Yamaha have certainly been one of the most prolific embracers of the new retro scene, and also one of the most innovative at taking their remarkably budget-focused MT range and jazzing it up to appeal to new audiences.
Last year’s XSR900 took the MT-09 to a whole new level of attractiveness, and now the firm has moved the game on again with this half-faired carbon-rich version called the XSR900 Abarth. With the death of the XJR1300 range for 2017 (Euro4 has killed the air-cooled pair for their polluting ways), the XSR900, and this new Abarth, effectively pick up the mantle of offering naked, and half-naked, retros with punch. Of course, it’s not quite the same as a lovely fat muscle bike boasting a big cc air-cooled engine, but they’re not bad substitutes.
- 847cc inline-triple
- Official Abarth limited edition
- Carbon front cowl
- Carbon seat unit
- Akrapovic titanium exhaust
- 196kg (est)
- Seat height 830mm (est)
The Abarth – created in association with the car tuning legends – has come about thanks to the firm’s association with Yamaha’s MotoGP team, which in itself was doubtless spawned from the earlier association with parent firm FIAT.
As the name suggests, this is a modified version of the XSR900, but the changes aren’t insignificant, and should add up to a very different feeling ride. The drop bars are key to much of the aesthetic, and resultant change in riding position, and while they start the café racer transformation, it’s the carbon fibre nose cowl, seat unit and front fender that finish it off. Blending new tech with old-school styling, they’re joined by a suede seat, and a battleship grey paintjob highlighted with red speedblock and Abarth logos.
Nestling beneath the styling changes is a lovely full titanium Akrapovic system, culminating in a stacked end-can that’s rather reminiscent of Ducati’s 959 Panigale. And being an XSR900 it boasts traction control, ABS, and the firm’s Assist & Slipper clutch – all of which turn this into a bike as well suited to the daily grind as it is to the weekend scratch.
Production of the XSR900 Abarth is strictly limited to just 695 units, and on the side of each bike is a production numbered aluminium plaque to confirm its authenticity. Those riders who want to be among the first to own the new Abarth need to set a reminder for 13.00 on January 17, 2017 – when Yamaha's dedicated online registration system goes live. The first 95 customers will be able to register their order, and will be invited to join an exclusive VIP Abarth Experience on a first come, first served basis. After the first 95 online registrations have been confirmed, the remaining 600 units will be made available through Yamaha dealers from April 2017.
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