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Yamaha Bolt revealed

Now, where’s the nut?

LAST summer we revealed that Yamaha was planning a new model called the ‘Bolt’  - we had no idea what sort of bike it would be, and wondered if it might even be some sort of then-topical tie-in with Olympic star Usain Bolt.

It turns out that the Bolt is actually a new 2014-model cruiser aimed at the American market and released today, coinciding with America’s biggest biking festival; Daytona Bike Week.

So, what’s a Bolt? It’s based on the XVS950A, but where that’s a predictable, chrome’n’tassles Japanese wannabe Harley, the Bolt is rather more interesting. Sure, the toned-down bobber route has also been well trodden by H-D before, but there’s something quite appealing about the Bolt’s stripped-back style and its mix of matt black and brushed alloy. 

Let’s not even talk performance here, that’s not what it’s about. This is for posing. It’s notably free of ‘Yamaha’ badges or tuning forks (the only logos are a subtle ‘Bolt’ stencil on the tank and a rather nasty gothic ‘Star’ script on the air cleaner – in the USA, Yamaha’s cruisers are sold under the Star sub-brand) and all the better for it. Unlike many Japanese cruisers, which copy the H-D shape but fall short on the detailing, the Bolt has plenty of neat touches, from the LED tail lights to the chrome-rimmed digital instruments (which look strangely steam-punk when allied to an optional brass-coloured hood).

There’s even an “R-Spec” version available for an extra $300, with the ‘Bolt’ badge moved to the back of the tank, a different seat material and higher-spec remote-reservoir rear shocks. In the States, prices start at $7990 for the base model and rise to $8290 for the R-Spec, with sales starting next month. At the moment, there’s no sign of the bike coming to Europe, but that could all change by the time we get to see Yamaha’s European 2014 models later this year.