YAMAHA XVS650 DRAGSTAR (1997-on) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Makes a good case as an affordable alternative to Harley's 883"

Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Riding

"Makes a good case as an affordable alternative to Harley's 883"

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

The Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star is a fun and hassle-free way to enjoy your cruising. It’s got a low, comfy seat, big bike looks, ease of use and nice styling on its side. Add that to a low purchase price and the Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star makes a good case for itself as an affordable alternative to Harley’s 883 Sportster or Triumph’s Bonneville.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Despite its faux-hardtail looks the Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star rides very well. It’s no featherweight, but the weight is carried low and the steering is neutral right over to the peg, the exhaust and the chassis you’ll be gently chamfering on your favourite corner. The Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star's brakes on the other hand are less than stella performers and you’re well advised to proceed with that in mind.

Engine 3 out of 5

With the 40bhp, SOHC, air-cooled  V-twin doof-doofing quietly beneath you you’re only ever going to be in for an unhurried ride on the Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star. Which is fine, since there’s more to life than tearing about.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star's finish is very good, with high quality chrome and paintwork and thoughtful touches like rust-resisting, resin-coated spokes. It’s shaft-drive, too, reducing mess and promoting longevity. The Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star's motor is very unstressed and should be good for years to come.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

The Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star replaced the Virago in the Yamaha line-up and it’s by far the better bike. You can pick up a Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star very cheaply, with older bikes available for about a grand privately. It doesn’t have the feel or the distinctive sound of a Harley but your neighbours won’t know and at that price you won’t care. Find a Yamaha Drag Star for sale

Insurance group: 8 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star is backed up with a veritable Aladdin’s cave of aftermarket booty. You can buy everything from luggage to lights, chrome bars to tassles and everything in-between for your Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star.

Owners' Reviews

7 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA XVS650 DRAGSTAR (1997-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your YAMAHA XVS650 DRAGSTAR (1997-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.1 out of 5
Engine 4.1 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.6 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Reliable if unexciting; great for commuting or weekend getaways.

06 August 2017 by XVS650

Reliable, gets you from point A to B without fuss. Nice-looking if you like cruisers. "Easy chair" seating position takes getting used to if you ride standards or sportbikes. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Some complain about the stock seat, but I find it okay. Brakes are average. Handling, well, it's a cruiser.
Engine
4 out of 5
Mechanically very reliable. Stock it is not that powerful, maybe 40 HP, but it pulls away from the light faster than most 4-wheeled vehicles, and that's all I need.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
7000 km in 2 years. Zero costs other than oil change.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Costs about the same as any air-cooled Japanese twin to run.
Equipment
4 out of 5
It doesn't have much in the way of bells and whistles. I have bought some really nice saddlebags for carrying clothes or cargo, and a handlebar-mounted clock to keep track of time when riding. That's it.
Buying experience

Bought as a 'new held-over' from a dealership for a very good price (1800 below MSRP).

4 out of 5

V-star 650 MAN

14 November 2016 by Ron Coleman

Overall the v-star 650 custom is a very good bike that has a full frame. It handles well and has a very good suspension. It's worst feature is to much plastic. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Ride quality is surprisingly good for just a low costing machine. This is a very good handling bike. I always use both breaks to stop and find the breaks strong.
Engine
4 out of 5
Engine performance overall good. Handles well of the line and in the 50-70 mile range. However, the bike doesn't perform as well in the 30-40 miles per hour range.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
The bikes quality and reliability is very good. I have had only to problems. At 22,000 a oil leak on gasket and at about 26,000 miles I needed a new plastic boot for the carburetor. Both of these repairs were completely covered by extended warranty. The bike now has 44,000 with no other problems.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
This includes new tires and 3 oil changes a year completed at the dealership.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Equipment for the yamaha v-star 650 is very good. Lots of accessories.
Buying experience

I bought form a dealer for $5,999.00 in 2012 with 0 miles.

5 out of 5

21 August 2016 by Mad Pelox

Still missing this bike after selling it to get a Triumph T-Bird 1600. Hard to say goodbye to a bike that never gave me any sort of headache in more than 5 years. Reliable as they come and powerful enough to have some fun on twisty roads on Sunday... Read more mornings, provided your rider companions ride similar bikes.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
3 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Great looks

22 March 2014 by Jugster

I have a '99 model having passed my main bike test last year. I love the looks and the seat is very comfortable. It has plenty of acceleration and is fine on big corners. The low weight and seat make it easy to stop and get your feet down. However,... Read more you will need to do this because at very slow manoeuvring speeds it's a little awkward. Beware making a sharp turn at very slow speed because the bike becomes unbalanced and tends to fall over. Other than that, the handling is fine. Not a fan of the foot pegs - they are too far forwards, so am changing them for boards. On long trips they become uncomfortable. Also, there is little equipment in the way of fuel gauge or gear indicator, so it's pretty old school. One other annoying feature - the oil. There's no dipstick, though I think you can get them as an extra, and the viewing port is right under the engine, gets covered in muck and you can't see anything in it anyway. So, yeah, that isn't very good. Otherwise, it's comfy, it looks great, it has decent power and its fun to ride.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

excellent bike

18 April 2009 by s3lee

ive had a 97 xvs650 for a couple of years and have covered thousands of miles, most 2 up with plenty of luggage, apart from the rectifier having to be replaced there has not been one day when it hasnt started 1st time, and the highway hawk slash cuts... Read more give it a brilliant thumping tone...overall a highly recomended bike..

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Dragstar 650 Classic

22 February 2008 by bobdalby

my birthday treat last year a brand new classic. Hit the big 6 - 0 and thought I needed to minimise the risk as reaction time goes south from now on. The Dragstar classic ticks all the boxes. I can still enjoy a bit of speed, but shouldn't flip it... Read more doing wheelies. Then seats 3-4 hour rating (without a break) and all in all very pleased. Oh it looks gorgeous, get lots of comments and its fun to ride. Still living the dream!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Good old ride!

20 December 2007 by rushybike

A great ride and very reliable. Not the most exciting ride but it does the job and really looks the part! Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
Read all 7 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1997
Year discontinued -
New price £5,499
Used price £2,400 to £5,200
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 8 of 17
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost £600
Performance
Max power 40 bhp
Max torque 37 ft-lb
Top speed 96 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 15.6 secs
Average fuel consumption 47 mpg
Tank range 160 miles
Specification
Engine size 649cc
Engine type 4v, V-twin 5 gears
Frame type Tubular steel cradle
Fuel capacity 16 litres
Seat height 710mm
Bike weight 229kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Single 298mm disc
Rear brake Drum
Front tyre size 120/60 x 19
Rear tyre size 170/80 x 15

History & Versions

Model history

1997: Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star introduced to replace Virago XV535.
1998: ‘Classic’ version of Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star introduced.

Other versions

Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star Classic: Comes with fatter mudguards and shrouded forks and was at a £200 premium over the stocker when new.

Photo Gallery

  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Engine
  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review
  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Engine
  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar motorcycle review - Top view
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