Yamaha Canada's all-new 2014 Bolt is a naked cruiser powered by a V-twin engine from the V-Star 950
. As a pioneer of the Japanese custom trend, Yamaha has gone back to basics with a modern interpretation of the sporty, lightweight and affordable Virago 535.
Here we have a racy cruiser that focuses on tight dimensions (short 1,570mm wheelbase), lightweight (247 kg), and nimble handling instead of a big engine and all-out power.
Stylish and affordable
With clean, simple styling, a low-rise handlebar, a slim fuel tank, and mid-mounted footpegs, the 2014 Yamaha Bolt directly takes on the Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883
. Designed by Americans for Americans, it is quite a sight to behold -- one that retro cruiser enthusiasts will definitely love.
Moreover, the finely sculpted lines, cylinder cooling fins, brushed aluminum and black chrome highlights, as well as impeccable fit and finish make this superb motorcycle look far pricier than it really is.
By the way, the 2014 Yamaha Bolt is available in two trim levels: The base one starts at $8,999, while the R-Spec costs an extra $200. The latter stands out with a dual-texture, premium buckskin/suede seat design, specific badging, two unique colour schemes, and two premium shock absorbers with remote reservoir.
|The finely sculpted lines as well as impeccable fit and finish make this superb motorcycle look far pricier than it really is. (Photo: Bill Petro)
As mentioned above, the 2014 Yamaha Bolt borrows its air-cooled, fuel-injected, 942cc V-twin engine from the V-Star 950. Producing 54 hp and 59.3 lb-ft of torque, this unit displays lovely character and its highly flexible nature makes it easy to exploit from just 1,500 rpm. You'll feel a pretty good thrust at medium and high revs, too.
Power goes through a nicely calibrated transmission with a smooth clutch lever and shifter that connects with the rear wheel via a quiet, zero-maintenance belt final drive.
Fundamentally sound chassis
|The 2014 Yamaha Bolt borrows its air-cooled, fuel-injected, 942cc V-twin engine from the V-Star 950.(Photo: Bill Petro)
The 2014 Yamaha Bolt is built on a new compact frame that was designed with agility and friendly riding in mind. Offering an ultra-low centre of gravity, a low seat height (690 mm), and a natural riding position, the Bolt will make any rider feel at ease. Granted, that same upright position, combined with the lack of wind protection, doesn't encourage long-distance riding. On the other hand, when the road gets twisty, you can attack corners at a pretty good clip thanks to decent ground clearance and braking performance (by cruiser standards).
Savouring the sweet engine-frame combo of the 2014 Yamaha Bolt can be done on a comfortable rider's seat that's just firm enough to pile up 60-minute rides. Too bad the base model's suspension is ill-equipped to absorb some of the bigger hits on the road.
Of course, that's nothing new with slammed cruisers like the 2014 Yamaha Bolt. However, I'm happy to report that the R-Spec variant makes a huge difference in the ride quality department. Judiciously tuned rear shocks with piggyback reservoir elevate the Bolt R-Spec among the most comfortable cruisers in its class. So, if you regularly encounter rough stretches of pavement like many Canadians do, I strongly recommend spending the additional $200 for this upscale model.
|The 2014 Yamaha Bolt is built on a new compact frame that was designed with agility and friendly riding in mind. (Photo: Bill Petro)
With sexy looks, good balance, smooth controls, as well as an amazingly flexible engine, the 2014 Yamaha Bolt is about riding in style, keeping it cool, and enjoying the panoramas. The R-Spec ups the ante with an even sleeker package and a more comfortable ride; given the ridiculously small extra, why not go for it?
- Great styling
- Agile and rider-friendly
- R-Spec rear suspension
- Why even bother with the base model?
- Air box affects right knee position