MCN Fleet: Can the Yamaha XSR900 do big miles?

Published: 08 June 2016

XSR900 tackles a monster motorway mission.

The crisp-but-sunny Sunday morning had me itching to get going and see how the naked XSR would cope with a 400-mile round-trip to Newcastle. Nearly all of those miles were to be on the A1 and the early impressions were good.

A steady throttle at 6000rpm saw a decent cruising speed, 45mpg and windblast was not too severe. Mirrors blur at this speed, but not so badly that you can’t make out what’s behind. Push beyond this and fuel economy takes a battering – dropping below 40mpg. Neck strain also kicks in after a while if revs rise much above 6000rpm for any length of time. Even riding at a sensible pace means refuelling every 110-120 miles, so planning ahead is critical.

On one occasion the fuel light started flashing at 90 miles and I had to keep going for another 22 before I could find fuel. When I topped up I squeezed 13.85 litres into the 14-litre tank, so another mile or two and I’d have been pushing.

The limited range is a little disconcerting on long trips, but the XSR is not really designed to be a high-mileage distance-destroyer. Having said that, it’s pretty comfortable. The sit-up-and-beg riding position allows a relaxed reach to the bars and the lowish pegs mean legs aren’t cramped up too much. Of course, there’s a bit of windblast but at legal(ish) speeds it’s manageable.

There are no vibes and that silky smooth motor feels like it’s merely ticking over – even at speeds that would send speed cameras flashing.

There’s not loads of room for luggage but I strapped a tailpack on to the rear seat and there were plenty of places to secure bungee hooks.

The single-but-stylish clock continues to impress with clear and easy-to-see info. I did manage to convert everything to kph for a while but it was easy to change it back.

The adjustments I made to the rebound damping 600 miles ago have softened things and it’s now not so harsh over big bumps.

The XSR is not in its natural environment slogging up and down a motorway, but it can do it. The fuel range is a little annoying, but the engine won’t complain and it’s actually a pretty comfortable ride. The seat is a touch hard, but there’s no weight on the wrists and no bad vibrations. I wouldn’t want to be doing big trips on the XSR every other week, but the occasional high-mileage adventure would not be a problem.

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