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Basem Wasef

2014 Star Motorcycles Bolt R-Spec: Japanese Answer to Harley's Sportster?

By March 12, 2013

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2014 Star Motorcycles Bolt R-Spec

They call them "modern interpretations of old school bobbers" and the just-unveiled 2014 Star Motorcycles Bolt and Bolt R-Spec certainly play the part, with their pared down construction and air-cooled 58 cubic inch (950cc) v-twin. But are these two new bikes simply performance bobbers as Star might have you believe, or a Japanese answer to Harley-Davidson's Sportster (which starts at $7,999 for an Iron 883 model)?

2013 Harley-Davidson Breakout

The new 2014 Star Motorcycles Bolt starts (not so coincidentally) at $7,990 in base form, while the R-Spec version upgrades the rear suspension to a remote reservoir unit for $8,290. A healthy 3.2 gallon fuel tank promises around 150 miles of range, while a five-speed gearbox and a final belt drive round out this back-to-basics bike.

It's hard to say how much Star's Bolt really has in common with entry level Hogs, but I certainly hope I get to swing a leg over some time soon and share my thoughts with a review.


Photos Star Motorcycles; click to enlarge

March 12, 2013 at 7:09 am
(1) Joe says:

WOW, Star is a copycat. Guess you can say that imitation is the best form of flattery. I don’t think they will steal a lot of HD customers with the price about the same as a Sporty. If they could have gotten the price down $1000 to $1500 I think this would have been a winner.

March 12, 2013 at 9:12 am
(2) dabber says:

Yeah, Star had their sights set at the Sportster! I can see this could be a good alternative with a little newer technology.

March 12, 2013 at 1:42 pm
(3) Scottie says:

As a current and happy Star owner (Stratoliner), I would chose this bike over the Sporster if I wanted a smaller bike.

Sure, it’s a copycat, but then the Road Star is pretty much a copycat of a Softail, but with a bigger engine and better stock pipes that actually sound good.

March 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm
(4) Jim says:

Guess creativity is nonexistent at Yamaha anymore. I can see the design guys there now, yeah we can’t beat Harley so we will just have to copy what they make. Sad!

March 12, 2013 at 4:44 pm
(5) Scottie says:


They actually tried something different with the Roadliner/Stratoliner, but it didn’t sell well due to a combination of the deco styling and recession and have reverted to more typical styling.

March 13, 2013 at 8:23 am
(6) Dakota Slim says:

I want one. First Yamaha I ever drove was a Big Bear. Now it’s time for another Basic bike.

March 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm
(7) fenross2 says:

Jim, whats really sad is the 2.3 Billion bailout the US taxpayers gave Harley in 2008-2009. I guess their fabulous creativity wasn’t selling back then.

March 13, 2013 at 2:51 pm
(8) LTR4ever says:

Yamaha must be getting desperate, got to copy HD now. Guess the crotch rockets any selling to well.

March 13, 2013 at 3:55 pm
(9) Honda Freak says:

It’s a nice copy of the Sportster. I like it and it will probably out perform the HD.

On the other hand, HD is doing it’s own copying of the Jap bikes. Look at the new 2013 Harley Davidson Breakout. It looks just like a Yamaha Raider to me.

March 14, 2013 at 11:57 am
(10) Rider says:

They all copy each other except the Goldwing. I look at it this way ride what you want to. Get what you can afford. I have a Yamaha Royal Venture and LOVE IT. TOURING YES. I have had a old Sears Bike, A BSA, A couple of Honda`s–
refuse to Pay the price for a Goldwing. Had a old H.D. Sportster, and a Kawaski.. Also I refuse to Buy a $35.00, H.D. T-Shirt.

March 14, 2013 at 2:33 pm
(11) Justin says:

Scottie, I have to disagree on one point, the stock pipes on the Road Star are worthless. I don’t know anyone that didn’t replace them after the first day of riding. Out of the box the bike sounds like a kitten riding a lawnmower, disappointing sound from such a large and capable engine.

March 22, 2013 at 8:14 pm
(12) Steve says:

Just sold my 2005 Dyna Super Glide….think I might try one of these…hopefully a test ride will show it will ride smoother….I’ve had at least 1 of everything over the years….I just like the sound of Harleys with “Screamin Eagle” pipes. This would suit my life style now ,with short trips, and good handling with 950cc power. Basic in Black.

March 30, 2013 at 8:32 am
(13) Scottie says:


Just circling back. Until you add another $1,200 to any an H-D to get new pipes and controller, you get get the same,

Personally, I think Yamaha did well with the Stratoliner/ Roadliner exhaust.

March 31, 2013 at 1:11 am
(14) Rec says:

This new Star Bolt is looking REALLY sharp!!
The same price a the 883 Sporty, but is SO much better in everyway!
Not sure how it will stand up to the 1200 Sportster, but for the money saved, this new Star is what some people have been waiting for.

