Borrowing the essential elements that established the V-twin cruiser genre a half-century ago, Yamaha’s Bolt has a twin-downtube steel frame, bobbed fenders, wire-spoke wheels, a conventional fork, twin shocks, and classic styling touches like a clean “floating” headlight and a pod taillight. One stylistic deviation from the old days, though, is plenty of blackout finishes in lieu of chrome; these include the rims, fork legs, handlebar, and 2-into-1 exhaust.
With a reasonable price point in its favor, the Bolt is a do-it-all machine that’s capable of commuting, highway travel, or just cruising around. And doing so worry-free is one of the Bolt’s objectives. Low-maintenance tech include forged aluminum pistons, electronic fuel injection and ignition for the 942cc air-cooled 60-degree V-twin, plus a quiet, clean, and durable belt final drive. For a $400 bump in MSRP, the Bolt R-Spec adds black cast aluminum wheels, special paint and graphics, performance-oriented shocks with piggyback reservoirs (for more consistent damping during hard use), and a dash of chrome. Special EFI and ignition mapping raises Bolt R-Spec performance.
Likes: Torquey engine, performance-themed Bolt R-Spec model
Dislikes: Minimal 2.8-inch rear-wheel travel impairs ride comfort
Verdict: A back-to-basics V-twin cruiser