If you’re a carburetor fan, you’re still in luck for a 250 cc commuter bike with the 2017 V Star 250. Introduced in 2008, the V Star 250 replaced the Virago 250, but was essentially the same bike spec-wise. The V Star 250 is a good entry-level bike and a contender for your choice of an economically sound commuter ride.
“Approachable” is what Yamaha calls it, which means it’s a friendly ride for folks new to two wheels.
The 2017 model is a carry over from last year and essentially the same bike Star has offered since 2012 when they redesigned the mirrors and lowered the buckhorn handlebars that were so prominent on previous model years.
I find nothing particularly noteworthy; it’s a nice, classic style that’s quite appropriate for a cruiser . Chrome details accent the engine and side covers to give it that ’big-bike’ look, but no matter the look, it’s still a 250. Is that a bad thing? Not if you want a decent-looking economical ride. Rated 78 mpg, you can’t say this doesn’t have commuter potential. There’s nothing jackassey about it. “Approachable” is what Yamaha calls it, which means it’s a friendly ride for folks new to two wheels.
Lightweight and with a seat height of 27 inches, this lends itself to the starter-bike market and those height-challenged folks will be at ease. Telescopic forks with 5.5 inches of travel handle suspension in the front and twin shocks with 3.9 inches of travel and adjustable spring preload handle the rear — both unremarkable, but adequate to save your butt over the bumps.
The low center of gravity makes the V Star 250 maneuverable at parking-lot speeds and zippy in the corners…
When you put on the brakes, you engage the 282 mm single front disc and rear drum brakes. Again, that’s adequate. Even though drum brakes are so last-century, it seems to be okay for these low-tech models that are carry-overs from simpler times.
The low center of gravity makes the V Star 250 maneuverable at parking-lot speeds and zippy in the corners, and with the wire-spoke wheels front and rear, you’ll look snazzy while doing it.
If I seem unimpressed so far with the V Star 250, that’s not far from the truth. It’s not an “oh wow!” bike, but it’s not supposed to be. I did, however, make particular note that the 249 cc engine is a V-twin. In the 250 cc market, I expect to see a vertical or a thumper, but here we have an air-cooled, 60-degree V-twin in the house. Star claims it’s the only V-twin in its class, but the GT250 and the GV 250 from Hyosung have a 249 cc, 75-degree V-twin so I’m not sure what ’class’ they’re talking about. Maybe it’s within their own stables.
The long-stroke engine gives ample low rpm torque to get you off the line in a jiffy, and the widely geared transmission gives you higher top speed at lower rpm on the highway, but you’ll have to really wind it up to get it there. I really like the automatic cam-chain tensioner. Anything that reduces maintenance is a plus.
MSRP on the 2017 V Star 250 is pretty much the same as it has been since 2014 — $4,349. Instead of the Candy Red or Pearl White available in 2014, you can get your 2015 V Star 250 in Raven or Impact Blue or go for the 2016 in Electric White. For 2017, the colorway is again basic with Frost Silver; nothing snazzy, but plain and unassuming.
With so many big-name manufacturers out there that consistently get plenty of play in the media, I felt it would just be more of the same to drag out the Honda Rebel or the Suzuki TU 250 for my little head-to-head here. Instead, I looked around and found a cute little entry-level cruiser out of Korea that looks to be a decent match: the GV250 Aquila from Hyosung. Both rides end up in the same place in the looks department, which is to say very much like the Rebel with a classic Americana appeal. Unlike the Rebel, the V Star 250 and GV250 both run a V-twin engine, a rarity at this displacement, but a detail that should endear them to the domestic market.
Granted, the 60-degree angle of the Yamaha mill looks more natural than the 75-degree arrangement used by Hyosung, but both produce a sound you won’t get out of a parallel twin, and we Americans do like our V-twins, no doubt about it. Both engines displace 249 cc and run with air cooling, but Hyosung takes it a step further with an oil cooler as well. It also opted for dual over-head cams, four-valve heads and fuel injection versus the Star with SOHC, two-valve heads and a good, old-fashioned, 26 mm Mikuni carburetor.
While I appreciate the work Hyosung put into this little mill, I must confess I like my small-displacement engines simple and easy to repair and maintain. Too bad Hyosung didn’t divert some of that effort to finding a better arrangement for the O2 sensors and wires, because what they wound up with comes off as slightly amateurish at best. Really, guys?
Seat height is nice and low with the V Star at 27-inches high and the Aquila at 27.95-inches high, but the Aquila seat is rather wide which negates some of the advantages of the low seat height. Really tall riders may feel a little cramped on either bike.
These sleds are primarily intended for the entry-level market, and pricing comes almost within the “disposable” range. The V Star 250 rolls for a low, $4,349, a bargain-basement price by anyone’s standard, but Hyosung manages to slice a few bills off that for a $4,099 sticker. That looks great on paper, but Yamaha’s experience starts to show when it comes to the quality of the chrome and other finished pieces, areas where the GV250 falls a little short. Bottom line here; both bikes are OK for the price, but I would look to the V Star first if my plans included hanging on to the bike after I outgrew it as a hand-me-down or as an economical commuter.
My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says, “Little engine means cheap rates when you go for insurance, and who wants to spend a lot on a starter bike? And I’m a fan of ’Made in the USA’ so I’ll give a nod to the V Stars when I cross paths with them while on my Harley.
“One thing I really like about this bike over, say, a Suzuki GW250 is the V Star’s V-twin engine — you won’t come screaming down the road sounding like a pissed-off lawnmower. As with any of the 250s, though, I feel like it is good as an entry-level bike, an economical commuter bike, and a weekend fun ride. This bike is perfectly fine for what it is, but the naked ’bike’ Hyosung GT250 comes in about $500 cheaper if you like that more sportbike look.
|Engine Type:||Air-cooled, SOHC 60-degree V-twin, two valves per cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke:||49.0 x 66.0 mm|
|Compression Ratio:||10.0 to 1|
|Fuel Delivery:||Mikuni® 26mm|
|Ignition:||TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition|
|Transmission:||five-speed; multiplate wet clutch|
|Suspension / Front:||33 mm fork; 5.5-inch travel|
|Suspension / Rear:||Dual shocks; adjustable preload, 3.9-inch travel|
|Brakes / Front:||Hydraulic disc, 282 mm|
|Brakes / Rear:||130 mm drum|
|Tires / Front:||3.00-18|
|Tires / Rear:||130/90-15|
|Seat Height:||27.0 inches|
|Fuel Capacity:||2.5 gallons / California model 2.4 gallons|
|Fuel Economy:||78 mpg|
|Wet Weight:||326 pounds|
|Warranty:||1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)|
|2015:||Raven, Impact Blue|