YAMAHA XV950 (2013-on) Review

Published: 21 March 2014

Watch out Harley Sportster, you might have a serious Japanese rival for the first time

YAMAHA XV950  (2013-on)

Watch out Harley Sportster, you might have a serious Japanese rival for the first time

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Like any proper bobber, Yamaha’s XV isn’t for the long, open road but is more suited to the urban dude. Yamaha has kept it relatively light, at 247kg, and a super-low seat height of 690mm makes it easy to control for virtually everyone. An abundance of torque delivers a fun, responsive ride and having suspension and brakes that work goes a long way to increasing confidence. The belt-drive motor is lovely to use and the XV is a good looking piece of machinery. Watch out Harley Sportster, you might have a serious Japanese rival for the first time.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The XV950’s chassis is all-new and has been designed to be sportier than previous XV models as well as looking the part. Although it is a relatively small bike, the XV still feels fat and comfortable with a nice reach to the bars from the seat, however it is when the road develops a few corners that the Yamaha really impresses. Ok, the ground clearance is fairly limited, but the XV corners far better than most cruisers and can be ridden spiritedly thanks to a good chassis and excellent (although budget) suspension. The brakes also perform well and the ABS is effective in its operation.

Engine 4 out of 5

Not everything about the XV is new. The engine is the same air-cooled V-twin from the XVS950A Midnight Star which came out in 2009, albeit tweaked slightly with new inlet and outlets and a revised ECU. The result is it now pumps out 51bhp at 5500rpm and 59ftlb of torque at 3000rpm, which is more than enough. The belt-drive motor is lovely to use and the fuel injection is flawless. The 12.2-litre tank and 47mpg efficiency should see it cover over 120 miles between fill-ups, which on a bobber is more than enough to get you between cafes…

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The level of detail and finish is very high on the XV950 and the air-cooled V-twin engine is a tried and tested lump.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

Bang on the price for middleweight cruisers

Insurance group: 10 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

You get a good looking bike and that’s about it. Yamaha have used a lot of brushed aluminium, which is nice, but only the R version gets ABS.

Owners' Reviews

4 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA XV950 (2013-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 XV950 (2013-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.8 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 3.5 out of 5
4 out of 5

living with an xv

30 May 2017 by shorty

although the low seat is great the weight of the bike makes it hard work to move at slow speeds and difficult to move in a tight space and the speedo is a mis adventure of design difficult to see in anything like sunlight The rear suspension has too... Read more little travel and does your back in over speed bumps, the seating position is fine but the flat bars would better if they had risers, or a taller bar set up

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
would be better with twin discs but there are fine, the ride is comfortable but after an hour your back gets sore from the lack of decent rear shocks
Engine
4 out of 5
plenty of grunt and low speed pulling power a higher top speed would enable easier cruising speed at legal limits to feel less revvy
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
so far so good nothing rattles or broken and starts first time every time. Overall the finish is good and the quality of fit is great, no rattles etc,
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
great to have belt drive and air cooling no messing with coolant
Equipment
4 out of 5
as before the belt drive is great no chain lube mess and lighter than a shaft
Buying experience

i bought an ex demo from a dealer and they were great

5 out of 5

Grin machine

29 January 2017 by Bigcat

I love the noise, power and how easy it is to ride the bike. Also how comfy it is for someone who is my size (6ft 2). Its brilliant for the lanes and around town. Dislike the indicator controls and how the lights are all bulb less the rear light... Read more which is LED (why not all LED). Unless you have a screen or ride at 60mph then motorway riding would become tiring as the wind hitting you in the chest is hard work above 60. I do NOT regret buying it and smiled the whole time on taking it out for the first time. The noise from the Akrapovic exhaust is beautiful and turns heads.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Once I found the riding position (as daft as that sounds) the bike is very comfy and got zero bum numbness! I went for the racer as its seat height is higher (I'm 6ft2) which hopefully gives me that little more room. Also I have no problems with my knee rubbing on the air filter I have read about in other reviews. Its a little hard on the shoulders/arms as the tank isn't wide enough to grip with your knees as you would on a sports bike but again once you find the position all was good. Its corners extremely well but with new tyres and damp roads I wasn't scraping the pegs....yet....just feels like you have loads of control and feedback from the steering. I have to say I was extremely impressed with how it handled. Front brakes feel a little weak when slowing from speed.....but it is brand new so maybe just need bedding in however used with engine braking there is more than enough stopping power. For me the levers seem a little to far away from the bars (And I have big hands) so it might be worth investing in the optional billeted levers which are adjustable.
Engine
5 out of 5
This is where is shines. Lots of torque, lots of power delivery and not to many vibrations but enough to remind you its a V Twin (you ain't seeing anything in the mirrors at low speeds due to vibration). I felt it was a bit jumpy around town but then again I've been use to an automatic. Engine braking is as expected from a V Twin which helps
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
to early to say yet but its using a long used reliable engine so can't see any future problems. and its looks well put together and I haven't read any reviews yet of the earlier XV950's having any trouble with corrosion etc so can't see that being a problem for the newer racer.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
apart from the initial servicing required at 600 miles ( or 6 weeks) its a standard 6500 miles between them. Once out of warranty will do my own.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Its has NOTHING on it other than ABS... But remember this bike was made so you can customise it YOUR way so I can understand to some degree why Yamaha did this....Would have liked a rev counter though. the indicator controls just feel like they are going to break off everytime I use them (can't feel if I've turn then on or off through gloves) however all others seem fine and in perfect positions for your thumbs etc. The display is basic and very clear and easily seen whilst paying attention to the road. I had the belly pan fitted and the Akrapovic exhaust (Yamaha accessories)......like music to your ears along with the V Twin.....will be removing baffle soon. ALso will add Yamaha LED indicators to the rear to go with the LED back light (why only the back light Yamaha??) I only gave it 3 stars due to the basic bike Equipment is, well.....nothing. However the whole point of this bike is to customise it your way.
Buying experience

