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"

  • At a glance
  • 649cc  -  40 bhp
  • 47 mpg  -  160 miles range
  • Low seat height (710mm)
  • Suitable for A2 licence
  • £5,499

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.

Value & Running Costs 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

4 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.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 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.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
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..

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
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

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
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 4 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1997
Year discontinued -
New price £5,499
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 8 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
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
  • 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