YAMAHA XT660R (2004 - 2017) Review
- Phenomenal reliability
- Fun commuter or viable adventure bike
- Sounds great with a fruity exhaust fitted
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£120|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Yamaha XT660 has a reputation for being a fun commuter that’s too heavy to be taken seriously as an off-roader. But when you consider the gargantuan adventure bikes that followed (BMW GS, Triumph Tiger 1200, Ducati Multistrada) the XT looks like a svelte middleweight.
In fact, it is the spiritual predecessor of Yamaha’s excellent middleweight adventurer, the Ténéré 700, which weighs about 40kg more.
The XT660 comes in three guises – the Yamaha XT660X (supermoto-style with 17-inch rims) and the Yamaha XT660R (taller, with an off-road friendly 21-inch front wheel) and the XT660Z Tenere (a touring version with a tall screen).
The 660cc liquid-cooled single cylinder thumper engine is renowned for its ability to soak up abuse and keep on going, meaning the XT is a great option for long distance touring (see what Nick Sanders has to say below).
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The Yamaha XT660X handles just fine on its gorgeous Excel rims, right up to about 90mph when the bars start to weave. The Yamaha XT660R can start to weave as soon as 80mph, especially if you’ve fitted off road tyres, but there’s so little wind protection you wouldn’t want to go much faster anyway.
The single 296mm front front disc brake with two piston caliper is not up to the job of hauling the overgrown dirt bike to a halt efficiently and squeezing the lever harder is likely to result in a front wheel lock-up rather than improving braking force.
The riding position is upright and the seat is unforgiving so full days in the saddle are punishing.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The SOHC, 659cc single of the Yamaha XT660 claims a decent 48bhp, with another 5bhp to come (and a decent weight-saving) simply by ditching the oh-so heavy dual cans and their catalysers for a single silencer.
Aftermarket exhausts systems can reroute the downpipes (twin port) around the side of the engine, too, which improves ground clearance and reduces the chance of you holing them on a rock. It also transforms the engine noise from a sewing machine to an apache attack helicopter, not for those with sensitive neighbours.
The Yamaha XT660's fuel injection is very snatchy, spoiling the low speed performance with a strange surging that has no place in the modern biking world. This can be ridden around and is helped by keeping the chain at the correct tension as too much slack exacerbates the effect.
The best way to get the most out of the XT's engine is to exploit the brilliant low down shove and then short shift as soon as it starts to get breathless. There's no point chasing the redline (there's no tacho anyway) as the top end is much less fun than the bottom.
In fact, an overexuberant right hand in first gear at low revs will send the front wheel skyward before you've had a chance to say #wheeliewednesday.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Yamaha’s build quality is excellent and it shows on both the Yamaha XT660X and the Yamaha XT660R. The plastics are shiny and the finish is lustrous, though if you want to keep the R’s engine looking good an aftermarket bash plate’s the way forward, especially if you fancy some light trail work.
Nick Sanders would buy one
Nick Sanders has been around the world seven times on a motorcycle and holds the record for the fastest circumnavigation on a bike, covering the 19,300 miles in 19 days and four hours! So what would the man who has ridden a bicycle (twice), Yamaha YZF-R1, Royal Enfield Bullet and even a Triumph Daytona around the world buy if he was planning his next adventure on a budget?
“When you are looking at covering big miles you want something totally reliable that can go anywhere and if that’s the criteria there is only one bike – Yamaha’s XT660R. I’ve owned four and have ridden one to Timbuktu and back, twice!
"The XT is a brilliant adventure bike because it is virtually impossible to break the motor and the chassis is very basic, meaning that should you need assistance it can always be fixed. I’ve cracked frames on XTs and had them welded up at the side of the road and that’s the beauty of them, you can bodge them together and the ingenuity of local mechanics (especially in India) to keep you going is absolutely staggering.
