2022 Yamaha XSR900 Evaluation – First Journey


A few of us have been a bit stunned when Yamaha’s newly overhauled 2021 MT-09 snagged first place in final summer season’s 900cc(ish) Bare Bike Comparability, in opposition to such more-expensive heavy hitters as the brand new Ducati Monster and KTM Duke 890. And all of us have been just a little stunned when the XSR900 defeated Indian FTRs 1200 and 1200S, and the now-defunct Monster 1200S, in an solely barely unfair 2019 comparo. (Barely unfair as a result of our take a look at route was actually nothing however tight, twisty roads.) Now, the 2022 XSR900 is newly overhauled simply as final 12 months’s MT-09 was, utilizing all the identical elements from the waist down, together with the brand new super-sized 890 cc model of that the majority wonderful CP3 three-cylinder and all its digital controls.

From the waist up, as even a rudimentary eyeballing reveals, issues are utterly completely different. What’s occurring, says Yamaha, is an homage to its iconic previous GP racers of the ‘80s, the blue one right here particularly representing “a contemporary tackle the traditional French Sonauto Yamaha race colours — the gorgeous blue, cyan and yellow mixture famously campaigned by legendary French Grand Prix champion Christian Sarron.”

You’ll be able to see it within the massive, flat-top 3.7 fuel tank (the rear chunk is metal), within the little hole between tank and seat, within the Dzus fasteners that maintain the sidepanels on and the tucked-under taillight. However principally that ‘80s GP connection is attempting to be conveyed by the form of the seat, the rear part of it particularly. No one at Yamaha USA claims to know why there’s not a plastic cowl to match the tank both already on the bike or a minimum of within the equipment catalog?

Homage or not, it solely is sensible to supply a extra classically styled, round-headlight model of the CP3 for the group who don’t just like the MT’s extra modern styling.

1984 250cc GP Champion Christian Sarron and his previous 500 GP bestie, sans fairing, is what Yamaha was going for.

The racy connection of the brand new XSR additionally takes the type of firmer suspension settings and extra aggressive ergonomics than sistership MT-09. In comparison with the MT, your grips are 14mm ahead and 35mm decrease, whereas your rear finish is moved again a bit and 22mm decrease (on a 22 mm decrease seat); your toes are in nearly the identical pure place. The bars and the pegs are just a little bit adjustable.

That 0.8-inch decrease seat sits upon a brand new metal subframe (higher for personalization than aluminum), which rides upon a brand new swingarm that’s 59mm longer than the MT’s unit. Although MT and XSR each have the identical rake and path numbers, 25 levels and 4.3 inches, the XSR wheelbase is 2.6 in. longer.

2021 Yamaha MT-09 Evaluation – First Journey

Add all that up, and what you’ve acquired is an extended, decrease, firmer-sprung motorbike: Consider the MT-09 extra as an city “streetfighter,” and the XSR as a extra severe backroad sportbike. Yamaha says it’s “the very best performing platform ever for a Yamaha sport heritage machine.”

I suppose one among us must experience it

It fell to yours actually to, as soon as once more, experience the Pacific Surfliner to Ventura, there to hop onto a brand-new XSR the subsequent morning for one more assault on one among California’s most interesting quick curvy roads, Freeway 33, over the Topatopa Mountains. (I by no means knew they have been known as that till I used to be quaffing a Topa Topa Chief Peak IPA later that night.)

Now, we’ve acquired all of the IMU-assisted electronics identical to the brand new MT final 12 months, with 4 experience modes, a full ride-by-wire throttle, and up/down quickshifter as normal equippage. It’s 22mm simpler to swing your leg over the seat, the ergos solely really feel a smidge racier at first sit, the exhaust bark is subdued however positively keen, and all programs are go.

It was chilly/drizzly in that morning coastal fog, and also you surprise why a Christian Sarron-inspired mini-fairing isn’t a part of the package deal? On the bumps, you’ll be able to sense that our fork springs (in the identical 41mm KYB unit because the MT) are 7% stiffer than the MT ones, and that our KYB shock’s rear spring is 21% stiffer: That’s to cope with the elevated leverage of the two.3-inch longer swingarm.

On {smooth} pavement, which is what Freeway 33 is with its current repave, it’s scrumptious – a smooth-rolling low-flying steady factor that’s neither gentle nor heavy-steering, however proper within the candy spot. These new golden “spinforged” wheels look means too good to be on a $9,999 motorbike, and Yamaha says they scale back rotational mass by 11% (24.7 ounces lighter per wheelset). Bridgestone S22 tires are, likewise, not shabby. There’s no steering damper, and the bike feels prefer it by no means wants one, feeding again properly planted messages from each ends.

Although suspension journey is identical because the MT, there’s much less fore/aft pitching due to the stiffer springs, elevated compression damping, and lowered rebound damping at each ends; it’s a vicious circle that has you twisting the throttle more durable and squeezing the brakes extra as you wind out and in of the corners, questioning how a lot is your superb uncooked expertise and the way a lot is the bike’s IMU?

We’ve had a stroke

Now at a full 890cc following its 3mm stroke job, the Yamaha Triple is likely one of the most interesting engines on the highway, primarily as a result of its torque-rich but revvable nature means it does its greatest work under 120 mph or so – a pace it’s simple sufficient to realize on a few of Hiway 33’s straights. When you want greater than that, take a look on the MT-10. And please confine your self to trace days.

