Yamaha, as all Japanese manufacturers, regularly take on the might of Milwaukee, with cruiser ergonomics on very capable, beautifully engineered motorcycles to very mixed reviews. There’s no doubt that Harley-Davidson owns the sector, but with a bit of imagination the higher quality, infinitely useable, reliable “metric-cruisers” offer a very viable alternative.
Introduced in 2008, the Raider inherited the big 1,854ccs of the Roadliner, tuned for added performance. Highly regarded in the press from the throaty sound to the silky-smooth engine and gearbox and gear spacing, although only five in number, and regardless of its lazy 39 degrees of total rake (33 degrees at the head plus a 6-degree yoke angle) and 18-inch, 210-series rear and 21-inch front, the bike was deemed to be “nimble” and “agile” through the twisties by numerous magazine hacks. The Raider sports dual 298mm discs up front, and a single 310 on the rear that combine for controllable, balanced stopping power.
Styling of the bike was a little over the top for the average Harley or Victory owner, but on the bike offered, the overall appearance was customized for a more trimmed-down and purposeful look. The embellishments on the tank were removed and the tank finished to match the graphite of the fenders. The enormously heavy exhaust, which has to account for a fair percentage of the bike’s overall 600 pound weight, was removed and replaced with a sportier system – the original exhaust accompanies the sale (pictured). The bike was lowered about an inch for a more aggressive stance and a power commander added for a little increase in the already building-pulling performance.
Owned from new by a consummate enthusiast, the bike has covered a mere 2,777 miles. Lovingly stored and maintained, the bike comes with original documentation, owner’s manual, original and never been put on the bike backrest and is to be sold on a clean, clear California title in non-operation status so as not to incur registration fees and penalties.
The bike starts easily and runs well… like new, in fact. All systems work as they should, and the bike is a blast to ride, genuinely feeling quite nimble. When pitted against a Victory and a Harley in Cycle World, it was deemed to be “the best value… and clearly the most fun to ride.”