The classic lines of a true cruiser

Big, strong, long, smooth and comfortable... and the same applies to the 1100 Drag Star

and good-looking too

the rider's seat is big and very comfortable, the pillion seat is errr... smaller and harder

shaft-drive and "softail" suspension

rims are spoked with double discs up front and a single disc on the rear

Taking the Drag Star (XVS) 1100 as its base, this model represents an embodiment of the concept of "a classic cruiser." This classic version is built to provide pride of ownership and a distinctive riding experience. With features like a saddle-shaped seat, deep fenders, see-saw type shift pedal and foot board, large headlight, front fork covers and wide front tyre, Yamaha presents it's idea of a highly individualized American-style cruiser.

When I first saw the Eleven Classic parked outside Johannesburg Yamaha, I remember thinking "Oh no, not another big, under-powered behemoth", and as I got on the bike and rode out onto the highway, I still thought the bike was... well, just not my style.

Day two, and I was still not impressed, but the seat was comfortable, power was OK and the brakes were good.

On the third morning I had to do my weekly trip to Pretoria. Left the office at nine am and rode straight into Joburg's six-to-six peak traffic. The Eleven's handlebars are wide and weaving between the crawling traffic proved daunting, but by the time I arrived in the capital, I had mastered the Yamaha's wide bars without clapping one mirror, and the seat was comfortable. I was also getting used to the laid-back riding posture of the Classic. Sitting straight up, feet placed firmly on the foot-boards, arms stretched out wide, I weaved and turned and accelerated and braked, and found myself beginning to enjoy the 1100 Drag Star. The seat was comfortable...

Next day I thought I'd take the bike out and see what she could do on the open road, so took Dylan with to do the photo thingy, while putting the big Eleven through her paces. Well, 175 kph was absolutely flat out, two up (sitting straight up) on the Reef (1756 meters above sea level), which I suppose isn't too bad for a big 300 kg cruiser carrying two guys weighing a combined 180 kg extra.

By the end of my twenty-day test ride, I actually hoped Andy and the Johannesburg Yamaha guys would forget I had the Eleven Classic. It wouldn't be my first choice for a motorcycle, but for what it is, the Drag Star Eleven Classic is a very lekker bike. Not the best handler, not offering the best protection from the elements and certainly not the most powerful cruiser around, but definitely a grand, comfortable cruiser, well worth owning. Couldn't imagine it in any other colour but black.

A nice set of slash-cut loud pipes and I might just consider getting one, to ride when I just wanna CRUISE.

OH... did I mention that the seat was comfortable?


Drag Star Eleven Classic Specifications:



Engine type

Air cooled, 4-stroke, 75 V-twin, SOHC


1,063 cc (65-cubic-inch)

Bore x stroke

95 x 75 mm

Compression ratio


Maximum power

62.6 HP (46kW) @ 5,750 rpm

Maximum torque

85Nm (8.7 kg-m) @ 2,500 rpm

Lubrication system

Wet sump

Fuel System

2 x 37mm Mikuni downdraft-type w/throttle position sensor

Clutch type

Wet, multiple disc

Ignition system


Starter system


Transmission system

Constant mesh, 5-speed

Final transmission


Fuel tank capacity

17 litres (4.5 litres)

Oil tank capacity

3.6 litres



Front suspension system

Telescopic forks

Front travel


Rear suspension system

Swingarm link suspension

Rear travel

113 mm

Front brake

Dual discs, 298 mm

Rear brake

Single disc, 282 mm

Front tyre

130/90-16 (67S)

Rear tyre

170/80-15 (77S)



Length (mm)

2,460 mm

Width (mm)

945 mm

Height (mm)

1,095 mm

Seat height (mm)

710 mm

Wheel base (mm)

1,645 mm

Minimum ground clearance (mm)

145 mm

Dry weight (kg)

272 kg (600 lb)

Price (Dec 2005)

R84,500 (South African Rand)


Just cruising and checking out the scenery is what the 1100 is all about - photo by Dylan

Easy Street... enough said!


Thanks to Andy Roberts, Johannesburg Yamaha and the guys at Yamaha SA for the ride,

the Drag Star 1100 Classic is a great cruiser... just a bit too quite for my liking.