Life on the frozen tundra of South Dakota Life on the frozen tundra of South Dakota

I purchased this bike in the spring of 2004, because of the grace of my wife. I'd had my last bike for eight years (more about that below) and had been longing to replace it for quite a while. I had slowly pilfered away money here and there specificaly earmarked for the day I could purchase a newer bike. When I came across this bike for sale, I still didn't have quite enough money set aside to afford it. Seeing as I really dislike debt (and you should too, but that's a rant for another page) I had decided that the time just wasn't right.

Well, during this time my wife and I had been saving some money for a cruise as a ten year anniversary present to each other. Seeing as Tundra Boy came along shortly before our nine year anniversary, we realistically decided we'd have to put off the cruise until he was a little older. My wife graciously volunteered that I use money out of our cruise fund to make up the difference so I could afford the bike.

What can a guy say to this offer? I think I said something like, "I'll be right back!" and ran out the door and purchased my new (to me) cycle.

My 1999 Road Star

Truthfully, I had not been looking for a Road Star, or even a Yamaha for that matter. I was interested in picking up a newer Suzuki Intruder 1500LC. For some reason, I was really attracted to the big, fat, Mack truck looking Intruder. I guess I still feel it's a sharp looking ride. In these parts, however, used Intruders are pretty scarce. I would watch the page of a local cycle consignment shop in our area (Power Brokers) for used Intruders, but every time one came in by the time I made it to the shop it had been sold.

Nevertheless, I would keep scanning the Power Brokers site (along with the local classifieds) hoping that my dream bike would magically appear. Of course, while shopping around one has to admit that some motorcycles are just plain ugly. There was one bike in particular on the Power Brokers site that was just hideous looking. I could understand why the owner wanted to sell it, as frankly it looked like the one of the ugliest designs/colors I'd seen in a while.

One Saturday afternoon in late March, I found myself with some extra time so I decided to pop down to Power Brokers and walk through their inventory, if nothing else for entertainment purposes. As I was perusing their wares, I came across this Yamaha Road Star that caught my eye. I wondered to myself why I hadn't seen it on their web site, when it occurred to me that this was the same ugly bike I mentioned above.

I don't know if it was the lighting, camera angle, or what, but the bike sitting before me was a completely different beast than the one of which I had seen pictures. It didn't even look like the same color. The bike on the web site looked like it was solid silver that had faded to a primer grey. Obviously, that picture was deceiving!

1999 Yamaha Road Star Silverado

The Road Stars are Yamaha's version of the classic American v-twin (aka Harley, but I really wasn't intentionally gunning for a Harley clone.) The engine is a 1600cc v-twin, with a single crank pin and pushrods, to give it the "old school" vibration and character than many of the newer bikes have lost. This bike had the Silverado package, which adds the studded seat, saddlebags, back rest, windshield, whitewall tires and different handlebars. In addition, the previous owner added three things that were on my want list for a new bike: Vance & Hines Longshot pipes, a luggage rack and a windshield bag. The front tire had been replaced with a non-whitewalled one, so that didn't match. Also, the very edges of the front and rear fenders had small blemishes, but other than that, the bike was cherry.

After sitting on it and hearing it run, I snapped a few pictures of it, then went home to mull it over. On Sunday night, I had decided that I wanted it, and that was the night my wife suggested I raid our vacation money to help buy it. I showed up at the store early Monday morning (in the middle of a blizzard!) and paid for it. The snow didn't melt off until several days later, so I had to sit all week dreaming of my new cycle before I could go pick it up. Ironically, this is about the same thing that happened to me the day I bought my first cycle!

The weather on Friday was supposed to be beautiful. Sunny and in the mid-50s (remember, this is South Dakota in March, so that's beach weather here!) I made arrangements to take the afternoon off so I could go ride my new bike. Being the good friend he is, my pal Pastor Al also took the afternoon off and came over to my house so he could go with me and pick up my bike. Here's a couple of pictures of Al right before we went to pick up my bike. He's pretty cool for a guy who at this time rode a Moto-Guzzi. Since then, he's upgraded to the aforementioned Suzuki Intruder.

Al - Front ViewAl - Back View

I still remember my first ride on my Road Star. The pipes rumbling loud enough to scare pedestrians. The pushrods vibrating the 98 cubic inch V-twin, and me along with it. That first wave of torque I felt as I cracked the throttle pulling out of Power Brokers lot. Wow, the memories are still fresh.

As Al and I pulled up to a stoplight about a mile away, he said, "Well, how do you like it?" I turned and replied, "You're going to have to sandblast this grin off of my face." And that about sums it up. The more I ride my Road Star, the more I like it.

Of course, few people ever buy a bike and leave it unmodified. In addition to the things that were done above, here's a list of mods that I've done since I purchased it:

  • Chrome front fender trim.

  • Driving lights.

  • Windshield lowers.

  • Floorboard extensions/forward control kit.

  • Chrome rear master cylinder cover.

  • Crash bars from a Harley Ultra Glide (added after the pictures were taken.)

  • Blue dot tail light and rear turn signals.

  • Custom license plate frame.

  • Studded drivers back rest (added after the pictures were taken.)

  • Throttle rocker.

  • Clever Lever cruise control.

  • Highway blades.

  • Traffic signal trigger.

  • AIS (emissions) removal kit (purchased, but not yet installed.)

  • Chrome front engine regulator cover.

  • Chrome oil filter.

  • Lamp eyebrows (added after the pictures were taken.)

    1999 Yamaha Road Star Silverado

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    This page last updated on 06/28/2018