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.
Blending modern with retrospective
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 will 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 fuelling 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 multi-plate clutch (assist-and-slipper)
2016 Yamaha XSR900 Special Features
True to the style of the vintage motorcycles the XSR900 is modelled after, Yamaha made careful choices with its materials, only using authentic metal and leather. This gave the XSR900 an edge over the FZ-09, the XSR900 favouring aluminium tank covers over plastic ones. Many other features have also been replaced with lightweight, durable aluminium as well: the side plates, radiator covers, front and rear fenders, and headlight mounts have all been given the aluminium treatment. Although pricier, Yamaha have kept the improvements within budget, meaning customers can breathe easy as all improvements have been made without the need to increase the price of the bike on last year’s RRP.
You’ll love the modern sports twists
The headlights ooze that classic retro feel with their almost perfectly round shape, with the modern LED tail light providing just enough appropriate contrast.
All new on the 2016 is the dash that has been remodelled now featuring a nice round shape that fits with the front head-light. Of course you will find great functionality on the dash of the XSR900, just as you would expect from a modern ‘sports’ bike.
The seats are also more comfortable than last years model. Deeply padded and rounded, the one-piece seat definitely provides riders with more comfort than that of models that came before it. 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 you’d expect from it’s 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.
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.
An overall triumph for modern sport performance bikes
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 selectivity 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.