Return of the glory days: Grand Prix-inspired, new XSR900 GP is the triple-based sportster that revives the style of 1980s Yamaha racers

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These are the first official pictures of Yamaha’s hugely anticipated sports version of their XSR900 retro bike, the XSR900 GP. And if its looks – and colours – remind you of the factory Yamaha GP 500s ridden by the likes of Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey in the 1980s, then that’s entirely deliberate.

It’s been built, say Yamaha, like all their XSR sport heritage machines, to pay tribute to some of their most evocative bikes by ‘blending nostalgic design with the very latest engine and chassis tech’.

In the GP’s case, as its name suggests, that means referencing its multiple world championship winning GP 500s, particularly those of the V4/Deltabox frame era as most famously campaigned by Lawson and Rainey. There’s also a nod to other Deltabox machines, such as the TZR250, the first to bring Yamaha’s pressed aluminium frame to the street.

Yamaha XSR900 GP right side

Styling and details apart, the new GP is based on the XSR900 naked, the heritage version of Yamaha’s popular MT-09 roadster triple, with both gaining a new Deltabox frame in 2022 and 2021 respectively.

The GP’s engine and frame is unchanged from those two save the frame (and swingarm) gaining a new silver finish instead reminiscent of its 1980s inspirations. The rear subframe is new, however, and the steering stem now aluminium.

The KYB fully adjustable, 41mm inverted front forks and single rear shock plus the spin-forged aluminium wheels are carried over – although the latter are now red instead of gold. But much of the rest of the GP, including its bodywork, dash and switchgear is new. 

Yamaha XSR900 GP front

The 14-litre fuel tank is from the XSR, but the 1980s-style, frame-mounted half-fairing is all-new as was hinted at by Yamaha’s DB40 concept bike shown at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. At the front there’s a small ‘compact lens module’ headlamp recessed in the nose to emphasise its racy looks, it’s attached to the frame by ’80s-style stays and there are individual ‘blisters’ which remind of the TZR. 

There’s also a new seat complete with seat hump with retro-style GP number boards and new side panels while, to complete the look, a fairing lower will be available as an optional extra.

Under the fairing, however, it’s bang up to date with a new, larger 5in TFT dash between the GP’s clip-ons, as derived from that of the new Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+, along with the new, more ergonomic switchgear which debuted on this year’s new Tracer 9 and Niken.

Yamaha XSR900 GP action shot

Other properly modern features include a quickshifter/autoblipper, a full suite of electronic rider aids including three preset modes, Bluetooth connectivity and cruise control functions.

Two colours will be offered – Legend Red (pictured) or Power Grey – but price and availability are yet be revealed. The basic XSR is currently £10,600, so we estimate a price around £11,500.

Yamaha XSR900 GP in detail

  • 80s throwbacks: Styling, via new frame-mounted fairing and seat with pillion cover (the tank is stock XSR) is inspired by Yamaha’s mid-’80s Deltabox GP and street bikes. Half-fairing is frame-mounted via retro ‘stays’ and incorporates TZR250-style knuckle guards. A fairing lower will be available as an optional extra.
  • XSR underpinnings: Engine and chassis are essentially unchanged from the XSR900 comprising the latest 890cc triple producing 115bhp, Deltabox frame (but now in silver) KYB suspension, radial brakes and ‘spin-forged’ alloy wheels (now red not gold).
  • Big clocks, better switches: Dash is the new 5in TFT display which debuted on this year’s updated Tracer 9 GT+ and Yamaha Niken, has smartphone connectivity via Yamaha’s MyRide app and is operated by the new, more ergonomic switchgear which also debuted this year on the new Tracer and Niken.
  • Extra tech: To emphasise its blend of heritage style and modern technology, the GP is Yamaha’s first Sport Heritage model to come with its third-generation quick shifter/autoblipper plus also features its new Emergency Stop Signal system which flashes the hazards under extreme braking.