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Star Introduces the Bolt (With Video)

Star introduced today an interesting, low cost 950cc v-twin powered “Performance Bobber”.  Starting at $7,990, the Bolt is air cooled, fuel injected and belt driven.  It features steel fenders, and according to Star, is the “perfect platform for personalization.”

A second version of the Bolt, the Bolt R-Spec, will retail for an additional $300.00, and add remote-reservoir shocks (apparently, also non-adjustable, as is the suspension on the Bolt), a “suede-type” seat with colored stitching, as well as special paint and graphics.  The Standard Bolt comes in Pearl White and Raven, while the R-Spec will be available in Matte Gray and Camo Green.

Brake discs, both front and rear, are a single 298mm disc.  Wheel sizes are interesting, with a 150/80/16 rear tire and 100/90/19 front.  Despite the cast wheels, both tires require tubes.  Wet weight (fully fueled) is listed at 540 pounds for both models.

Click on this PDF file for full specs of the new Bolt:

The bike combines relatively low weight for the cruiser class, a low seat (27.2 inches) and relatively short wheel base (61.8 inches) to provide nimble handling, according to Star.  The engine is rigidly mounted as a stressed member of the double-cradle steel frame.

Plenty of accessories will be available for the Bolt, including but not limited to higher bars, passenger seat and backrest, and special rider seats.  Star promises many more accessories will be announced shortly.

We do not have engine output figures, but Star indicated they will be class leading.  In addition to fuel injection, the 60 degree v-twin (which actually displaces 942cc), features modern four-valve heads and overhead cams, as well as roller-type rocker arms with needle bearings to reduce friction losses and improve overall performance.  The cylinders are ceramic composite plated for durability and heat dissipation advantages.  Forged aluminum pistons are very light, helping to reduce vibration coming from the 60 degree cylinder angle.

As stated earlier, the 41mm forks and twin rear shocks are both non-adjustable, although the R-Spec shocks feature remote reservoirs.

We first saw the Bolt when it was revealed to a group of journalists in Southern California Thursday evening.  It is clearly a response by Star to the need for lower priced models in its line-up to bring young riders into the brand, as well as an emerging trend popularizing simple, air-cooled bobber, and standard-style motorcycles.

The Bolt has a version of the engine found in the V Star 950.  Both bikes have the exact same displacement (942cc), bore/stroke ratio (85.0 x 83.0) and 9.0:1 compression ratio.  We recall being very impressed with the power output (surprised even) of this motor when we tested the much heavier (80 pounds or so) V Star 950 tourer some years ago.  Here’s what I had to say about the V Star 950 at the time:

After 150 miles, or so, aboard both the standard and touring versions of the new V Star 950, one question stuck in my mind. Does anyone need more cruiser than this? It was not so long ago that a 942cc v-twin engine was considered large. Coupled with its relatively modern design and high compression ratio of 9.0-to-1 (high for an air cooled engine), I never felt that I lacked the power necessary to enjoy my ride through the beautiful north Georgia mountains. Under the circumstances, I had all the acceleration I wanted from a comfortable cruiser platform.

Of course, with the smaller displacement, and single disc front brake (which is a large 320mm rotor — allowed by the 18-inch wheel) the V Star 950 is relatively light at just over 600 pounds, and handles nimbly for a cruiser that looks just as big physically as the large-displacement machines. Indeed, an argument can be made that the lighter platform with the lower inertia of the lighter crank made for a more enjoyable ride on a gorgeous day in the south.

Based on this experience, we expect the Bolt to provide a punchy, enjoyable riding experience from an engine performance perspective. Star says the Standard Bolt will be in dealerships starting in April, while the Bolt R-Spec will be available beginning in July of this year. Here is the Star Press release:

Cypress, CA March 9, 2013 – Star Motorcycles is proud to introduce the all-new Bolt and Bolt R-Spec cruisers.

Powered by a fuel-injected, 58-cubic-inch (950cc), air-cooled, V-Twin engine, mounted in a double-cradle frame, the Bolt and Bolt R-Spec are “Performance Bobbers” that will attract a new cruiser buyer to the Star brand.

The Bolt and Bolt R-Spec are a modern interpretation of old-school ‘bobbers’, specifically designed to offer unique style, comfort, and performance. Both models are ‘step out of the norm’ cruisers that deliver light weight and unmatched maneuverability.