"People get obsessed by big, heavy, adventure bikes when it comes to travelling the world, but to be honest – they aren’t the best option. You want to slip under the radar, especially in some of the poorer countries, and a posh new adventure bike looks expensive and makes you stand out. A battered XT660R, a set of luggage and a smile will get you a lot further with the locals than the latest GS."
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The trusty XT has held onto its value incredibly well and even a well used example will now cost you a chunk over £3000. Honda’s FMX650 is nicer to ride and the Suzuki DRZ is a more serious off road option and looks better too.
If you are open to a new bike, you should also consider the XT's successor, the Yamaha Ténéré 700, which uses a more powerful parallel-twin engine and has a few (but not too many) creature comforts.
The Yamaha XT660R and Yamaha XT660X share a neat digital dash, smart plastics and the same monkey metal, easy-bend bars Yamaha fits to all its off-road bikes. Many owners will have fitted aftermarket parts including exhausts, handlebars, handguards, bash plates, luggage racks and more so stock examples are rare.
There’s no ABS or traction control to be found and rather than a fuel gauge you get a warning light after about 100 miles and an F-trip counter for the reserve (which will get you about another 50 miles).
|Engine type||4v single, 5 gears|
|Frame type||Tubular steel cradle|
|Fuel capacity||15 litres|
|Front brake||Single 296mm disc|
|Rear brake||245mm disc|
|Front tyre size||90/90 x 21|
|Rear tyre size||130/80 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||44 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£120|
|Used price||£3,400 - £4,500|
10 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||47 bhp|
|Max torque||44 ft-lb|
|Top speed||98 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||14.06 secs|
|Tank range||150 miles|
Model history & versions
2004: Yamaha XT660R and Yamaha XT660X introduced.
Yamaha XT660X (XT660R specs below): 17-inch Excel rims, 320mm front disc, 177kg, 875mm seat height.
Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA XT660R (2004 - 2017)
18 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA XT660R (2004 - 2017) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£120|
Just fun fun fun
It’s a very good bike, you can use It everywhere, it’s a bit aggressive with its own mono-cilinder. It’s light, not the best when you need to break, you need enough distance to stop your bike, so be careful. Pratically its a funny bike that you can ride everywhere!
Buying experience: Private, second hand bike. 1850,00 €
Version: XT660X Motard
The Yamaha XT660X is a fun to ride thumper, particularly around the lanes, with enough pace to pass traffic. The down side of the bike is that it is weighty and lumpy at low speeds.
I use mine for back lane and B-road blasts and poor weather riding. It's great fun. The seat appears comfy, the brakes are good and the ride is adequate.
It's surprisingly good for it's weight, jerky at lower speeds although i'm going to play around with gearing (as a low cost experiment). The cans weigh a tonne so I will be changing them.
Super reliable and super cheap. Solid build, no rust, spokes and hubs a bit dulled by winter salt. Water ingress into light switch body.
My favourite characteristic is the single's thump. Heated grips are a necessity. Styling is still pretty on point in my opinion. Gold Talon rims as standard are a good touch. I only run premium tyres and they've kept it sticky side up so far.
Buying experience: I bought mine from a dealer for £3200 on a '10 plate with 14k miles on the clock and a FSH.