The MT-09 we dynoed final 12 months made 106 horses at 9900 rpm, and 63 lb-ft torque at 7000. Our scales had that very same MT at 416 kilos with 3.7 gallons of gasoline; Yamaha says the XSR is 8 lbs heavier. Which remains to be good and lightweight.

Criticize in the event you should, however I feel the brand new Managed Fill aluminum body is far more swish than the outgoing one, and the 890 cc engine it homes has reached peak Triple.

Anyhow, the identical quickshifter the MT acquired final 12 months has discovered a house on the XSR, which already had an ideal gearbox, and now, it’s even simpler to bip up and down by it, generally accompanied by a pleasant little backfire yelp on the overrun to enrich the Triple’s wonderful exhaust music on the best way up the digital tachometer. Blipping and brapping between 2nd, third, and 4th reels in Hiway 33’s greatest sections good, at speeds that match the bike’s lean-into it ergos completely on a heat day. Once you do want the clutch, the lever is sweet and lightweight, and its slip operate makes these {smooth} downshifts even smoother.

Identical to the MT, you’ve acquired 4 simply chosen Drive modes, 1 being sharpest and 4 decreasing energy (rain mode). I solely used 1 and a pair of, the place energy take-up is sweet, {smooth} and linear.

A 3.5-in TFT show is nearly the correct measurement on a motorbike like this. If you need instructions and Bluetooth, you’re by yourself. Come to consider it, there’s no USB port both. We’re stripped down.

There’re loads of different changes within the 3.5-in TFT show additionally, together with BC brake management (you’ll be able to swap between ABS and lean-sensitive ABS for some purpose), QS (flip the quickshifter Off, or simply off in both the up or down course)… There’s additionally wheelie management, traction management, and slide management – all stuff lifted from the R1. People who find themselves good at wheelies, have been good at wheelies on the XSR.

Your new Brembo radial grasp cylinder provides higher really feel on the ABS engagement level, says Yamaha. I by no means squeezed it that onerous, however the bike’s acquired loads of energy and really feel for me. That is additionally Yamaha’s first use of bar-end mirrors, that are good however a bit huge in tight confines.

On the finish of the highway, it’s just about simply as Yamaha claims: It appears like on a quick highway like 33, or a racetrack, the longer, decrease, stiffer XSR would ease away from an equal rider on an MT (and loads of riders on something). Then once more, on tight, bumpy backroads, the softer, shorter-wheelbased, extra ergonomically upright MT may in all probability flip the tables.

After lunch, we did flip the rear preload ramp up a notch and elevated rebound a click on, and the XSR was turning even sharper and feelier.

The 101 Freeway

And on the morning after my experience up the 33, it was time to experience the XSR 110 miles dwelling down the freeway. It was chilly and foggy once more alongside the coast, and once more, I dreamed of a pleasant little fairing, however by the point I acquired to The Valley it was scorching and I used to be glad to not have one. By the point I acquired dwelling, 96 minutes later, I used to be additionally dreaming of the MT-09’s plush, huge seat. As befits its sportier standing, the XSR will get a pad that’s narrower, thinner, and sq. of edge.

Properly, they did say the XSR is GP-inspired, together with the seat.

It didn’t assist that I didn’t take the time to return the shock preload to its normal, softer place rolling by Ventura’s bumpy floor streets and over a number of sections of aptly named Superslab, the place the bike drove dwelling in a elementary means how severe Yamaha is in calling it the very best performing platform ever for a Yamaha sport heritage machine. You’ll be able to have sporty and you may have plush, however on a sub-$10k motorbike it’s robust to have each.

What made the sporty experience utterly bearable, although, was the cruise management button on the left switchgear. Each time there’s a niche in site visitors, switching that child on makes it simple to present your proper facet a break. And when the automobiles are flowing at a good pace, it makes it simpler to stream together with them as a substitute of performing like Wealthy Strike attempting to chunk the opposite horses even after he’d already gained the Kentucky Derby. Simply chill.

And Yamaha nonetheless manages to get the horn button in the correct place.

5-thousand rpm will get you 75 mph in sixth gear and a little bit of tingle within the handlebars. Dialing it as much as 80-ish smoothed my XSR out properly, and that slight ahead cant in comparison with the MT has you fairly impartial within the windblast, too. At a gentle 85-ish, we additionally acquired 50 mpg. Not dangerous.

Small issues

You’ll be able to lock the fork both full left or full proper, a factor I don’t bear in mind seeing earlier than, however that’s form of considerate for some purpose I can’t fairly put my finger on. We’ve acquired all LED lighting, together with the thin flip alerts and tucked-under the tail taillight. The aluminum tray underneath the tail part is sweet. So are the cast aluminum foot controls and swing-out passenger pegs.

Quicker sons

It’s the design philosophy behind Yamaha’s “Sports activities Heritage” line, displaying respect for its wealthy racing heritage whereas utilizing stripped-down design, excessive know-how, and trendy electronics to maintain issues future-focussed. In the meantime, on the Darkish Facet of Japan, there’s the MT-09. The XSR is a bit racier, the MT’s a bit extra playful. They’re each perhaps probably the most enjoyable you’ll be able to have on a sub-$10k motorbike in the true world, along with being sensible transportation. Type of depends upon the place you experience and how briskly. And talking of Quicker Sons, would possibly we simply shut with, Go Fabio!

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