2014 YAMAHA STAR BOLT
CW FIRST RIDE
A fresh, new bobber that's easy on the eyes and easy on the wallet
STAR DESCRIBES the Bolt as an “Urban Performance Bobber,” a bike intended for commuting and mild-mannered hooliganism, something perfect for the guy or gal who values simplicity and adores just about anything retro. Gone, it says, are the days of overpriced, overbuilt OCC-style bikes. Now is a time when less is more, cheap is cool, value is golden.
The back-to-basics Bolt is powered by the same 6o-degree, four-valve-percylinder, 942CC V-Twin Yamaha uses in its V Star 950, but with mapping that optimizes the lowto midrange torque ideal for urban dwellers. The result is
very lively, smooth acceleration, with lots of room between shifts. The aircooled Twin uses ceramic-composite cylinder liners for heat dissipation, and you’ll feel that heat as it leaves the aft cylinder especially, because it's nestled between your knees. It wasn’t at all uncomfortable on a chilly day, but we’re curious to see if it singes in higher temperatures.
The Bolt’s five-speed transmission employs straight-cut gear dogs for snappy engagement and a superlight clutch to make the most of squirreling around. The bike is also low (27.2-inch seat height), short (61.8-in.
THE RETROTERRIFIC TWIN SHOCKS, TWO-INTOONE EXHAUST AND BELT-DRIVE ASSEMBLY FURTHER PERPETUATE BOLT’S BEASTLY, BOBCATLIKE LOOKS.
wheelbase) and light (claimed 540 pounds wet), creating a compact ergonomic environment that leaves knees high and arms at the ready. Big boys will feel more cramped and certainly put the short-travel suspension (2.8 in. rear/4.7 in. front) to the test. Potholes are a full-body experience for ail riders, but the no-frills suspension setup is otherwise well-damped for ‘‘normal’’ conditions.
The Bolt’s available lean angle is respectable, and the Bridgestone Exedra tires, mounted on 12-spoke cast wheels, held firm. Brakes are Yamaha’s wave-type rotors: 298mm
single discs front and rear that do an adequate job of slowing the bike. The Bolt’s engine is a stressed member, and the rider can expect to absorb some vibration, especially at freeway speeds.
The engine is also a massive styling element, accentuated by the minimalistic black, double-cradle, steel frame, small fuel tank (3.2 gallons) and comparitively big (2.3 liters) airbox. The retro-terrific twin shocks, two-into-one exhaust and belt drive assembly further perpetuate Bolt’s beastly, bobcat-like persona.
And that brings up one of the Bolt’s strongest selling points: It
looks terrific off the rack but is very ripe for customization. First, you’ll choose between the basic Bolt and the R-Spec version right there on the showroom floor, though it’s a no-brainer to invest in the R version, with its tricklooking, anodized, remote-reservoir shocks, for only $300 more.
From there, you can add from Star’s vat of accessories made specifically for the Bolt, or work with its steel fenders and blankcanvas frame and go full-blown custom. Whatever you end up with, stock or stupid-cool, the Bolt is a machine any bike nut will enjoy. tilS
2014 STAR BOLT/ BOLT R-SPEC
PRICE:$7990/8290 ENGINE: Air-cooled, sohc. four-valve-per cylinder V-Twin DISPLACEMENT: 942tc SEAT HEIGHT: 27.2 in. FUEL CAPACITY: 3.2 gai. CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT: 5401b.