Annual servicing cost: £60
I have just bought a 2011 xt660x. As a second bike to do a trip round Scotland. been out on it 3 times now and done 120 miles each time. Right before i start my review my other bike is an FZ1N and i have been riding 900/1000cc race bikes all my life and i do not hang around.. right about the xt660x as long as you do not think you are buying a pocket rocket its a really good bike. It's very heavy when its not moving but when riding you would not know it was 190kg at all. I have the kev mod and o2 sensor mod, after market cans and i have NO problem at all with the fuelling that people keep complaining about, its an easy fix and takes 10 mins to fit the bits. I took the bike over the moors where i live and the bike loves it from 0 to 90 no problem at all, not once did i think god this is slow. and to be honest when on the straight it will go up to 100 (just) you would not want to go any faster on one of these not to safe but fun lol (not that i did mind you). When you learn how to ride a single, as it is different to a inline 4. I know i will leave lots of sport riders on the twisty in the summer now that will be fun. If you know how to ride a single it can be lots of fun. would not have it as my only bike, but it ticks all the boxes for what i want it for. 250 miles a day on this will be no problems at all. The thing will run for ever and go up anything. I was expecting to hate it (all my mates said i would) and only keep it for my 5 day trip then sell it on as its not really my thing. My fz1 would be no good round Loch Ness as it really is 2nd, 3rd 4th and tight twisty roads and very bumpy. Well it was a shock to me but i love the xt and am going to keep it. Its lots of fun sounds like hell with the cans on and rides fine, looks good. If you are a new rider you will love it, if like me you just want something to take out on a sunday and not loose your licence it will do the job. its a good all round bike.i would give this bike a 4 out of 5. The only reason it does not get a 5 out of 5 is its not a KTM
can ride this till you need to refill no problems at all
good solid bike
easy to service at home
nice engine bit more power would be nice
Buying experience: got a very very good price £2900 for a one owner 4500 mile 2011 bike in as new condition never seen rain (stole it at that price)
Annual servicing cost: £184
Bit heavy for mud, but good fun on loose surfaces.
Brakes are okay, but not the best feature. You run out of juice before you go numb.
I have no problem with the way the fuel injection works, even at low speeds.
Had the bike from new, now 13k miles - apart from tyres and service items has not missed a beat.
being 1.92m tall, the seat height is perfect, but for stumpy people they might find it tough.
I bought a 2008 model S/H it was cheap and I thought it would do as a winter hack. What a surprise really enjoyable to ride. Its very involving to ride I like to take it out just to take it out just for a spin and when I get home I cant help wearing a silly grin I love it. I have changed a couple of things I have raised the bars and changed the footrest as the original items were round rubber covered and was a bit slippy when wet so fitted a set of SW Motech pegs and now its just great. I have not experienced any of the fuelling problems which seems to plagued some and well written about. One gripe, I wish I got one years ago. One reason that you will not see many XTRs on the road is the cost new £6500 that's a lot when you look to see what else there is on the market and I don't think many folks will give it a second glance. One thing I would recommend is that you take a big single out for a test ride you may be surprised
I'd love to say that living with the Xtx over the past 18 months has been all sweetness and light but it hasn't. However it's not been all bad the bike starts on the first turn of the engine. Handling is impressive and can embarrass the odd sports bike as long as the road has no straight bits.
Did I miss something when trying this bike?? I was hoping to have bought the ideal greenlane tourer. A true X/C (cross country) bike. I owned a BMW 650 Dakar which was a great tourer for the smaller roads but proved to be underpowered for more challenging off-roading and always threatened to cost a fortune should I drop it. Then I tried the Suzuki DRZ 400. A phantastic greenlaning bike, although the fuelling does cause me some headaches. But the road sections are a real pain (literally with that seat). And the engine sounds as if about to blow at more than 60mph. The XT660R sits right in the middle of these two. Lets hope the fuelling issue, mentioned so many times, does not appear and spoil the fun. I am more worried about the lesser ground clearence. I do hope the rock plates are going to be delivered soon (before a rock rippes the exhoust off.....)
Lived with this bike for 12 months now. Chose it as I had not ridden anything for about 3 years so wanted to ease myself back in to riding. I am now definitely looking to change it as it frustrates me too much to be able to keep it. I am 6'2" and 16 stone. Good Points (quite a few) :- Seat fairly comfortable for a couple of hours riding. Seat is also ideal for my height. Starts every time in the wet and/or cold. 120 miles for 11 litres of fuel. Looks good. Over 40 mph on A roads its a hoot. Screen actually provides pretty good protection at 85mph (you wouldn't want to go much faster for long, also I find a weave starts to appear. Great on rough country lanes (with tarmac), go very carefully if you are off the metalled surfaces, hardly any clearance. Bad Points (one howler) :- Fuelling Fuelling Fuelling. I say again Fuelling. Around town whilst commuting its a nightmare and really tiring. I read someone else's review saying that Yamaha say you have to ride around this 'feature' they were not wrong. No matter where I am riding, if I am below 35 mph the bike drives me mad. It seems that no matter what gear I am in at these speeds the fuelling problem presents itself. i.e. its very much either on or off. Further niggles, finish on wheels/spokes is suspect, but that may have been previous keeper. LCD speedo is clear but the glass buzzes in its housing, thank god I wear ear plugs to ride. This next point is not a negative really as the bike does not sell itself as a performance machine, but overtakes on A roads have to be very well planned as it does not have a lot more 'go' than your average family car - this too has now become too much of a pain to make me want to keep the bike.
