Midnight Star 1300: A US cruiser with a piece of European flavour
American Authenticity combined with European riding character
"Finally this is a cruiser you can enjoy on winding European roads,” says Oliver Grill, Product Planner at Yamaha Motor Europe. It sounds like a paradox, but the chassis of this big US twin powered Cruiser had some serious development to ensure a relatively sporty behaviour when cornering.
“The Midnight star was developed mainly for the United States, which is a guarantee to provide the most authentic concept", explains Oliver Grill "But we were able to input our specific European requirements in the final layout and specification of the bike."
United States: feel the engine pulse
"In the US, they like the pulse of big engines. In the past, that meant to get the biggest sensation of engine pulse and sound. And recently, also engine top performance became more important. Therefore, the new engine is much more powerful than the Drag Star 1100. It has a full 80 cubic inches of displacement and it has all the modern technologies to let it rev much more freely. At the same time, a lot of efforts were done to get a great pulse and a great sound. This new engine really is much more enjoyable to ride."
"The engine runs more free"
The new 1304cc engine is tuned towards power and performance. What were the special technologies to enable this?
- A New, 4-valve engine layout was developed, and the engine has a higher compression ratio of 9,5:1
- The combustion chamber has a special squash area design; combined with the new fine-spray fuel injection system this gives a very efficient combustion.
- Liquid cooling enables tighter mechanical clearances and allows a higher performance output. At the same time, it reduces mechanical noises so that the exhaust sound can be heard better by the rider!
- The 60 degrees V-Twin layout has an irregular firing interval (300 degrees and 420 degrees) to enhance the pulsating feel and great sound of the engine.
Europe: more active riding
Oliver explains where the European influence came forward in the development. "In the U.S., the emphasis is much more on straight roads than in Europe, where we have so many winding roads with different surface conditions. Therefore the chassis of traditional cruisers was always undervalued in our eyes. We explained how much the aspect of easy handling was important, to expand the enjoyment of cruising on European roads. Our engineers took that up and made a really outstanding chassis in the Cruiser category."
The result of this effort is a riding behaviour that combines relaxed riding with excellent stability at higher speeds, with an agile handling to enjoy the winding roads.
What did Yamaha do to achieve that?
- Steel double-cradle frame with a rigid engine mounting
- Compact engine layout; the belt drive reduces the number of axles formerly needed for a shaft drive
- Weight distribution moved forward, with 48% in front and 52% in the rear for a more responsive ride and excellent straight line stability
- 41mm front fork and link type (Monocross) rear suspension for a comfortable ride
- Large 298 mm brake disks (2 in front, 1 in rear)
Latest technology to emphasize traditional emotions
The design of the new Midnight Star is clearly inspired by traditional values, but at the same time it is treated in a modern and novel way. Engine and chassis were developed with a similar philosophy: based on a traditional layout, but with a clear step forward in terms of feelings and emotions because the modern technologies enabled it. Oliver concludes: "Performance and handling are beyond of what is expected from a cruiser model."