YAMAHA XSR700 (2015 - 2021) Review


  • Neo-retro styling with MT-07 underpinnings
  • Easy, approachable handling
  • Popular bike with owners

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £160
Power: 74 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.1 in / 815 mm)
Weight: Medium (410 lbs / 186 kg)


New N/A
Used £4,700 - £7,000

Overall rating

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

The 2015-2021 Yamaha XSR700 is essentially a styling exercise. That’s not a problem because its base bike, the MT-07, is already a fantastic machine that marries a 689cc parallel-twin engine with a lightweight chassis in an economical package.

Yamaha’s retro styled XSR700 simply broadened the appeal of the MT-07 and opened it up to a wider audience, namely those who are growing out their beards and getting into the retro scene.

The neo-retro XSR looks refined, it’s classy and handles superbly – and does it all for an extremely attractive price tag. Brilliant.

There's a thriving online community for this bike at the Yamaha XSR700 forums. Why not join up to meet likeminded owners?

In 2020 a new Dynamic White livery was revealed for the XSR700.

2022 Yamaha XSR700 incoming

Then in November 2021 we saw an all-new version of the XSR700 at the Eicma show in Italy, which broke cover with subtle changes including new forks, bigger brakes, revised switchgear, a headlight borrowed from the XSR900 and colours aping the legendary RD350LC.

Keep an eye out for the 2022 Yamaha XSR700 coming soon on MCN.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The XSR is an incredibly easy to handle machine, thanks mainly to its lightweight, smooth engine and predictable throttle response. And if stars were handed out for fun-factor the XSR would get five of them, but unfortunately the suspension and in particular the rear shock starts to struggle as the pace increases.

Yamaha XSR700 side profile riding shot

Just like Yamaha's other middleweights of this era (everything up to the 2021 MT-07 in fact) the XSR700's suspension is the one place where its budget nature can be felt.

Even with the preload cranked to maximum, the rear shock is soft and underdamped meaning it bounces through bumps and can tie itself in knots through undulating corners. Many owners have upgraded the unit to address this issue.

The posh four-piston monobloc brake calipers do a commendable job of stopping in a hurry and, unlike the MT-07, the XSR comes with ABS as standard.


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

The MT-07 has been praised for its wide spread of power and easy-to-use torque, and the same credit has to be heaped onto the XSR. The twin’s peak output of 74bhp is more than enough for the switchbacks, while its impressively strong midrange is ideal for processing the mountain turns.

Yamaha XSR700 front end tracking shot

Reliability & build quality

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

The CP2 engine used in the Yamaha XSR700 has been around for a long time, first in the MT-07 and later the Ténéré 700 and is well-known for reliability. Despite being priced at the budget end of the spectrum, the build quality is excellent and you should have no problems from a well serviced used model.

Yamaha XSR700 owners' reviews on MCN

Our Yamaha XSR700 owners' reviews are glowing: it's clear owners are pleased with their purchase. The only feedback is that the rear shock isn't the best, and should be replaced with an upgraded item. Yamaha themselves will sell you an Ohlins unit, in fact.

Value vs rivals

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

The new XSR700 was priced at £6249; £500 more than the ABS-equipped MT-07. Even at that price it’s still excellent value for money. The price tag is competitive and £1000 cheaper than its main rival, the Ducati Scrambler 800.

Other rivals could include the Triumph Street Scrambler and the Fantic Caballero 500 Scrambler.

The question is whether or not customers think the bike is £500 cooler than the MT. With an array of optional extras, an easily modifiable base bike, sweet finishing touches like logos on the seat, tank and casings, an all-day comfy riding position and an incredibly engaging motor – it’s certainly close.

Twin test: Yamaha XSR700 vs Husqvarna 701 Vitpilen

First published in MCN 01 August 2018 by Jon Urry

Yamaha XSR700 vs Husqvarna Vitpilen 701

As modern retros go, the XSR700 lines up against the Husqvarna 701 Vitpilen so we pit them against one another to find out which one's best.

