New Yamaha XV950 first ride

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Yamaha’s new XV950 ‘performance bobber’ – or Harley Sportster rival to you and us – has just been put through its paces in Los Angeles, California, by MCN’s Andy Davidson. These are his first impressions ahead of a full test report coming soon.

“The new XV950’s role in life is two-fold. On the one hand, its ‘bobber’ aspirations means it has a minimalist, less-is-more style devoid of chrome sprinklings onto which Yamaha hopes it can tempt customers to spend big on a special range of accessories and aftermarket goodies.

“And on the other, that ‘performance’ bit of its brief is there to outdrag rivals from, say, Harley, and is delivered by using a tweaked version of the belt-driven, air-cooled V-twin motor from the Midnight Star which provides more torque than power for inner city riding and a more responsive ride. Everything else on the XV950, however, is new, including the exhaust, tank and chassis.

“It comes in two forms, the standard £7199 XV950 or the higher spec XV950R for £7499. The ‘R’ model includes two paint jobs, matt grey or camo green, a buckskin seat, piggy-back twin shocks and ABS as standard. 

“On the basis of this first ride it ticks all those boxes, too. The XV (which is oddly known as the Bolt in the US, but not over here) handles well, sits comfortably at high speed and has more than enough juice to roll through corners with a fly peppered smile (and ground pegs). See my full test in next week’s MCN, on sale 31 July.”