New Rider: Transition upwards to Yamaha V Star 650....discomfort?

by kim

Hi Ladies.

I am new to the motorcycle circuit. I have posted several stories of my ongoing sagas and I have only been riding/learning/tested in the last 2 months.

I have a short journey of experience so far, and I was very comfortable riding my 250 yamaha virago.

Now, I have moved up to my lovely purple, v star 650 and I am unsure of the comfort.

I have only ridden the bike 3 times as I am recovering from a very very sore back, neck and left arm from doing excessive shoulder checks and extensive rotation of the neck in my shoulder checks. Anyways, with a pulled muscle and a pinched nerve, I am a bit awkward on a bike.

I have taken a break as per my doctors instructions.

Anyways, I am questioning the width of the handlebars on the v star. They are original and I am finding them very wide. Thus, I feel a huge pull between my shoulder blades.

I am still in pain from my injury so this might be caused by the injury not being healed.

So, I wish to hear from ladies riding bikes comparable to the v star 650 as to whether the handlebars are reasonable? I also seem to sit very forward to ease the stretch and my arms are almost fully extended and definately wider than my shoulders.

Is this ok?

Also, the windshield is so high that Its top edge is my eye level?

Anyways, there are other adjustments I am struggling with, such as, turning onto a hill. The bike wants to roll back and I am having to use my break and roll onwards, to keep it moving forwards, all the while, I feel the pull in my back.


Any thoughts?

Warm regards,


(trying to keep "rubber on the downside"....)

Comments for New Rider: Transition upwards to Yamaha V Star 650....discomfort?

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Aug 21, 2013
V-Star Test Drive
by: Anonymous

I'm 5 ft and 125 lbs and found the 650 Suzuki Savage a perfect fit but it vibrates too much on the highway = body fatigue. So, I just test drove a 650 V-Star last night, and found the handlebars a little too far away and didn't like the clutch - way too much play. All I need is a bit more weight on the Savage/Boulevard, and it would be a perfect bike for my size. Love the V-Star, but I wouldn't buy it b/c I'm reaching too far and the clutch wore my hand out just on a test drive.

Jun 14, 2012
by: Kim

I had a lot of pain across the shoulders and lower back on my Street Glide.

So much so, with such a heavy bike, I was distressed. Very distressed.

There was no way around it. I did a lot of research and talked to the ladies whom ride such a bike.

I am 5"4 and weight 120.

The result, and the cure, was to change the handlebars. that took care of the pain across my shoulders.

I also had to change the windshield, but only because for the look, the street glide comes with a 2 inch windshield, which does nothing for wind turbulences and buffeting.

I did do modifications to the seat, by sending it out to Mean City Cycle and they reworked the seat, to get me lower to the ground and more forward to the tank.

I did put a fancy lowering kit on the Street Glide, but in retrospect, I didn't have to do it, had I sent the seat out to Mean City Cycle first.

However, I was greatly traumatized by the pain and frustrated by the high dollar I paid for such pain...so I just kept working on it and working on it.

Once I changed the handlebars, the pain was gone. I did add a back rest that I can take on/off and I do use it for long rides.

I bought the bike, beginning of May, and took it on a 5 day trip, once it had all its modifications and it was wonderful.

I have about 5000 km on it already and it has been wonderful.

but, it wouldn't have been so, I'd still be kicking its tires, sitting in a ball of misery, had I not changed the bars.

Warmest regards and good luck

Jun 14, 2012
Saga happily rolls on
by: Kim

Hi, I am the originator of this thread.

That was a while back.

Since then, I purchased in summer of 2010, a new Harley Davidosn Softail Custom, and added to my stable of bikes a Tri Glide Trike.

Both bikes, and all the ones before, have left the Stable. In May, I sold everything and I bought a 2012 Street Glide Custom.

Each and every one of my bikes, including the 650 Yamaha V Star, had to have significant changes. All of them, had 2" pull back bars put on them.

The full size Harley bikes had to be lowered.

I did very significant changes on the Street Glide and I knew I would have to because of the bikes before this one.

Modifications begin for me, to fit these full size bikes with:

2 " pull back bars and risers.
seat modifications, to bring rider forward and down if necessary (rather than lower the bike)
change of rear view mirror if necessary after the handlebar change
back rest, for long rides
throttle control for long rides.

The modifications to a bike, I learnt goes like:

1. Safety First
2. Then Comfort
3. Then Bling

warm regards,

Jun 14, 2012
I ride an 1100
by: Sue

I ride an 1100 Vstar and experience the same problem. I am seeking a solution but am told it could be a two part problem. I'm told a back rest would likely help and pull back handlebars might also help. I have already put risers on the existing handle bars and any more could cause me to hit the tank in a tight turn. It's extremely painful after about a half hour riding. Not sure which to try first but I have to do something as I'm inclined to hop on the back of my husbands bike rather than take my own.

Apr 18, 2011
by: Anonymous

I did not read all the blogs, so some one may have already said this, but you might try getting a different seat. There is one that is made that sits into the bike and not on top of the bike. Every picture I have seen them in, the passenger seat is off and there is a chrome trim rack so it looks like a 50's Indian. The rack is probably an option to put it on. Any way, the seat is suppose to be good for shorter people and keep you from leaning forward. Something to look into. The style is something close to a comfort cruise seat.