April 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm
(15) Soapberryusa says:

It is still Nippon trash no matter how much of a clone it is to the Sportster. The Japs will not be happy until they fly a kamikaze plane into the headquarters of Harley Davidson.

April 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm
(16) New Rider says:

I have been looking at the HD Forty-eight. I will be going with the Bolt. Will same me about 3K. Some Pros and Cons for both bikes but more bang for the buck with the Bolt.

May 6, 2013 at 10:03 am
(17) Robert says:

The Bolt is a good looker and if it was priced 1k or 1.5k cheaper I could see it selling good but who really is going to pay the same price for a wannabe, if it is a sportster you want then there is no benefit to drop down and buy a bolt, they will not hold resale value as well as the original and when it comes to customization Harley rules the day.

May 18, 2013 at 8:59 pm
(18) Trent says:

To a Harley fan boy, anything with a V-Twin and two wheels is a “copy” of a Harley.

The Bolt is what the Sportster would have evolved to if Harley had an engineering dept as large as their marketing dept.

August 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm
(19) RICK says:

Hey soap,
Iwas just wondering what kind of car you drive? Also if you are
such a follower that you will spend at least twice the money
for a for a second rate piece of equipment. You kind of remind
me of these yahoos that think I need to spend a suitcase
full of money to buy a Gibson guitar for the sound! Each to
his own. I have owned many Harleys and finally got wise to
the fact that I didnt own the best motorcycle that my money
could buy. Its that name game that so many people have to

August 7, 2013 at 7:40 pm
(20) James says:

I own a Victory Hammer S, and I love my bike.. I have no issue with Harley’s, but I wanted the closest to 100% American made.. So I went with the victory… That said, I saw a bolt up close today and that is a sexy ass bike.. I’m thinking about getting one for my wife… It’s a beautiful machine.. I’m sure it’ll break down less than a sportster, and it will cost a great deal less to fix also I’m sure..

August 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm
(21) Joe says:

C’mon guys… this Bolt is a better overall bike than HD’s version… and in more ways than one.

August 16, 2013 at 11:39 am
(22) wolfman.mc says:

Asia has been copying HD for decades. Their bikes, logos, etc. They bashed V-twin engines for years and now put them in everything. Then the people that bash HD and copy HD compare their knock-offs to HD everytime. If HD is so ad, why is the standard that that HD bashers and copiers compare to. I swear if I hear one more yuppy say I got the same bike as an HD but for a lot less, it looks and sound almost like an HD. WTF. You ever seen one HD owner compare their bike to trash and say my Harley looks & sounds almost like a Yamaha-Honda-Suzuki-etc.? If you want a HD then buy one and quit bashing Harleys and buying a cheapass knock-off saying how smart you are and how much money you saved. You’re obviously ashamed of it or you wouldn’t compare it to an HD. My 4 Harleys are worth what I paid for them still. Hell My 78′ Shovelhead is worth more now than in 1978. The minute you buy a metric, you’ve lost 1/4 the value when you left the lot. Get whatever makes you happy, but for Christ sakes, quit comparing tin technology to an American ICON.

September 6, 2013 at 7:38 pm
(23) 113 says:

Why does every body seem to forget that Indian was the actual first American motorcycle company not harley if Indian had the marketing of harley they’d be the ones were talking about. They all copy each other harley tried to copy the star raider with the rocker c. So who cares. Buy the bike that fits u or u won’t be happy with it. Harley does make a decent product and there fit and finish is top notch. They are just to high in price for the performance u get.

September 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm
(24) captain crabby says:

Ok, enough already. The Rocker didn’t copy the Raider, but they DID copy the Kawi Drifter, which was a copy of the Indian Chief. Sick of “they’re copying HD!” First hidden shock & hardtail look rear was the original Virago. In fact, Yamaha pioneered the single shock suspension with their dirt bikes, years before the Softail. Drifter came 1st, yet HD claims innovation in their cantilevered seat & a fender that moves with the wheel. Gee, that was nearly a decade AFTER the Difter, although HD did have that fold out excuse for a pillion. Seems like if it has a v twin, it’s copying HD. Hmmm, that’s funny, INDIAN had the 1st v twin, not HD. So, WHO’S COPYING WHO???

October 16, 2013 at 4:51 pm
(25) swoopdave says:

Ive road tested one and like it so much I am selling all my bikes to buy a new one. Its the bike I have been waiting for japan to build its perfect for me with short legs. Things I didn’t like were the gas cap was a bit awkward to get back on the speedo could of been easier to reed and done more i.e show the mpg etc and tucking my knees in at speed was a bit uncomfortable for me especially the right side but we don’t live in a perfect world. I have already planned some changes to it which is what I think it was designed for “customising”

January 11, 2014 at 3:16 pm
(26) bonefish bobby says:

hd guys will continue to drink the coolade and pay for unproductive noise

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