The eagle eyes at Motorcycle.com have noticed that Yamaha Motor Corporation is in the process of folding its Star Motorcycles cruiser brand back into the company’s core motorcycle business, under the Yamaha name.
The move is a tectonic shift for the space, as Star Motorcycles was Yamaha’s attempt to give Harley-Davidson a run for its money with superior “metric cruiser” offerings.
As such, the brand was originally set aside from Yamaha’s other motorcycle models, in an attempt to set Star Motorcycles away from the “Jap Bike” mentality that existed at the time in the cruiser demographic.
Yamaha, along with Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki have had limited success in this regard, despite offering superior machinery on virtual every metric, save one: their bikes are not from the Bar & Shield brand.
Surely now realizing this, Yamaha has pivoted its “sport heritage” lineup back into Yamaha’s core brand, though we expect the “Star” name will remain in the model branding to some degree.
Yamaha Motor has seen a lot of success with its Yard Built projects, and that seems the way forward for the Yamaha brand in attracting cruiser-minded riders into its lineup mix.
As such, it doesn’t surprise us to hear from our friends at MotoFire that Shun Miyazawa, the Product Manager for Yamaha Europe and the father of the Yard Built series, is headed to the USA. One can speculate that the two non-announcements are correlated.
For anyone that has been watching the landscape of how new riders interact with the Harley-Davidson brand, and the larger cruiser scene as a whole, Yamaha’s mixing of its Star motorcycles into something that more closely resembles its Yard Built projects is a smart move.
Young riders, and other growth demographics, aren’t buying the old-style Harley-Davidson’s that were so popular with the previous generation of riders.
So, in order to keep up with that trend, Yamaha is wisely following them into the post-authentic realm, with its own unique twist of course.
Over the next few months, expect to see the Star Motorcycle brand slowly fade into the Yamaha corporate blue and white.