Yamaha XV950 Bolt – factory bobber with good character and looks

Why is the bobber the same and also the factory one?

Bobber is a style that may have become the ancestor of customizing. And it was from him that later choppers and other offshoots grew. This is a motorcycle primarily prepared for slugging and racing on sandy beaches. That is, a purely applied and rideable vehicle. Do not forget that bobbers flourished in the 40-50s of the last century, when the resource of components was limited by serial motorcycle parts. So the guys began to make “for themselves” and repair themselves from what was, or what they found, invented, improved … …


Modern cruisers have begun to move away from the old predetermined beginnings. Now every bike in the style of a cruiser differs from analogues of other companies, and not only in appearance. If 15 years ago all Japanese factory cruisers were similar to the degree of incest and only a very advanced fan could distinguish the Honda Shadow from the Yamaha Drag Star, now the situation is changing literally before our eyes. The first of the galaxy was the Honda Fury, it was positioned as the first “factory custom”.

The statement was not unfounded, the motorcycle really looked like works of a custom studio and looked “not very factory”, but the most orthodox of all motorcyclists – chopperists – did not receive it very warmly. The device turned out to be too “plastic”, both literally and figuratively. All other manufacturers followed the path of factory customization. Even “Himself,” the great and terrible H.-D. released last year a long & low style device – Breakout.

However, everything is changing, the world, people, views and so on. The changes also apply to motorcycles. The fashion for bobbers – motorcycles, from which everything that does not affect speed is cut off, began to rise from the dust of years not so long ago, but is still gaining popularity. This is exactly what the guys from the “three tuning forks” decided to play and released their “factory bobber” – XV950. In Russia, he bears only this modest index, but in the rest of the world, the mocik also has his own name – Bolt


Why all these salting? Well, like a preface! If you’re interested, read on.

Yamaha bolt – not a new development of the company. In the States, the model has been on sale for a couple of years and has only now reached official dealers in Russia. The Yamakhovites did not “reinvent” the model from scratch, but took the power unit from the XVS950 as a basis and “burned down” the bobber.

The motorcycle turned out to be very cool with its own style. A single deep bucket seat, a chopped tank, a moderately narrow steering wheel, a small drop-shaped headlight, minimalistic fenders, by the way, made of metal, not plastic and, of course, a minimum of chrome. And he has been fed up a little lately.


The “bank” of the dashboard, bolted to the central part of the steering wheel, looks gorgeous. The glass behind which the LCD is hiding is heavily tinted, so that even at dusk, large numbers of speed readings are difficult to read. A small minus, in my opinion. Like, real cool guys don’t need a speedometer. The taillight is made in the same “can” style. And the old-school body hides the LED marker and brake light.

That there was no chrome at all – no. It is present on the black version of the motorcycle in very restrained quantities – fork feathers, headlamp and stopar bezel, and rear shock absorbers. The rest is either black enamel or matt gray. All this, firstly, looks very strict, and secondly, it kind of pushes the owner to the tuning catalog and other less civilized ways of customizing the motorcycle.


By the way, the model was initially “sharpened” for the fact that it can be tuned in a lot and varied ways. even the factory tuning catalog is very rich for this bobber. And it has such things that the owners of other “Japanese” can only dream of. Brass parts look especially cool and old-school – lighting bezels, air filter cover, handles, footrests…. In them, the motorcycle begins to glow with something steampunk. The special chic of the catalog is the spoke wheels. Only H.-D. can boast of such tuning in the corporate catalog. In the States, where the model has been on sale for several years, the aftermarket component of the tuning industry has also widely spread its networks. The studios are ready to offer anything for Bolt, from parallelogram forks to air suspensions. But that’s a completely different story.

Now about driving. The bike is more intended for city driving. At a low speed, the rider feels quite comfortable behind the wheel without a windshield (although there are two options even in the list of branded options). The deep bucket saddle is quite comfortable on short trips, but on a long journey it is its “bucket shape” that will not play a very positive role. It is almost impossible to move around the seat – you sit like a glove. Well, for the “fifth point” it is not quite convenient. It turns out that “merging with a motorcycle into one whole” is a great help in dense city traffic, where you have to maneuver a lot and accurately, but, in a sense, a disservice on a long journey.

The rest of the bike shows itself to be a good traveler. The main thing is not to try to ride it in the “all the money” mode. Nevertheless, he, like any chopperoids, is designed for leisurely movement in space.


The engine, as noted above, has been known for quite a long time from the XVS1300 model, has a “pipe” air cooling and a single crankshaft journal for the two connecting rods. Parasitic vibrations are eliminated by two balance shafts, so that the pilot gets only the low frequency pleasant vibrations of a “true V-twin”. It should be noted that the Japanese have only recently begun to pay due attention to “programmed” vibrations. Previously, the engines of cruisers from the Land of the Rising Sun were distinguished by silence and evenness of work (everything should be perfect for the Japanese). And only recently have they thought about why the trendsetters – H.-D. – pay so much attention to the “tuning” of shaking and why “harley” is called “real and iron”, and the Japanese copies – plastic and characterless. Now the situation has changed.

The engine is really good. Is that the draconian environmental standards are forced to choke motors more and more. Does this inevitably affect the response to gas? and power characteristics of engines. The almost “liter” power unit drives more boring than it could.

On the other hand, this docility and gentleness of character will be very useful to those who are just getting behind the wheel of a motorcycle. It seems to be a large and iron horse with a large motor, and even a beginner can handle it. At the same time, he will not disappoint the more experienced rider. Another undoubted advantage of the “bolt” is its low seat height and compact size, with an “adult” motor. He will surely please the beautiful half of mankind driving. After all, how often young ladies choose small, and, consequently, low-power devices only because the majority of “adult” motorcycles, coupled with normal power, have a completely unfeminine saddle height and, in general, the geometry of landing. The bolt does not have such a problem. However, it would be fair to answer that for especially large “uncles” for exactly the same reason, the motorcycle may turn out to be a little “small”.


Apparently the era of “typical Japanese choppers”, similar to each other as geta – Japanese wooden sandals, is coming to an end or even has already ended. More cars, different styles, characters and sizes, because no one doubts that Yamaha can make high-quality filling. Unless they have not yet figured out what to do with the cruiser footpegs, which so early begin to rattle against the asphalt in corners … But everything can be and they will take care of these “little things”.

Here is such a “bolt”. Not a bad car, both externally and internally … …

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