2014 Star Bolt & R-Spec Bolt Test Ride

“2014 Star Bolt in Bobber style: Less is more”

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San Diego, CA – Star is a division of Yamaha motorcycles, and in keeping with what seems to be a returning trend in the cruiser motorcycling community, and Star has just launched the 2014 Star Bolt, which is executed in a style reminiscent of early “Bobbers”.

Bobbers were essentially stripped down motorcycles that made a minimalist statement in their heyday. The Bobber terminology originated from the “bobbed” or chopped fenders with the elimination of any excess accessories or expensive chrome dress-up items – all in the interest of improving the bike’s performance through lighter weight, while at the same time making them more affordable. The 2014 Star Bolt represents a visual tribute to that popular early movement, but with the implementation of modern technology and improved reliability and dependability.

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You won’t find a lot of bling on the Star Bolt. In fact, the upper sections of the front forks, mirrors and headlight bezel account for most of the bike’s chrome. The chassis design of the Bolt is all-new. Individual components such as the 3.2-gallon fuel tank, belt drive, front and rear wheels, digital meter and steel fenders are new as well, lending a fresh, unique overall style in a compact ride. The Bobber trend or philosophy is indicative of the new cruiser order that typifies a counter culture, anti-establishment mind set that displays a sort of Black Sheep attitude that focuses on “Less is more” and demonstrating a pride in making a lot of a little by “doing it themselves” through mechanical independence and by not following the crowd.

The concept behind the development of the Bolt actually consisted of four essential elements or ideal goals that combined to create the quintessential Performance Bobber. First, the Bolt would have to deliver a dynamic ride quality with plenty of torque and power over a broad range, a light athletic sensation, adequate and capable braking and a satisfying lean angle. Next, the Bolt would have to be comfortable for both urban and suburban rides through high quality suspension componentry in a natural rider position. The Bolt would also have to have an easy to control feeling with a low set height and lightweight feel. Finally, the Bolt would have to showcase a pure, simple mechanical appeal in an original design in a true Bobber style with basic, genuine materials.

The 2014 Star Bolt will be available in two configurations: the basic Bolt finished in Black with no graphics, or in a White finish with the Bolt logo, which has a base price of $7,990; and the Bolt R-Spec which will feature remote reservoir rear shocks, a suede-type seat in vinyl with colored stitching, Black mirror caps and an upgraded paint and graphic theme in metallic Green, or a special matte gray paint and tank logo for a base sticker set at $8,290. The Star Bolt is on sale now, and the Star Bolt R-Spec will be on sale in July. The styling of both Bolt models is essentially the same with the exception of the R-Spec’s Gold anodized Remote Reservoir rear shocks, paint schemes and mirror treatment.

Power for both Bolt models is provided by a 58-cubic-inch (942cc) air-cooled, Mikuni fuel injected 4-stroke, V-Twin, SOHC, 4-valve motor with a Transistor Controlled Ignition. Exhaust exits through a right side mounted two-into-one system with a short muffler for a pleasing sound.. Motive energy is delivered through a smooth operating, easy effort multiplate wet clutch 5-speed transmission to the rear wheel via a final drive belt.

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The Star Bolt rolls on Bridgestone Exedra rubber – 100/90-19M/C 57H up front, and 150/80-16M/C 71H in the rear, wrapped around 6 “V”- (12) – spoke hollow alloy wheels. The suspension componentry consists of KYB 41mm telescopic reverse forks forward with 4.7-inches of travel, and Dual KYB coil over shocks with 2.8-inches of travel aft (replaced by the upgraded anodized remote reservoir shocks on the R-Spec). Bringing both Bolts to a quick and effective stop are wave-type single discs front and rear, and the brake pressure is adjustable at the lever.

The 2014 Star Bolt frame is a double cradle steel design that incorporates the engine as a stressed member of the chassis. The wheelbase is a short 61.8-inches, while the overall length of the bike measures 90.2-inches. The Bolts tip the scale at 540 pounds, ready to ride with all fluids. The fuel tank holds 3.2 gallons, and the seat height is a low 27.2-inches.

 2014 Star Bolt R-Spec Ridr

The Bolt delivers a laid back and comfortable riding position, featuring an easy to reach dirt track-type handlebar bend, mid mounted foot controls, the low “sit-in” seat, which narrows at the front and a multi-function switch box. Rider info is displayed in a singular, round meter housing  that’s positioned just ahead of the fuel filler cap. The round taillight lights up with a geometric cluster of red LED lights behind a clear lens with matching directional signal lights.

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My test rides included both the basic Star Bolt priced at $7,990 and the Bolt R-Spec with an $8,290 base sticker price. The Bolt sported the Black finish and the R-Spec wore the Matte Grey finish.

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SUMMARY:  The national press launch for the 2014 Star Bolt and Star Bolt R-Spec took place in and around San Diego, CA, set up in a sightseeing format to take in the city’s most dynamic scenic attractions. A full day was spent exploring the city’s sights. There were freeway stints as well urban scenarios, and the Bolt performed flawlessly.

After sitting astride the display model in the technical presentation room, it seemed that the Bolt would not be suited to a 6’4” frame with long legs. That deduction was overcome in short order as the bike proved to be quite comfortable, despite a personal preference for more forward-mounted foot controls and perhaps a somewhat longer seat.

Both Star Bolt models displayed a pleasing agility and maneuverability due to the low center of gravity and relatively light weight, not to mention the ideal riding position. Throttle response was swift, and the ride quality showcased a comfortable compliance over a variety of surfaces. The torque was available over a very wide range, which made for a nice power delivery.

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In the shortcomings department, self-canceling turn signals are always a desirable feature as is a gear indicator, but cost tends to be a factor here. The information gauge cluster was extremely difficult to read in bright sunlight, particularly when wearing sunglasses or with a smoked face shield. Small nits to pick indeed except for the gauge legibility.

There is a delete option for the rear fender extension appendage where the license plate mounts. Get rid of that and mount the license plate on a side bracket and the Star Bolt becomes a genuine “dyed-in-the-wool” Bobber.

All in all, the Bolt in either of its configurations should prove to be a winner for the Star cruiser division of Yamaha. The price is right, it looks great, and it’s fun to ride. Making it an even better bike, are a host of specifically designed accessories that are available for personalization.


 

SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Star Bolt & R-Spec


  

Base Price: $7, 990. / R-Spec – $8,920.
Price as Tested: $8,190. / R-Spec – $9,120.
Engine Type and Size: 58-cubic-inch (942cc) air cooled, fuel injected 4-stroke, V-Twin, SOHC, 4-valve with Transistor Controlled Ignition.
Transmission: 5-speed multiplate wet clutch.
Drive Train: Final Drive – Belt
Suspension: Front – Telescopic reverse forks with 4.7-inches of travel.
Rear – Dual coil over shocks with 2.8-inches of travel.

Brakes: Wave-type single disc – front / wave-type single disc rear.
Tires: Bridgestone Exedra 100/90-19M/C 57H front 150/80-16M/C 71H rear. – mounted on 6 “V”-spoke hollow alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 61.8 inches
Length Overall: 90.2 inches
Curb Weight: 540 lbs. (wet)
Fuel Capacity: 3.2 gallons.
Seat Height: 27.2 inches
0 – 60 mph: Not tested

  



 

 

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