Jon Urry reports: "These two bikes are located at the polar opposites of the retro world spectrum. Yamaha’s XSR700 is a soft, friendly machine with safe styling that can be used daily with no discomfort but with lots of riding pleasure. Up the pace and its squishy suspension is a major annoyance, but for the vast majority of riding conditions it’s perfectly acceptable and is a lovely machine to ride and enjoy.

"The Husqvarna Vitpilen, on the other hand, lives for that one golden moment of flat-out madness. However, when you aren’t absolutely on the pipe, it’s not an easy machine to live with and has little in the way of creature comforts. With a price tag of nearly £9000, it’s hard to justify owning a machine with such a limited scope, despite how uniquely styled it is."


4 out of 5 (4/5)

Yamaha XSR700 badge

Unlike the standard MT-07, ABS comes as standard on the XSR. Other than that the XSR is a pretty basic machine, in keeping with the retro style of the bike.

It's available in Dynamic White and Tech Black, and there are 50 optional extras available via Yamaha's website including Ohlins suspension parts and LED indicators.


Engine size 689cc
Engine type liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8v parallel twin
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 186kg
Front suspension 41mm forks, 130mm travel
Rear suspension monoshock, adjustable preload
Front brake -
Rear brake -
Front tyre size 120/70 ZR17
Rear tyre size 180/55 ZR17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost £160
New price -
Used price £4,700 - £7,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 74 bhp
Max torque 50 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2015: Model introduced
  • 2021: Final versions of this generation on sale - no Euro5 engine available.

Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA XSR700 (2015 - 2021)

9 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA XSR700 (2015 - 2021) 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 XSR700 (2015 - 2021)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Engine: 4.9 out of 5 (4.9/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.9 out of 5 (4.9/5)
Equipment: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £160
5 out of 5 xsr700
18 October 2022 by Wesley edwards

Year: 2017

Annual servicing cost: £115

This is my first bike and I'm extremely happy with it.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

front suspension is a little hard on the pot holed roads on the way yo work

Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

slightly pitted brake levers

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Fuel tank could be bigger doesn't get the mileage it states it should

Equipment 5 out of 5

mine came with a luggage rack this was great for strapping bags to on weekends away id recommend

Buying experience: bought from Wigan yamaha Paid full asking price tried to ask for a slight discount after telling dealer id take it rookie mistake

4 out of 5 XSR700
02 October 2021 by Jock The Englishman

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £180

Lovely engine, slick gear box and a comfortable riding position. I traded in a Harley Street 750 for it, the difference in build quality is like trading up from a 70's Skoda to a Bentley. Owned 2 years no rust, nothing broken, totally reliable. The only down side is the tank size, I struggle to get 100 miles out of a tank and I ride at a very relax pace.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Suspension a little hard at the rear as is the seat.

Engine 5 out of 5

It really is as good as the reviews.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Compared to my last bike, a Harley, the build quality is outstanding, especially given the he price. Nothing has gone wrong to date.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Bought for a bargain £5999 as it was pre-registered buy with zero miles and a very healthy trade in to boot.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Excellent in every respect. Speedo design so simple yet so clever, with a fuel gauge and gear indicator to boot.

Buying experience: Excellent - Ian Bell in Northumberland, great trade in, bargain price, everything agreed in principle over the internet and phone. I opted to travel down from Scotland, deal completed as agreed and on my way again with my new bike within an hour.

5 out of 5 Great bike. You won't regret it!
01 September 2020 by AP

Version: 60th Anniversary

Year: 2017

Annual servicing cost: £170

Great fun and really easy to ride. Great engine. Just enough power to enjoy an the road.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Softly sprung but quite well balanced. Good for the price.

Engine 5 out of 5

Really, really great engine. Change the exhaust and it sound good. Fitted the Leo Vince GP dual system.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Purchased new. Initially a problem with the handlebar mounting. Fixed under warranty but Yamaha uk unhelpful. The bike has been 100% reliable since and still brings a smile to my face after 10000 miles

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Cheap and easy to service. Mixed riding easy to get 60+ mpg.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Everything you really need. If you want more buy a car!

