Star Bolt: Japanese Iron

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It’s pretty easy to figure out what the purpose of this new Star Bolt is: conquest sales from the Harley Sportster Iron 883. The pared-down Bobber should be capable of doing that too, comprehensively trouncing the Hog in its spec sheet.

The Bolt is powered by a 950cc, air-cooled v-twin producing 58lb/ft of torque. That’s then housed in a steel double-cradle frame for an all-up weight of 540lbs.

While those specs may be relatively unimpressive in the wider world of motorcycling, they do make the Bolt’s specs superior to those of the Iron 883. 58.9cc more, three more pound-feet, 33 pounds less weight.

Perhaps more encouragingly, the swingarm pivot is actually higher than the rear axle. That means the rear suspension will behave like that of a real motorcycle, delivering something known as “safe, predictable handling.” There’a also reasonably large, 298mm wavy brake discs front and rear complete with what appear to be two-piston sliding calipers. These should actually be capable of bringing the Bolt to a halt. That’s nice when you don’t want to run into anything.

The two bikes are priced virtually identically. The Bolt will retail for $7,990, while the Hardly is $7,999.

In addition to that base bike, there’s also a Bolt R-Spec that adds remote reservoir shocks, a suede seat and black mirrors. It will retail for $8,290. The base bike is available in black or white, the R-Spec in green or gray.

GK did an excellent job styling the Bolt, not only are its lines and mechanical components clean, cohesive and evocative, but details like the LED brake light cluster bring a welcome touch of the 21st century to the otherwise throwback look. This is a good looking, competitively spec’d and priced bike that does just enough to set itself apart without alienating the hyper-conservative cruiser-buying audience. We’re looking forward to riding it next month.

  • sean macdonald

    I was playing on the site a bit and they actually already have a bunch of cool stuff you can add to customize it. The brass accent pieces are a really nice touch.

    • yipY

      Like does for SR500′s ,funny that.

      • sean macdonald

        lots of companies or mnfr’s come out with this stuff, yamaha is just the first one to launch it all with the launch of the bike (and actually offer cool stuff to add to your bike)

        • Scott Sweeney

          As long as I can still walk into my local Yammy dealer and the floor space isn’t 75% clothing and trinkets I’ll be ok with this.

  • Ricardo Gozinya

    That’s a surprisingly good looking bike. The beltguard and exhaust both stand out to my eye. Actually looks a lot better than HD’s recent offerings, which is surprising, but then, Harley hasn’t exactly been bringing their A-game the past few years. I think they peaked at about ’08 as far as looks go.

    • Tyler 250

      1908? I don’t think that’s fair. They had some well-done, original designs as late as the 1960s.

      • Ricardo Gozinya

        I suppose I could defend Harley, but your comment was too funny.

  • Slowtire

    The Sportser must be doing better than I thought if Yamaha is imitating it. Surprising.

    • Ricardo Gozinya

      Sportsters are Harley’s best selling bike, and a lot of companies have tried to compete with them. This is simply the latest attempt.

  • Speedo007

    Very cool looking bike at a great price (great base for a project bike too). Only thing I don’t like about it is the exhaust, much nicer on the Harleys.

    • the antagonist

      Yeah, but who keeps the stock exhaust anyway?

  • yipY

    Bratstyle stance and far better than half a hog on rye.It seems YaMoCo got their subframe from and welded it on:and that’s good.

    • Jesse

      Won’t lie, Bratstyle is exactly what I thought when I first saw it. That isnt a bad thing. Still, I think I’m still saving my pennies for a Scrambler.

  • Billy Bob

    another hipster ad featuring another hipster bike. lame.

    • yipY

      Like the Easyrider movie wasn’t a hipster ad for a bike! Haw-Haw.

    • Benjamin Watkins

      what does hipster mean to you? anyone under 40 who didn’t shave this morning? that’s a lot of people to be angry at.

      • yipY

        Yep,yup.If the Hells’ Angels hanging with rock stars,poets and acid heads in the sixties weren’t hipsters,then my name is Mary.A little hipster history lesson by me here right here right now.

