XV 950: urban performance in a cool package

XV 950: urban performance in a cool package

"We see cool custom and retro bikes booming today" says our Product Planning manager for Europe, Oliver Grill. "The XV950 is fitting this trend completely. It has both a Japanese and American inspiration. The passion for compact and bobber-style custom bikes was the starting point. And with our Yamaha roots we focused on performance and on making the bike useable, even in crowded cities."

 
2014_XV950_Cruiser_XV 950 R from 236-541210 (gc_single_col)XV 950 R
2014_XV950_Cruiser_Urban Performance Bobber from 236-541198 (gc_single_col)Urban Performance Bobber
2014_XV950_Cruiser_2 from 236-541138 (gc_single_col)Engine
2014_XV950_Cruiser_Wave type discs from 236-541204 (gc_single_col)Wave type discs
  
When we explore the concept of the new XV 950, we see that many success factors are incorporated here. A cool, light weight, compact, simple and powerful beauty - Let’s have a look into the background of its development! 
 
Urban - Performance - Bobber
Yamaha Star Motorcycles U.S.A. Product planning manager Derek Brooks explains about the bike, that is sold there under the name “Bolt”:
“We described the concept of the bike as “Urban Performance Bobber”.
We wanted it to be a great bike to ride, whether you’re commuting to work, riding to school, or heading out on some twisty roads for the day. It had to be a great package for in and around town. A bike with a cool new look, and no bling-bling but a simple and straight design.” 
 
Dynamic
He continues “We focused on 4 main elements in the development. The first one was a dynamic ride feeling.”
“That dynamic feel comes from the power character of the engine, with the excitement of its acceleration; and from the nimble handling of the chassis that feels compact, quick and responsive, easy to change direction.”
 
The relatively upright riding position, without the typical American ‘feet-forward’ riding position, improves this dynamic feeling of control even more. The large and sporty, 298mm wave-type disc brakes on front and rear give excellent braking response. The fuel-injected, air-cooled 950cc twin is an excellent performer and translates each mm of throttle without any hesitation into power output, whether it is at low, mid or high rpm.

2014_XV950_Cruiser_Comfort from 236-541150 (gc_single_col)Comfort
2014_XV950_Cruiser_R-spec suspension from 236-541231 (gc_single_col)R-spec suspension
2014_XV950_Cruiser_Easy access from 236-541162 (gc_single_col)Easy access
Comfort
Derek explains the next point: “The second area was riding comfort. We really focused this bike on making it comfortable to ride, whether you’re commuting to work or going for a quick ride up to the canyons.”
Yamaha’s engineers developed a tight chassis with a short wheelbase that combines the quick handling with excellent stability.
Also the suspension quality is far better than usual, with rear suspension units that feature a piggyback reservoir (in the R version) and well-controlled damping. Also the beefy, 41mm diameter front suspension is set up with good damping to avoid too much diving and weight transfer under braking and to keep the bike ‘in check’. 
 
Easy access
A third area was easy-to-control feeling. Derek says “When you first sit on it, it is easy to touch the ground, the bike is nice and narrow between your knees, yet it is roomy enough for taller riders. It really gives you confidence.”
This easy access helps a lot in situations around town, when weaving through traffic, stopping at the traffic light or when parking the machine. The bike feels totally natural and there are no parts sticking out and interfering with the knee grip.  

2014_XV950_Cruiser_Style from 236-541186 (gc_single_col)Style
2014_XV950_Cruiser_Less is more from 236-541219 (gc_single_col)Less is more
2014_XV950_Cruiser_Air-cooled engine from 236-541144 (gc_single_col)Air-cooled engine
2014_XV950_Cruiser_Engine finish from 236-541168 (gc_single_col)Engine finish
2014_XV950_Cruiser_Instruments from 236-541180 (gc_single_col)Instruments
2014_XV950_Cruiser_Dynamic from 236-541156 (gc_single_col)Garage
Style
Derek continues “The fourth area was creating an originality in its styling. For that, we wanted it to reflect its performance. We have the heritage and the technology to back that up with real performance, like the large disc brakes, the power level of the 950 engine and even the suspension quality and handling character.”
 
About the bike’s style, he elaborates: “We combined a minimalist style with this modern performance. It is based on the idea that less is more. With pure, original, genuine materials; with lots of feeling of mechanical beauty, so you can see the elements of the quote-unquote “motor-cycle”.
We tried to really expose these parts, not hide them but really use them as part of the style of the bike itself.”
 
Examples of this are:  
  • The exposed frame without side covers
  • The absence of decorative parts: what you see is what you get
  • Real-steel fenders, no plastic (and easy to customize as well)
  • High-quality two-tone seat material in standard spec and Suede-like material with colored stitching in R-spec
  • The air-cooled engine that results in a clean and accessible design, undisturbed by radiators and radiator hoses
  • The beauty of the matt black engine finish, highlighted by the polished cooling fins
  • The heat shields on the exhaust that are matched by the metal mounting strip at the battery
  • The timeless shape of the classic double-cradle frame design with the engine mounted to the frame directly as a stressed member (which also adds rigidity and gives a great ‘feel’ for the engine and its pulse)
  • The narrow (21mm) drive belt with carbon-fiber core – that keeps a clean and well-proportioned look to this side of the bike
  • The teardrop-style fuel tank
  • A simple, cool and clean look of handlebar and instruments, very pleasing when you sit on the bike 
     
Wouldn’t you love to have it in your garage?

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