YAMAHA XJ900 DIVERSION (1994-2004) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"No-nonsense all-rounder that lacks outstanding performance or any semblance of sexiness"

Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding

"No-nonsense all-rounder that lacks outstanding performance or any semblance of sexiness"

  • At a glance
  • 892cc  -  90 bhp
  • 41 mpg  -  215 miles range
  • Medium seat height (795mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Introduced two years after its little 600cc brother, the bigger Yamaha XJ900S Diversion is a real, no-nonsense all-rounder. Ok, so it lacks outstanding performance or any semblance of sexiness but who cares? For bikers on a budget who ride in the real world, the Yamaha XJ900S Diversion is hard to beat. Has a long standing and respectable heritage, too.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The Yamaha XJ900S Diversion is super comfy for rider and pillion but the suspension’s fairly basic and the forks are a bit soft. It feels stable and can be fun on twisty roads but it feels heavy in to corners and at slow speeds. Brakes are ample (but need regular attention)  and the transmission is smooth but the Yamaha XJ900S Diversion could do with a sixth gear, once out on the open road.

Engine 4 out of 5

There’s plenty of pull throughout the Yamaha XJ900S Diversion's rev range and in any gear and, while it won’t have you clinging on for dear life, it’s steady and consistent. Very dependable. What’s more, it goes on forever, is a doddle to work on and sounds lovely. Very smooth delivery. Down side? Things get a bit vibey on the Yamaha XJ900S Diversion at urban speeds.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The Yamaha XJ900S Diversion's engine’s super reliable and the finish is ok but keep an eye on it. Weak spots are welded areas on the frame, which can be a bit shoddy, and fasteners can quickly corrode. Keep it clean, however, and it shouldn’t get too bad. High mileage Yamaha XJ900S Diversions are common, which is a very good sign…

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

The Yamaha XJ900S Diversion is an excellent all-rounder at an affordable price: it’s no luxury mega-tourer but it’s supremely practical and great value. Cheap to run and insure, simple to service on your own plus spares are easy to source and not too pricey. Often overlooked and underrated, you can usually pick up a Yamaha XJ900S Diversion for peanuts. Find a Yamaha XJ900 Diversion for sale

Insurance group: 12 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Yamaha XJ900S Diversion's dash includes speedo, tacho and fuel gauge: all clear and easy to read. The Yamaha XJ900S Diversion also boasts underseat storage, grab rail, bungee hooks, large screen, excellent mirrors and a very comfortable seat (and pillions agree, too!). The Yamaha XJ900S Diversion's massive tank is great for touring and many used models will come with luggage.

Owners' Reviews

11 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA XJ900 DIVERSION (1994-2004) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.2 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.6 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.6 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
4 out of 5

A little gemstone

19 June 2013 by kpjwateridge

Most people overlook these slightly old and boring looking machines but they would do well to consider them. While the mechanics are definitely rather basic and the old style carburetors mean a little bit of willing choke is necessary to start the... Read more beast on a frosty morning, you couldn't hope for a more reliable bike. The seat is comfortably low and the weight of the rather large engine are low in the bike's center of gravity, making it quite easy to control her when walking it about. 90bhp is roughly the same sort of power you would expect to see out of a BMW R1150RT, demonstrating that while the mechanics are a little bit old it's no slouch. Unlike any other bike I have owned, the Diversion is plenty happy to gently pull around at 2,000RPM, with little to no surging like you get on many fuel injected bikes at that rate of engine rotation. There's easily enough poke to shame cars and even some smaller sports bikes at the lights, though the engine gets a little wheezy and breathless above 6,500RPM. The suspension is decidedly soft, especially the front forks, so the bike is never going to be doing knee down frantic frolicking but its more than capable down a twisty country road, if you respect the weight and use it to your advantage when muscling the bike through a corner. Easily the best thing about the bike is the dash; so many old bikes have horrendous information displayed on a frankly awful dash. The Diversion 900 is not so; the dials are large, pretty darn accurate (tested with GPS speed meters) and easy to read; the fuel gauge seems pretty accurate, and the backlighting at night is superb. There are only two niggles that ruin an otherwise excellent bike. I think the bike could really have done with a 6th overdrive gear; motorway work is easy but the engine always feels like its spinning a little bit higher than is strictly necessary. A nice 6th gear to reduce the bike to 4,000rpm at 70mph would be lovely, and economical. The other thing is a consequence of excellent build quality. it is a real pain in the derriere to do any form of electrical maintenance as the wiring boxes AND the battery are all buried under umpteen body panels on the right hand side. I understand WHY they have done it, and the solid quality feel of it all is definitely confidence inspiring but it makes charging the battery quite a length affair as getting to it isn't that easy. other than that, I can't fault it. It'll ride happily, long distance, two up with absolutely no complaints and will put a smile on your face while doing it.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

