2011 Star Stryker 1300 | Review

2011 Star Stryker

Following years of considerable success with its retro-styled V Star 1300, Star is stepping into the arena of lucrative modern custom mid-size cruiser motorcycle class with its new Stryker 1300.

Although externally appearing to be a Raider 1900 with a 1300 motor, the Stryker was designed with a different styling focus in mind. Where the Raider was designed to have the appearance of a “take-off movement,” according to the Star design team that consists of custom builder Jeff Palhegyi, GKDI in California (which created the first Stryker concept drawing), and Yamaha Motors US.

Changing the focus a bit, the Stryker has a “lunging movement” with the goal of appearing “aggressive” and “tough” with “tight and muscled body work” and “precision details.” To achieve the “lunging movement,” the Star Stryker designers say they relied on keeping the rear fender as close to the wheel as possible and a low-set front end.

The sweep of the eye is intended to be upward from the swingarm and gracefully through the fuel tank. The tight muscular form comes from steel fenders and a fuel tank that is slim at the seat, then widens as it moves toward the steering head. Precision details include a “revolver slit pattern” that repeats throughout the bike, and a “pulley cover designed to show mechanical transfer of power.”

An all-new chassis was needed to match the design form. Most importantly, the Stryker’s 26.4-inch seat height is the lowest in the Star line. A wheelbase of 68.9-inch and a rake of 40-degrees (six degrees provided by an off-set triple clamp) enhance stability.

Wheel size is 210mm in the rear (18-inch rim) and a 120mm wide tire in the front on a 21-inch rim. The wheels are interchangeable with the Raider, giving Stryker riders quick access to custom rims. There are 41mm forks up front (5.3 inches of travel) and a hidden single rear shock with linkage and 3.9 inches of travel. Weight bias is 45-percent front and 55-percent rear.

The motor is based similar to the V Star 1300’s SOHC, four-valve, 1304cc, 60-degree V-twin powerplant, however the Stryker has been tuned with a larger airbox (three liters), higher cam lift and roller rocker arms for a bit more power. The Stryker rigidly mounted motor is a stressed member. A single-pin crank gives the motor a good pulse, while dual crankshaft balancers are intended to keep high-frequency vibration in check.

Modern touches include water-cooling with internal routing (for a cleaner look), as well as a closed loop fuel injection that fully adjusts to any atmospheric conditions. Each injector uses 12-hole nozzles and the two throttle bodies measure 40mm each. The 2-1-2 exhaust system has a three-way catalyst to arrest emissions.

Riding the Star Stryker brings the design efforts to life. Its sit-in position immediately comfortable, with the pullback bars positioned so you can ride with either your arms straight out, or slightly bent. Feet are forward, but not uncomfortably so, and the low pegs help keep your feet from easily slipping off. This makes the Stryker comfortable over the long haul, even though it isn’t intended as a touring bike (though a bit more about that later).

The Stryker’s seat in on the firmer side and comfortingly cradles your posterior during acceleration. As we’ve seen with many newer bikes, the seat has a narrows to almost a point at the front to accentuate the low height at stops. While good at stops, it doesn’t quite have the thigh support when riding that some riders may prefer. This is easily remedied, of course, as Star Accessories offers a variety of seats.

We’ve never accused this 1300 motor of being down on power and the Stryker does not disappoint. It pulls strongly and predictably from idle and the oversquare motor (100mm piston and 83mm stroke) is willing to rev if necessary. The redline is at 6600 rpm according to Star engineers (there’s no tach), but you’re unlikely to hit the rev limiter as power flattens out well before it engages. With the plethora of six-speed motors available, a five-speed can sometimes feel like it’s missing a cog. This is not the case with the Stryker.

First gear is nice and low, allowing for whatever slow speed needs you have, and second is also low enough that it can pull away from a stop without so much as slipping the clutch. Third and fourth move the speed up nicely, and fifth is something of an overdrive, not needed until you are up to full freeway cruising speeds. Once up to 70 mph or so, you don’t find yourself trying to upshift to a higher gear. Fifth feels just right.

