’14 Yamaha XV950
The moment I saw this bike launched last year, I thought “Now here is something I’d like to take for a spin, not buy, no just ride.” So when the opportunity presented itself, I didn’t hesitate.
Yamaha has produced some great cruisers of late and the most recent addition to their massive cruiser line-up is the attractively styled and affordably priced XV950 or the “Bolt” as it is called in the US of A.
The bike is clearly aimed at riders fairly new to motorcycling, or middle-age riders returning to motorcycling after a machine of nonthreatening demeanor and the classic styling of a Harley Sportster for instance. And like most of Yamaha’s cruiser line-up, the design and development work is largely undertaken in America.
Now Yamaha is opening the door to the world of customization to every rider with the XV950– a bobber that encapsulates the character and personality of those original back street creations in a new neo retro Japanese look.
Compact and stylish with a low seat height, the XV950 delivers a refined and agile ride while retaining the character that is a critical part of owning such an individual machine. Yamaha’s flat line style and use of exposed metal components accentuates the bike’s pure simplicity while the V-twin motor provides spirited performance and unquestioned reliability. Stripped back and stylish, the XV950 provides a perfect entry into the world of customization.
Here are a few highlighted features:
- Air-cooled 60-degree SOHC V-twin engine
- Revised intake system for outstanding efficiency
- Compact air cleaner for improved torque
- Boosted low to mid-range performance
- 2-into-1 exhaust pipe hugs the engine’s form
- Rubber damped clutch to reduce rider fatigue
- Stainless steel covers
- Double cradle frame for light and agile handling
- 12-spoke cast wheels with optional ABS
- Wave style 298mm discs with floating rotors
- Jewelry-look round LED rear light
- 12 litre teardrop style fuel tank
Classic Japanese engineering in a modern bobber style
Drawn by iconic Yamahas of the past, fabrication specialists all over the world have used the traditional Japanese quality engineering as a basis to build a new style of motorcycle. Each bike is individual to its creator, reflecting their own personality and influences, however at their heart they remain true to the core principles of engineering excellence ingrained within every Yamaha motorcycle.
Now Yamaha is providing inspiration to a new generation of rider with the XV950, a bobber styled motorcycle that lends itself perfectly to self-expression while encapsulating the character and personality of those original back street creations.
It changes direction so easily that it encourages some spirited riding only dulled by the pegs touching down as soon as you start getting a little excited. Throwing sparks is cool to some, I guess …
The XV950 offers a smooth and comfortable ride with suspension that copes with the general condition SA roads can throw at you.
The 942cc air-cooled engine pulls the 245kg (wet) Bolt away from a standstill quite eagerly as you row through the very smooth straight-cut five-speed gearbox and then surf the mid-range torque between bends. I must add I just loved the clutch on this bike; it’s so easy to operate, any girl’s dream. The power is transferred to the 150/80-16 rear tyre by a carbon-fibre toothed belt.
This relatively narrow rear tyre is a big plus in the Bolt’s handling armoury. Every corner had me thanking Yamaha for not putting some overly fat, square tyre on the nicely styled 12-spoke alloy rim in what would have been a travesty of style over substance. It’s nice to know that engineers can sometimes rule over the stylists, even in this segment of the market.
Braking hardware is modest up front with a single 298mm disc and two-piston caliper but the rear is of equal size and both brakes used together bring the Bolt to a stop without fuss.
The Bolt’s less-is-more ‘‘bobber’’ styling hits the mark. The narrow 12-litre fuel tank is a masterstroke of minimalism flowing down to a narrow but fairly supportive sculpted seat. The LED indicators and rear light do not take away from the classic links of the machine and the engine is clearly the main design element, shown off proudly with its polished cooling fins and proud V-twin architecture. There is no chrome on the machine as the styling focus is more on understated cool rather than over-the-top bling.
The LCD instrumentation is great and helps to keep the look from the cockpit uncluttered and simple. The dirt track-style bars are swept back at a reasonable angle and the switchgear is easy to use.
Yamaha has a huge range of accessories and encourages customers to mold their Bolt to their own unique tastes.
Like most bikes of this breed, the Yamaha Bolt is easy to ride for shorter riders with a 690mm seat height and an incredibly narrow width making the machine easy to mount. It is at home on any road with great low-speed handling, easy parking manners and a retro-cool look.
The XV950 is a great addition to Yamaha’s growing cruiser range and offers a heap of style for next to nothing. Take it for a spin, you won’t be disappointed. Yeah, the girls too!
Bike supplied by:
RBS Yamaha – Pinetown
Tel: (031) 701 1311
69 St Johns Avenue, Pinetown