Star Motorcycles knows what it’s about, and its new Bolt cruiser proves that.
The cruiser and touring bike division of Yamaha, Star builds that Japanese giant’s non-sport/racing motorcycles. While younger and more adventurous riders might want keep their knees down with a metric sports make from Yamaha, casual riders and enthusiasts who happen to be a little older come to Star.
However, Star knows it can’t sit still and let the racing/metric Yamaha side be the more youth-centric brand identity. Star needs to keep attracting younger riders, too. Enter the Bolt – a sporty and affordable street cruiser built for quick acceleration and easy riding.
Star’s latest addition made its big American debut at a special event on the opening day of 2013 Bike Week in Daytona to an enthusiastic reception. To introduce the motorcycle a little more intimately to journalists, Star brought us to the Hard Rock Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter. Using that as a home base we rode around most of the San Diego metropolitan area.
The Bolt is intended as a city budget motorcycle for the Star line – settling roughly in the middle of the company’s price spectrum. With a starting point of $7,990, there are four less expensive V Star models – the 250, Custom, Classic and Silverado. Then, the Bolt rings in at its price – but in a very different class.
It’s a city street-friendly cruiser, but it sports the powerful frame of a race-inspired bike with its muscular 942 cc, 4 valve engine and 2 – 1 exhaust flexing in its tight double cradle steel frame. The display is stripped down to a single digital speedometer that can be cycled through various displays (odometer, trip counter, etc.). A single naked headlamp honors the bike’s sporty inspirations, while the rear features LED signals and a signature hexagon taillight.
The Bolt arrives in two trim levels, the standard and the R-Spec. The latter offers remote reservoir shocks, an improved seat and improved paint and graphics.
Star calls The Bolt an “urban performance Bobber” – comfortable for shorter mileage rides with a compact wheelbase and natural up/down seating position for best possible balance. The reasoning there is that this is a city motorcycle – a ride operating in more confined spaces of grid streets, onramps and crowded parking lots. The Bolt needed to be amply powered for quick response and more nimble to maneuver than a touring ride or a larger cruiser.
The terms the Star Motorcycle folk threw around were “less is more,” “stripped down” and “badass.” The Bolt is intended for riders who want to hop on and get where they’re going – while staying ahead of most everybody else.
At 6’3” and north of 250 lbs., I might be a little big for the Bolt. I might be a little too big for a lot of stuff. Still, it was not an uncomfortable ride. An ample seat, carefully laid out ergonomics and well-tuned suspension make it a comfortable ride over short and medium distances. I road it off and on for the better part of eight hours and walked away comfortably.
As per all Star bikes, the transmission is a real treat. Smooth and reliable, it’s nice to be on a cruiser on which the shifter responds almost like a racing bike.
The best feature of the Bolt is still that gentle sticker price. Buyers will take home a considerable hunk of motorcycle starting just south of $8,000. From there, Bolt bikers have access to a complete line of accessories, including custom seats, handlebars, metallic accents, special fairings and windshields.