Mine is the X, the Supermoto, I am in to my third year of ownership, 2 of us bought these at the same time, we ride them for fun only, out on twisty tarmac roads, moor roads etc, we both think that these bikes are the business and neither of us can believe that we prefer these to sports fours, it takes a while to get used to a single (no revs change quickly) and a while to get used to a Supermoto bike and what it can do with the right warmed up tyres. Some sports bikes do pass us, in the three years we have had them probably around 8 only!! First we thought that we were steady riders but a maybe a little quicker than average Joe, now since we are riding in areas where there are loads of sports bikes (hundreds) we realise that these Supermoto bikes are perfect for tight twisting roads, we use three quarters of the bikes power and all of the gears, Sports bikes are blasting down the very short straights but in second gear and slipping clutches round the tighter bridges and bends, we are riding at a steady rate but the wide bars, long travel suspension and ludicrous roadholding and lean angles makes riding effortless for us, we are getting, one up, around 69 mpg!! A day out for about £12-15, around 45- 50mpg two up on the same tight twisting roads. You have to have a go on one of these on roads that suit them not up and down a motorway or straight A road they are a superb machine, plus if you want it is easy to lose 10-20KG off them and add a bit more hp but we have enough fun as they are. Only complaint? The seat could be slightly more comfortable, the seat gets you off the bike not boredom. Got to be tried to be believed.
This is the best buy bike. If you want a true all-rounder at low cost. This is a fun fun road bike but even more fun off road. I've taken this bike places you could never take a BMW-GS. So much so it left me hungry for more off road stuff so I now also have a KTM450exc
If you know your bikes the fuel problem can be sorted, mine never cuts out and it only takes three minutes to correct, where do these other people come from?? It is what it is, fun economical bike that it great on country roads and around town, ideal for up to 250 mile trips with three stops, no-one seems to make a better replacement seat yet!! Brings back the simple fun to biking without the expense, fantastic handling with good fuel economy.
I bought the XTX last Saturday and had it back in the dealership first thing Monday morning. You quessed it! The fuel injection is crap and that's not under selling it. If you join the Yamaha Owners Club there are a few tips to reduce the effects but you'll never get it completely fixed. Now don't get me wrong, it's not all bad news for the XTX. It has a great seating position albeit a little firm and riding on Metzeler rubber this machine will corner like its on rails. Having ridden dirt bikes for years this bike is a slightly heavy crosser for the road and is a lot of fun in the sensible speed bracket, so you get to keep you licence (Nearly). It is an absolute blast on the twisties, which let's face it where it should be. Getting used to the big single after riding a 1000cc straight four takes a bit of thought, as dropping a couple and cracking the throttle open tends to only generates more noise or an ill advised trip to the rev limiter. However once you've mastered the low revs and the powerful torque from the basement, lifes a blast. I have done 500 miles on this machine in the last two weeks and it has returned 63 mpg. For that alone I can just about live with the "poor fueling at low throttle positions" as yamaha put it. My advise would be to test drive this bike before you buy one. That said, I will be keeping mine as it ticks enough boxes in the looks, performance and handling brackets for me to keep it for my daily commuting.
