2022 Yamaha XSR900 | First Look Review
Yamaha knows that motorcyclists are not all the same, and one of the major dividing lines when it comes to choosing a motorcycle is styling. Some riders get excited by modern bodywork with sharp, aggressive lines, while others prefer more of a retro look, which the 2022 Yamaha XSR900 has in spades.
A couple of years after Yamaha introduced the 2014 MT-09 (originally called the FZ-09) naked sportbike, it released the XSR900. They shared an engine and chassis, but the XSR900 had throwback styling inspired by Yamaha’s ’70s-era XS750 Triple, with a round headlight, a traditional-looking fuel tank with knee cutouts, and hand-finished aluminum covers.
The 2022 Yamaha XSR900 gets the updated 890cc inline-Triple that powers the latest MT-09 and Tracer 9 GT, as well as an all-new chassis, a more advanced electronics package, and a refreshed look drawn from Yamaha’s classic 1980s-era Grand Prix racing machines.
“The new generation XSR900 borrows its high performance CP3 engine, chassis, and electronics directly from Yamaha’s extensively updated 2021 MT-09 Hyper Naked to create the lightest, most agile, most performance-driven motorcycle in its class,” said Derek Brooks, Yamaha Motorcycle Product Line Manager. “But it’s the styling that really sets this new bike apart. As someone who’s very familiar with Yamaha’s racing history, it’s exciting to see the design team’s clear nod to the iconic race designs of our past, while incorporating so much tech and premium detailing. This new XSR really cuts to the heart of why we are passionate about motorcycles.”
Motorcycles in Yamaha’s Sport Heritage lineup, which includes the V Star 250 and Bolt R-spec cruisers as well as the XSR700 (based on the MT-07 platform) and XSR900, are the models that pay homage to the tuning fork company’s seven decades of motorcycle design and engineering history. What Yamaha calls its “Faster Sons” design philosophy blends classic style with modern technology, resulting in neo-retro models that visually embrace elements of the past while delivering today’s performance and reliability.
From the reshaped fuel tank to the boxy tail section, the new XSR900’s styling leaps forward a decade from its predecessor. Premium touches include drilled fork caps, machined headlight stays, a forged brake pedal, hidden passenger pegs, blacked-out levers, darkened brake reservoirs, bar-end mirrors, an embossed aluminum rear underplate, and an aluminum XSR logo. And modern touches include full LED lighting and a new full-color 3.5-inch TFT display.
The Legend Blue colorway is a modern take on the classic French Sonauto Yamaha race colors – the striking blue, cyan, and yellow livery campaigned by legendary French Grand Prix champion Christian Sarron, an important page from Yamaha’s rich racing history.
Revised ergonomics give the new XSR900 a more aggressive profile. A lowered head pipe position, a unique subframe with lower seat height, and a lengthened swingarm are said to improve handling and give the rider a greater sense of control.
The updated 890cc CP3 engine delivers more power and torque, reduces weight, and revs more freely. The slip/assist clutch has new friction plates and a modified cam angle to reduce load on the clutch springs for a lighter feel at the lever, and an up/down quickshifter is now standard. The Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) now uses a YZF-R1-type Accelerator Position Sensor Grip (APSG), which replicates varying degrees of resistance for a traditional throttle feel.
A new compact, lightweight aluminum frame is made using Yamaha’s Controlled Filling (CF) die-cast technology. Featuring ultra-thin 1.7mm sections, the frame is lighter and its balance of longitudinal, lateral, and torsional rigidity is improved. The lower head pipe position also helps load the front for increased feel when cornering.
The chassis features a new Brembo radial front master cylinder for better feel at the lever and a new front brake lever eases adjustability and improves style. New adjustable suspension is made by KYB, with a fully adjustable 41mm inverted fork and a preload- and rebound-adjustable rear shock. Like the Tracer 9 GT (which won Rider’s 2021 Motorcycle of the Year award), the XSR900 rolls on 17-inch aluminum wheels made using Yamaha’s exclusive new spinforging process, which reduces unsprung weight, and they’re shod with Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S22 rubber.
A new 6-axis IMU enables an expanded suite of electronic rider aids, including a lean-sensitive Traction Control System, Slide Control System, front wheel Lift Control System, and Brake Control System (aka ABS). Each can be adjusted for different levels of intervention or turned off completely depending on rider preference. Cruise control is also standard.
Yamaha engineers carefully considered both intake and exhaust sound in developing the new XSR900, seeking to emphasize and enhance the unique soundtrack of the crossplane Triple. The all-new airbox incorporates differing cross-section and length air ducts tuned so induction noises resonate harmoniously at varying wavelengths. Two functional air intake vents located on either side of the fuel tank further boost the mid- and high-rpm induction sound traveling to the rider for a greater sense of acceleration. Likewise, a new 1.5-chambered exhaust features a left-right symmetrical tailpipe arrangement that directs sound pressure to both sides of the machine, adding to the feel of torque when opening the throttle. The low-slung exhaust design also centralizes mass and is significantly lighter than the previous generation.
The 2022 Yamaha XSR900 will be available in Legend Blue with gold wheels and gold fork tubes or Raven with black wheels and black fork tubes. It arrives in dealerships in April 2022 with an MSRP of $9,999.
2022 Yamaha XSR900 Specs
Base Price: $9,999
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse inline-Triple, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 78.0 x 62.1mm
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated slip/assist wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Wheelbase: 58.9 in.
Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/4.3 in.
Seat Height: 31.9 in.
Wet Weight: 425 lbs. (claimed)
Fuel Capacity: 3.7 gals.