While traversing the hill country west of the Texas capital city of Austin, the Stryker’s fourth gear was the ratio of choice, as speeds were around 65mph or slower. In tighter areas, the transmission willingly shifts down, and then back up when the road straightens out. The counterbalancers do their work, though maybe a bit too well. If you like lots of low frequency vibrations, there aren’t many there. However, the ride is pleasant and not fatiguing. The pipes are EPA-quiet, and the water jacket keeps engine clatter to a minimum.

In a straight line, the long wheelbase and raked front end feel perfect. There is no hint of wandering or instability. Take it up to 100 mph and the Stryker still feels confident. Corners are stable, with the Stryker having a nice, predictable turn-in. The 210mm rear tire is a good compromise between huge fat tire attitude and a purely sporting narrower rear tire. Star went with a beefier than usual front tire, so the steering is secure. There’s no hint of pushing in usual conditions. Transitions in switchbacks are predictably relaxed, and ground clearance is good. Your boot heels will be the first to touch down.

As expected, the Bridgestone Exedra tires have more than enough grip for the lean angle allowed by the Stryker. The only handling issue is the spongy footpegs. In a successful effort to quell foot vibration, Star put tall, flexible rubber ribs over the pegs, and they allow your feet to move around noticeably. It’s impossible to get a planted feel for your feet. Fortunately, Star Accessories comes to the rescue with a choice of replacement pegs.

For most riding, the foot brake is more than adequate. It applies smoothly and evenly, giving plenty of warning before lockup (ABS is not an option). When more braking is needed, the 320mm rotor with four-piston calipers stands ready and seriously increases the Star’s stopping power.

The Stryker’s dash has a nice clean design and an easily read analogy speedometer. There are a pair of right thumb switches (Select and Reset) above the starter button that allow you to access the minimalist LCD for speedometer, two tripmeters a clock and a fuel gauge. It’s not perfect, though. The colon between the hour and minutes on the clock is difficult to see, so it doesn’t immediately appear different from a mileage read out. When full of fuel, the gas gauge looks like this: EoooF. Odd. Solid bars would be more intuitive.

As is becoming the norm at Star, the Stryker comes available with a wide selection of accessories that were designed and engineered concurrently with the rest of the bike, including purpose-built mounting points. Over 60 items are available, in both chrome and the new black Midnight Collection. The range includes backrests (solid-mount and quick-release), hard-coated polycarbonate windshields of various heights (also both solid-mount and quick-release) and bags – these three items can be used to turn the bike into a Stryker Tourer.

2011 Star Stryker | Motorcycle Specs

Engine Type…80-cubic-inch (1304cc) liquid-cooled V-twin; SOHC, 4 valves/cylinder
Bore x stroke…100.0 x 83.0mm
Compression ratio…9.5:1
Fuel Delivery…Fuel injection
Ignition…TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission…5-speed; multi-plate wet clutch
Final drive…Belt

Frame…Steel double cradle
Suspension / front…Telescopic fork; 5.3-in travel
Suspension / rear…Single shock; 3.9-in travel
Brakes / front…Hydraulic disc, 320mm
Brakes / rear…Hydraulic disc, 310mm
Tires / front…Bridgestone Exedra 120/70-21
Tires / rear… Bridgestone Exedra 210/40R18
Wheels…5-spoke cast aluminum

Length…99.6 in.
Width…33.9 in.
Height…44.5 in.
Seat height…26.4 in.
Wheelbase…68.9 in.
Fuel capacity…4.0 gal.
Fuel economy…40.9 mpg
Wet weight…646 lb.

Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
MSRP…$11,240 (Impact Blue); $11,240 (Reddish Copper); $10,990 (Raven)

Motorcycle Riding Apparel
Helmet: Arai Profile Sinister Grey
Eyewear: TAG Heuer Racer 104
Jacket: River Road Mesa
Gloves: Tour Master Summer Elite
Pants: Cortech Mod
Boots: Wesco Boss custom

Photos by Riles & Nelson