Buying experience: Purchased from Yamaha dealer in Basingstoke, Hampshire. Good price for previous year's model.

5 out of 5 All the bike I need
22 June 2020 by Dom Castle

Version: 60th Anniversary

Year: 2016

Annual servicing cost: £200

Superb motor, decent chassis for everyday riding, good-looking for a modern 'retro' bike and stonking value. Standard springs are a bit budget and the forks dive like a submarine but if that bothers you it can be fixed quite cheaply. Standard tyres look cool but better, grippier rubber is available. It feels great, like an old-school 250 but with proper power. I usually change bikes after a couple of years, but I think this one's a keeper...

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

The budget suspension works until things get fast and/or very bumpy, but there are fixes out there. Having said that the softness of the springing gives a decently smooth ride, although the standard seat will have your buttocks begging for mercy after an hour or so - it's worse than a bicycle seat for comfort. The brakes are fine, though ABS seems to kick in on the rear pretty quickly. I find that I enjoy the ride more if I'm kicking back, old-school, not trying to force a pace. May be more to do with my skills than the bike though.

Engine 5 out of 5

The motor is out of the MT-07 and has been around for a few years now. It is everything a good twin should be, enough power, heaps of torque, smooth without being dull and with that 270 degree crank has a bit of character. Most people hate the exhaust note but I've no problems riding around on a quiet bike - not a subscriber to the 'loud pipes save likes' cobblers. Clutch can be a bit abrupt and the gearbox is OK rather than amazing.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Apart from a couple of furry bolts, radiator pipes and an easily fixed sticky starter switch, this has been a gem. Cleans up well, though we don't go out in the wet if we can help it.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Being a reliable, proven twin servicing costs are not too steep, it doesn't seem to be hard on chains and sprockets or brake pads (although how you ride affects this of course) and insurance for an old giffer like me is cheap. It's economical, around 60-65mpg ridden sensibly.

Equipment 5 out of 5

I don't need loads of gizmos, just ABS for reassurance. The single dial is OK though because of the torquey nature of the engine I hardly ever look at the rev counter bit. I have added a few bits (customising this bike is a big part of the deal) like a screen, rad guards, heated grips, hand guards, hugger etc and will keep adding bits and pieces as I go on.

Buying experience: Excellent - cracking deal from the very good main dealer Tinkler's in Norwich as it was last year's colours; paid £5,500 in 2017.

4 out of 5
05 June 2020 by Another Dave

Year: 2017

The engine is the real gem on the xsr700, accompanied by its light weight and flickable characteristics, stick an exhaust system on it and you'll be smiling for miles, the torque is where it is at on the 700 and can be a fun wheelie machine. The suspension and tyres work great up to a point but when riding hard the rider does require more and that's the same for the brakes, I'd go as far as saying they are ok Overall a nice bike, great reliability, would like to see an sp model or something like in the near future

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Room for improvement but no problem for the average road rider

Engine 5 out of 5

Torquey, great soundtrack and reliable

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

3 years no issues

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

Abs on the back can come in quickly, would be nice to have an option to let the back slide a little now and again

5 out of 5 As a returning biker I love it.
24 April 2020 by Dave

Year: 2017

Annual servicing cost: £150

Great fun for the money

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

Bit soft but comfortable

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Fantastic value for money.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Minimal electrical gadgets so less to go wrong

5 out of 5 Great comeback bike
24 January 2018 by Old Dave

Year: 2017

Annual servicing cost: £190

First bike for 30 years. Perfect for me. Love the look even if comments a bit marmite. Tried a street twin, looks great but heavy and slow for 2k more!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Just loving the ride. Wind blast an issue over 85 but that helps keep the licence. I'm captain slow but it's way more capable than expected. Perfect if returning to bikeing. Easy to ride and faster than litre bikes of 20 years ago.

Engine 5 out of 5

The best bit. Review's all said it was good and they are right. If you don't think 700 is enough try one. On a public road perfect.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Only 6 months old but no problems so far. Only ridden once in the rain but no sign of rust. Feels well screwed together.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

First service steep at 190. Had to take it to a dealer other than the one i bought it at. Long story. Think they would have been cheaper if I'd bought from them.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Needs a rizoma rear brake cylinder (cosmetic) and heated grips. Otherwise has everything you need rather than everything you want. Looks are personal, obviously I love it.

