2014 Star Bolt | First Look

Urban Yama-bobber on a Budget.

By Zack Courts, Photography by Star Motorcycles

The 2014 Star Bolt: a short, simple name for a short, simple motorcycle. And that’s the whole point. Rather than reaching back in time for stylistic inspiration, parent company Yamaha is leaning on stylistic trends in modern choppers to, “attract a new cruiser buyer to the Star brand.” That is, a trendier, more youthful buyer (relax, current Star owners, they still like you, too). To pique the interest of the young, hip, urban crowd Star has repurposed the 60 degree, 942cc, fuel-injected powerplant from its V Star 950 and cradled it in a bobber-style chassis. That means a low (27.2 inch) seat height and a claimed weight of 540 pounds with a full tank. In-house YHS shocks and 41mm fork suspend 12-spoke cast wheels—19-in. front, 16-in. rear—while the same wave-style, 298mm disc is mounted to both hoops.

The air-cooled mill accents the chopper aesthetic, and based on power output from the V Star 950 we expect horsepower in the mid 40s. Modern fueling has Star claiming over 50 mpg for the Bolt’s motor, easing some concerns of the 3.2-gallon tank. Retro, minimalist styling is the Bolt’s theme, though, with a small instrument dial, a round taillight, and a solo saddle.

And speaking of minimalism, the standard-model Bolt will be available in two colors, Pearl White and Raven, which is code for gloss black. Also trimmed down is the price, with the Bolt set to MSRP for $7990. It’s clear, however, that the bread and butter of the Bolt line will be the slightly upgraded R-Spec. Remote reservoir shocks, special colors (Matte Gray and Camo Green), and a suede-type seat with contrast stitching differentiate the R-Spec from the base model at a glance, while the price only climbs $300 to $8290.

Star hopes that the Bolt will inspire people to do with it what many bike builders have done with Yamaha’s XS line of yore, and that is to customize it. The air-cooled, parallel-twin XS 650 and 750 have become popular among junkyard dogs and custom bike builders for the availability of the motors, and the versatility this simple design offers. To play off that, Star’s accessories catalog is already bristling with options like a springer seat, tall bars, rigid-mount leather saddlebags, and brass accents for the dash and air cleaner.

On display at the Star launch event here in Southern California was a version of the Bolt draped with the optional saddlebags, brass accents, and high bars, that the Star staff on hand dubbed the Touring. The Touring theme option will be available through dealers who can accessorize the Bolt before it leaves the showroom floor.

Beyond accessories and customizability, the Bolt represents an intriguing tactic during these harsh economic times. A medium-sized, simple, hip cruiser that aims to appeal to younger demographic is a more flamboyant play than other Japanese manufacturers have adopted so far. It appears to be an indication of Yamaha’s willingness to experiment with the offspring Star brand as well as its confidence in the cruiser segment.

Look for the Bolt will arrive in dealerships in April, with matte gray and army green R-spec set to hit showrooms in July.

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