The Bolt Hits the Hard Rock

The 2013/2014 Star Motorcycles Model (BOLT/BOLT R-Spec)

Tech Session Review/Locale Photos by Randy Twells

IMG_1172bSan Diego California’s Hard Rock Hotel was the base location for the Media Presentation & Test Ride Event showcasing Star Motorcycles’ new Bolt, a brand new entry in the motorcycle market aimed right at the younger dynamic rider who wants a newer, fresher image, a dependable product, in a nimble yet powerful bike that has real attitude and a great feel for both rider and the road.

The Hard Rock is synonymous with youth and today’s mobile social media culture inspired by all that’s come before, ultra modern yet with memorabilia from rock legends on display everywhere; this was a perfect place to set the stage for the Bolt’s introduction.

So we started out with a reception / meet & greet at the Hard Rock in the Satisfaction meeting room with the Star Motorcycles team who got to put their designs into reality– eight Bolt designers, engineers & product team members flown in just for this event to meet with us and show us Star’s newest entry in the younger motorcyclist market.

To start with, the team wanted to look at what gets the current young motorcycle enthusiast’s attention and fits their lifestyle. So they did many focus groups and found that people want what is modern & fresh, allows for individual expression, incorporates industrial and artistic features, and is also personal to them.

IMG_1154bpIn many competitive bike building shows and world competitions, young creative artistic builders often use a metric platform and specifically Yamaha, to come up with some of the most innovative unique creations which win top honors & awards. Recognizing this has led Star Motorcycles to bring this creativity to bear right from the start to create a bike that will appeal across a broad spectrum of the newer upcoming rider demographic, giving them the best of great technology for a hassle-free dependable experience that blends seamlessly into their daily life, a great local or day’s ride, nimble in urban traffic, can stretch out on the highway, and fulfill their fun side too.

The Bolt looks to fill this role and even the name “Bolt” speaks to the industrial-as-artistic aspect it reflects.

We then went to dinner at a great local downtown restaurant a short walk away through the vibrant downtown San Diego evening, where we got to relax and chat with our fellow media colleagues and the engineers & designers who love what they do, getting to execute their vision. We all prepared for the next day which would allow riding the Bolt around various routes in the San Diego area and put it to the test as it’s designed to be ridden, in the dynamic urban and local/regional lifestyle of today’s rider.

Quick Throttle’s writer & youth culture guru Heath Cofran took the handlebars for this awesome day of riding, some shots of which I got to capture at great San Diego locales, along with pro photog’s Brian Nelson and Tom Riles.


Heath “The Chief”, Photos by Randy Twells

IMG_1192bWe have so many choices for motorcycles these days. There are new styles, new bikes being built and designed every day. Companies are looking for new ways to stoke guys and girls out. If we look at a lot of the new trends in motorcycles we really are seeing a step back to the basics of motorcycles. You see the builds coming out that really are simple, raw and clean.

Another trend and focus that we see now and hasn’t changed in a long time is, no one wants to have the same looking bike as the next guy. No one wants to have a twinzie. What that in mind, Star Motorcycles has come up with a new bike that they call the “BOLT”. The focus is, less is more. Old School. New Thinking. Minimalist style. Modern Performance. Back to basics. Forward technology. They have 2 models for 2013 / 2014. The basic BOLT and the BOLT R-Spec.

Star invited us down to San Diego to show and tell us more about the bike and let us ride them around the town to get a feel for their new creation.

After having a sit down breakfast with the rest of the riders / test pilots, Star gave us a tablet map with about 17 locations to ride to. The cool thing about this is that we didn’t HAVE to go to all these places, but you did have to stop at 4 of the locations on the map. 3 were photo spots and one was lunch.

We got to pick whatever bike we wanted to ride and I was eyeballing the Matte Grey BOLT R-Spec. This bike is driven by a fuel-injected, 58-cubic-inch (950cc), aircooled, 60 degree V-Twin engine. 4 valves and a 2-into-1 exhaust. It really was a quick bike, right out of the box.

Pulling out onto the streets of a gloomy, cold and windy San Diego, I was hoping to run into Ron Burgundy to hit the road together looking for chicks and pool parties to cannon ball together. Well, that didn’t happen, so I just wanted to ride to the places I had stop at and then just get out and hammer it down on this baby.

I have to say I was quite impressed with this bike. The suspension set up was pretty good. I like a more stiff front end, and the Bolt R-Spec has twin KYB shocks with 2.8” wheel travel (Pre-load adjust) with an anodized remote reservoir. It’s a goodlooking shock for this bike. The front end is comes with a KYB 41mm forks with 4.7” of travel. The handling of the bike was pretty nimble and really good in the turns. The bike side pegs didn’t scrape as easy it usually is on the Harley’s I test ride. And with a ground clearance of a little over 5” its at a good height were you can get some good lean in those canyon turns and have some fun without scraping up your pegs/boots. The seat is 27.2” off the ground. It also has a good natural riding position. You don’t lean too forward.