Buying experience: Great deal. Haggle hard. Saved enough to pay for all the gear and some.

5 out of 5 XSR
08 September 2016 by Birdy

Year: 2016

Love this bike and would recommend to anyone who wants a fun bike at a reasonable price.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Handling is great, light weight helps, but so chuckable. Only let down by poor rear shock that can get a bit overworked amking it a bit bouncy at times.

Engine 5 out of 5

Brilliant!! I must be the only one who likes the sound of the twin, nice and torquie and easily fast enough when revved.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Very economical, even when thrashed, would imagine easy high 60's if you rode gently (unlikely to happen)

Equipment 5 out of 5

It's got everything you need in a small display and for a bike like this and at this price.

Buying experience: Dealer bought, Keys Motorcycles Worthing, had to pay retail £6349.00

5 out of 5 Is it retro? Debateable to some. Is is it great? Absolutely
05 August 2016 by Crispy

Version: xsr700 60th anniversary

Year: 2016

Annual servicing cost: £150

For what it costs, looks and performs; it's a fantastic bike that always puts a smile on my face and I always want to be riding.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

The XSR700 is a nice upright, relaxed riding position that makes for really good commuting and takes away the wrist stain that my old SV game me. The wide and higher bars and great balance and low weight really help me navigate traffic and filtering. On the twisty roads, it's nimble and quick to turn allowing some spirited riding to put a smile on your face. I don't feel quite engaged with the bike/road as much as I did with the SV, almost more relaxed (I think this is largely down to the softer suspension), but I think that adds to the charm of the bike and I certainly don't think I'm any slower than on the SV. Brakes are good and stop confidently. ABS has kicked in a little more than I would expect it to on very few occasions but this hasn't brought me any concern and I feel I can rely on the brakes more if I needed to.

Engine 4 out of 5

The MT07 based 700cc twin has been well reviewed and loved and I can see why. It is superb, smooth and has bags of torque at a really usable rev band. The bike a joy to use in and around town and also a great blast down the twisty country B roads. Only thing that holds back the 5th star is the standard exhaust note which takes away some character a little, however this can be resolved with aftermarket items, although they are few and expensive (at the time of writing)

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

I've only done 600 miles but not had any problems with it to date. Seems and feels well built and have nothing to grumble about so far. Gear changes seem a little smoother after it's first service.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

A brand new bike with great retro looks (in my opinion) but modern day usability and performance, can commute everyday with ease whilst can hold it's own on a twisty road, brings a smile to your face when your on it and costs less than £7000. I can see why the base vehicle won bike of the year and is so well reviewed. I've only completed 600 miles so far (just carried out the the first service) which cost £150. Tyres tread looks cool but may not be the best cost/performace tyre available. Cost £10-£13 to fill up, I got 140 miles on my usual commute (light town / mainly B roads) to a tank and the dash says I get 58 MPG, much better than the 120miles / £13-£15 fill up that the SV650 did.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Come with ABS as standard and the cool digital dash gives good information. Speed, Gears, Rev and fuel are the constant information wilst odometer, trip A/B, instant MPG, avg. MPG, coolant temp, ambient air temp and clock are all cycle-able. I would rather the clock was and maybe the water temp was part of the constant information but the 'retro - design' dash doesn't have the real-estate space for this. There are no riding modes or traction control, which I would have liked, but for the cost of the bike I can't really complain (and probably wouldn't need or use that much) I wasn't offered standard fitment heated grips, however I have heard rumours that these are available. there are optional extra's to customise the bike your way but these seemed expensive and more looks based than functional. I didn't see them, but the pannier bag, tank bag or 'tool' bag didn't seem like I could put a lot in them.

Buying experience: Bought brand new form a dealer. It was advertised at £6536 but I added a screen and crash bungs so I ended up paying £6800 after a few of the 'other costs' were added

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