Yamaha’s FZ series, spearheaded by the instantly popular FZ-09 in 2014, had set the standards of biking that year, with its then-new cross-plane, inline-three engine boasting 847cc. Ever since that first release, it’s been been continually cranking out smash-hit bikes, each coming with features that more than justify their price.
In 2016, however, Yamaha chose a different approach: a model designed with a blend of modern and retro styles. This new model is based heavily off of the FZ-09 and several older models, providing a balanced riding experience with the performance of the old and the technology of the new. That model is the 2016 Yamaha XSR900.
The latest iteration in Yamaha’s line of “Sport Heritage” bikes, the 2016 Yamaha XSR900. This line of motorbikes was created with off-road riders who also use their bikes in daily commutes in mind. If you’re a weekend rider who also happens to have a nine-to-five day job downtown, then the XSR900 would be perfect for you.
2016 YAMAHA XSR900 SPECIFICATIONS:
The engine that gives life to this powerhouse is vastly similar to the FZ-09: a liquid-cooled, 3-cylinder, 4-stroke engine with a displacement of 847cc DOHC, with 12 valves. With their experience in crafting inline-three engines, Yamaha has made sure that the engine the XSR900 inherited from the FZ-09 will be free of any and all defects, including the pesky fueling issues that many bikers complained about.
Bore by Stroke Ratio: 78.00 mm by 59.1 mm
Compression Ratio: 11:5:1
Fuel Delivery System: Yamaha Fuel Injection
Ignition: Transistor-Controlled Ignition
Transmission: 6-speed, with multiplate clutch (assist-and-slipper)
2016 YAMAHA XSR900 SPECIAL FEATURES:
True to the style of the vintage motorcycles the XSR900 is modeled after, Yamaha made careful choices with its materials, only using authentic metal and leather. This gave the XSR900 an edge over the FZ-09 with aluminum tank covers instead of plastic ones. Many other things have been replaced with lightweight, durable aluminum as well: the side plates, radiator covers, front and rear fenders, and headlight mounts.
The headlights ooze retro with their round shape, and the modern LED taillight provides appropriate technological contrast. The dash has been remodeled as well, now being round and featuring all of what’s expected from the dash of a modern sport bike. Many of the FZ series’ best parts, however, have been fully inherited by the XSR, like its origami muffler tip.
The seats are also severely more comfortable as well. Deeply padded and rounded, the one-piece seat definitely provides riders with the lost comfort of the motorcycles of the previous millennium. All in all the design choices tie in to create a “Best of Both Worlds” combination that makes the XSR900 incredibly inviting to riders craving a new look and feel.
Test drives proved that the XSR900 performs above and beyond the expectations brought on by its vintage outer appearance. A day of riding on every type of road conceivable really makes you notice the differences in performance between it and its predecessors. Yamaha really did a good job of refining a recent concept into the powerhouse of a new and improved sport bike.
Many issues that pestered riders of the FZ series, such as the jarring on-throttle-response, are nowhere to be found on the XSR900. Aside from ironing out the kinks, the XSR900 has also made improvements on the previous models’ best features, such as improved front and rear suspension, and strengthened ABS brakes.
Similar to its predecessors in the Sport Heritage line, the XSR allows for three driving modes: Standard (STD) mode, the max-power B mode, and the A mode which is where the two other modes meet in the middle. We’ve found that the A mode is best suited for riding on open roads because of its perfect balance of sensitivity and power, providing a satisfying backward snap when applying the throttle.
Traction-control on the XSR has selectibility as well, offering three modes: Off, Level 1, and Level 2. Off can only be toggled while the bike is stationary. Level 1 allows for quite a bit of liberty for the front wheel, while Level 2 pours on the grip. These control features all come together for an adaptive riding experience.
Overall, the 2016 Yamaha XSR900 provides the best combination of retro-look and modern sport performance to date. It fits in just about anywhere with its classy look, and the improved specs and features are well worth the price difference from the FZ-09.