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Yamaha targets Harley with a budget-priced, old-school cruiser motorcycle

Consumer Reports News: March 09, 2013 07:08 PM

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As Daytona Bike Week continues, Star Motorcycles introduced a new, stripped-down cruiser dubbed Bolt. Offered in basic and better-trimmed R-Spec form, the Bolt has an old-school appearance at a relatively budget price.

With the Bolt, the Yamaha brand is moving deeper into American cruiser territory, and it is doing so at "metric" pricing. For some riders, this may offer an attainable alternative to Harley-Davidson models. (Think Sportster or Street Bob.) For others, it can provide a fresh option for newer riders looking for an alternative to the small-displacement sport bikes and chrome-plated, midsized import cruisers. (See the Harley-Davidson Breakout also unveiled in Daytona.)

2014-Star-Motorcycle-Bolt-road.jpgThe Bolt uses a new frame, fitted with a fuel-injected, air-cooled 950cc engine. As the photos show, the Bolt is devoid of chrome, relying instead on simple paint and metal surfaces. The body is a slim design, and overall weight is a modest 540 lbs., notably 73 lbs. lighter than the company's V Star 950 that uses a similar engine. The Bolt has just a 3.2 gallon gas tank, compared to 4.5 gallons for the V Star 950. The seat is low at 27.2 inches.

Curious concessions to modernity, the Bolt uses a digital speedometer and an LED taillamp. Disc brakes are in place front and rear, but ABS is not offered—a disappointment for any new motorcycle design, more especially one that may attract less-experienced riders.

The Bolt will be priced at $7,990 when it goes on sale in April. The Bolt R-Spec follows in July for $8,290 with different shocks, seat stitching, unique colors, and added graphics, essentially providing a mild custom package. Star says its intention is to create a basic canvas that enthusiasts can accessorize from their catalog. While that may allow for an affordable custom, sticking to the basics is where you truly save money.

Visit our scooter and motorcycle buying guide for advice.

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Jeff Bartlett

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