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Brute in a Suit: Yamaha XSR900 Review

Yamaha XSR900 review: the brute in a suit
The ABS-equipped, dual 298mm front discs are more than adequate for stopping in a rush (we can attest to this first hand). And the suspension is thankfully a bit stiffer than the XSR700’s.

The XSR900 is happy to cruise along, but that’s not where it shines the brightest. Instead, it’s a bike that rewards physical riding.

Yamaha XSR900 review: the brute in a suit
The more you work the throttle and brakes, and shift your weight through corners, the more it comes alive.

This nature, along with the multiple riding modes, make it a pretty versatile motorcycle. It can be meek and mild if it needs to be, but really: would you want it to? If so, the XSR700 might be more your deal.

Yamaha XSR900 review: the brute in a suit
Making it your own As expected, Yamaha have already designed a bunch of parts to complement the XSR900. Two ‘kit’ bikes were present at the launch, the ‘all rounder’ and the ‘cafe racer’.

The former was equipped with brown canvas saddlebags, a fly screen and a few other bits. The latter looked stunning, with an Alcantara seat, bum stop, ‘swallow tail’ handlebars and billet aluminum rear sets.

Yamaha XSR900 review: the brute in a suit
We rode the cafe racer version for a bit, and were blown away by how well the XSR900 performed in a lower, sportier guise, and by the quality of the parts. (The attachment system on the bum stop felt like it needed more thought, though—hopefully Yamaha can rectify this.)

Naturally, there’s also a full range of ‘Faster Sons’ apparel and riding gear on offer—including a capsule collection by Roland Sands.

Yamaha’s prolific Yard Built initiative should be enough proof that the Japanese marque seriously digs the custom scene. And this is reflected in the XSR900.

Yamaha XSR900 review: the brute in a suit
The subframe is a bolt-on part, and the aforementioned aluminum tank shells can easily be swapped out without the need to relocate a pesky fuel pump.

Yamaha have already given the Wrenchmonkees an XSR900 to mess with. Both Per and Nicholas were present at the launch, and testified to the fact that the bike is easy to disassemble. Good news for anyone looking to get their hands dirty.

Yamaha XSR900 review: the brute in a suit
The competition It’s hard to say exactly who Yamaha are going toe-to-toe with, with the XSR900. It’s as much competition for Triumph’s Speed Triple as it is for BMW’s R nineT. And we’ve yet to ride Triumph’s new Bonneville.

But there’s a contender within the fold too: the XSR700. We reckon the 900’s the better looking of the two, and prefer the more spirited ride. But many potential customers might prefer the more versatile parallel twin in the 700—or its lower price tag.

Yamaha XSR900 review: the brute in a suit
Either way, we love what Yamaha are doing. Who would have thought, five years ago, that they’d be dipping their toes into this scene—let alone leading the charge?

Yamaha XSR900 product page | Facebook | Yamaha Yard Built Instagram | UK pricing £7,849, ’60th Anniversary’ yellow £150 extra, US pricing TBC

Wes’ gear: Aether Apparel Skyline jacket, Saint Tough Denims

Yamaha XSR900 review: the brute in a suit