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
  • Insurance group: 12 of 17
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  • 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…

Insurance, running costs & value 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

18 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.

Review your YAMAHA XJ900 DIVERSION (1994-2004)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.8 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.6 out of 5
Equipment 3.9 out of 5
5 out of 5

Divi 900 "the every mans bike"

16 August 2016 by Steve Sarge

Had the bike for 7 years and have been across Europe on it no problem. I have confidence in the bike that it will get me to where I want to go and get me back. Hard pushed to think what I would replace it with. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
I standard trim I found that the wind comes round the sides of the fairing and rattles your helmet and you also get your front wet. I made plastic filler pieces to round off the dished in sides of the fairing. Result was massive improvement in reduced wind buffeting and now only the outer edge of my arms picks up water. I have toured across Europe and covered 400 miles some days but always felt ok to get on the bike the next day and do it again. I never ride 2 up, prefer to carry my luggage instead. If you prefer to ride to ext-reams then not the bike for you. Normal riding the bike handles well and is a solid as a rock with no nasty tricks up its sleeve. Would I swap for a BMW ? Well I had the chance of GS 1200 with only 1500 miles from new at a very low price and did a lot of soul searching and in the end still have the Divi I think running costs, reliability and the devil you know won out in the end.
Engine
4 out of 5
in context, the engine for its age and design is simple and not over stressed. Will cruse at 85 MPH all day. Open it up and it is probably quicker than anticipated and under normal road conditions will keep up with most bikes of its type. Tends to have a slight vibration at about 50 mph which I have never really cured otherwise smooth. Keeping the Carbs balanced cures any slow speed problems and the bike feeling heavy. Shaft drive is good with no lifting of the back end as I have had on other shaft drives. ( Why mess about with chains ? )
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Reliability is as good as it gets. I do all the service work myself which cheep and easy. My bike is 16 years old and not ridden through winter. Swinging arm tends to need a bit of silver Hamerite every now and again but the bike has aged well,
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Servicing is basic with oil change and filters and spark plugs ( which are £16 for 4 ) Half hour job. Carbs need balancing now and again but seem to need less attention as the bike gets older ( half hour job if you have a balance kit and an extra pair of hands) . If the Carbs are out then the bike is hard to ride at low speed and will feel heavy. Replaced front pads twice in 7 years and rear once ( I am not heavy on the brakes) Change the oil in the diff on the shaft drive.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Space under the seat for tool kit and other bits and pieces. Has a fuel gauge and a clock on the dash which are handy on longer rides. Fixing luggage is not a problem. I tend to use the 2 compound tyres for touring. Tyre life I have found to be 6 to 8 K depend on the type of riding more than the tyre however I think that the Divi tend to ride on the revs and not all torque which probably helps. I I put 5lb extra than the highest recommendation in the rear tyre when carrying luggage as it keeps shape better and doesn't run as hot.
Buying experience

I bought the bike in 2008 for £1500 with 17K miles. Previous owner was short in the leg and the bike had fallen over on him ( few scratches on silencer and paintwork) otherwise like new. He had reduced the oil quantity in the front forks and put heavier oil in an attempt to lower the bike which made the bike dip at slow speed and the carbs were a mile out. ( no wonder it fell over on him )

4 out of 5

Grinning from ear to ear.

07 July 2016 by Bod

Best feature os the silky smooth ride on the open road. Worst feature is low speed vibration and heavy at low speed too. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The kind of bike that you never want to get off. I always take the longest route possible.
Engine
4 out of 5
Love the smooth power delivery. After v-twins it is a welcome change
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Can't fault anything except cold start can flood carbies. Everything else works perfectly even 18 years on.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
I do my own servicing so cost is not a problem.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Love the fuel gauge, clock taco no need for extras.
Buying experience

Private sale. Very happy experience.

