On the way to becoming a legend: Yamaha XSR 900 – pure adrenaline

On the way to the legend
Yamaha XSR 900 – Pure adrenaline

Heritage models are very popular with motorcycle enthusiasts. So it’s no surprise that Yamaha is mounting such a bike with the XSR900. But only the outside is historic. Otherwise it is a technically very modern motorcycle that can do many things better than its sister MT-09.

The Yamaha XSR 900, which has just been completely revised, is basically a new bike, and a decidedly sporty one. “Sport Heritage” is what the manufacturer calls the segment he has carefully built over the years; sporting genes come mostly from the heritage of ancestors, because nothing in the XSR900 is quiet or even out of date. The 70s and 80s were the inspiration and the developers turned, in particular, to the racing design of the time. Check out the XSR in the eye-catching Legend Blue colourway paired with gold forks and wheels, and a legend is brightly alive. Christian Sarron won the world title in 1984 with a 250 painted in this way.

The Yamaha XSR900 doesn’t appear to be petrol-powered, but it feels like pure adrenaline in the tank.

(Photo: Yamaha)

The donor gene of the new XSR900 is Yamaha’s MT-09 hyper naked bike, launched last year. This thoroughbred naked doesn’t appear to be fuel-powered, but it does appear to have pure adrenaline in the tank. A manageable, precise and agile driving machine, at the limit of possible technical perfection in its category. The technical refinement that characterizes the MT-09, available from € 10,350, is also inherent in the XSR 900, which costs € 550 more.

Classic touch, but very modern

It has the same 890cc in-line three with a peak power of 119hp at 10,000 crankshaft revolutions, it has practically the same great chassis and an almost identical, very good braking system. As in the MT-09, the XSR900 also uses the lavish Bosch-based electronics package, whose range and value are exemplary. The big difference between the two equally strong Yamahas is the style: here the jagged and aggressively designed MT-09, there the more harmonious XSR900, enriched with many stylistic elements from the company’s history. The alternative for those who cannot or do not want to follow the design of the MT-09.


The emphasis on the Yamaha XSR900 is clearly on sport.

(Photo: Yamaha)

The “Sport Heritage” family, with a classic yet ultramodern touch, now consists of three models: the small XSR125, the twin-cylinder XSR700 and the very powerful XSR900 as the crowning glory of this series. The first full day ride on the often smooth but often bumpy Tuscan roads clearly showed that the emphasis on this model is on “sport”; the XSR900 is only optically more discreet than the MT-09, which is delivered “with the knife between the teeth”.

Huge triple broadband

In terms of driving dynamics, the XSR900, which weighs just four kilograms more with a curb weight of 193 kilograms, is on the same level. A cracker. It is easy to use, accessible and likeable. But a predator when needed, always ready to annoy or nibble on the competition, so the sporty, relaxed, slightly front wheel-oriented seating position is of great help. The huge 900 triple broadband delivers excellent usable performance between 2000 and a whopping 10,000 rpm, purrs and growls at the bottom and barks its rev power and brilliant performance beyond 6000 rpm.


Bridgestone S22 tires give the Yamaha XSR900 good cornering stability.

(Photo: Yamaha)

The frame, equipped with a slightly longer aluminum double-sided swingarm than the MT-09, is a model of precision, stability and handling. Tires with very adhesive Bridgestone tires of the type S22 also contribute to this. Thanks to the IMU, the full range of driver assistance systems is always available. This ranges from ABS cornering to wheelie control. And the three-disc brake system also works wonderfully transparently thanks to the new radial master cylinder.

The technical power of the XSR900 lurks a little behind the dynamic but unobtrusive lines. The round LED headlight, which gives the bike a touch of prudence, also contributes significantly to this civilized impression. With mentions of earlier racing elements like the hunchbacked passenger seat, it’s a subtle nod to the XSR900’s speed.

A little wide and a little complicated


In the test the Yamaha XSR900 was satisfied with a consumption of 5.0 liters.

(Photo: Yamaha)

The bar-end mirrors go a long way in keeping the XSR900’s line flat; you can see quite clearly what is going on behind you, but this greatly increases the width of the vehicle. For dense city traffic, this is only the second best solution. Furthermore, the complicated operation of the on-board computer integrated into the TFT display via the wheel on the right side of the handlebar, typical of Yamaha, is not exactly ideal. In addition, the size of the information on the display requires eagle eyes from the pilot. Yamaha has prepared three customization packages: Street, Sport and Weekend; The latter offers luggage storage options.

With a fully functional quick shift for clutchless shifting, four perfectly coordinated ride modes, cruise control and a high-quality overall finish, the Yamaha XSR900 is well equipped for the future. Also in terms of consumption: 5.0 liters per 100 kilometers is a consistent value given the easy and frequent dynamics, a range of 250 kilometers adapts to the type of vehicle. The distinctive feature of the 900 stationary is its three-cylinder with the initials CP3: in the eight years since its first in 2014, it has already been considered a legendary and successful engine.

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