Aug 03, 2010
Comfort Adjustments
by: Robin C

Another possible modification for you might be new risers. Bars and risers can both be changed easily or you can try adjusting the stock bars. Moving the stock bars is as simple as loosening your handle bar clamp and finding a good location for your reach. As far as the shield goes, you want the top of the shield to be about even with the tip of your nose. You should be looking over the top of it. Depending on your mounting hardware it may be adjustable. Both the basic stock and Silverado shields for your bike have bolts on the mounting hardware that allow them to be adjusted. Look where it attaches to your forks and see if it can be moved down. If not, your shield can be taken off and ground or cut down to give you the height you want. Having it at the correct height gives you a "bubble effect" that allows wind and bugs to go over your head, while not forcing you to slouch into bad posture (ouch!)to look though it or strain to sit up too high to see over it. I ride a 650 Classic, they are incredible bikes, and I love mine, but I did need to customize it to fit not only my frame but the way I sit. I am 5'2" and about 100 lbs. Short arms and legs, and my bike is a perfect fit for me, but my husband feels "cramped" if he gets on it! Once you find the right reach for you, you will find that you love riding that bike! No bike fits every persons individual seat, you have to make it your own. Good luck and have fun riding her :)

Jul 20, 2010
I have that bike....
by: Dawna

I am not sure of your size, but I am 5'4". I have had my 650 for 2 months now. I haven't found the pulling in my back because of the bars like you described, but it may just be the soreness you are experiencing. I took my class on a Virago 250 too and I know that they are two different animals, although I do feel a lot more comfortable on the 650. I bought the same bike I had in the class first off and within 2 weeks I outgrew it and bought the bike I have now.

About the windshield: You can lower it, but just like you, I find that I am sitting right at eye level. You will get used to it though. The curving at the bottom sides is what through me off. It seemed to distort the road, but you get used to that too.

I love my 650 and can't imagine ever buying another bike. The only things I have found is that this bike needs a 6th gear and the stock pipes don't let the bike breath enough. I bought some Vance & Hines Cruizers, just installed them yesterday and it is a totally different bike. I took it out for a ride today and fell in love with it all over again! It doesn't lose power and feel like it's gonna stall like it did before. I like the louder sound too.

Comfort is subjective. You have to find the bike that is right for YOU.

Jul 01, 2010
by: Sandra

If you are not comfortable, it is not right! Sounds like you are sitting forward and stretching - your arms and shoulders will fatigue, and you will never be comfortable on a long ride - you'll tire out too quickly.

I'm too new to the game to suggest proper customizing techniques; but I know that many adjustments can be made...like the lowering kits that bring the bike down lower for women (and vertically challenged men); handle bars can be replaced - I'm sure there's a style that curves in more or is less wide to begin with; and there's always a better seat to be had so it seems!

Find a knowledgeable dealer/mechanic you can trust to go over options; ask to sit on a bike w/different features. Then start pricing out how much you will need - can parts be picked up on e-bay? It may be cheaper or easier to trade rides, depending on how much you love this one.

Jun 22, 2010
I Rode a V-Star 650
by: Anonymous

Hi, I had a V Star 650 for several years (just moved up to the 1100 this season) and found it very comfortable for my arms. I'm 5'8" so that could be a difference. I felt the footpegs were a bit short for me - love my new floorboards! I'd suggest taking some more time to heal and see how it feels. Easy enough to get new handlebars!

Jun 08, 2010
by: Anonymous

I too, upgraded to a Vstar 650. I loved the look of that bike!!! But, like you, the handlebars were just too wide for me. I didn't feel like I had good control over the bike which undermined my confidence a tad. Perhaps it will just take some healing time and you will be fine but change out the handlebars or switch to a different bike if it doesn't work out. I will tell you that I sold mine instead of trying new handlebars on it and I regret it every day - that was a beautiful bike! Had I tried the new bars, that might have been the ticket. Now I second-guess myself. It depends on how much you wanna keep that one :) Good luck to you!

Jun 04, 2010
by: Anonymous

It may be that the bike is just too big for you. Let yourself heal for a few more weeks then try again. I ride a Suzuki LS650 Savage..2004. It is quite small and a good fit for smaller framed people. Even so, I can adjust the handlebars up or down. Maybe that can be done on yours too. Up or down an inch may make a big difference.

Jun 01, 2010
Everything is Personal
by: Anonymous

When you buy a bike, no matter kind, there are always adjustments to be made, that why they make all these parts.

Everyone is built different,ie" short legs long legs; long toros/short torso; long arms/short arms; wide shoulders/narrow shoulders...well you get the picture. If YOU feel the bars are to wide change them. The fit of YOUR bike is a personal thing. What feel good to someone else may not feel good to you at all.

But it seems you probably NEED TO HEAL FIRST so you can make a good judgement call.

Jun 01, 2010
Take it Easy
by: Wanda Hudson


Sounds like you need some time to heal. Many bikes are designed with men in mind, and so it is a stretch for a woman with shorter arms and torso to handle. Suggest looking at the BMW G650 GS single. It is a dual sport (street bike and light off-road). The ergonomics of that bike are excellent for women. Narrower, easy to reach handlebars and low seat height. I haven't bought my bike yet, but I am strongly considering getting the BMW G650GS. You are not likely to outgrow it in terms of power and capability anytime soon, so even though it is pricey, it is a good investment for a bike to grow into. The G designation was adopted in 2009. If you want to buy used, the BMW 650 single was the F 650 prior to 2009.

Hope this helps,


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