back on two Wheels

09 January 2013 by robertreeves

1995,Thursday morning 05:30 my Honda cb125tde was stolen! That was the end of my biking life. 2011 talking to mate who past his full motorbike liciences, riding a bandit 500. i told him about my goal of touring on a bike. you get a bike we are off!... Read more june 2012 - converstaion with a northerner at my place off work informs me? 1996 xj900s £500 and it is yours, went to the wife like ya do! she turned to me and said who am i to block your goals!. It is a great mechine, handles great, looks great makes me smile by the way i am off to France for my four day tour. It has been mentioned alot it is realy easy to work on.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Its that Good

25 April 2012 by Anonymous

I've had the Divi 900 2 years now and I love it, easy bike to work on, you look after it and nothing will go wrong. It rides and handles well, ok its no sports bike but it will keep up with the crowd, big plus is the air cooled four cylinder engine... Read more thats will run for ever, mine as reached 61,200 and still sounds like new, easy to maintain engine. It handles the twisty roads very well for a sports tourer and will run all day on motorways.Big petrol tank so not many stops. A bike that is also easy and cheap to alter for your needs if you are under 5'9" So if you are looking for a sports tourer don't over look the Divi.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

superb machine

06 September 2009 by Anonymous

i have had my divi for about a year and use it for work and pleasure and so far has not misssed a beat, it is ridden in all weathers and i have done 3 tours with 2 more to come this year ,it averages 60mpg on long runs and 48 round town, i cant... Read more praise it high enough and even after 12 months i cant wait to get on it not, encountered any glitches so far apart from seized choke cable and rear brake caliper i love this bike so much i cant think of anything to replace it except a newer one in few years time,if you are in the market get one you will love it.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Real-world Bargain

08 June 2009 by lordmelbury

I've had a selection of bikes over the years (haven't we all). The most recent being a CB1300 and an Aprilia Caponord. The XJ900 kind of beats them all really. Mine cost £1500 on eBay and only had 7000 miles on the clock. I've no idea why it was so... Read more low mileage but the dent in the tank led me to believe someone had fallen off at low speed & stuck it in the garage as they didn't want to get back on.... Anyway - I ride all year round in London and this is absolutely the most reliable bike I have ever had. It has never failed to start even on frosty days after 2 weeks layoff and it's not covered & is left in the street. It sounds really good when you crank it up. I can get around Old Street roundabout as fast as sports bikes and frankly - in the city you couldn't buy a better bike - that's why it's a courier hack of choice. It's not really that fast and it's a bit floppy suspension-wise, the brakes could also be a little better but with the shaft drive & a build quality that would put BMW to shame I can't complain about this bike at all. If you were wanting a CBF1000 there's no point. Save yourself about £3000 and buy one of these. It rocks. That said - I\d like a KTM 990 Supermoto for the weekends, oh and maybe a Road King....

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

A Nice Change

11 February 2009 by regsy

Just got a '94 model with 12k on the clock, its a lovely tidy clean bike. My previous bike was a CB1300 X4 so this isn't as torquey as that or as fast but I am enjoying hustling it around a little. Its very light (in comparison) and came with a set... Read more of Yamaha Diversion panniers fitted and a top box, the only other custom part is a taller screen which suits my 6' 4" frame nicely. It seems a very tall bike to me and quite narrow but the engine is very willing, the shaft drive in nice and while it may not be as exciting as the X4 it still has brought a smile to my face. Looks like it will b great for touring a little with my wife on the back and so far its been ultra comfy. I would recommend this to anyone who doesn't do race days and wants a cheap all rounder for work and pleasure, lots of after market bits available and loads of cheap spares on E-bay. Brilliant.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

The other bike

28 January 2008 by DerekMcWilliam

I have a GSXR1000k1 for myself and the 900Diversion for touring with the wife and we both love it. It is so much fun it should be banned. It also a nice change from the madness of the gsxr1000. Dare i day it but i have more "fun" on the Divy than on... Read more my gsxr, hence its up for sale!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 2 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
3 out of 5

Great all-rounder, with a few vices.