I have owned an XT660 for 6 months and hated it from the first day. The surging is ridiculous and the cutting out between 3rd and 2nd gear is just dam right dangerous. It vibrates like a jack hammer and more than 100 miles and I've had enough. It weighs a ton and weaves all over the place above 85 mph. I've tried the '07 model and that is just as bad for surging. You could try a power commander but you would be wasting your time as the problem is in the ignition timing and that is locked into the ECU. The suspension is rubbish and the brakes are nothing special. Good points. Erm.........looks good but that is all.
Well I bought this bike pre registered with 0 miles for £3495 so I think it has been a good bike and good value. Had I paid full price for it then I think I would have been upset. The good bits. The bike is quite friendly to ride and seems to be well put together The finish is good and seems to be robust, it has fair off road ability and as far as commuting goes, it is about as good a bike as you could get. Economy is great, I weigh 19 stone so I am a bit of a windbreak but still get around 55 to a gallon. The bad bits. The brakes are are a little bit wooden but not dangerous. However the real achilles heel of this bike is the fueling at low speed, getting back on the throttle on wet mini roundabouts is almost frightening and low revs power delivery can be very snatchy and these two factors ruin what could other wise be a very capable little bike. On balance the fueling problems out weigh all the good points of the bike but if you can live with that then buy one and enjoy it but don't pay RRP for a new one as thay are expensive for what they are.
This is the first time that I have riden a big single and I am really dissapointed in how poorly set up the injection system is. I now its the injection system because the TTR600 rides as smooth as smooth. I borrowed one of these whilst Yamaha tried to sought out my XT660X. I have rang Yamaha UK and spoke to customer services who claim its a characteristic of the bike and I should ride around it!!! Poor R&R if you ask me! Strengths: When planted, confident around twistys, looks great, reliable and sounds good. Good brakes, nice seat height for over six footer's. Weaknesses: <br>Fuel injection is appalling, the will not maintain a steady 30mph without surging and hunting. Makes for a very stressful ride around town.
I bought my bike from new earlier this year and have so far done 4000 miles. I find the bike comfortable with the upright seating position. I use it to commute 20 miles to work and back. I try to stick to B roads to arrive at work with a big grin on my face. With all the traffic on the A roads and motorways, the XT is excellent for overtaking. The high perch allows you to spot gaps easily. It's never going to be a competition crosser so taking the bike greenlaning is always a handful. I let the KTM guys in my TRF group blast off down the lanes while I take my time, pick my lines and have more fun than I ever have on the road. The bike copes well in the mud with a decent set of MT21 road legal knobblies, but they are very squirmy on a wet road. For winter rubber or a semi supermotard ride, try the Bridgestone BT45's (21inch front avail.) for better grip and durability. Strengths: Easy to ride, cheap cost for replacement plastics, 65mpg, cruises at 85mph (with larger screen), great looking pipes. Although not a sports bike, people stare and double take when you ride past. Better in black! Space for all camping kit if you get a rack. Weaknesses: Change the rubber pegs for some metal ones. Get a decent bash plate and hand guards if you are going to take the bike greenlaning. It's a little heavy for a weekend trail/weekday commuter. The (well documented) fuel injection glitch it a little annoying so get it changed at the first service.
First thing that strikes is the poor injection / fueling which Yamaha have manged to develop. It's tricky at low revs, stumbling to maqintain smooth delivery. So bad when I first got this bike I took it in for inspection - ECU got replaced under warranty (generic fault apparantly - Yamaha need to do their design work prior to launch or it chaffs off their customers and increases their own costs). Dealers were slagging off their own supply chain - always a good sign of a harmonius company. New ECU made some difference but still nothing on more prehistoric Dominator engine. In fact dealer was bold enough to comment that Dominator was in a different class. Gearbox also poor - again typical as Yamaha dealer kindly pointed out. Hmmm, now they've lost me as a future customer. On the upside it's pleasant on the eye, good vision / seating position, pulls when you need it and breaks do a good job. Strengths: Handling. Pull over 3000rpm. Seating position when commuting. Weaknesses: Gearbox, fuel injection at low revs - MT03 has been revised. Decals have almost blown off.