The Yamaha Bolt C-Spec is the Japanese company's take on the Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster, and it immediately found a similar market worldwide among younger riders. For the end of 2015 or in the first quarter of 2016, Yamaha is likely to introduce the 2016 Yamaha Bolt C-Spec (the 'C' stands for 'Cafe') on the Thai market, the Yamaha Bolt C-Spec comes complete with clip-ons and rear-sets. It sounds daft but works so well I suspect we'll soon see Harley introducing something similar.
The 2016 Yamaha Bolt C-Spec comes with a new fuel tank graphics, Bolt R-Spec piggyback shocks as standard, fork gaiters and a cool rear solo seat cowl. Although the cowl is removable, there are no pillion pegs so she or he will have to buy their own motorcycle. Relative to the low seat, the clip-ons are set high and wide, with the reach more akin to a sportstourer than a sportsbike. On could say much the same about the placement of the footpegs; if you the bike you instinctively look for them further back, the gentler knee bend of the Cafe Racer style is comfortable.
The Yamaha Bolt C-Spec is more comfortable than it looks and much better suited for touring speeds than its cruiser-spec sibling, aided by a bug high-mounted headlight which provides some wind protection. Yet there's enough leverage and control in the handlebars for city traffic to work too. The engine is an air-cooled 942cc 60º V-twin, SOHC with four-valves per cylinder and fuel injection. Maximum power is a modest 52 horsepower, but it makes a mountain of torque from low revs and is spritely enough, especially around town. Gearing feels fairly short, although it's hard to know without a tacho which wasn't otherwise missed. Out and about, it's a lot like riding an old English twin; whack it into top gear at the end of the driveway and leave it there until you stop for fuel. Engine braking is intuitive and it was rare that I had much call for brakes outside of town.
The Yamaha Bolt C-Spec is equipped with soulful engine for sure, as you'd expect from its specifications, very smooth and would sound even better with a sportier exhaust system.
Engine performance is well-matched to the chassis, brakes and suspension. The Yamaha Bolt Cafe Spec is a weighty beast at 251 kilograms wet, with a lengthy wheelbase of 1570mm, so stability is its strong suit. Suspension performance is pretty good for the most part; bumps will have it moving about if the pace is too hot, although that long lazy wheelbase tends to keep everything on track. Steering is slow but sweet with a skinny 19-inch tire up front, and the riding position encourages the rider to have a go on twisty roads, albeit at speeds well below sportsbike pace. It gives the impression of going faster than actually going, in a good way, a feeling riders of older motorcycles know well.
Similarly, it was happiest at speeds around 100 to 120 km/h out on the open road; the suspension works well and the engine is primed for overtaking grunt. Brakes are not overly powerful which perfectly suits its urban profile, but still way better than most of the classic bike brakes. The riding position is perfect, just the right amount of wind offsetting the forward lean, and it always feels and looks cool. I even dug up an open-face helmet and an leather motorcycle jacket to complete the whole feeling.
The Yamaha Bolt C-Spec presents as an upmarket version of the Bolt, and to my eye looks less spindly and more purposeful, as different in appearance as it is to ride. It garnered a lot of interest during the test ride, including from older riders attracted to its minimalist old-school form, gentle power delivery and the absence of forward controls and high handlebars.Tag: YamahaBoltC-SpecCafeV-twinCruiser1000cc2016