    • metric

      So wearing clothes that fit and stopping to grab coffee, check out guitars and talk to woman is what you guys consider being a hipster? I guess I’m a hipster.

      Anyway, bike is gorgeous, if I compare the Bolt and Bonneville stock, I definitely prefer the bolt.

    • Shaun Groomes

      Trolls gonna troll

    • the antagonist

      You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

    • Justin Turner

      another anti-hipster comment from someone who just hates themselves. lame.

  • Paul Redican

    That commercial has all the essential ingredients they used in the 883 commercial
    Flannel shirt, open face helmet, thick framed glasses, red wings, visit to a custom shop to add authenticity by association. soft rock soundtrack, monochromatic palette and the lone wolf who likes the ladies but prefers the company of men.

    • Dennis Johnson

      Brilliant summary.

    • yipY

      To me it seems the Bolt profile and the advert comes from Bratstyle,and this YT: .I like the subtle Indian Larry reference of the hanging chain in the custom shop in the Bolt sales video.

  • DucMan

    I’m not a cruiser fan, I own a 1997 Ducati Monster 750, a Honda RC51, and a Suzuki V-Strom 650. Having said that, I REALLY like this bike. That R-spec with the green tank and the brass add-ons and optional seat looks fantastic!!! If I didn’t already have a Monster in the shed, this machine would interest me greatly. I think it’s a home run. The price, styling, performance, all tick THE right boxes in this post-recession, motorcycle sales slump era. This is a great machine to get the Millennial Generation off their butts and on a bike. Bravo, Star/Yamaha!!!

    • roma258

      Pretty much where I am. Except I probably wouldn’t buy it, but still think it’s a pretty solid effort, at least by the looks of it.

  • Stuki

    Cool looking bike! But, is it designed exclusively for people with their legs amputated? By the looks of it, the footpegs are pretty much attached to the seat….

    • yipY

      They were going to call it the “You-Sane?” Bolt,with a Jesse Rooke style fork with carbon fibre leaf springs.Recent issues using that name have shot to prominence.The mid pegs position caters to all or nothing leg lengths.

    • mugget man

      Cruiserguys must love their aftermarket highway ‘pegs the same as sportbike guys put on rearsets. Gotta let them modify something!

    • the antagonist

      Looking at the video, the peg position seems about perfect, IMO. More of a standard, sit up and beg, riding position. Should be pretty comfortable for most riders and offer more control than forward pegs.

      Of course, I’m sure there’ll be aftermarket forward controls and highway bars in no time, if that’s your thing.

  • motoguru.

    To me it’s a Yamaha’s attempt to build a better Sportster than HD makes. And they succeeded.

    I’m not even going to comment on the 3/4 helmet, flannel, and skinny jeans b.s.

    • Davidabl Blankenhorn

      Hipster=”3/4 helmet, flannel, and skinny jeans b.s.” You forgot the nautical tattoo, I believe. And the internet job.
      Prob with the bike is that it doesn’t sell for less than the 883.
      I’d also like to see a version available with a 2nd front disc–even if it doesn’t really NEED it.

  • Mark Desrosiers

    I always thought the Bonnie was the sportster for people who want an actual motorcycle.

    • Davidabl Blankenhorn

      That’s not a “Rising Sun” motorcycle, you mean…or a Ducati Monster, I suppose.

      • Mykola

        Maybe the W650/W800 then. Shame it didn’t sell well (here) in the states.

        • Davidabl Blankenhorn

          I would dearly like to have one, but used ones are $$ in CA.
          it’d make customizing one a dubious proposition I think.
          The first really impressive japanese bike i ever saw in my life was it’s ancestor the W-1

    • Brett Lewis

      Good point. Looking at the specs of all three I’d say the Bonnie is tops if only for the fact that it’s weight undercuts the Bolt as much as the Bolt undercuts the Sportster.

  • Mike Smith

    Lame and predictable. Does the “H” in HFL stand for Hater?

    • Campisi

      This write-up actually surprised me with its positivity. Even-handed, mild dislike isn’t the same thing as hate.

    • Wes Siler

      We’ll always hate on motorcycles that are bullshit. Why is it a foreign company can comprehensively trounce our only big manufacturer on something as simple as handling? America, wish we could give a fuck??