IMG_1199bAlthough when I got it up to a pretty good speed (and I won’t say how fast that was for any police officers reading this), you’ll always get that CHEST SAIL vibe from this bike. But, hey, it’s a cruiser, if you want to go 110 on a track get a race bike. Oh, speaking of riding this bike comfort wise, the only thing I didn’t like was the air intake on the right side of the bike, it’s in a bad spot. My right knee kept smacking the damn thing. When we had our dinner at the end of the day I spoke with the guys from Star and they said they knew and that they did everything they could to keep it out of the way. Let’s hope they fix that one down the line.

The styling of this BOLT of course everyone compares and will compare to a sporty. And yes its obvious they are going after that market with this bike. They are very close in look / style. The Bolt has come up with some looks and feels that are much different. I think the one thing I like the most on this bike is that THERE IS NO CHROME! Can you believe that? No chrome on a bike? Yea I know, most of you are pissed. “What no chrome!? It’s not a motorcycle!” HAHA. Well, to me that chrome is a bitch to clean all the time. So for this bike not to have chrome, I’m good with it. Star is calling the BOLT R-Spec the “URBAN PERFORMANCE BOBBER”. I definitely agree. They are making this bike Easy to buy, easy to ride. The look is simple, pure back to basics. The exhaust wraps around the engine and looks like a canon or some kind of a military weapon shooting out the back. Of course it’s quiet as a church mouse, but we can always fix that can’t we? It’s a sleek well rounded classic look. The casted black aluminum mag wheels look pretty sweet on this bike. (19” front / 16” back). Speaking of wheels, you have to check out the front and rear rotors. They are really cool looking. It almost looks like a sprocket and a ninja star had a baby. You know, the stock mirrors always look like Mickey Mouse ears to me, and on both of my bikes I ride everyday I always take them off. The mirrors on this bike were actually pretty cool. They were not too bad and didn’t stick up like a CB antenna. Star also has a pretty large line of “Build-Your-Own” parts you can get for this bike. (Rigid Mount Leather Saddlebags, a Quick-Release Windshield, Passenger Seat Kit, and Passenger Backrest, Bobber Solo Seat, Speedo Visor, Custom Bars, Custom Grips, Fender Eliminator Kit) There are tons more of pieces to choose from on the companies website. (

In rounding this all up, I like this bike and what Star is going after. And the price on this base model bike is $7,990.00. The bike I rode which was the R-Spec comes in at just $300 more. $8,290.00 This is a really good starter bike for someone looking to get on a bike that has good power and is super easy to ride. I know it’s not the traditional HARLEY, but really I like this bike way better than the stock sportster 883. To me, this is a cooler more updated version. And really, I’m not the typical Harley guy. I love riding and this bike is more comfortable and fitting for me. No chrome is awesome on this bike! I’m into the simple, powerful, tough vibe this bike has to offer and as Star says “LESS IS MORE”, and on this bike and feel they did a pretty damn good job on it. And yes this bike does a pretty awesome burn out.

Ride long, ride strong and keep the shiny (or blacked out) side up.




Engine Configuration: V-Twin, 4-stroke, SOHC

Engine Displacement / Cyl. Angle: 942cc / 60°

Engine Cooling System: Air cooled

Compression Ratio: 9.0:1

Valves Per Cylinder: 4

  • Int. Valves Per Cylinder: 2
  • Exh. Valves Per Cylinder: 2

Max. Torque @ crankshaft: 58.2 @ 3,500 rpm

Bore x Stroke: 85 x 83 mm

Valve Train Type: Roller rocker arm /Tappet adjust / Cam chain

Valve Angle (intake / exhaust): 20° / 20°

Valve Lift (intake / exhaust): 7.5 / 7.0mm

Valve Adjustment Interval: Check every 4,000 miles

Intake Valve Diameter: 31.5 mm

Exhaust Valve Diameter: 28.0 mm

Intake Valve Stem Diameter: 6.0 mm

Exhaust Valve Stem Diameter: 6.0 mm

Intake Valve Timing:

  • Open BTDC 26°
  • Close ABDC 46°
  • Duration 252°

Exhaust Valve Timing:

  • Open BBDC 56°
  • Close ATDC 16°
  • Duration 252°
  • Overlap 42°

Event Angle: (Lobe Center) IN 100° / EX 110°

Fuel Delivery System: Mikuni EFI w/ TPS

Throttle Valve Size: 35mm x 2

Air Filter Type: Oil-coated paper element

Exhaust System: Type 2 > 1 w/ 02 sensor & 1 catalyzer

Ignition System: Digital TCI w/ 32 bit ECU

Lubrication System: Wet Sump

Oil Capacity:

  • Oil change: 3.7L ( 3.9 qt )
  • With filter change: 4.0L ( 4.25 qt )
  • Total: 4.3L ( 4.55 qt )

Fuel Recommended: Unleaded Regular / 86 or higher octane

Fuel Capacity: (Reserve) 3.2 gal ( .74 gal )

Transmission Type: 5-speed

Clutch Type:

  • Wet multiplate-disc
  • Actuation System Cable / Pinion gear
  • Spring Type Diaphragm
  • Number of Springs 1

Number of Clutch Plates: 17

  • Drive Plates 9
  • Driven Plates 8

About Randy Twells