MILAN SHOW: Wasp turns into new Yamaha XSR900

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Last week we showed you the Roland Sands Faster Wasp, a flattrack-inspired hooligan tool based on the MT-09 platform, and speculated that we’d see a slightly more tame production model emerge from its shadow – and here it is.

The XSR900 sits alongside its recently-launched smaller stablemate – the MT-07 based XSR700, within Yamaha’s burgeoning Sport Heritage range. Powered by the firm’s CP3 motor from the MT-09, the new XSR blends all the latest tech and hardware with attractive retro roadster styling.

Yamaha XSR900 highlights

  • 847cc MT-09 engine
  • 113bhp | 64.5ftlb | 195kg
  • ABS and Traction Control System
  • Assist & Slipper clutch
  • 270-degree crank inline triple
  • 830mm seat height

There’s plenty of good old-fashioned metal to poke at, too. The tank covers, fenders, side covers and headlamp stays all eschew plastic in favour of aluminium, while the stitched seat and dinky round rear light continue the bespoke feeling.

The 900 manages to overcome some of the awkward moments on the smaller XSR. The conspicuous radiator is now black, as are the exhaust system and engine, helping to give it a more unified identity, and much cleaner look. There are some nice paintjobs on offer too, from the Kenny Roberts tribute yellow and black speedblock scheme, through the RD350LC-aping ‘Rock Slate’ version, and a clean and classic mat grey.

Yamaha have only let the retro theme dominate the looks, with the XSR taking all of the technology from the MT-09. The 847cc inline triple engine come over in all its raspy and aggressive glory, complete with a slipper clutch that all has Yamaha’s ‘assist’ technology (which enables lighter feel at the lever with no loss in plate pressure). As all new 2016 bikes must, the 900 gets ABS as standard fitment, but also gets the MT’s 3-mode traction control for added security. The MT’s riding modes are also present, allowing a choice of Standard mode for the daily grind, A mode for full-on scratching, and B mode for when the heavens open.

The aluminium die cast frame chassis also comes across unfettled, along with the fork and shock – which have been fettled to suit the XSR’s pretensions, and are both adjustable. The whole bike tips the scales at 195kg fully wet and ready to ride.

A dazzling array of accessories will be available to further personalise your XSR900, which is expected to arrive at dealers in March next year, for around £7499.

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Richard Newland

By Richard Newland