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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.

100 Comments

  1. Jeremy in TX says:

    Not my cup-o-tea, but a nice looking bike for the cruiser class and an attractive price point for what you get. +1000 to getting rid of the stamp seam on the tank. It really distracts from the overall look.

  2. Don says:

    I like the look of the matte grey one. I wish they did a bike with this style as a standard instead of a cruiser. I’d be all over it.

  3. mk says:

    They could have at least did away with the tank seam

  4. dman says:

    I’m not a cruiser fan, and like bobbers even less, but this one looks good to me. Nice detail design and I would assume that being a Yamaha, the mechanicals work well enough for its purpose.

  5. Ricardo says:

    Another Sportster wannabe. I had an 883 Custom and loved that machine. I would buy the real thing since the resale value will be much better too.

    • motowarrior says:

      Maybe this motorcycle is for someone looking for some better performance and handling. If you have a bike you like, you don’t have to worry about reselling it.

  6. Great bike with a perfect name to describe its specifications and displacement. I like the way it looks. So simple but packs a monster punch when tested.

  7. Crusty Kris says:

    My 14 year old Sportster is nearing 60,000 miles and is totally reliable. If the Yamaha sold for about $2,000 less the the Sportster I would tell a budget-minded buyer to go for it. Otherwise, get the real thing and be done with it!

    • Ken says:

      I’ve owned “the real thing.” No thanks, I’d prefer a Yamaha (or any other Japanese bike).

  8. Montana says:

    Tube tires? No thanks. I swore off those in 1979.
    I’m done ruining precious vacation days by the side of the road in 100 degree heat.
    What’s next, kick start, carb ticklers, total loss lubrication systems?
    That much nostalgia I can do without.

  9. Doc says:

    First off, I hate Yamaha’s. With that being said, I must admit for a Japanese knockoff, Yamaha got it mostly right. The exhaust doesn’t really bother me and the frame downtubes are bent that way for a reason(60 degree V). The biggest problem for me is the license plate holder. But for the same price as a Harley, I would buy the Harley. There are probably more accessories for just the Sportster, than there is for all Japanese bikes combined. Like em or not Harley has got it down pretty good. Styling, accessories, options out the whazoo. But if I were a Harley hater(and there are plenty on here)I would certainly give it a look.

  10. Norm G. says:

    re: “Despite the cast wheels, both tires require tubes.”

    re: “Tube-type tires? Why?”

    re: “not crazy about cast rims that use tubes”

    re: “Why tubes? It makes no sense.”

    or does it…?

    THEORY: to save a buck, we outsourced manufacture of these castings to the 3rd world. the trade off…? like so much myopic “fan-sumer”, we got what we paid for… the castings suffer from porosity. :( nothing like walking out to your latest production run a week later and finding a 3rd of all assembled units have flat tires. DOOOAAPP…! (homer simpson voice)

    MORALE: in a futile attempt to save money (remember free lunch doesn’t exist), we tried to dodge the FULL COST of these wheel assemblys, but we ended up paying for it anyway once the tubes and additional labor for installation were factored in. harvard business refers to this as “marginal thinking”.

  11. soi cowboy says:

    It is a good effort, and I don’t want to keep dissing it, but….
    The 8k price point is more in the 30+ age group for the new economy. The issue there is that older guys want a windshield, bags and a decent passenger seat. Sure you can add all that to the bolt, but why not just get the factory stuff on a 1300 tour or 900lt? The 18 to 25 category is more likely to get a cbr250 or ninja 300 for 5k.

    • Gabe says:

      Could a 25-year old in 1970 have afforded a $1700 motorcycle? Because that’s what $8000 in 2012 dollars would be worth in 1970. If you think that $5000 in 2012 would be worth about $850 in 1970, you’d see that motorcycles are actually cheaper, not more expensive, then they were 40 years ago–especially when you consider how much better they perform.

  12. mickey says:

    Honda makes a VT750 and a VT750RS. If you saw the RS sitting in a dealership you would swear its a Sportster at first glance. Actually the tandard everyone claims they want, good ergos, mid mount pegs, Ive sat on one, very comfortable. about 50 hp. Could use a bigger gas tank.

    http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/photos/2010models/2010-Honda-VT750RS-ShadowRS.htm

  13. Jay says:

    I don’t like welds on the gas tank. Same problem with the Bonneville.

