2024 Yamaha XSR900 GP Announced for Europe
It’s not the CP3 sportbike we were hoping for, but we’ll take it
At long last, Yamaha is introducing a sportbike powered by its CP3 three-cylinder engine. The catch? It’s not the YZF-R9 we’ve been waiting for, but a new XSR900 GP, a retro motorcycle inspired by Yamaha’s YZR Grand Prix racing machines of the ’80s.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The 2024 Yamaha XSR900 GP certainly looks the part, with its red and white cigarette brand color scheme and yellow number plates bringing back memories of Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey.
Starting with the XSR900 as a base, the GP adds a half fairing, leaving the 890cc Inline-Three and the silver-colored Deltabox-style frame visible. The cowl offers a similar squared-off face to the race bikes of the ’80s to improve aerodynamics and provide better wind protection to the rider than the curvier fairings of the ’70s. The engine and gear ratios are identical to the regular XSR900, but Yamaha says the fairing’s aerodynamics give the GP a higher top speed and increased acceleration, while the side ducts help to discharge heat and improve cooling.
Yamaha also took a period-accurate approach, using a tubed structure to connect the fairing to the frame. The upper fairing stay is supported by a nut structure similar to the one used on the original TZ250. The structure is fastened using a beta pin, which Yamaha says is a first for one of its street-legal mass production bikes.
KYB supplies the inverted fork and link-type rear shock, both offering full adjustability. The front suspension offers 5.1 inches of travel, just like the regular XSR900, but the GP reduces the rear travel by 0.3 inches to 5.2 inches. The braking system appears similar to the XSR900, with Brembo radial front master cylinder and dual 298mm front discs and a single 245 mm rear disc. The 17-inch wheels come clad in Bridgestone’s recently introduced Hypersport S23 tires.
The XSR900 GP comes with a modern electronics package, including a six-axis IMU, three pre-set and two custom ride modes, lean sensitive traction control, slide control, front wheel lift control and brake control. The XSR900 GP is also the first of Yamaha’s retro-tinged “Sport Heritage” models to come standard with its third-generation quick shift system, which allows clutchless up and down shifts.
The clip-on handlebars give the GP a more aggressive riding position than the XSR900. The diecast aluminum footpegs are adjustable to two different settings, and they come from the factory preset in the sportier position. Yamaha retuned the frame to support a more forward-weighted riding position, while the subframe is also reinforced over the unit from the regular XSR900. In a first for the CP3 models, Yamaha also introduced an aluminum steering stem shaft to adjust rigidity and improve stability during direction changes or deceleration.
While the overall riding posture is sporty, Yamaha didn’t make it too aggressive at the expense of riding comfort. To this end, Yamaha added a thicker seat to provide the rider with more support.
Which brings us back to the point of what the XSR900 GP is not: a YZF-R9 supersport. Will we ever see the R9? That still seems likely, considering Yamaha has already designed logos for it. Some of the chassis changes to the XSR900 GP also suggest Yamaha is preparing for an ever sportier CP3 model.
Until that arrives, European customers at least have access to the XSR900 GP. There’s no word yet on U.S. availability yet, but with Yamaha name-dropping Americans Kenny Roberts and Wayne Rainey in its announcement, we think it will be announced at some point.
More by Dennis Chung