2014 Star Bolt | FIRST LOOK

Urban Yama-bobber on a Budget.

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.

2014 Star Bolt in "Raven" gloss black
Replacing the air cleaner mesh with a brass version is a factory option for the 2014 Star Bolt.

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.

2014 Star Bolt in Pearl White

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.

2014 Star Bolt in "Raven" gloss black

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.

These small, rigid-mount, leather saddlebags are yet another option for the 2014 Star Bolt.

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.

A closer look at the "Custom" springer saddle for the 2014 Star Bolt. Note the asymmetric stripe on this R-Spec's Camo Green tank, and the gloss black rear fender option.

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.

Reservoir rear shocks, contrast-stitched saddle, black mirrors, and the Matte Gray paint set the R-Spec apart from the standard white and black model. Graphics and branding are minimal, while the gas tank shape hints at Yamaha Viragos of decades past.
2014 Star Bolt in "Raven" gloss black
These small, rigid-mount, leather saddlebags are yet another option for the 2014 Star Bolt.
Adding the optional passenger seat kit and backrest, tall bars, and leather saddlebags creates what Star has dubbed the Touring theme for the 2014 Bolt.
A closer look at the "Custom" springer saddle for the 2014 Star Bolt. Note the asymmetric stripe on this R-Spec's Camo Green tank, and the gloss black rear fender option.
2014 Star Bolt in Pearl White
The simplistic round dash of the 2014 Star Bolt can be capped with this brass visor, which matches brass accents for the air cleaner and headlight.
An option for the Bolt R-Spec in Camo Green is a gloss black rear fender, as well as the Mini Fairing and springer "Custom Seat."
Replacing the air cleaner mesh with a brass version is a factory option for the 2014 Star Bolt.