The Yahama XV950 Bolt was recently launched in Malaysia, and our friend Alex Wong had a go at one. Mind you, he did not merely ride the bike here in Malaysia, but in Dubai! So, interested to find out more about Yamaha’s latest bruiser? Read on.
At first glance, Alex noted that the bike looks very similar to a Harley-Davidson Sportster, with a lighter weight. That should translate into a more manageable ride around town, tight corners and car parks. As Alex got onto the Yamaha Bolt, he mentioned that the bike felt light, while the relationship between head, arms, shoulders with the handlebar and pedals was perfect.
On his first ride of the Yamaha Bolt, Alex commented, “The new bike felt good and was very easy to ride. In fact, it was as if I’d been riding the bike for quite a long period of time; the new Yamaha was just that easy to get used to.”
Roads in Dubai are very different from the roads here, as Alex found out. Malaysian riders are used to bumps and potholes on local roads, but over at Dubai, the only bumps that Alex encountered were in shopping centres, the ones used to slow cars down. Alex travelled over 500 km of smooth roads on the new Yamaha, which barely explored the suspension’s capabilities.
“Gearing on the Yamaha Bolt is nicely spaced, with a generous amount of torque readily available. The rider does not need to downshift in order to speed up or overtake other vehicles.” Despite that, Alex wished that the Bolt had a nicer sound, as the bike was so quiet.
In terms of power, the Yamaha Bolt is disappointing. Despite being a 942 cc bike, this bike feels more like a 750 cc bike. Alex said that the bike should have felt faster than what it was, but says that the cause could be due to the tall gearing. Perhaps Yamaha wanted the bikes to be more manageable and not too responsive on the throttle.
The ride around Dubai covered highways and hilly roads, which Alex described the handling of the Yamaha Bolt being very good. Brakes on the other hand, was just adequate and don’t bite as hard as sports bike, said Alex. The fastest Alex managed on the Yamaha Bolt was roughly 165 km/h.
Elsewhere, Alex has mentioned that the clutch on the Yamaha Bolt is very light and easy. Drivetrain noises are almost non-existent. Vibrations are present, and builds up from 115 km/h – 120 km/h. At a constant speed over a distance of 60 km, the vibrations on the grips did get on Alex’s nerves. Lights were not tested as he did not ride the bike at night, but Alex expects the lights to offer a good spread of light.
What would Alex do if he gets the Yamaha Bolt? Well, he said that he would change the exhaust, sprockets and mess around with the gearing. Yamaha also offers an extensive range of accessories for the Yamaha Bolt, which is good news if owners love to customize their bikes.
Lastly, the Yamaha Bolt will see the Kawasaki Vulcan S as its main competitor. Despite earlier gripes about power, Alex prefers the Yamaha Bolt over the Vulcan S.
About the author: Avid biker and brilliant musician Alex Wong has owned and ridden just about every bike worth knowing about. He’s also an author who published “Till the Road Ends”, a series of recollections of his solo ride across America. We can’t wait to read about his next adventure!
Yamaha Bolt XV950 photo gallery – Alex Wong