On its website, Yamaha tags the Bolt as an “urban performance bobber,” and it certainly wears some of the hallmarks of the category with its minimal bodywork, compact chassis, and old-school tech, but the Bolt will appeal to almost any rider thanks to its friendly manners and torquey V-twin power. Yamaha’s (nee Star) midsize cruiser was introduced in 2013 and hasn’t changed much since then, soldering on with a fuel-injected, 942cc, air-cooled, SOHC V-twin engine and a spartan, no-fuss vibe. The more premium R-Spec model one-ups the base model with the addition of twin piggyback reservoir shocks, 12-spoke cast alloy wheels, and more in-depth paint options, but both offer a modern LED taillight and an LCD instrument cluster to bring a little high tech to the otherwise bare-bones feel.
Related: DYNO VIDEO: 2016 Star Bolt C-Spec
Its low saddle and compact feel will likely call out to shorter beginner and intermediate riders, though the Bolt can more than handle advanced pilots as well. A $7,999 buy-in is a pretty good motivator, and the better-equipped R-Spec model costs just $400 more.
The Bolt regularly makes “best cruiser value” lists because of its no-nonsense style, accessibility, as well as affordability, though its obvious competition, like Harley-Davidson’s Iron 883 and Triumph’s Street Twin models, offer a similarly stripped-down vibe and customizable platform at a reasonable price.
The Yamaha Bolt hasn’t had many updates at all since its launch in 2013, so changes to the 2020 model are exactly nil; in fact, even the price is unchanged.