YAMAHA XJR1300 (1998-2014) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"A proper man's motorcycle with twin shocks, air-cooling, a beefy braced swingarm and colossal motor"

Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Riding

"A proper man's motorcycle with twin shocks, air-cooling, a beefy braced swingarm and colossal motor"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Ah, the Yamaha XJR1300 is a proper man’s motorcycle with twin shocks, air-cooling, a beefy braced swingarm and a colossal motor. And it’s especially lovely in the SP’s Yamaha speed block colours complete with Ohlins shocks, just the sort of thing that sunny Sundays were made for. A motorcycle to make you feel good.

 

Watch the video to see the Yamaha XJR1300 take on the Suzuki B-King, Yamaha's R1 and the KTM Superduke

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

It’s best to remember that the Yamaha XJR1300 is a motorcycle built for cruising, not hustling. Around town it’s lovely – easy to steer and easy to manoeuvre at slow speeds. A-roads aren’t a problem until speeds transcend the national speed limit and then a floaty, weavy, bounciness reminds you to slow down again. The ex-R1 superbike brakes are top drawer, though.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Yamaha XJR1300's DOHC air-cooled motor started its life pushing around the sporty-touring type thing that was the 1984 FJ1100. Over two decades later it’s still making bags of thrust, still runs nice and smoothly and still posts a 0-60 time that’s effortlessly faster than a Porsche Turbo. Not bad, eh? For 2007 it finally gained Euro 3 satisfying fuel injection plus a catalyser exhaust without any noticeable change in performance.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The Yamaha XJR1300's build quality is broadly good, providing you avoid riding through winter, when the salt will spoil your chrome, nibble on you fork legs, bugger up your brakes and cause the mild steel section of the exhaust to rot.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

The XJR1300 represents enormous value for money. However, it’s not the best in its class – that honour goes to Honda’s CB1300. Although the CB costs more it handles better. Bridging the gap between the two is Kawasaki's ZRX1200, which is also conspicuously faster, boasting a genuine 150mph top speed. Buy the Yamaha, but only if the deal’s right. Find a Yamaha XJR1300 for sale

Insurance group: 13 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 2 out of 5

With the Yamaha XJR1300 you get a centrestand, analogue clocks and... that’s about it, despite the 2007 updates. The older SP gets Ohlins shocks, but you can’t adjust them, so it’s all a bit pointless. The factory sells crash bungs, a hugger and luggage.

Owners' Reviews

21 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA XJR1300 (1998-2014) 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 XJR1300 (1998-2014)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.1 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 3.5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Li'l Dragon goes whooooooooossshhh!!

