YAMAHA XV950 (2013 - 2021) Review
- Japanese Harley rival
- Relatively light for a cruiser
- Sportier than previous models
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Like any proper bobber, Yamaha’s XV isn’t for the long, open road but is more suited to the urban dude.
- Latest news: Yamaha XV950 dropped from range for Euro5
Yamaha has kept it relatively light, at 247kg, and a super-low seat height of 690mm makes it easy to control for virtually everyone.
An abundance of torque delivers a fun, responsive ride and having suspension and brakes that work goes a long way to increasing confidence. The belt-drive motor is lovely to use and the XV is a good looking piece of machinery. Watch out Harley Sportster, you might have a serious Japanese rival for the first time.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The XV950’s chassis is all-new and has been designed to be sportier than previous XV models as well as looking the part. Although it is a relatively small bike, the XV still feels fat and comfortable with a nice reach to the bars from the seat, however it is when the road develops a few corners that the Yamaha really impresses.
Ok, the ground clearance is fairly limited, but the XV corners far better than most cruisers and can be ridden spiritedly thanks to a good chassis and excellent (although budget) suspension. The brakes also perform well and the ABS is effective in its operation.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Not everything about the XV is new. The engine is the same air-cooled V-twin from the XVS950A Midnight Star which came out in 2009, albeit tweaked slightly with new inlet and outlets and a revised ECU. The result is it now pumps out 51bhp at 5500rpm and 59ftlb of torque at 3000rpm, which is more than enough. The belt-drive motor is lovely to use and the fuel injection is flawless. The 12.2-litre tank and 47mpg efficiency should see it cover over 120 miles between fill-ups, which on a bobber is more than enough to get you between cafes…
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The level of detail and finish is very high on the XV950 and the air-cooled V-twin engine is a tried and tested lump.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Bang on the price for middleweight cruisers
You get a good looking bike and that’s about it. Yamaha have used a lot of brushed aluminium, which is nice, but only the R version gets ABS.
|Engine type||Four-stroke, air-cooled SOHC, 8v V-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel|
|Fuel capacity||12 litres|
|Front suspension||KYB 41mm forks, non-adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Twin KYB shocks, adjustable spring preload|
|Front brake||1x298mm petal disc. Two-piston caliper|
|Rear brake||1x298mm petal disc, Two-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||100/90ZR19|
|Rear tyre size||150/80ZR16|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||47 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£101|
|Annual service cost||£150|
|Used price||£5,300 - £7,700|
10 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||51 bhp|
|Max torque||59 ft-lb|
|Top speed||110 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||120 miles|
Model history & versions
2013: Model introduced
The XV950R costs £7,799 and comes with a different seat, ABS and piggyback shocks.
Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA XV950 (2013 - 2021)
9 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA XV950 (2013 - 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Could do with a 6th gear.
Stock ground clearance is limited and ride quality over rough roads is low, but all of the can be mitigated by fitting a pair of 280mm Hagons
Made even better with an ECU flash.
Low seat height. Mid controls.
Buying experience: Bought privately
Version: Racer 60th Anniversary
Annual servicing cost: £200
I like the look of the bike particularly in the anniversary colours. It's a satisfyingly simple air cooled motorcycle and a joy to ride. It handles well, is comfortable for distances, fast of the mark and rumbles along at high enough speeds with few gear changes to keep things going. The belt drive is smooth, clean and needs little adjustment; I've done 3500 miles without the need for adjustment. As far as niggles go it could use a larger fuel tank but this is helped by its 60mpg consumption. Out of the three motorcycles I have this is my go to machine for any journey.
Its a good all around bike. I'm fine with 2 hour stints before a fag break and have done around 300 miles in a day before now with no issues, which is a surprise considering my 64 years. Cannot do this on my other bikes. The bike is good around town with a light clutch, positive gear changes and the low down torque of the engine. I love using the bike on sweeping country roads but am also happy with its abilities on motorways.
The engine is perfect for me. Its simple with good power everywhere in the rev range. It will pull well over the legal limit with ease and no fuss. I love the look of the V twin engine and its satisfying rumble.
Build quality is good. No rust or crud so far and it polishes up very nicely. No issues to date.
Fuel consumption is very good for the size of the bike at around 60mpg
The bike has all the basics and also has ABS. That's about it which is fine by me.
Buying experience: I purchased from Robspeed in Grimsby with little fuss. I paid the advertised price of £6000 including delivery to my home over 60 miles away. The list price was £8150. No complaints at all.
Let down by the engine and the rear suspension
The rear suspension is very hard, and the front is quite soft. It is very (too) stable around the bends, but it does take effort if you want to miss a pothole
Well, it's vibey, blurs the mirrors between 55-70, and lacks any top end for overtaking.
No problems with it.
There are quite a few pre-reg'd ones around, I got mine for 6k with 40 miles on the clock.
Now I might be a bit picky, but there's no tacho and no fuel gauge (for a small tank)
Buying experience: Easy
Annual servicing cost: £50
Good brakes abs works fine
Had mine nearly 7 years from new,never had any problems
Just change oil and plugs every year,not had to do anything else
Got everything you need
Buying experience: Bought new from dealer £7200
Great first bike for me. A lot of low down torque. I do not regret buying this bike.
