This year, Yamaha paid homage to the ever popular (our own personal favorite) café style motorcycle. With a look that has kept the attention of riders across the globe since the 60’s, the Bolt has an instant familiarity for the rider. Yamaha smartly kept the original Star v-twin performance, while completing the aesthetic with clip-on handle bars, traditional fork boots, a removable passenger seat cowl, and sporty café paint and graphics. The chassis is relatively compact and provides a fine showcase for the 58 cubic inch, air-cooled, 60° V-twin Bolt powerplant. The C-Spec uses fuel injection and ignition timing maps to deliver class-leading performance and smile-inducing torque. A belt drive delivers power to the rear wheel resulting in a virtually maintenance-free final drive system, which provided the benefits of durability and exceptionally important reliability. All of these fingerprint power basics allow the owner to embrace the Star mantra of “we build it, you make it your own.”
I had the opportunity to ride a Bolt C-Spec directly off the showroom floor, and even without any performance upgrades, the Bolt delivered what the specs promised; Ample power, a modestly aggressive riding stance, and reliability for extended hours. My jaunt on this bike took me from Baltimore to Pittsburgh, a would-be 3-4 hour trek. Rain and traffic extended the hours on the road to more than seven, and even through the sudden pile ups on two-lane highways, the curvy and inclined hills of the Allegheny Mountains, and the relentless weeping of the sky, the Bolt navigated and performed flawlessly.
A few weeks before this trip, Fredericktown Yamaha Triumph lent me a Bolt R-Spec for a one day group ride. They had taken the opportunity to customize the bike, adding upgraded exhaust, repositioning the handle bars, and customizing the paint to a sleek and graphic-free silver. The rumble from this bike was intoxicating, and the bike rode like a cross between a bobber and a cafe, allowing me to be in a slightly more relaxed position. If you’re looking for a bike with a lot of pep, a classic aesthetic, a clean set-up for customization, or a reliable commuter or adventure-partner, consider the Bolt.