5 out of 5

XJ900S Diversion

12 May 2016 by Neil C

Purchased from Scotland so first ride back 330 miles home in snow/rain/drizzle 2 up, rear puncture on M6 just to add to the fun and the bike coped admirably - including a great blast down the A7 - and this after being on the bike for just 15mis! I... Read more was going to just use for daily commuting but after a month ownership it's now got a set of panniers and ready for trips away - it's good easy fun to ride and a surprisingly good mile eater

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Ride quality pretty good, soft and lazy, comfortable both solo and 2 up, throwing it around just takes a bit more effort but it's ok(ish!) Brakes are ok, I commute mostly and use the rear a lot and it's nice and easy - faster stopping requires a lot more effort but it has got the original brake lines on so I'll be changing them to see if an improvement can be gained.
Engine
4 out of 5
Good, smooth and pick up in any gear is effortless, never going to rip up the tarmac behind you but that isn't what this bike is for. Plenty of power for top gear overtaking and I don't miss a 6th gear - after riding an old commando for years with "just" 4 gears I think Yamaha got the 5 speed box just right
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Too early to tell really, I've had to replace one fork seal (and looking at the oil I suspect it had never been changed) which seems a common problem, the choke cable is seized (must do before next winter) but doesn't effect starting, otherwise it's what you'd expect - starts first time and runs very sweetly for a bike with 47k on the clock
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Purely a guess - doesn't use any oil (nearly 2000 miles covered since purchase) I'll change oil, filters and pads in the near future but can't see much more to do.
Equipment
3 out of 5
What equipment? As far as I can see as standard you get a motorbike! joking aside the fairing works, the dash is fab, this one has crash bars fitted and they look good, Nonfango rack and topbox - too small (just got a huge one and panniers for no money off ebay) replacement stainless exhaust which sounds great, tyres are Avon Roadriders - not that impressed in the wet - I'd like to try Michelin Road Pilots - had them on a Ducati and they were awesome in the wet - anyone tried them on a D9?
Buying experience

Private sale, excellent experience, advertised at £850 got it for £800 - paid for the fuel back home, I've seen D9's for everything between £500 and £3k - after owning this model for a short time I can see why they're so well liked and regarded, mines a keeper - cheapest bike I've had for a long time and cracking VFM

5 out of 5

Great bike

14 November 2015 by Richie Toker

I always overlooked this bike when buying. I love this bike already after 2 weeks. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Good brakes and really comfortable seat.
Engine
4 out of 5
Could do with a 6th gear but overall a nice engine.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
I like the look and build of this bike. Easy to work on.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
It has everything I need for travelling.
Buying experience

I bought private from a really cool Bulgarian Chef in London. He gave me an amazing price and the bike is in superb condition. It is worth around £1400 & paid £950. He had it up for £1000.

3 out of 5

nothing special...

06 October 2015 by Railway Red

probably the most boring bike (a little) money can buy.... I got this bike as a daily commuter. it's just about what it does everyday if you want but only if you have no other option. in fact it's a bit too heavy for city use, a bit too light (it... Read more could certainly benefit from a 6th gear) for real touring. corners like a tank when the fueltank is full. but the good things are: shaftdriven engine, low cost and easy maintenance, starts everyday, low fuel consumption, cheap to buy,...

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
all-rounder but nothing special...
Engine
4 out of 5
needs an extra gear!
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
watch out for rusty welds!
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

great bike for £700

20 July 2015 by Dan Fozzy

Just bought a 2004 XJ900 with 6000 miles on the clock, 1 owner from new. i paid £700 which is about right i guess. it's been fantastic, i cant fault it at all. 55mpg all day long, no rattles or shakes Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Buying experience

i bought from dealer for £700 as it was a part exchange

5 out of 5

Nothing flash

05 July 2015 by Stuart mc Donald

Read more

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
-
Buying experience

Bought private for 700£

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.

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.

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.

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
-
Read all 18 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1994
Year discontinued 2004
Original price -
Used price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 12 of 17
Annual road tax £82
Annual service cost £120
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
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