YAMAHA XSR900 (2022 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Retro looks evoking memories of '80s and '90s classics
  • Characterful CP3 triple engine
  • Now has Bosch cornering electronics

At a glance

Power: 117 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.9 in / 810 mm)
Weight: Medium (426 lbs / 193 kg)

Prices

New £10,200
Used £9,700 - £10,200

Overall rating

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

The appeal of the Yamaha XSR900 and its retro looks will probably depend on your age. For many it will rekindle memories of the FZRs and YPVSs that ruled the roost in the late '80s and early '90s. The shape of the tank alone does it for me!

But look past the retro appeal, take away those well-judged looks, and you still have a fantastic road bike with a brilliant engine. There’s more than enough power and torque for the road, backed up by excellent rider aids and chassis. Priced very competitively, I can see the 2022 Yamaha XSR900 being a huge success.

Some taller, heavier riders may want more comfort, but as a road bike, it’s very hard to fault and I never stopped smiling on the XSR. I’m unsure what more you’d want from a road bike.

2022 Yamaha XSR900 left-hand bend

Ride quality & brakes

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

The big change up front is the introduction of Bosch 9.1 cornering ABS and a Brembo radial master cylinder. There is no changeable engine brake control, but a slipper clutch is standard. You cannot switch off the lean-sensitive ABS, but you can opt to have just conventional ABS, not lean-sensitive.

Like the suspension, the radial four-piston stoppers are hard to fault. There’s an adjustable lever, great feel at slow speeds, and strong stopping power when called upon. In perfectly dry conditions, I never felt the ABS intervention, and I’m sure all riders will appreciate the added benefits of cornering ABS. On a trackday, you may want to change the pads, which sometimes felt a little wooden in extreme use.

The new riding stance, with its 810mm seat height (15mm lower than the MT-09 and 20mm lower than the older XSR) feels poised and racy. For a naked it works well at motorway speeds, too, where the cruise control also comes into its own.

2022 Yamaha XSR900 left side on the road

The bars can be rotated in their clamps (9mm forward, 4mm upward) and the pegs can be moved 14mm up and 4mm rearwards. The quickshifter is smooth, the throttle is light, and bar-end mirrors actually work, unlike many. The 3.5in dash is a little small but all its information is clear and simple.

After a few hours, you will be thankful for the rest as the seat lacks a little padding, and there’s nothing for the pillion to hold on to. At 5ft 6in I am vertically challenged and enjoyed the low seat and the sensation of getting both feet firmly on the ground. That said, riders over 6ft may find it a little cramped.

Engine

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

The 890cc CP3 churns out a relatively modest 117bhp but still delivers a stunning top-end punch as well as a usable, rich seam of midrange torque. Flexible, proportional, engaging – it’s an almost-perfect blend of arm-straightening drive and easy manners, now supported by a 6-axis IMU and lean-sensitive rider aids.

There are three riding modes and four power modes to choose from. Riding mode 1 is the sportiest and, with engine power automatically set to max, a little sharp.

2022 Yamaha XSR900 engineThe softer throttle found in mode 2 is more forgiving and complements the willing character of the XSR, while the third mode can be personalised. TCS (traction control), SCS (slide control), LIF (lift control), and the up-and-down quickshifter all come as standard.

 

Reliability & build quality

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

Yamaha have spent six years getting the XSR to this point and it oozes thoughtful touches and decent build quality. The motor is reliable and there are few reports of big issues. Some have complained about cold-start issues, but that seems to have been sorted out now and we certainly did not have problems with the 2022 model.

Value vs rivals

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

At £10,200 the Yamaha XSR builds on the good-value proposition of the base bike MT-09. It’s £600 more than Kawasaki’s Z900 base offering, but comes with a lot more tech. And it's almost £1000 cheaper than a Kawasaki Z900RS, which is arguably a closer rival in terms of spirit.

Triumph’s Street Triple RS is nearly £11k or £9495 for the base version, but this lacks some of the Yamaha’s bells and whistles… and cc!

2022 Yamaha XSR900 front static

Equipment

5 out of 5 (5/5)

A new ally frame is 2.3kg lighter and 50% more rigid, while a new swingarm is stiffer and 59mm longer, delivering a 1495mm wheelbase to allow the rider to be re-positioned further back in the chassis and accommodate the longer, old-school Yamaha fuel tank.

Spinforged wheels are lighter, while adjustable pegs are set further back and the rider is pitched a 14mm forwards and sits lower than on the previous XSR.

On test on twisty Tuscany roads, stability was excellent, even when ridden hard. The Bridgestone S22 rubber and chassis provided excellent grip and feel, and rolling into corners the steering was progressive and accurate. It’s a refreshingly easy bike to ride briskly and hard to fault the factory set up, although the (fully-adjustable) forks feel slightly harsh ride on a bumpy surface.

2022 Yamaha XSR900 left side on the road

Specs

Engine size 890cc
Engine type Three-cylinder, water-cooled, 4-vlaves per cylinder
Frame type Detlabox aluminium
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Seat height 810mm
Bike weight 193kg
Front suspension KYB 41mm full-adjustable forks 130mm travel
Rear suspension KYB single rear shock, rebound and preload 137mm travel
Front brake 2x 298mm 4-piston calipers
Rear brake 245mm two piston Brembo
Front tyre size 120/70 R17
Rear tyre size 180/55 R17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £101
Annual service cost -
New price £10,200
Used price £9,700 - £10,200
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 117 bhp
Max torque 68.6 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2016: Yamaha XSR900 launched.
  • 2020: New liveries announced for XSR900
  • 2022: XSR900 updated

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