      • KeithB

        That’s a VERY good question Wes.

      • Jesse

        In a nutshell, the problem with the country that I love. :(

      • Neil Mentz

        Thank you. Finally an american motorcycle journalist judging a cruiser type bike on what it offers – instead of simply not being “american”. I would encourage anyone to invest in any yamaha product – might redefine your definition of QUALITY..

    • yipY

      Before ice and MDMA put a crack in the shallow end of the gene pool the intelligent and discerning amongst the human race did not have to endure the lame brain “hater”monicker.

    • orthorim

      It’s only hating if it’s not true.

    • HammerheadFistpunch

      Pssh, no, it stands for Hipster!

  • Sean Coker

    Hardly a Harley typo to be found. “The Bolt will retail for $7,990, while the Hardly is $7,999.”

    • sean macdonald

      slight chance it was intentional…

    • Scott Sweeney

      That was on purpose. Ever heard of Hardly Ableson?

  • DaveDawsonAlaska

    I like it, a lot! I had been thinking about an 883 Iron, except for all of the work it would take to fix the suspension to make it actually rideable, but now it looks like Yamaha/Star did that work for me.

  • Kevin

    Coincidence or not? The Harley US site is temporarily down.

  • nick

    Thoughts I’ve never uttered before: “I really wish this sucked more” and “Nice cruiser”. Good job, Yami.

  • Speedo007

    I wish Yamaha started building something like this.

    • sean macdonald

      they’re cooler when not everyone with 8k in their pocket can go get one

      • Speedo007

        Would still be customizable like any other mass produced bike :)

        • Davidabl Blankenhorn

          The belt cover would go away fo’sho.

    • Davidabl Blankenhorn

      Now THAT would appeal to BOTH skinny jeans AND baggy jeans contingents.
      They could call it a “Star MuscleCruiser” :-)
      Too bad the Virago probably wouldn’t pass (?) current EPA,CARB,DOT..

      • Speedo007

        Don’t think it would take much to make them passe regulations (except maybe for California)

    • yipY

      Don’t worrry,you’ll get over it.Cafe Viragos are just pure junk.Good for parking.

      • Speedo007

        Depends how they are built. These engines are great fun. There’s tons of junk projects out there. But some are very high quality builds, you cant say all cafe viragos are junk unless you rode them all :P

      • HammerheadFistpunch

        Oh really? Tell me more about this.

        • yipY

          Long flexy frame,c-grade forks and shock.Tame cams and carbs that suck.How big twin XV’s put out barely more torque and horsepower than a CX500 is bizarre.The old XV:the new Coke bike.

          • KeithB

            Having used the 750 and 1100 Virago, I’m not sure they are a great platform for a Cafe. I did build a nice “retro style” bike out of an XS650 though.
            In the end, it’s all about what the person who builds it wants and not about what we think.

  • JustJosh

    My friends and I always held the term “Star Bolt” in the same company as “Brown Star”, “Brown Flower”, “Brown Starfish”, etc.

  • mark kelley

    What does GK refer to?

    • yipY

      GK:A Californian Design mob.They designed the V-max,(as in the real one).

  • Ed Hunt

    The new trust-fund hipster blank canvas. Yammy SRs seem to be one of the preferred donor bikes around the world for new urban custom houses (at least based on my perusal of Pipeburn and BikeEXIF ). Looks like Yamaha took notice.

    • Mark Desrosiers

      You rode Honda automatics before Honda automatics were cool. You had a Honda Hawk before Honda Hawks were a cult icon bike.

  • socalutilityrider

    Where was his smile, why so serious!? Motorcycles are fun!

  • Mike McFadden

    I hope Yamaha drops one of them off to me when they deliver my Salt Shaker back next week. They have used a lot of design elements from my bike. They are even offering brass accessories like mine.
    Mike McFadden
    M&M Customs

  • Cheese302

    Anyone know when this will hit dealers, i would like to take a look in person.

  • yipY

    I’m amazed some manufacturer hasn’t come up with this idea before.

  • yipY

    “Does anybody else wish Yamaha would cash in on re-doing the XS650″ :No.