2014 Star Motorcycles Bolt Preview - Motorcycle.com
After a quiet 2012, Star Motorcycles is back with a vengeance. Last week the company launched the 2013 V Star 1300 Deluxe and this week it’s two all-new bobber models: the 2014 Bolt and Bolt R-Spec.
Powered by the V Star 950’s 57.5 cubic-inch (942cc) air-cooled 4-stroke, 60° V-Twin, both Bolt models enjoy a 3.6 cubic-inch (58.9cc) displacement advantage over the two 883 Sportster models from Harley. At 540 pounds wet the Bolts are also 33 pounds lighter than the Sportsters’ 573-pound curb weight. The new pretender even bests the 883 Iron by nine dollars boasting an MSRP of $7990 vs. the Iron’s $7999 price tag.
Of course the quick spec comparison begs a shootout, which we’ll arrange ASAP, but until that happens here’s what else we know about the new Bolt models.
Scheduled to arrive in dealerships in April the Bolt and Bolt R-Spec combine traditional styling attributes with modern componentry. Devoid of chrome the Bolts are the antithesis of the bygone look-at-me chopper craze. The fuel-injected Twin is rigidly mounted to a new double-cradle frame as a stressed member. Based on 2009 V Star 950 power claims, the Bolts should churn out in the neighborhood of 58.2 ft-lb of torque at 3500 rpm (rated at the crankshaft).
The Bolt’s seat height of 27.2 inches is common and close to the 26.9 inches claimed for the Iron 883. The Bolt does enjoy a ground clearance advantage (5.1 inches vs the Iron’s 3.9 inches), but the Bolt’s rear shocks only provide a minimalist 2.8 inches of travel (4.7 inches of travel from the telescopic fork).
Both Bolts are graced with single wave-type brake rotors (298mm) front and rear, and a central, handlebar-mounted digital speedo with a smoked lens. Color choices for the standard Bolt are Raven or Pearl White. The $300-more-expensive R-Spec features remote-reservoir shocks, a color-stitched suede-type seat and blacked-out mirrors, available in Matte Grey or Camo Green.
The Bolt’s spec sheet further reveals 61.8 inches between contact patches, a 5-speed transmission and a multiplate wet clutch. The 41mm fork tubes clamp between them a 100/90-19 front tire, while a left-side belt drive spins a 150/80-16 rear hoop. Exhaust gases from the SOHC, 4-valve Twin exit through a 2-into-1 pipe layout with distinctive heat shielding. An unfortunate reflection of the 883 Iron resides in the Bolt’s similarly small 3.2-gallon fuel capacity.
With its stock bars and mid-mount footpegs, the Bolt’s seating position is very neutral and should provide good bike control when in motion. A rider’s left leg is brushing the rear cylinder, which may prove to be a little uncomfortable when outside temperatures peak in the summertime. The accessory tall bars pull your arms forward and up in a Victory High-Ball sort of fashion.
On display at the press function inside the SmogShoppe in the Art District of Los Angeles was a couple accessorized Bolts modeling add-on components from the forthcoming Star Accessories Catalog. Both Bolts come stock with only a rider seat, but a passenger kit with seat, backrest and footpegs will be available, as will leather saddlebags, wire wheels, tall handlebars and brass highlighted footpegs, handgrips and air-cleaner cover.
There’s also a nice springer seat that will be available, but we noticed a cost-saving plastic cover Star used to disguise the empty space below the springer seat that is otherwise covered by the stock seat.
Star will soon be hosting a press ride on the new Bolt models, and we’re excited to swing a leg over these new motorcycles. First impressions from the Bolt’s look, spec sheet and price are favorable for a sales success. A first ride will add more knowledge of the bike’s performance, while a head-to-head with Harley’s Sportster and maybe Honda’s Shadow RS will confirm the Bolt’s whereabouts in the “performance bobber” pecking order. Stay tuned.
More by Tom Roderick