    Why would any sane person buy this bike when they could buy a real Harley Davidson?

    Customize? I bet you can’t even get a different handlebar.

    • Dr Ethan Rust says:

      If it isn’t smoother, faster, and better handling, then they shouldn’t. If it is, then they should.

      As for the handlebar issue: As long as it uses a 7/8″ or 1″ handlebar, any aftermarked bar can be used on it. Plus you can get mini-apes from the factory for people who are allergic to comfort.

  14. todder says:

    I’m also not crazy about cast rims that usetubes, but I’m guessing for that price, buyers will forget about it after a test ride.

  15. johnny ro says:

    if it were a car people would talk about the dealer experience. My yamaha dealer is #1 a great guy who loves motorcycles and customers, and #2 sells yamaha. My local HD dealer (conway NH) is a more like a retail outlet for what is almost a fashion brand. People on that sales floor are not apparently from the motorcycle world.

    I do admit HD works extremely well for some serious riders, I am not bashing HD here.

    For this bike I am not 100% sure what sort of ride it is meant to be taken out on. Short sunny day hops? Seems like fun.

  16. HotDog says:

    It looks cool, low, comfortable and it sure is affordable. It will probably be easier to go into a Yamaha shop to purchase, than a “Boutique Temple” where snobbery abounds. The motor is a gem and the rest of the bike is put together as if it’s asking for a buyers’ finishing touch. I bet they sell the hell out of this bike.

  17. todder says:

    Shocks with remote reservoirs look cool on cafe racers, certainly not this cruiser. I guess it’s pointless to continue pleading with the big four to make a comparable standard/cafe bike (TU250 and WR650 being the exceptions). Otherwise it looks better than Honda’s price point 2014 CTX700.

  18. Sid says:

    Wow-Yamaha releases “The Copster”.

  19. Tik says:

    This bike is wonderful – only the market is not the right one – it’s style would fit better in Europe.

  20. Ron Gordon says:

    2 years ago I finally broke down and added a Sportster super low to our Buells. My wife won’t ride it because it says Harley on it. If the Yamaha had less ugly exhaust it would be tempting. We have had 2 1100 and 3 750 Viragos back when they were lighter, and the motors were flawless. I just had to have another push rod motor before I die.

  21. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    I hope they sell enough of these to consider it a success so then we can get some new off-road, motocross, and dual-purpose models with the proceeds. :D

    Star.
    Yamaha.
    Never cared for this supposed separation.
    Seems too much to me like you’re trying to hide something.

  22. andy1300 says:

    It just needs lots of chrome, and it will sale..

  23. Gutterslob says:

    Yamaha actually succeeded in the “platform for personalization” segment years ago. Remember original the TW 200? Japan used to have aftermarket shops dedicated solely to that one bike.

    All Yamaha had to do was take that idea, wrap it around a bigger engine and refine it just a bit. Keep the price low (lower than this Star Bolt), release the bike as spartan as possible but make sure there’s a decent sized accessories/personalization catalog at launch.

  24. Gary says:

    Good golly miss Molly! Talk about an ugly bike. This is the first big four bike that would actually swing me towards buying a Harley, and I don’t like most Harleys (if any) anyway. Dumb looking frame, terrible looking muffler. These solo blacked out homelies do nothing for me. Good Luck Yamaha… or I mean Star. You won’t be sellling me one of these. Y U K !!

  25. k-hud says:

    Fugly.

  26. itchface says:

    I’m not a cruiser lover but this one looks very nice. I especially like that it doesn’t have a typical cruiser’s stupid footpeg placement. I wonder if it still has the insanely-short-in-this-day-and-age 4k mile valve check intervals that make ownership way more hassle and more expensive than it should?

  27. Cinderbob says:

    Tube-type tires? Why?

    • Michael H says:

      Enhanced flotation.

    • Gary says:

      I had the same question. Would very much like for someone to explain the rationale. Otherwise, it is quite an intriguing blank canvas of a bike. Why would any sane person buy a Sportster rather than this?

  28. Mike Simmons says:

    Not fer me, but at least Yamaha kept the foot location reasonable instead of waaay forward.

  29. Fred M. says:

    There’s one thing that just looks bad: The bend in the downtubes, just below the base of the cylinder. It forms a big open gap in front of the motor and doesn’t parallel any line on the bike.

