YAMAHA XJR1300 (1998-on) 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"

  • At a glance
  • 1251cc  -  105 bhp
  • 38 mpg  -  175 miles range
  • Medium seat height (795mm)
  • £8,099

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.

Value & Running Costs 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

17 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA XJR1300 (1998-on) 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 4.5 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 3.3 out of 5
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!!

Overall Rating 2 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 1 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 1 out of 5
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.

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

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
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 !

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

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

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

Top speed is Dead Tourqe is King! long live...

08 November 2009 by Lodi

This Bike is 100% Fun! Easy to ride smooth as a blackbird stops like an R1 What more do you want.It Handles very well at legal speeds with none of that rear wheel twitch ive had form single shocks,sits on the road lovely with very little movement... Read more from side winds unlike its competitors .The best bit, crack open the throttle and feel the force luke!the tourqe is addictive!The engine started its life well over twenty years ago but wow what an engine its so simple you will be skipping away from the service bay!Dont worry about the build quality its the same as all the others! Go get one you wont regret it.

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

Mods

01 September 2009 by oopz69

Ive an 04 xjr with plenty of mods, dyno stage 1, 36y inlets, K@n, igniton advancer, bespoke carbon race cans etc, but easily the best mod ive done was to the handling by fitting a billet jack-up kit, raises the back end by 40mm making the steering... Read more angle steeper thus making it turn sharper. Totally transformed the handling, felt flat-footed b4 now feels as its if on the balls of its feet ! (190 rear tyre too)

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
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 2 out of 5
4 out of 5

Not a winter bike!

14 April 2009 by ChrisTheSheep

I’ve had my XJR for just over a year now, bought it at seven months old with just 2000 miles on the clock and I’ve done 10,000 since then. It’s one of the first with fuel injection, so has a single huge exhaust on the right-hand side. All in all I’m... Read more pretty pleased with it – hankering after a change, but that’s me, not the bike. In town it’s great, really controllable in all weathers – including some unexpected sheet ice I found myself riding over. On the open road it’s brilliant fun in good weather provided you’re not after flat-out speed – much more than the NSL and the windblast and handling start to get in the way. Crosswinds don’t bother it in the slightest, but of course you’re pretty exposed when it rains – I fitted a fly-screen which helps a bit. I commute daily, 10 miles each way in 30 limits and I’ve been getting nearly 40mpg out of it – hardly a CG125 but not bad. I also do some longish runs quite regularly and I’ve been known to get 50mpg with no effort – though that involved sticking below 80 on the motorway. In general it’s not that expensive to run, though it does get through rear tyres – the original Dunlops (D208 I think) gave me less than 4000 miles, the Metzeler Z6s I’m running now look like lasting 6000 to 7000 which isn’t bad. The finish isn’t up to winter riding – loads of ACF50 and regular washing help, but inevitably it’s showing some corrosion – though I expected worse. The paint on the tank is thin – sneeze and it rubs off – but the engine seems to be standing up well apart from flaking on the generator cover. I’ve had faults fixed under warranty. First the clutch slave cylinder started leaking – new seals would probably have been enough but they replaced it. This has always been an XJR weak point apparently, probably because it gets covered in filth thrown up by the chain, but it’s a cheap fix and extremely easy. I also got an error from the engine management, which needed a pair of sensors replacing – worrying, as I don’t know how long the replacements will last. Now it’s out of warranty I’ve started servicing it myself, and it really is easy – no plastics to remove for a start, lifting the tank’s easy once you know how! I sometimes find myself looking for sixth gear; it doesn’t need it to be honest, but the difference between fourth and fifth isn’t great – fifth could benefit from being more of an overdrive. For daily use you need a topbox – there’s virtually NO storage space, even under the seat. Strengths: Engine, brakes, looks, comfort Weaknesses: Clutch slave cylinder, finish, no storage, no ABS option

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

Depends

07 March 2008 by toe_down_sv_racing

On what you really want in a bike, i did just short of 50 miles and i was very impressed in the bike. heavy and sluggish with a very un sporty riding position, i was worried that the first 100BHP+ bike id ride would be too zaney, but as i found out,... Read more it was polite and quite merciful. the engine is one of my faves i think, with all the torque and power from halfway up the rev range, the drive away is smooth and controlled. twin ohlins, although its questionable at what grade on the rear do give great feel with a sturdy planted factory set up for the thin to the big guys. any major gripes are held over the bars (too high and close together) and maybe the resale value. these bikes never sold as many as Yamaha would of hoped, its target market generally get suckered in for the wow and show-off factors of american cruisers like hardly davidsons. but at 22, i liked it, apart from the bars hurting my shoulders (im used to a sv position!) it was a good call, i was often thinking of a ZRX1200 before the sv, maybe i should of, but then again, these arent really what ill want for at the end, but if its a big bike thats got handling to match the heady mix of old school ego and twin rear shocks, XJR is a very good option indeed. fellers.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
Read all 17 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1998
Year discontinued -
New price £8,099
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
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
  • 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
All related bikes for sale