Performance components such as wave-type brake rotors and a smoked-lens digital meter are standard on both Bolt models, while the Bolt R-Spec ups the ante even more with the addition of remote-reservoir shocks, a suede-type seat with colored stitching, and special paint and graphics.

With their 60° V-Twin engines, belt drive, and steel fenders, the Bolt and Bolt R-Spec provide the perfect platform for personalization. Star plans to unveil a complete line of custom accessories for the Bolt and Bolt R-Spec in the coming weeks.

The Bolt will be available in two color options–Raven and Pearl White–and will retail for $7,990, with bikes available in dealerships starting in April. The Bolt R-Spec can be had in your choice of Matte Grey and Camo Green and will retail for $8,290, with bikes available in dealerships starting in July.


  1. BigJames says:

    Nicest Virago yet…

  2. kirk66 says:

    I find a KLR adequate for the N GA mountains- lol. I don’t understand the point of the R if they don’t actually put adjustability in the suspension. May seem trivial for that market but matte paint isn’t exactly an upgrade to gloss- so, where’s the $300 go to?

  3. ace says:

    Looks like Yamaha and Low and Mean are teaming up again like they did on the Stryker, should make for a really sick bike!

  4. MotoADHD says:

    I like it! My bike is a R1200 GS set up 50/50 road/off road & I’d like to have a cool little bobber for the street. I was thinking about a used Fat Bob, but maybe this little guy is the ticket.

  5. Barter says:

    VT750RS is a very comfortable bike for the beginner. A little sporty and a little cool factor included. I expect that the new Bolt will also attract new comers. Lifestyle sells.

  6. Russell T. says:

    I’ll chime in and agree, pretty nice coming from the factory. Yamaha, ‘scuse me, Star is actually paying attention. I think the bulky lights and such are there for two reasons. One is to keep under regulatory DOT radar, and the other is to keep cost down using existing parts.

    I’m not a ‘bobber’ rider but I dig the style, always have. I often find myself looking at affordable used Star’s with the intention of whittling them down to something pretty much like this Bolt. All in all I’ll say well done Yamaha, sorry, “Star”.

  7. Dave says:

    Another cruiser – meh. I’d be a whole lot more interested if they brought out a 950-engined updated Bulldog for USA. Or something else with the ergos of the V-Max instead of these “sit on the crapper” bikes.

  8. Al T says:

    This bike looks awfully good for coming from the factory. It’s about time the big four made something hot. Just clean up the rear frnder, loose that big ass tail light, and convert the rear turn signal to stop, turn, and tail lights.

  9. Russell says:

    I hope the tires are tubeless, I wouldn’t buy it if it was tube type. the pdf (inlarged) says tube type.
    Also, the pic of the green R spec with all the options,
    shows one with fork gaiters, but its not listed as an option, that would be nice to have.

  10. Wendy says:

    Not bad, might appeal to folks with short legs, returning riders, and n00bs. For the rest of us, have they stopped making Sportsters?

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      This would appeal to short-inseams, returning riders and newbies, but a Sporster wouldn’t?

      • Mog says:

        The bolt has better performance ratios than any Harley including the sportster.
        The sportsters handlilng geometry is garbage.
        I’d prefer a boat anchor to a sportster.

  11. randy says:

    I think it looks fine, and I own a 2003 XL. Kind of too bad about the 50 HP but understandable at 9 to 1. A crisp 60 RWHP would seperate it from the 883.

  12. TomS says:

    What I like:
    – The overall vibe is cool
    – The air/oil-cooled engine, no radiator to clog up the view

    What I don’t like:
    – Seams on gas tank… nothing new there but surely there’s another way to manufacture a gas tank?
    – Exhaust pipe looks like something off a salvaged piece of military surplus equipment
    – The belt guard really detracts from the left-side view

  13. takehikes says:

    I have a Yamaha Road Star and its wonderful if severely overweight (I chopped mine a bit and lost about a 100 pounds but its still porky). This thing weighs 200 pounds less than the Road Star and also has about 2/3 less HP but I think its going to be a winner. I like the 900cc range a lot and agree that size is fine for most of us. I’ll be looking at it real hard as something I can make my own….

  14. Tim Chelli says:

    FYI, the tires on the Bolt are tubeless, early press information was incorrect.