Bought from a dealer (Len Manchester) or delivered even though I live down south. Reason? because they were nearly 2 grand (yes 2K) cheaper than my local Yamaha dealer (who wouldn't budge on the 8K price tag and wouldn't give anything off the extras). Also they (especially Jamie) have been brilliant from start to finish and I have NO regrets buying from them and would do so again in a heartbeat.

4 out of 5

Very Capable (Modern) Bobber

09 June 2016 by Mr Beats

Pleasure to ride both on A and B roads; call me crazy to throw this type of bike onto B roads, but you can really have some fun as long as you don't expect sports bike behaviour. I've had my XV950R for a year now, ridden through winter on a daily... Read more basis commuting to work and the only thing I'd improve is the back end feel in the wet... but it might improve with a different tyre.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
If I am picky, the seat could improve its comfort but it's absolutely fine for the regular 130 miles between refueling, especially if you are not doing motorways. I do not carry pillions so can't comment on that but the seat (which I removed) was tiny, so I suspect comfort would be worse for a pillion. Brakes are fine with the front being surprisingly good for a single disc and the ABS on this R spec is not intrusive at all. The suspension is "softish" absorbing well the majority of our road bumps.
Engine
5 out of 5
Smooth power delivery for a v-twin - but I guess this one's been trialled and tested for years. Absolutely love the torque which is not only present at the low end, making overtaking easy without dropping a gear even at motorway speeds... you ask for it and it replies: "yes Sir, right away!"
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Solid built quality, nothing feels cheap, no corrosion anywhere even riding through winter. I do tend to wash her every month and apply adequate protection products.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Great value; first service shy of £120, just serviced it at 4500 miles and it cost me £250 which for a years worth of riding i don't think is bad.
Equipment
4 out of 5
I like it simple, so not a problem; it's a "modern bobber" as i've heard them call it, so it's blacked out and back to basics... but you know what? Basics are great! I will change the stock exhaust though... i would love it if they'd made it a bit gruntier; such a good looking bike, begs for a better and louder sound track.
Buying experience

Bought from a local dealer; extremely professional and helpful as always, with no pressure at all.

4 out of 5

04 August 2015 by El Gringo

Fun to ride, great engine. Ideal for first time rider despite weight. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
Just wish that the front brake was a bit better. Back end is a bit harsh, perhaps the R spec is better.
Engine
5 out of 5
Surprisingly quick, good on the motorway with instant overtaking power, no need to drop down a gear.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
I find this cheap to run. The worst mpg so far is 60, best is 73. Insurance costs are very sensible.
Equipment
3 out of 5
Basic but I'm not bothered.Yamaha accessories are unbelievably expensive- ebay is your friend.
Buying experience

Good, professional dealer.

Read all 4 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2013
Year discontinued -
New price £7,199
Used price £5,000 to £8,000
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 10 of 17
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost £180
Performance
Max power 51 bhp
Max torque 59 ft-lb
Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 47 mpg
Tank range 120 miles
Specification
Engine size 942cc
Engine type Four-stroke, air-cooled SOHC, 8v V-twin
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 12 litres
Seat height 690mm
Bike weight 247kg
Front suspension KYB 41mm forks, non-adjustable
Rear suspension Twin KYB shocks, adjustable spring preload
Front brake 1x298mm petal disc. Two-piston caliper
Rear brake 1x298mm petal disc, Two-piston caliper
Front tyre size 100/90ZR19
Rear tyre size 150/80ZR16

History & Versions

Model history

2013: Model introduced

Other versions

The XV950R costs £7,799 and comes with a different seat, ABS and piggyback shocks.

Photo Gallery

  • YAMAHA XV950  (2013-on)
  • YAMAHA XV950  (2013-on)
  • YAMAHA XV950  (2013-on)
  • YAMAHA XV950  (2013-on)
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