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YAMAHA XSR700 XTribute (2019-on) Review

Published: 28 May 2019

Updated: 12 February 2020

Pays homage to the classic XT500 and looks the part – but it comes at a price

Yamaha XSR XTribute header image

Pays homage to the classic XT500 and looks the part – but it comes at a price

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

With nearly every manufacturer looking to capitalise on the growing trend of retro off-road bikes and desperate to hark back to their own legendary offerings, Yamaha have now jumped firmly onto the scrambler band wagon.

Calling on their rich off-road heritage that saw ground-breaking bikes like the XT500 rule the roost back in the 1970s, they have launched a re-modelled and re-packaged XSR700 called and called it the XTribute in homage to the silver-tanked 1981 XT500.

There’s no question that the XTribute is a great ride. With a nimble chassis, punchy motor and good fuelling it’s a bike that certainly puts a smile on your face the moment you swing your leg over it. It’s a bike that is as equally happy making good progress along your favourite twisty road or cruising down to the local bike café for soya latte.

Yamaha XSR XTribute action cornering shot

It’s comfortable thanks to its higher seat and feels purposeful as do its wide of-road focussed handlebars. And if it’s distinctive looks you want the XTribute is certainly something a little different, but whether the different paint scheme and small ergonomic and styling changes are worth an extra 10% on the price is rather questionable.

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Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The chassis, brakes and suspension also compliment the overall package well. And being an MT-07 it’s a seriously fun bike to ride that turns, corners and behaves brilliantly. The ABS-equipped four-piston calipers have no problem bringing the relatively lightweight 187kg (kerb) package to a halt. There’s plenty of feel too for one-finger trail braking or for smooth, controlled slowing down in town or with a pillion on the back.

Yamaha XSR XTribute front cornering shot

The XTribute features a deeper seat which raises the height by a significant 30mm. It makes it reasonably tall at 845mm, but it gives the added bonus of giving the rider more room between seat and peg – meaning there is less knee bend and more comfort. The higher, flatter seat and 40mm wider handlebars gives the XTribute a more authentic scrambler/off-road riding position.

Engine 4 out of 5

The heart of the bike is essentially a fun, frugal and highly engaging MT-07 which has been retro’d into the XSR700 before being given the additional styling twist of the XTribute.

Powered by the 689cc parallel twin CP2 engine the same that is used in both the MT-07 and new Ténéré 700 go-anywhere adventure bike. With 75bhp and 50ftlb torque it has the perfect character to compliment this type of bike, with good throttle response and easy-to-use power without ever being intimidating or overwhelming.

Yamaha XSR XTribute engine

There are no sophisticated electronics – so no traction control or quickshifter – instead it’s an engine that delivers ample performance totally in tune with this type of bike.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

The MT-07 motor hasn't been a cause for concern so it's fair to say you can expect the XTribute to be relatively reliable.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

The XTribute costs around 10% more than the bike it's based on, which is our only real concern here. Are the minor improvements worth the cost? We guess if it's the look you're after then you'll go for it regardless.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Like any of the current crop of retro scrambler’s it’s all about the looks, and there are a number of subtle changes that make the XTribute stand apart from a standard XSR700. It comes with gold rims and chunky dual-purpose Pirelli MT60RS block pattern tyres and up front it has black fork gaiters and black levers.

Yamaha XSR XTribute side profile

There are also billet frame tube caps to go with the silver paint scheme which is a throwback to the silver XT500 – although it’s just a silver painted tank rather than the original chrome one in 1981.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2019
Year discontinued -
New price £7,799
Used price £5,800 to £9,000
Warranty term -
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost -
Max power 75 bhp
Max torque 50 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 65.7 mpg
Tank range -
Engine size 689cc
Engine type Double overhead cam parallel twin
Frame type Diamond
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Seat height 845mm
Bike weight 187kg
Front suspension Non-adjustable telescopic fork with 130mm travel
Rear suspension Adjustable rear shock with 130mm travel
Front brake 2 x 282mm disk
Rear brake 1 x 245mm disk
Front tyre size 120/70 ZR 17M/C(58V) (Tubeless)
Rear tyre size 180/55 ZR 17M/C(73V) (Tubeless)

Owners' Reviews

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Photo Gallery

  • Yamaha XSR XTribute header image
  • Yamaha XSR XTribute side on riding shot
  • Yamaha XSR XTribute rear three quarter cornering shot
  • Yamaha XSR XTribute front on action shot
  • Yamaha XSR XTribute headlight and headstock
  • Yamaha XSR XTribute rider's view
  • Yamaha XSR XTribute fuel tank and headstock
  • Yamaha XSR XTribute exhaust
  • Yamaha XSR XTribute engine
  • Yamaha XSR XTribute side profile static shot
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