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2012 Star Raider SCL First Ride
Published by: huzaifa (16) on Sat, Feb 16, 2013  |  Word Count: 809  |  Comments ( 0)  l  Rating
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2012 Star Raider SCL First Ride

Star Motorcycles held the cards and money for the Make a Wish Foundation was on the line. By luck of the draw, I was on board the 2012 Star Raider SCL as the road through Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest began to bend and wind through the mountains. There’s gold in these here parts, rich veins in stubborn rock. There’s also gold leaf veins in the lustrous paint of the Raider SCL, as is plenty of metal flaked ‘Blazing Orange’ paint that glistens in full sunlight,an effect achieved by virtue of a six-layer paint process.

Cedars and oaks spread their massive branches along Highway 60 outside of Dahlonega as broad leaves carpet the countryside green. The road continues to climb at a generous rate of ascent and we seldom creep out of second gear on this strip of Georgia asphalt. This poses no problems for the torque-filled 113 cubic-inch V-Twin of the Raider SCL. The massive 3.94 inch pistons of the Raider punched out 107 lb-ft of torque at only 2200 rpm on our dyno last year on the same mill the SCL is running, so there’s a ton of low end power to propel me up the mountain. I accelerate in quick bursts, the twin-bore electronic fuel injection working impeccably with each twist of the wrist. Throttle response is crisp thanks to the gas sensors on the bike’s accelerator being spot-on. For a motorcycle with a stretched 70.9 in. wheelbase and a rake angle of 39 degrees, the Raider SCL is cutting the turns surprisingly well. It does want to stand up at times if you don’t keep constant pressure on the outside bar, but otherwise it’s stable banked over. Its only limitations are imposed by the peg feelers which we consistently ground down on the curves of Highway 60.

Reaching Dahlonega, we stop for some down home grub at The Smith House and a chance to draw another card. Star Motorcycles was holding a poker run in conjunction with the press launch of its 2012 cruiser lineup. At each stop,journalists swapped bikes and drew a card, with the high hand earning the most money for the charity of their choice. Riding the hottest looking bike of the bunch in the form of Star’s factory custom effort, the Raider SCL, left me feeling lucky. I unfortunately draw another low card, but at least I’ve got a run of hearts going and the possibility of a flush gives me hope. And now that the grey clouds that were hanging around this morning are gone, the full depth of the orange metal flake of the SCL really begins to pop in the afternoon sun.

SCL stands for Star Custom Line and Star Motorcycles selected its flagship power cruiser as the first motorcycle to receive the in-house custom treatment. Other manufacturers have had success with comparable programs, as Harley-Davidson has its premier CVO line and Victory uses the skills of the Ness family to customize bikes in-house for them. Star has worked closely with custom bike builder Jeff Palhegyi in the past and the styling of their motorcycles is designed in the US by a company called GKDI, so producing a factory custom in-house is a natural progression for Yamaha’s cruiser division.

So what sets the SCL apart from the standard Raider? It starts with the slick paint we’ve already mentioned, an eye-catching orange with metal flake along with the gold flake treatment in the trim of the tank. New script for the Star logo and clean pinstripes accentuate the transformation.
A special aluminum tank badge stamped with the number of the bike sits in an opening on the tank console. Exclusivity is one of the selling points Star emphasized during presentation of the Raider SCL because only 500 are being made. Star updated the cables and lines on the front end, replacing the stock units with braided stainless steel throttle cables, clutch and brake lines. They also teamed up with Performance Machine to design new custom 5-spoke wheels which come with a matching chrome pulley. The belt guard gets upgraded with the chrome treatment, too. The SCL version gets a really sharp looking brown leather seat that complements the color scheme perfectly and an SCL logo has been embossed on the pillion. Shaped similarly to the stock seat, it didn’t change the bike’s ergonomics at all as it’s still a good stretch to the forward-mounted pegs and the seat height still situates riders down in the bike at 27.4 inches, making it almost a straight reach for the pullback bars. A small pillion pad and an extra set of pegs means you can bring a passenger along for the ride and the bike’s got more than enough power to accommodate the extra weight.
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