/

A powertrain tailored for cruising
Yes sir, this big V-Twin’s comes to play! The great dollops of torque are unleashed just above idle, and remain on duty right up to the limit to deliver solid accelerations despite the 370-kilo of the bike and the 100 kilos of your faithful journalist.

The 48⁰ mill uses four valves per cylinder for better breathing, as well as electronic fuel injection. Designed specifically for modern cruisers and oh-so low, the engine keeps several of its virtues hidden, such as:
  • Pushrod valve actuation with the cam nice and low next to the crankshaft. This configuration ensures a lower overall engine, despite the longish stroke (118 mm), than a comparable overhead cam setup, which would in turn raise the engine’s centre of gravity. It would get worse as the fuel tank would also end up higher, further decentralizing the power train mass – a very bad thing indeed.
  • A simple and light air-cooling system, helped by the use of ceramic composite-plated cylinders and three lubrication pumps that improve oil circulation and cooling. And no unsightly cooling radiator!
  • Electronic ignition and injection, with twin injectors to improve precision and reduce consumption as well as emissions.
  • Two sparkplugs per cylinder to ensure quick ignition and prevent detonation, a common problem with such large bores.
  • The exhaust system is equipped with an EXUP valve to increase torque from 2,000 to 3,000 rpm.
Modern frame, i.e. stiff and light
Yamaha once again hit the bull’s eye with this flagship model, as the long aluminum lower-longer-stiffer frame ensures unparalleled stability. The frame is ably assisted by a generous 46-mm fork and a well hidden shock that features adjustable pre-load. The slightly under-damped suspension ensures both comfort and top-notch handling, not an easy trick to turn.

Intelligent and modern cruiser engine layout: low (pushrod) cylinder heads, balance shaft, exhaust system far from rider's legs, torque and power at high revs, and low center of gravity for easy handling when stopped and at very low speeds. (Photo: Yamaha)
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