YAMAHA XJR1300 (2015 - on) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £120
Power: 97 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.6 in / 829 mm)
Weight: High (529 lbs / 240 kg)

Prices

New £8,599
Used £5,800 - £8,500

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Yamaha XJR1300 has turned into a retro-style café racer, inspired by the likes of Roland Sands and Deus. It's available in this standard version, or you can pay £1000 more for the Yamaha XJR1300 Racer.

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

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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. 

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

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. 

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

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. 

Specs

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

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £120
New price £8,599
Used price £5,800 - £8,500
Insurance group 13 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 97 bhp
Max torque 80 ft-lb
Top speed 140 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model 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. 

Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA XJR1300 (2015 - on)

6 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: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Engine: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Equipment: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £120
4 out of 5
16 October 2020 by Simon Clark

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £100

This bike is all about how it makes you feel. Loads of torque, will pull with tons of power in any gear. Old school clocks, no pointless gadgets , just pure riding fun. Perfect for weekend rides, but also good for touring, just throw on some soft panniers and a tail bag. Only downside to bike is fuel tank range, approx 100 miles before reserve, but don't think its possible to ride in UK for 100 miles without seeing a service station.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Best on A and B roads. In town very manoeuvrable, max speed on motorway 70mph. It will do 140mph but rip your head off after a while.

Engine 5 out of 5

Loads of power and torque. Air cooled , so less maintenance.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Solid build , no cheap parts here

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Very good value to maintain. Most service parts are easy to do yourself.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Seating position , comfy all day.

Buying experience: Dealer

5 out of 5
31 May 2020 by Englishbandit

Year: 2015

Fuel gauge is useless starts flashing on empty and starts counting miles you panic get to a garage fill up and still have 4lt left ?

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Rides really well and can shift when you ask it to. I have other bikes cbr929 and fz1N which are ridden fast and the xjr still puts a smile on my face, just love it. Cracking Sunday bike. No good for long distance with the 14lt tank but that’s not what I bought it for.

Engine 5 out of 5

Pulls in every gear will sit at 100mph all day long. I find it clunky from 1st to 2nd gear but rest as smooth as butter.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Build quality is top notch.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Has none ,but that’s how I like it you ride the bike and feel everything. Proper Riding

Buying experience: Cracking bike for the money. Cheaper than the z900 and a better bike.

5 out of 5 Mr
23 November 2019 by Mike

Version: street

Year: 2015

excellent bike , reliable, great look and feel. I made some changes on mine but I will buy it again 100%. the only small problem is the 14 L tank , nothing else but you'll get used to it :)

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Top bike for real world riding
04 October 2019 by Woodie

Version: Racer

Year: 2016

Solid well built and seat quite low I am 5ft 9" and can plant both feet on the ground ,No grab rail

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Anywhere suits the XJR ,A/B roads ,lanes point it and go ,ride all day ,but petrol decides when you stop,as it does with all bikes

Engine 5 out of 5

Shame NO six gear as an overdrive but you get to know when you in 5 gear,a great spread of power NO fuel snatching ,smooth as silk engine ,gear box very smooth and positive ,roll on around town in any gear point and go

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

To soon to say but engine has been going in manufacturer from 1998 no recorded issues,No corrosion

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Outstanding value second hand ,solid build quality and an brilliant engine

Equipment 4 out of 5

All the switchs are well built and in the correct place ! , ohlins shocks are brilliant ironing out our poor road surfaces,standard tyres are good ,No gadgets that you don't use ,less to fail

Buying experience: Bought from Honda Bromsgrove ,excellent service and would recommend

4 out of 5
18 March 2017 by Mark in Cologne

Year: 2015

It's a great bike. Stable, powerful and fun to ride.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 Very comfortable, pretty bike.
15 August 2016 by Giles Hamilton

Version: Racer

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £150

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 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

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Battery loses charge quickly. Servicing agent failed to replace a component so bike broke down next day.

Value vs rivals 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

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