    The Sportster keeps the downtubes straight and tucked up parallel to the cylinder and it just looks much better as a result (and I’m neither a fan of Harleys or cruisers).

    Yamaha should have gone for a longer steering yoke, ran the frame tubes just a bit farther forward under the engine before starting the bend upwards, so that they could have had a straight run.

    • Bob says:

      Or better yet, since the engine is a stressed member, eliminate the downtubes altogether like the original Viragos that are so popular now with the customizers. That would have enhanced the engine’s elemental appeal……

      • Jake says:

        “…eliminate the downtubes altogether”

        Nope– ya’ need the downtubes to bolt the cruiser pegs to for putting your feet up (for kruzin’) :o

        • All In says:

          I thought the Harley boys did that to keep from getting frosting on their jeans while they ride their “wedding cakes.”

      • soi cowboy says:

        The 60 degree v is longer than a 45. Still, they could have stretched the steering head forward a bit to keep the downtubes straight. Stressed engine with no counterbalancer….

        • Fred M. says:

          Just lengthening the steering head would have helped a lot. So would extending the run of the frame tubes at the bottom a couple more inches.

          Just some minor tweaks could have eliminated that ugly bend.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “Just some minor tweaks could have eliminated that ugly bend.”

            that bend is what’s keeping them out of court.

  30. Allworld says:

    This is not my type of bike at all, but attracting new riders, well I’m all for it. Oddly enough looking at this bike makes me want to take a second look at Triumphs Thruxton and Scrambler. It is good that manufactures are not waiting for a flood of Chines bikes to start lowering their price points. Even Aprilia recently reduced their prices. Someday Eric Buell will have bikes we can all afford and there is spot in my garage waiting for their arrival.

    • soi cowboy says:

      chinese bikes are shee it. In vietnam, thailand nobody will touch them.

      • Allworld says:

        True enough, but Jonny Pag is coming…….. If the motorcycle industry wants to trive then they need to attract new riders. I don’t no if you noticed but fewer people have money to spend on items of limited use and purpose. A good bike at at good price……….. sold.
        I am not a fan of cheap, and poor quality, but simple, well made and affordable is truely what todays makret needs.

  31. ApriliaRST says:

    Yamaha has failed to hit the target, but I applaud their attempt. It’ll be better than it’s competition in everything except sales.

    • Jim says:

      Exactly, Harley is laughing all the way to the bank.

      • MGNorge says:

        If it’s better in every way compared to a like Harley then that lends more thought that people buy the name over substance, correct? I think most of know the answer to that and the rest feel it.

        So, isn’t it in the best spirit of any company to keep trying? Or would we all just be better off, calling it a day, and all ride the same bikes? I think I’d stop riding and take up macrame’ or something!

  32. Tom says:

    I didn’t know Hugh Laurie rode cruisers.

  33. Michael H says:

    An HD Sportster 883 Iron lists for $7,999. A buyer of a Yamaha is more likely to get a discounted price than a Sportster buyer. Bullseye, Yamaha.

    Yamaha arguably has a better engine. The Yamaha doesn’t come with the HD cachet, likely a plus for some younger riders who don’t want the HD brand.

    Rearsets and lowered bars could get this bike closer to being a mini MT01.

  34. paul246 says:

    I’m not even interested in cruisers, but I really like this bike. It grabs you and makes you just want to swing a leg up and over. Good job Yamaha!

  35. Tim says:

    I actually think it’s a good looking bike, for a cruiser, especially in the matte gray. I’m guessing HP wil probably exceed the 1200 Sporty at a cheaper price, and with Yamaha reliability. They might actually sell a few of these.

    • Jake says:

      “I’m guessing HP wil probably exceed the 1200 Sporty”

      Probably about the same as an 883.

      • Tim says:

        4 valves per cylinder and high compression…I’ll be shocked if the HP doesn’t exceed the 1200 sporty slightly. I know the 883 is a 2 valve per cylinder set up and suspect the 1200 is as well.

      • Tim says:

        Jake, it looks like you may be right. Despite the 4 valve heads, horsepower on the previous Star using this motor was pretty disappointing, and less than the 1200 Sporty. I likely stand corrected.

  36. Mark Bremer says:

    Ditto the comments about Yamaha copying the Sportster. Hope Yamaha offers a sprung seat for those riders with an inseam >28″ and who care about their spines. Anyway it looks like a good ride for around town for 30 minutes or less. Like to see a Springfield Mile version!!!!!!!