Annual servicing cost: £100
although the low seat is great the weight of the bike makes it hard work to move at slow speeds and difficult to move in a tight space and the speedo is a mis adventure of design difficult to see in anything like sunlight The rear suspension has too little travel and does your back in over speed bumps, the seating position is fine but the flat bars would better if they had risers, or a taller bar set up
would be better with twin discs but there are fine, the ride is comfortable but after an hour your back gets sore from the lack of decent rear shocks
plenty of grunt and low speed pulling power a higher top speed would enable easier cruising speed at legal limits to feel less revvy
so far so good nothing rattles or broken and starts first time every time. Overall the finish is good and the quality of fit is great, no rattles etc,
great to have belt drive and air cooling no messing with coolant
as before the belt drive is great no chain lube mess and lighter than a shaft
Buying experience: i bought an ex demo from a dealer and they were great
I love the noise, power and how easy it is to ride the bike. Also how comfy it is for someone who is my size (6ft 2). Its brilliant for the lanes and around town. Dislike the indicator controls and how the lights are all bulb less the rear light which is LED (why not all LED). Unless you have a screen or ride at 60mph then motorway riding would become tiring as the wind hitting you in the chest is hard work above 60. I do NOT regret buying it and smiled the whole time on taking it out for the first time. The noise from the Akrapovic exhaust is beautiful and turns heads.
Once I found the riding position (as daft as that sounds) the bike is very comfy and got zero bum numbness! I went for the racer as its seat height is higher (I'm 6ft2) which hopefully gives me that little more room. Also I have no problems with my knee rubbing on the air filter I have read about in other reviews. Its a little hard on the shoulders/arms as the tank isn't wide enough to grip with your knees as you would on a sports bike but again once you find the position all was good. Its corners extremely well but with new tyres and damp roads I wasn't scraping the pegs....yet....just feels like you have loads of control and feedback from the steering. I have to say I was extremely impressed with how it handled. Front brakes feel a little weak when slowing from speed.....but it is brand new so maybe just need bedding in however used with engine braking there is more than enough stopping power. For me the levers seem a little to far away from the bars (And I have big hands) so it might be worth investing in the optional billeted levers which are adjustable.
This is where is shines. Lots of torque, lots of power delivery and not to many vibrations but enough to remind you its a V Twin (you ain't seeing anything in the mirrors at low speeds due to vibration). I felt it was a bit jumpy around town but then again I've been use to an automatic. Engine braking is as expected from a V Twin which helps
to early to say yet but its using a long used reliable engine so can't see any future problems. and its looks well put together and I haven't read any reviews yet of the earlier XV950's having any trouble with corrosion etc so can't see that being a problem for the newer racer.
apart from the initial servicing required at 600 miles ( or 6 weeks) its a standard 6500 miles between them. Once out of warranty will do my own.
Its has NOTHING on it other than ABS... But remember this bike was made so you can customise it YOUR way so I can understand to some degree why Yamaha did this....Would have liked a rev counter though. the indicator controls just feel like they are going to break off everytime I use them (can't feel if I've turn then on or off through gloves) however all others seem fine and in perfect positions for your thumbs etc. The display is basic and very clear and easily seen whilst paying attention to the road. I had the belly pan fitted and the Akrapovic exhaust (Yamaha accessories)......like music to your ears along with the V Twin.....will be removing baffle soon. ALso will add Yamaha LED indicators to the rear to go with the LED back light (why only the back light Yamaha??) I only gave it 3 stars due to the basic bike Equipment is, well.....nothing. However the whole point of this bike is to customise it your way.
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer (Len Manchester) or delivered even though I live down south. Reason? because they were nearly 2 grand (yes 2K) cheaper than my local Yamaha dealer (who wouldn't budge on the 8K price tag and wouldn't give anything off the extras). Also they (especially Jamie) have been brilliant from start to finish and I have NO regrets buying from them and would do so again in a heartbeat.
Version: R spec
Annual servicing cost: £250
Pleasure to ride both on A and B roads; call me crazy to throw this type of bike onto B roads, but you can really have some fun as long as you don't expect sports bike behaviour. I've had my XV950R for a year now, ridden through winter on a daily basis commuting to work and the only thing I'd improve is the back end feel in the wet... but it might improve with a different tyre.
If I am picky, the seat could improve its comfort but it's absolutely fine for the regular 130 miles between refueling, especially if you are not doing motorways. I do not carry pillions so can't comment on that but the seat (which I removed) was tiny, so I suspect comfort would be worse for a pillion. Brakes are fine with the front being surprisingly good for a single disc and the ABS on this R spec is not intrusive at all. The suspension is "softish" absorbing well the majority of our road bumps.
Smooth power delivery for a v-twin - but I guess this one's been trialled and tested for years. Absolutely love the torque which is not only present at the low end, making overtaking easy without dropping a gear even at motorway speeds... you ask for it and it replies: "yes Sir, right away!"
Solid built quality, nothing feels cheap, no corrosion anywhere even riding through winter. I do tend to wash her every month and apply adequate protection products.
Great value; first service shy of £120, just serviced it at 4500 miles and it cost me £250 which for a years worth of riding i don't think is bad.
I like it simple, so not a problem; it's a "modern bobber" as i've heard them call it, so it's blacked out and back to basics... but you know what? Basics are great! I will change the stock exhaust though... i would love it if they'd made it a bit gruntier; such a good looking bike, begs for a better and louder sound track.
Buying experience: Bought from a local dealer; extremely professional and helpful as always, with no pressure at all.
Version: Base model.
Fun to ride, great engine. Ideal for first time rider despite weight.
Just wish that the front brake was a bit better. Back end is a bit harsh, perhaps the R spec is better.
Surprisingly quick, good on the motorway with instant overtaking power, no need to drop down a gear.
I find this cheap to run. The worst mpg so far is 60, best is 73. Insurance costs are very sensible.
Basic but I'm not bothered.Yamaha accessories are unbelievably expensive- ebay is your friend.
Buying experience: Good, professional dealer.