09 June 2007 by RichardEllis

I've always wanted a true "all rounder". This is it - well, almost. The only real vice this bike has is the headlight, which is truly pathetic. My Honda 125 scooter is miles better! Also, the bike is a bit on the heavy side, and the fuel consumption... Read more is a poor (in my opinion) 42-45mpg. This compares unfavourably to the K100RS I had, which easily averaged 52mpg while delivering similar performance. If only Yamaha had used fuel injection. Finally, at 6ft 1", I find the screen too low for comfortable long-distance riding. As far as quality goes, I've never risked riding it in the winter (unlike the BMW).

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great all rounder, low maintenance and good economy.

30 August 2006 by Charterhouse

Solid and reliable bike giving all year round riding and reasonable weather protection and 200 mile tank range (more on longer business trips). Comfortable two up with good passenger comfort. Quick enough for me. Bridgestone tyres work best for me,... Read more 8k from rear and 10k from front and thats not riding at a snails pace. Paint work still looks good with regular cleaning. No other maintenance apart from mid year oil change. Strengths: Dependable, comfortable, shaft-drive. Weaknesses: Little on heavy side but this does not affect riding.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

NICE BIKE

29 June 2006 by CHEAL

I HAVE OWNED THIS BIKE FOR 10 YEARS (BORING I KNOW) BUT MY PREVIOUS BIKE WAS A HONDA 750 KZ -REALLY OLD. THE COMPARISON WAS REMARKABLE THE YAMAHA STOPS IN THE WET (GOOD BREAKS) THE MOTOR IS BULLET PROOF (ALL I HAVE DONE SINCE THE FIRST FEW SERVICES... Read more IS CHANGE THE OIL AND FILTERS. THE SHAFT IS MAINTAINCE FREE. THE TYRES ARE GOOD (AVON SOMETHINGS), THE RIDE IS EXCELLANT ALTHOUGH I THINK I NEED TO LOOK AT THE SHOCKS, THE FINISH IS EXCELLENT ALL ORIGINAL PAINT AND BITS INCLUDING THE EXHAUSTS. I REGUARLY RIDE THIS BIKE ONE AND TWO UP AND CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT TRIP. THE BIKE GOES AS FAST AND HANDLES AS WELL AS I NEED IT TO AND STILL TOPS THE TON + WHEN MR PLOD IS NOT WATCHING. I WISH YAMAHA HAD MADE A NEW SIMILAR SHAFT DRIVE TO REPLACE THIS MODEL. I AM THINK OF A NEW FAZER 1000, PERHAPS I WAIT UNTIL THEY FIX THE FUEL INJECTION. Strengths: RELIABLE LOW MAINTAINACE FUN. Weaknesses: NOT TRENDY.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 11 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1994
Year discontinued 2004
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 12 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 90 bhp
Max torque 62 ft-lb
Top speed 127 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.6 secs
Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Tank range 215 miles
Specification
Engine size 892cc
Engine type 8v inline four, 5 gears
Frame type Steel double cradle
Fuel capacity 24 litres
Seat height 795mm
Bike weight 239kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 267mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1994: Yamaha XJ900S Diversion introduced: an update of the old XJ900 which had been running since 1985.
1996: Yamaha XJ900S Diversion gets major update including improvements to front and rear suspension (the forks got adjustable preload). The choke lever moved to the handlebars and the redline moved to 9500rpm. Anti-corrosion nuts and bolts fitted.
1997: A further update for the Yamaha XJ900S Diversion, with new fork tube guards, a new seat and hazard warning switch.
2004: Yamaha XJ900S Diversion discontinued.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Engine
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Engine
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJ900S Diversion motorcycle review - Front view