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Cologne Show: New Yamaha XJR1300s unveiled

Published: 29 September 2014

Updated: 20 November 2014

• 1251cc air-cooled inline-four
• 97bhp / 80lbft
• Twin Ohlins shocks
• Black 4-2-1 exhaust
• Solo seat design

Yamaha have deepened their love affair with the yard-built scene, and given their ancient XJR1300 a thorough makeover for 2015 to capitalise on the continued hipster insurgence.

Just a couple of years ago, the XJR was destined for the corner marked ‘discontinued’, but just like it’s air-cooled 1251cc lump, the model seems hard to kill. Not only does it continue into 2015, but we’ve even got two versions to choose from: the stock XJR1300, and a ‘Racer’ version for the café collective.

Sitting in the firm’s Sports Heritage range, the new XJRs have been inspired by the reaction to two particular custom specials; Keino’s Rhapsody in Blue, and Deus Ex Machina’s Eau Rouge.

The underpinnings of both models are identical, and while the Racer appears as a distinct separate model, the bike – like many other Yamaha models – is actually a dealer-build option.

The common parts include a new slimmer fuel tank (still holding 14.5L), a solo-seat design, black 4-2-1 exhaust and a shorter tail unit. It also gets aluminium side covers, a smaller headlamp, friction reducing DLC (Diamond-like Carbon) coated fork stanchions, and twin Ohlins rear shocks. The stock bikes gets a beefy aluminium handlebar, while the Racer gets café-style clip-ons.

However, thanks to the XJR getting no mechanical revisions to the engine itself, Yamaha haven’t updated the gearbox either, meaning that owners will be forever fruitlessly trying to select a 6th gear that isn’t there.

While the styling changes certainly pull the XJR into a new period of rejuvenation, the balance of the bike isn’t entirely successful. The headlamp appears to be too small, while the bulbous seat unit finishes fashionably early, only to be ruined by the legal need to have the numberplate hanger extend back behind the wheel.

Those aluminium side panels look a little out of scale, and at odds with the tank and engine lines. While the Racer improves certain elements dramatically, the carbon fairing feels like an awkward addition.

The best-fit colour option for the Racer is the Matt Grey, which is the only option not to jar with the carbon accessories.

The beauty of it all, though, is that you can pick which bits you want – and many more from the accessories options. The new XJRs are available in Power Blue, Matt Grey and Midnight Black from December onwards, with pricing expected to be announced imminently.

XJR1300 Racer highlights
• Carbon cowling
• Clip-on handlebar
• Carbon short front fender
• Aluminium front fender stay
• Carbon passenger seat cover

XJR1300 and Racer accessories
• Black Akrapovic slip-on muffler
• Sport screen
• Fly screen
• Led indicators
• Custom narrow handlebar
• Roller protectors
• Multiple soft luggage options
• Handlebar end mount rear view mirror kit
• Custom rear set
• Leather fuel Tank band
• Machined billet front sprocket cover by Rizoma
• Machined billet injection cover by Rizoma
• Machined billet pegs by Rizoma

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