YAMAHA XJR1300 (2015-on) Review

Published: 09 March 2015

Yamaha has turned the XJR1300 in a retro-style café racer, inspired by the likes of Roland Sands and Deus

YAMAHA XJR1300  (2015-on)

Yamaha has turned the XJR1300 in a retro-style café racer, inspired by the likes of Roland Sands and Deus

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Yamaha has turned the XJR1300 in a retro-style café racer, inspired by the likes of Roland Sands and Deus. They’ve left the basics alone, like the engine and chassis and given it a facelift. It has a smaller tank, a black exhaust, a cleaner subframe design and a smaller café racer-style headlight. Not only does it look great, it’s smooth, fast capable and cracking value for money. 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The XJR1300 continues with the same tubular steel frame and aluminium swingarm. It weighs a hefty 240kg, but this is a muscle bike and the extra weight flattens-out the bumps and gives an impression of invincibility. The lower subframe rails have been chopped to give the back end a cleaner look.

Twin Ohlins rear shocks are adjustable for preload and rebound damping. Fully-adjustable fork stanchions have a ‘Diamond Like Coating’ to reduce station. It has new three spoke wheels, shod with Dunlop D252 tyres, twin 298mm front discs and four-piston monobloc radial brakes. 

It takes everything you throw at it in the corners, despite its weight, so long as you brake, turn and accelerate gently. Steering is on the slow side of neutral, there’s plenty of ground clearance for the road and there’s good feedback through the suspension. 

Straight line and cornering stability is superb and braking power isn’t a problem, either, but grip from the OE Dunlop D252 tyres is as retro as the looks, especially in the wet. Fit a set of the latest-generation sports or sport touring rubber and you’ll improve the handling massively. 

Weighing a sturdy 240kg, the Yamaha is about as far from a ‘super naked’ as you can imagine and it’s 18kg heavier than the BMW R nineT, if you want to compare retros. But the extra weight actually serves to give the XJR1300 Racer a solid, indestructible feel and a magic carpet-like ride around town and along motorways. 

Yamaha has shrunk the fuel tank from 21-litres to 14 (it’s now plastic, not steel), in the name of styling. The engine sticks out from the under the tank now, which is the current café racer thing to do, but your knees now rest on the rocker covers and boy do they roast your thighs in traffic. 

Engine 4 out of 5

Yamaha has stuck with thee XHR1300’s grunt-packed original 1250cc air-cooled, inline-four-cylinder motor. It makes 97bhp and 80ftlb of torque and has a new-style black 4-2-1 exhaust. It’s a peach of a thing and packed with so much grunt you can crawl through town in top gear without any dramas. The power delivery is smooth and seamless all the way from tickover to the 9500rpm red line and the fuel injection lets you accelerate from a closed throttle without any hiccups or snatches. 
Gears slice home with typical Yamaha precision, but like the FJR1300 sports tourer you’re always searching for the sixth gear it hasn’t got, so the XJR can feel a bit revvy in top. 
Although ultra-refined and free from vibrations the Yamaha engine lacks character compared to a twin or triple. There’s little airbox growl, or roar from the new 4-2-1 pipe at low revs, but it has a nice zing to it when you give it some at high revs. 

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

Build quality is superb and the standard components are all top-drawer, the paint finish is flawless, controls smooth and those yellow-sprung Ohlins twin-shockers give the Yamaha a racy look. The mirrors are clear and sturdy, as are the two analogue instrument dials. The XJR’s digital display remains, but only shows fuel range and time. There are no reliability problems with the previous XJR1300, so this model should be no different. 

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

You get a lot of nicely crafted heavy metal for your money and coming in at well below ten grand the XJR1300 is a retro bargain.

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

Equipment 3 out of 5

It’s pretty basic out of the crate, but the XJR1300 does come with twin Ohlins shocks, lots of nicely made components and attention to detail. 

Owners' Reviews

2 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA XJR1300 (2015-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.

Review your YAMAHA XJR1300 (2015-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4.5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

18 March 2017 by Mark in Cologne

It's a great bike. Stable, powerful and fun to ride. 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
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Very comfortable, pretty bike.

15 August 2016 by Giles Hamilton

Very comfortable for a big rider (I'm 6ft 6 and 21 stone). Lovely riding position - no back ache at all. Surprisingly quick and very sold feeling. Build quality is superb tho' the wiring round the bars a bit messy.Terrible range (light comes on after... Read more 60 miles), useless fuel gauge. Five gear box is a shame - needs six.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
great non ABS but heavy bike so caution needed in rain. Ride quality superb.
Engine
4 out of 5
smoooooth
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Battery loses charge quickly. Servicing agent failed to replace a component so bike broke down next day.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
not especially frugal
Equipment
2 out of 5
not much! Ohlins but everything else is an extra
Buying experience

pre-ordered so no discount - cheap now

Read all 2 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2015
Year discontinued -
New price £8,599
Used price £7,000 to £8,900
Warranty term Two years
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost £150
Performance
Max power 97 bhp
Max torque 80 ft-lb
Top speed 140 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption -
Tank range -
Specification
Engine size 1251cc
Engine type 16v, inline four
Frame type Steel double cradle
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Seat height 829mm
Bike weight 240kg
Front suspension 41mm telescopic forks, fully-adjustable
Rear suspension Twin Ohlins rear shocks adjustable for preload and rebound damping
Front brake 2 x 298mm discs with four-piston calipers
Rear brake 267mm single disc with twin-piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1995: Yamaha XJR1200 introduced.1999: Engine gets a big-bore and the XJR1300 is born. 1999-2002: XJR1300 introduced, featuring Ohlins rear shocks and Yamaha ‘Speed Block’ paint.2004: Updated with new carbs, exhaust and uprated brakes.2007: Updated with fuel injection, a 4-1 exhaust and a number of other detail changes. 2015: Updated with retro styling a smaller fuel tank and new wheels. 

Other versions

XJR1300 Racer: Features carbon fibre panels, clip-ons and a bikini fairing. 

Photo Gallery

  • YAMAHA XJR1300  (2015-on)
  • YAMAHA XJR1300  (2015-on)
  • YAMAHA XJR1300  (2015-on)
  • YAMAHA XJR1300  (2015-on)
  • YAMAHA XJR1300  (2015-on)
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