The All-New Yamaha XSR700
Words by Andrew Campo | Photos by Kevin Wing
I have spent the past three years riding a 1973 TX650 as my daily driver. It’s ranks near the top off my all-time favorite motorcycles and just has that little something special to pulls other people in. I am often approached by folks asking what year she is and then diving into memories of times spent on their late model Yamaha’s. This is usually followed by a trip down memory lane I witness them glow with nostalgia of the best days they can recall. People fall in love with motorcycles, and just like that special someone you haven’t seen in years, they can claim a little piece of your heart and never let go.
The interesting thing about my old Yamaha is that also attracts a new breed of motorcyclists that are clearly drawn to the vintage scene, and drawn to the cultural that comes with it. This demographic appears to be growing at a rapid pace and Craigslist is nearly depleted of classic models. This has not helped the manufactures, but it's apparent they are responding to the new consumer demand.
This is what truly interested me when given the opportunity to visit San Diego and attend Yamaha’s Sport Heritage Motorcycle Mixer and XSR700 Intro Ride. This new bike was built on Yamaha’s ‘Faster Sons’ philosophy, paying homage to a rich motorcycle heritage while maintaining focus on performance for the future.
The foundation of the XSR700 comes from Yamaha’s MT-07 that features a compact 689cc liquid-cooled, inline twin cylinder, DOHC engine that is light, slim, and thrilling to ride. This 270-degree, crossplane crankshaft concept engine provides a unique power character, combining outstanding low- to mid-range torque with strong high-rpm pulling power. This core allowed Yamaha to focus on styling and this in my opinion is where things could go very wrong if not executed properly. Seeing that XS class of bikes birthed in 1968 have continued to retain that something special I noted earlier and are also known to be of the most flexible platforms you can find when it comes to custom building, creating a true modern classic was paramount with this effort.
After spending some time admiring the XSR700 amongst industry peers it was clear that Yamaha did not 'try too hard' and has built a bike that will likely stand the test of time. The styling attributes are simple, clean, and inviting. The XSR delivers a well balanced mix of timeless style, modern technology and gratifying riding experience. Both Add to that a six-speed transmission, modern suspension components tuned to provide a balance of comfort and control ideal for the street, lightweight aluminum wheels and powerful ABS brakes, and the XSR’s contemporary abilities become evident. New and experienced riders alike will appreciate the modern LCD instrumentation, comfortably upright seating position, low 410-pound wet weight and up to 58mpg fuel economy when navigating through urban traffic or ripping down a twisty road.
Customization potential abounds as well, thanks in part to removable aluminum tank panels and a removable rear sub-frame. Along with the release of the XSR700 Yamaha has launched an accessories line that allows you the ability to personalize your bike through offerings such as their flat seat, fork gaiters, rear rack, side covers, aluminum front number plates, radiator guards and and Yoshimura XSR Y-Series full exhaust.
The XSR700 was simply a treat to ride. We had the opportunity to put them to the test throughout San Diego’s urban terrain and then moved east into the mountains where the XSR700 truly came to life. When it was all said done, I experienced a bike that I was proud to be seen on was more than impressed with its performance capabilities. A bike that i would love to ride again and hope that one day I will see one sitting in my garage alongside the 73 TX650.
Congratulations to Yamaha on job well done.
2018 Yamaha XSR700 Features
Engine Type - 689cc liquid-cooled DOHC inline twin cylinder; 8 valves
Bore x Stroke - 80.0mm x 68.6mm
Compression Ratio - 11.5:1
Fuel Delivery - Fuel injection
Ignition TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission - Constant mesh 6-speed; multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive - Chain
Suspension / Front - 41mm telescopic fork; 5.1-in travel
Suspension / Rear - Single shock, adjustable preload; 5.1-in travel
Brakes / Front - Dual hydraulic disc, 282mm; ABS
Brakes / Rear - Hydraulic disc, 245mm; ABS
Tires / Front120/70ZR17 Pirelli® Phantom Sportcomp
Tires / Rear180/55ZR17 Pirelli® Phantom Sportcomp
L x W x H - 81.7 in x 32.3 in x 44.5 in
Seat Height - 32.9 in
Wheelbase- 55.3 in
Rake - (Caster Angle)25.0°
Trail - 3.5 in
Maximum Ground Clearance - 5.5 in
Fuel Capacity - 3.7 gal
Fuel Economy - 58 mpg
Wet Weight - 410 lb
1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Available in Matte Gray/Aluminum or Raspberry Metallic
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