Rebooted Yamaha XSR900 retro packs a bigger punch

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Following the fully-revised 2021 MT-09 roadster comes Yamaha’s new 2022 XSR900 - the retro-styled sister bike to the popular MT triple.

And, with more power, a much improved lighter yet stronger chassis plus a new 1980s-themed styling makeover, the punchy, fun and cool-looking three-pot promises to be one of the stars of the Japanese firm’s 2022 line-up.

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The makeover is the first major revision to the XSR since it was first introduced as a retro alternative to the MT-09 in 2016 as a follow-up to the similar XSR700 twin. But with the MT-09 receiving a massive overhaul last year, partly to adhere to Euro5, it was inevitable the XSR would follow suit.

Riding the Yamaha XSR900 on the road

Now the new XSR gains the same lighter and stronger Deltabox frame as the latest MT-09, but with a slightly lower headstock for a lower handlebar position and a 55mm longer swingarm to improve stability.

The enlarged, now 889cc transverse triple from the MT-09 is also in the new XSR and promises the same 4bhp power gain, with a peak power figure now of 119bhp but also with a new exhaust that that’s been tuned, Yamaha say, to be even more evocative.

Brakes feature a new Brembo radial master cylinder; there’s fully adjustable, gold-finished inverted KYB forks plus new 'spin-forged' cast wheels which are 700g lighter than before.

Yamaha XSR900 front headlight

This extra lightness, combined with the new frame, engine and more rigid, slimmer dimensions promises to make the XSR’s handling significantly more responsive and agile.

Uprated electronics come via a new six-axis IMU that helps deliver three-way lean sensitive traction and slide control plus anti-wheelie and cornering ABS. There’s also a standard quickshifter plus now four (from three) riding modes, all controlled via a new, 3.5inch, full colour TFT dash.

There’s also a new 15-litre fuel tank inspired by Yamaha’s '80s-era GP machines complete with front air intakes and race-style filler. The minimalist side panels are also vented and the seat is more stepped, while the blue/yellow colour option is a nod to the livery of '80s/90s racer Christian Sarron with a black/red option also offered.

No prices have yet been released but the new XSR900 is expected to be available from February 2022.


Watch MCN's expert Yamaha MT-09SP video review here:

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Phil West

By Phil West

MCN Contributor and bike tester.