Since their debut 2 years ago, the Star Bolt and Bolt R-Spec models have hit the top of the sales chart for Yamaha’s cruiser brand. And with current sales at 141 percent of last year’s, it’s clear that there’s increasing demand for the air-cooled, 942cc 60-degree V-twin. The new 2015 Bolt C-Spec is certain to broaden further the platform’s appeal with café-inspired ergos and styling. The powertrain remains unchanged from that of the base and R-Spec models, as does the double-cradle frame, 3.2-gallon fuel tank, steel fenders, 12-spoke cast wheels, and wave-style brake rotors. The parts that lend the C-Spec its café racer look and feel begin with cast clip-on bars that position the hands a good 4 inches forward and a couple of inches lower. The footpegs have been shuffled 6 inches rearward and 1.25 inches higher, while a reshaped and more thickly padded saddle with a removable solo seat cowl completes the classic café rider triangle. While the Bolt’s familiar LCD instrument pod has been fittingly repositioned atop the triple clamp, it’s a shame that a rev counter hasn’t been integrated as part of the sport makeover.
The C-Spec doesn’t rely on looks alone as it rails the curves between home and coffee house. It has a sportier stance thanks to the 41mm KYB fork having 9mm-longer tubes sheathed in classic rubber boots, plus preload-adjustable piggyback KYB shocks that have been lengthened 6mm. Ride height has increased 1.6 inches for an improved 37 degrees of cornering lean (it’s 33 degrees for a standard Bolt), and Michelin Commander II tires have been selected for their sportier handling character. I spent a day aboard the C-Spec on a press ride and found that it offers the same perfect fueling and the same smooth, easy-to-manage power delivery that already endears the Bolt to entry-level and experienced riders alike. The seat is very comfortable and slim enough to negate the higher 30.1-inch h7 And it also allows crowding the tank if you wish, as the reach to the bars is reminiscent of an 80’s-era sport bike.
Handling is natural and very stable, supported by a ride that soaks up all but the harshest bumps. The single disc front brake provides enough power to howl the tire. And as with any good coffee grinder, mildly spirited cornering on this new Bolt C-Spec will grind the peg feelers (and more) in short order. If the original Bolt was accused of targeting the ubiquitous Harley-Davidson Sportster 883, then, by Star Motorcycle’s own admission, the new 2015 C-Spec takes direct aim at Triumph’s similarly themed Thruxton. Star, though, feels that it has the competition covered in price, performance, comfort, and convenience. I say this calls for a race to the café.