The XSR bikes have a clear style of their own. Fun to ride and full of character. They are designed to be individualised and customised. Some questions and answers with their creators.
Where does the name XSR come from?
Naoki Koike from Product Planning:
“XS is a reference to the Yamaha historic models of the past, like the iconic XS 650. We love the simple design and pureness of these machines. Very different from today’s naked bikes, that are often quite over-styled! But we did not want to make a retro style copy of the past. The XSR’s have a strong character of their own.”
Continuing: “The ‘R’ in the XSR name implies to the modern technologies that we used and the sporty capabilities of these bikes. Modern engines and chassis set-ups. We made no compromise for performance or riding fun!”
What about the riding itself, is it similar to modern bikes?
Oliver Grill from Product Planning responds: “Well, in terms of performance, road-holding and braking yes, because engine and chassis are based on our MT-07 and MT-09 which are leaders in their class. But in terms of riding feeling, the XSR’s are different. The riding position will put you in a different mood. For the XSR700 that mood is more relaxed and casual while the XSR900 it is more sporty and bent-forward. And both bikes have a wide handlebar for great control.”
In what sense is the XSR easy to customize?
XSR700 Project Leader Tatsuo Yamamoto explains: “You may think every bike can be personalised and modified, but on the XSR it is especially easy to do that. First of all, the design is very straightforward and simple, with horizontal design lines, as an open, accessible basis. The simplicity of the platform was a key point in our development.”
Naoki adds: “And we paid a lot of attention to the parts constructions. Under the seat there is a classic straight sub-frame and a simple fender shape. So it is easy to make different tail designs and change seats and so on. Many parts will be available from Yamaha.”
Oliver joins in: “And then we have ‘individual parts design’, do you know what I mean? The headlight, flashers, tail lamp, side covers and so on are all designed individually and on their own. On normal modern bikes, their shapes would flow into the shape of the parts around it. Which means you couldn’t change one without changing the other. But with the XSR, each part is designed and fitted independent. So you have more freedom to create your own expression.”
Tatsuo: “Just one more thing to add. Please remember, we made the XSR to be a great riding sports model. It is capable for personalisation but it is much more than just a custom base!”
Is the fuel tank real aluminium?
XSR900 design director Yoshiro Shimizu:
“The fuel tank is a unique construction with aluminium side covers. These are not only for the design, but also for customising. They are easy to put on and off which gives many possibilities for changing the colour. Or for more unique treatments like hairline processing, engraving, sandblasting, and even if you want add some aging effect, it’s possible, too.
So, we are dreaming our customers can enjoy personalisation during their time of owning the XSR!”
Were there other inspirations from the past?
His collegue Satoshi Inose responds:
“A clear homage to the past is the finish level of this bike. We used high-grade and honest materials. The aluminium fuel tank panels have a very nice paint job. The seat has two different leather-like textures, joined by beautiful double stitching lines. You don’t see this on modern bikes anymore. The front fender is mounted with a separate aluminium stay. And we used the round-hole design theme that was used to save weight on sport bikes in the past.“
What are the key differences between the two bikes?
XSR900 Project Leader Yoshiaki Yamamoto: “Of course there is the performance difference and the character difference between two- and three cylinder. Then, the 700 is a more narrow and slim-line design, very easy to control. The 900 has a more masculine and powerful presence, with a wider tank. The 900 also has a higher spec level, with full aluminium chassis and more equipments like D-mode, traction control and a slipper clutch.”
How would you describe the XSR in a few words?
Naoki concludes: “As a cool garage style bike with a no-nonsense design and lots of riding fun.”
XJR 1300's vintage appeal
MT-07: the next generation twin - made to have fun
XV 950: urban performance in a cool package
MT-09: Not a normal roadster