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.
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 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.
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.
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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.