23 May 2017 by Pillai

Love my beast - her name is Li'l Dragon, and usually after riding for an hour or so, she's affectionately called Tweety by yours truly (thank goodness no one can hear me talking to my motorcycle and lock me up in an asylum!). I'd recommend these... Read more motorcycles to anyone who wanted a retro air/oil-cooled muscle bike that is PURE muscle bike - all the way down to the 5-speed gearbox - and a gorgeous engine block that impresses the eye even when the motorcycle is just parked. A Suzuki GSX1400 may have had slightly more presence in terms of engine capacity for some people, but the Zook's 6-speed transmission killed it for me. Muslce bikes aren't really for racing or for long road trips, so I couldn't see the benefit of 6 gears - the extra gear kind of killed the spirit of a pure muscle bike, I thought. I do wish Yamaha Motor Co. had kept the twin exhausts, but no regrets at all - this baby has a smaller engine than the Zook1400, about 5 or 6 foot-pounds less of torque, but pumps out the same 105bhp anyway. Reliability-wise, it's a Yammie - enough said! Good build quality, and reliability is fantastic so far. Wouldn't trade her for anything. You can still buy this brand new in Australia - woo hoo!! Get one before they go out of production (I know they stopped selling'em in Europe a couple of years ago). https://www.yamaha-motor.com.au/products/motorcycle/road/sport/16-xjr1300 I wish the mirrors were bigger and captured more of the road behind me - there're idiot drivers and morons on the road in every country... luckily, I abide by the law and do complete head-checks before I move lanes or do things like that. XJR1300s get a full vote from yours truly - the last of its kind - get one yesterday, people!!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Ride quality is great - I do wish Yamaha had kept the seat lower. I'm 5-feet-4, and I had to get the seat shaven to feel better. Have left the suspension at factory settings, but might consider bringing down the preload since I'm only about 70kg. I'll probably take her to Suspension Smith in Fyshwick ACT to get his opinion before I do anything, though. Brakes are pretty adequate. Bigger and better brakes would always be a plus, however, I've never felt the brakes lacking bite - they do haul Li'l Dragon to standstill quite reasonably for me. Handling is hardly like a Kawi Ninja 600, or a Yammie R6 - but then, it's not meant to be that kind of light motorcycle. If you want one of those, get a wimpy Italian-made scooter, a tough Indian-made scooter, a Hyosung 650GT, a Honda CB600, a Kawi 600 or something that is designed for top-notch handling. A muscle-bike is a muscle-bike. The Yammie XJR1300 handles MUCH better than the Zook GSX1400, has better brakes than the Zook and the stock suspension is much better too. Keeps the smile on my face. When I want pure performance, I'll get a Kawi Ninja 900, ZX10R, or H2. If you want a modern version of a muscle bike, then get the Kawi Z1000 or the Yammie MT9/10. If you want authenticity and a great muscly ride, down to the last cooling fin, get the XJR1300. Nothing else comes close.
Engine
5 out of 5
In one word, "Whooooooosh!!" This lovely motor produces heaps of torque. This Yammie 1300 is 5 kilos lighter than the Zook 1400, and so 5 or 6 foot-pounds less of torque hardly matters in actual usage. With only 5 gears to choose from, it is a VERY forgiving motorcycle. You can hit 110km/hr on 2nd gear if you want, or you can rider her at 50km/hr on 4th gear (although I'd recommend 3rd).
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Since I bought her in October 2016, I've done nearly 4000kms on her till now (May 2017). She's never missed a beat. Runs on Pirelli rubber - I'd recommend sticky-tyres if you can afford'em. She's easily got the torque to pull'em. Even after a week or two of not being ridden, and after being in near-zero Canberran Autumn temperatures, Li'l Dragon starts up effortlessly at 6am when it's 0C after a couple of cranks. When winter hits with sub-zero temperatures, she might need about 3 or 4 cranks to wake up if I haven't ridden her for a week or two, I reckon. On a 35C Aussie Summer day in January, she has never overheated or appeared to be bothered in any way so far. She's parked in a car part, and covered up with a not-very-expensive cover. I also put some lubricant on the chain just before I take her out for my weekend outings. Mine's in factory mint condition except for the Oxford heated grips that help with Canberran winters. Great build quality for the price, and I wouldn't have minded paying more if Yamaha had offered it with a higher grade Ohlins suspension kit and an Acropovic or Scorpion exhaust option (Kawasaki does this for its Z1000 in some countries). There was one factory recall for my VIN# to replace an oil-feed-something inside the motorcycle that was deemed too long. The first owner had barely ridden the machine, so didn't know about it. I rang Yamaha of Canberra (who've now closed down, sadly) in Fyshwick and they carried out the recall fixes seamlessly on a Saturday morn for me. To note that I'd not experienced any problems either before or after the recall-fix. I am miffed that Yamaha Australia never put the recall on the Australian Government's recall listings. Not a great look, Yammie Australia. Reliability-wise she purrs in beauty, and as Greg noted when I went in to Dahlitz Motorcycles next door for my registration renewal inspection (we have those here in NSW), "..that's a beautiful motor, mate". Of course, I agreed happily. Needless to say, Greg passed her through the inspection this month (May 2017) with his eyes shut...
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
A regular service costs around Au$200 and a big one would cost maybe around Au$300 or so. There's rarely much to fix with these big bore Yammie powerhouses - they're built like tanks. Tyres can wear out pretty fast if you're a furious rider, but with a good set of rubber and normal riding, she's doing just fine on my wallet. Pirellis seem to work great with mine - and have been recommended by most mechanics and fans I've met in Oz and online. In terms of fuel efficiency, the worst she's returned so far is 16km/litre. With a 21L tank, I reckon that'll give me a decent range. Of course, naked bikes are really not for long distance highway travel - being buffetted by Aussie cross-winds is probably not a great idea.
Equipment
5 out of 5
All equipment that comes from the factory is good quality stuff. The tool kit is nice, and while Yammie could've put in a bigger under-seat luggat space like Zook did, I'm not complaining about that. Since it is a heavy machine, if you're a little guy like me, get a pair of sliders fitted so you don't scratch anything if you drop her. Get a frikkin' good helmet, 'cos that's common sense. Heated grips are a must if you live in a cold part of the world - the wind'll hit hard and bite into you on any naked motorcycle. I love the instrument cluster - classic drum shaped analog speedo and tacho, with a useful digital display fuel gauge+clock+odo. The fuel gauge isn't that accurate, though and can be funny depending on whether you've got her parked on the centre-stand or the easier-to-use side stand. I use both, so I can tell. My favourite feature would be the proud black-edition engine, of course. What a beauty!!
Buying experience

