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Old 11-17-2015, 10:00 PM   #1
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2016 Yamaha XSR900 First Look

The manufacturers seem to be taking notice of the growing "hipster/cafe racer" culture, with the latest being Yamaha and its new XSR900 for 2016. Based upon the vaunted FZ-09 platform, the XSR retains the excellent 847cc "cross-plane concept" three-cylinder engine and Controlled Fill Die-Cast aluminum frame and swingarm with adjustable KYB suspension, but adds styling components and details that harken back to the "heritage, authenticity, and simplicity" of the sporting motorcycles from the '70s and '80s.

In keeping the cross-plane crankshaft triple, the XSR also gets the FZ's three Ride Modes in the Y-CCT (Yamaha Chip-Controlled Throttle) ride-by-wire throttle setup. But unlike the FZ-09, the XSR also comes with a two-level (plus off) traction control system, as well as ABS as standard equipment. An assist/slipper clutch eases lever effort by a claimed 20% while also helping to smooth out downshifts. Everything else mechanically (save for suspension settings tailored toward specifically for the XSR) is basically identical to the FZ.

Ergonomically, the XSR's seat—at 32.7 inches—is 15mm higher than the FZ's, and the rider's seating position is moved 50mm rearward to make for a slightly more aggressive riding posture. The seat feels like it has slightly better padding than the FZ, and the increase in seat height as a side effect creates more legroom.

It's styling where the XSR's main focus is. There's plenty of nice metal bracketry and components where plastic or other materials would be used. For example, the nice looking fuel tank cover on the matte gray/aluminum version (there's also one in the 60th Anniversary yellow/black traditional Yamaha motif) is a nice brushed aluminum piece that Yamaha says has an actual hand-buffed finish before the clear coat. A single bare round halogen headlight held by aluminum brackets and a round LED taillight mounted atop a metal (aluminum) fender replicate the look of the '70s cafe racer, and there's numerous strategically placed aluminum brackets and covers to accentuate the mechanical nature of the XSR. Even the exhaust muffler tip is round with an aluminum cap instead of the FZ's triangular slash-cut tip.

Detail-wise, the seat features burgundy-colored faux suede leather panels and red stitching, with the XSR900 logo embossed on the rear. The single round instrument gauge recalls the older style in shape, but in function it returns to present-day technology. The LCD panel features a tachometer running around the outer perimeter, along with displays for digital speedometer, gear indicator, fuel gauge, odometer/tripmeter/clock, plus TC and Ride Mode settings. All told, the XSR900 comes in 16 pounds heavier than the FZ-09 according to Yamaha, at a claimed 430 pounds full of fuel (which is still pretty darn light compared to its market competitors).

The matte gray/aluminum XSR900 will be available in April 2016, while the 60th Anniversary version will be available in May 2016. No prices were given, but we can't see it rising much more than $500 - $750 over the standard FZ-09's $8399 sticker price.

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