I have owned this bike since 1999 and have the silver and gold model. I first saw it in a motorcycle magazine and thought it was beautiful. Yamaha obviously borrowed some styling cues from the Harley Davidson Classic and made just enough changes to make it unique. I love the look and especially the dash which looks like a 1955 corvette dash. What You don't know is that the Engine was designed by Porsche for Harley Davidson!!! Harley passed on it because they were afraid the Harley faithful would not go for the 4 cylinder. Porsche later designed the twin cylinder V-Rod for Harley and it has mixed reviews from the Harley Faithful. The 4 cylinder V Engine Porsche designed was later sold to Yamaha who put it in their 1983 Venture Royale Touring bike. Later the folks at Yamaha thought it was too nice an engine to waste on a touring bike so they added V-Boost and put it in the V-Max in 1985. Yamaha stopped production of the Venture Royale in 1989 but brought it back as the Yamaha Venture in 1999. The Engine in the V-Max makes 145 HP at the crank, in the Venture it maked 98 HP and 89 FPT. This is a lot of power for a touring bike and the bike tops out at 135 MPH!!!
What I like about the bike is it can tour like a Gold Wing, but cruise like a Harley. With the aftermarket Bub's Pipes, it sounds like a chevy V-8 small block and I should know because I have owned two - a Vette and a Z-28 so I know that sound!!! I like that the bike looks a lot like the Harley Classic - so much so that the Harley Faithful wave to me all the time!!! I love the smoothness and sound of the engine which gets 45 mpg in touring mode! I love the comfort of the riding position and I added the backrest for even more comfort! I love the paint and the colors that looks like a custom job to me and my friends. I love that Yamaha thinks enough about the bike to provide a 5 YEAR Warrantee!!! The Radio/Soundsystem is excellent and it consists of 18 FM channels, 6 AM channels, cassette tape player, plug in for my Sony I-pod, CB Radio, and I have the Clarion 6 disk CD player!!! I have put on almost 30,000 trouble free miles in the last 10 years and in three years I plan to buy a brand new one to take me through my retirement years!!!
What I don't like about the bike is it is heavy (809 lbs) so the handling is rather heavy and slow. It is an excellent bike for cruising and touring on open roads with the same limitations the Harley classic has which is the handlebar mounted fairing (less stable in the wind), the heavy handling (heavyweight), and the limited ground clearance. The pipes and floorboards scrape but it is better when one up and with the aftermarket (Bub's)pipes which are smaller in diameter. As long as you remember that this bike is not a sport bike, or even a sport tourer, You will be fine. What it is is an excellent heavyweight cruising touring bike! When I bought this bike back in 1999, I had a Harley Davidson Classic on order! It was due in in 3 months, but a friend talked me into a test drive on the Venture and I was sold!!! I saved $5,000 over the cost of the Harley and got an excellent bike for my money.
What I hope Yamaha does to improve the bike is add fuel injection, anti-lock brakes, heated grips and seats and GPS as options. They might also think of putting a water cooled, fuel injected, high performance twin cylinder engine for better mileage (55 vs 45 MPG), and higher torque. Bottom line is I will probably buy another Yamaha Venture in three years when I retire!!! I think that says it all!!!