I got her in a private sale. I bought mine off its first owner in October 2016 when he told me he was getting too old to ride his beast. She was garage parked, and had done only 10,000kms since he'd bought her in 2011 - so he had effectively run her in. She'd just been serviced by the famous Greg at Dahlitz Motorcycles in Queanbeyan NSW, and had been sitting there doing nothing when my eyes fell on her... "Do they still make these, James", I asked. "They'll stop production soon, but that's one of the last of its kind Anish", he replied. I went to my bank, organised for funds, and bought her off good ol'James. Rode home with a BIG smile on my face. No insects were ingested during the homecoming of my motorcycle. James had kept all receipts of service (all stamped in the factory manual, anyway). If you've gotta buy these, go to a Sydney dealer first - you're likely to get a better price than you can in Melbourne or Brisbane. Might even be cheaper to ship from NSW to other states.

4 out of 5

Real Retro Bike

26 August 2016 by Jester

It's big, it's heavy and it's a 'proper' retro bike with a real look to the engine but can still be easily ridden lock-to-lock at slow speed and scrape the hero blobs at higher speeds. I had to trade mine in after repeated left knee problems left... Read more me unhappy with pushing it up off the sidestand.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
3/5 when fitted with the Dunlop 208s, rising to 5/5 when using Pilot 2s. The 208s don't grip as well as the P2s and wear out quickly. The rear sussies [Ohlins] had the preload upped by 1.5mm and this is the only bike I have ever to have adjusted the forks on. It will scratch if set up well and with a confident rider and two up tour with Givi luggage, but the fuel economy isn't the best.
Engine
5 out of 5
The acceleration will make you think you have been launched from an aircraft carrier and it will pull from 30 mph in top-uphill!. You get proper performance rather than 200 BHP lunacy.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
13 000 miles and no problems, I only give 5/5 to 50 000 miles with no issues.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
I can't give a figure for the servicing costs as I don't recall them. Dealer serviced while under warranty then serviced by me.
Equipment
5 out of 5
A pair of clocks and a few idiot lights are all I ask for-and that is what I got. A centre stand as standard and heated grips, luggage and a few other bits were nice. Unless you like your elbows mirror extenders are a must.
Buying experience

Bought from the now-defunct Yamaha dealers in Brackley, good people to deal with.

5 out of 5

14 March 2016 by David

BEST OVERALL BIKE...just does it all Read more

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

My 3rd Yamaha XJR 1300...

07 August 2015 by Daz Young

I'm on my third Yamaha XJR now, miss the older carb' model though as it gives a smoother ride. Does not depreciate much as 10 year old XJR'S are stil 2-3K. Would recommend to any one over a certain age who is not out for sports bike performance. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
As with all naked bikes, long motorway hauls can become tiresome. The standard seat is good for 60-80 miles then you get the old numb bum...try a different seat ? overall the ride is comfortable and smooth for shorter trips. The brakes are excellent up front, however I once had the rear brake boil up in the mountains as did my friend on another XJR!
Engine
5 out of 5
Excellent smooth power, takes two up in it's stride.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Build quality is up with most bikes, but most Yamaha XJR riders tend to be a fussy lot and clean them often so no real issues.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Tyres are due generally every 5k on the rear and 7k on the front. Service intervals are much the norm' every 6k or so.
Equipment
3 out of 5
The engine may be old but does exactly what it says on the tin ! 1250cc...to get the right set up, spend time on the suspension and tyres it's well worth the effort. Weather your going round hair pins in the Spanish Peco mountains or a Sunday ride out.
Buying experience

Crescent Yamaha in Bournemouth could not be faulted, excellent service, my 2nd Yamaha XJR from them.