  37. Harry says:

    Surely HD lovers will critisize this is the copy of sportster.
    But for me, this will hit the market.
    Yep, I admit some basic package is like Sportster, but I can find some uniqueness and Yamaha/Star’s passion for motorcycle in every single detail.
    (only ugly part is license plate holder for me, but it can be easily removed..)

    Engine shape and fin looks very cool, well organized, pure metal.
    Speedo meter and tail light are very unique and taking good balance between modern/heritage.
    Wavy brake rotor looks also unique, and sportier look rear suspention on R-spec, Those items made me say “Wow”.

    Sometimes metrics take unique feature and makes ugly or strange stuff.
    But in this case, looking at whole package of Bolt, very pure, strong, and looks true “Motorcycle”.

    Despite Sportster has a lot of heritage and history, I like that sort of things, but Star Motorcycle seems to have reached at very high level.

    And sound of this engine (you can see at Yamaha usa site) made me crazy about Bolt.

    Anyway, congraturation Yamaha. This should be one of the best cruiser.

  38. Martin B says:

    I rode a TR1 Yamaha back in the day. That one had the right amount of power, slim build and was light enough to move around. This one works better, looks better, and is priced right in the USA. New Zealand prices for Yamahas are way too high compared to Honda. But the Honda Shadow is too wheezy to compete with you-know-who. This is a non antique every day ride, with just enough of everything, and can be optioned up the yazoo. Well done, Yamaha.

  39. billy says:

    Yeah, another cruiser! 50hp, tubed tires, non adjustable suspension. Yeah!

    • John Bryan says:

      For the intended market 50HP (actually 45 in this case) and 50lb-ft of torque is more than enough.

      Add easily adjusted screw and locknut valves, EFI, belt drive, spin-on oil filter and TUBELESS tires and you have a great bike for people who want some level of involvement with their motor-cycle. At least more involvement than twisting the throttle and dropping their bike off at the dealer for service.

      I rarely go much faster than 70MPH on the highway much less on backroads so 45-50 horses is plenty. Never have had much interest in sportbikes…the Bolt however is intriguing. Still wish Yamaha would take one more step to the center and add some more suspension travel and a bench seat.

  40. Don Fraser says:

    why not just buy the real thing, think a sporty costs about the same

  41. KAM says:

    Ugly thing. Really.

  42. Bob says:

    As much as I detest the idea of the Japanese building a copy of the Sportster, I can’t help but like this bike. The proportions are spot on and I really can’t criticize any of the detailing. In fact, I could imagine this as a I bike I would consider purchasing, and I’m 59 years old and have been riding since I was 16. I even had a ’76 AMF Sportster that I bought new. This really makes sense, and at a good price. A tip of the hat to Yamaha.

    • mickey says:

      Have you seen a Honda VT 750 S ?

      • mickey says:

        Edit VT 750 RS

        • Bob says:

          Yes, of course I have seen the VT 750. But to me, it never really was a Sprotster copy although the magazines really pushed that idea. The Honda is more “standard” or “roadster” than Sportster. First of all, it is more upright, smaller displacement, and chain drive. And it somehow retains the appliance-like appearance so typical of a lot of Hondas. Not that I don’t like the VT 750, it just seems to lack the “elemental” quality of a Sporteter, in other words, engine, frame and wheels. The Bolt seems to capture that quality…..

  43. Bud says:

    Pretty cool. Personally, I’d prefer the wheel spokes and rim edges polished.

  44. ABQ says:

    Lighter weight than the standard 950. But, it also has one less gallon in the fuel tank. I just don’t understand why sylists think that smaller gas tanks are a good idea. I always liked it when guys put those ‘Fatbob’ gastanks on their sportsters.

  45. Brian says:

    Not surprised its only a repurposed existing motor. I had hoped it was something more. It is a very good rendition of a sportster. I hate to say it, but I like it anyway.

  46. mickey says:

    Not for me but I bet they sell a boat load of these to 17 to 30 year olds.

  47. Dirtgrain says:

    It does look like a decent riding position–maybe with too much of a reach forward.

  48. Dirtgrain says:

    It looks like it would be fun to ride for a while. I wonder how comfortable it is (not that this style of bike demands that). Why tubes? It makes no sense.