2 out of 5

A little to dull

21 October 2014 by Afterburn

Sorry to offend but have had one of these for a number of years and found it to be a bit on the dull side. Its a lovely looking bike dont get me wrong and looks great on the drive,and has a reliable engine.You can spend a small fortune tuning and... Read more sticking R1 forks on the front but why not just get a different bike all together.This bike nearly made me give up biking as it just didn't give me the buzz and i found it to be a bit to hum drum.Honestly i would get a bandit much better bike and comes with six gears!!

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

My first XJR

27 July 2012 by petervoros

I have had all sorts of different bikes in the last 5 years,never went for Sports bikes because I'm too creaky tried most others though. I can't believe the XJR has slipped under my radar for so long. I bought this one new at a good discount. This... Read more bike has just about everything I need. Plenty of smooth up and go, good looking big bike that is more agile than it looks, rides like a magic carpet, good comfort on both seats and plenty of street cred. I'd like a sixth gear and a gear indicator and that would be about it. Reliability and build quality will have to be continued at a further time but look good so far.

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

All torque and muscle

13 December 2011 by Anonymous

My first encounter with one of these bikes was when I went round our drummer's house, and there this beast was in his drive. Three years later I had bought one and I haven't been disappointed. Ok, I bought mine when you could buy them cheap (£4K... Read more for a 1 yr old bike, bargain), and I haven't stopped grinning since. It has a lorry load of torque in any gear and hits the national speed limit briefly before waving it bye bye :-) It is a proper big muscle bike, a bruiser and badged as a worthy street bike. I love it to bits, even though there may be faster bikes, even bigger ones, but none compare to the aggressive look and that big old headlight comin down the road atcha! I'm 47 yrs old. I should be in a reclining armchair wearing a pair of M&S finest slippers smoking some pipe, reading a sermon, but no, I'm a rock guitarist riding a big, brash, heavy black XJR. Nothing better!

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

Big beautifull 'n torquey

31 January 2011 by Eldar

Good looking bike with a beautifull torquey engine , the handlings stable on bendy "A" roads but requires a bit more input on backroads but this adds to the fun !Its very comfortable to ride and my daughter says the pillion seat is one of the most... Read more comfortable places she's ever sat!Fuel consumptions good for a big bike 145 miles to reserve 39mpg , then a gallon left after that . Overall its a great bike !

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

old but not out

01 November 2010 by bubba1968

As i said earlier had mine 11 yers never ever lay dwn on me , all over europe n the uk n ireland, original sp 1 of 98, best but not the last, Read more

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

A real mans bike

22 December 2009 by stacexjr1300

I bought my'ne when it was a year old off a guy who said "It scared him to death" and that "I wouldnt have it long before I got shut of it too". Well ya puff I've had it for 6 great years. Its a great cruiser and looks good washed and shiney... Read more parked up in any bike meet area. My wife loves the pilion on long rides as the seat is comfy as owt. It aint a race bike and bounces around. You have to treat it with respect when riding at speed. Its not called amuscle bike for nothing. Buy one of these and I can asure you of one thing, all day long biking fun.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
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Engine
5 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
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Equipment
2 out of 5
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Read all 21 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1998
Year discontinued 2014
Original price £8,099
Used price £2,500 to £6,500
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost £450
Performance
Max power 105 bhp
Max torque 75 ft-lb
Top speed 139 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.2 secs
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 175 miles
Specification
Engine size 1251cc
Engine type 16v, in-line four 5 gears
Frame type Tubular steel cradle
Fuel capacity 21 litres
Seat height 795mm
Bike weight 224kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Twin 298mm discs
Rear brake 267mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1995: Yamaha XJR1200 introduced.
1999: Yamaha XJR1200 bored out to create Yamaha XJR1300. SP version also released (deleted 2002).
2004: Lighter wheels, new carbs, new exhaust and uprated brakes added.
2007: Yamaha XJR1300 gets a fairly thorough makeover to gain fuel injection, revised catalytic 4:1 exhaust and a host of detail mods.

Other versions

XJR1300 SP: Comes with a yellow/black Yamaha ‘Speed Block’ design and Ohlins shocks. The SP was a £300 premium over the stock motorcycle.

Photo Gallery

  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha XJR1300 motorcycle review - Riding
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