all-new 2022 Yamaha XSR900

Yamaha Motor Europe announced a new XSR900 model, giving the retro-styled roadster updates similar to the changes received by the MT-09 last year. That includes an 889cc inline Triple and new Deltabox-style frame. As of this writing, the new 2022 Yamaha XSR900 has not been announced for the U.S., but we expect to get news on that front soon.

Visually, the XSR900 received a makeover even more drastic than the one Yamaha gave the MT-09. When combining pictures for our image juxtaposition sliders like the one below, I try to find some common points to get the two scaled and lined up to form a good comparison. Usually, I rely on the crankcases, engine mounting points or frame as points of reference. In this case, the only common element I could reliably use was the 17-inch front wheel.

The 2022 XSR900’s design was styled after Yamaha’s race bikes from the ’80s, with Christian Sarron’s Team Gauloises Yamaha OW81 in particular inspiring the Legend Blue livery. Even the shape of the saddle and the blocky tail have the same silhouette as the OW81, completely changing the look from the 2021 model’s slender tail.

Yamaha’s press kit included photos of Christian Sarron and his Grand Prix racer with its fairing removed to show the inspiration for the new XSR900.

The new Deltabox frame is the same as the one introduced on the MT-09, but aesthetically, it might be better suited to the XSR900’s lines than the more modern-looking bike. The new aluminum frame is more compact than the previous design, with Yamaha claiming increased longitudinal, lateral and torsional rigidity. The head pipe is 1.2 inches lower than on the old XSR900, translating to lower handlebars and a more aggressive riding position.

The rear subframe is unique to the XSR900, helping shape its new silhouette. The seat is 31.9 inches from the ground, 0.8-inch lower than the previous model, but also set further back behind the fuel tank. Yamaha says this layout contributes to the XSR900’s riding character while providing more comfortable ergonomics (and hopefully compensating for the lower hand controls).

With the seat farther back, Yamaha gave the XSR a new swingarm that is 2.2 inches longer than on the 2021 model, increasing the wheelbase to 58.9 inches so you’re not sitting directly on top of the rear wheel while also improving straight-line stability.

The XSR900 claims the same claimed 117 hp at 10,000 rpm and 69 lb-ft. at 7,000 as the MT-09. This represents a 4-hp increase, with maximum torque increasing by 6% and arriving 1,500 rpm earlier. To handle the increased torque, the XSR900 receives an updated assist and slipper clutch and revised gear ratios.

A new six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) collects data for the XSR900’s electronics package, which includes lean-sensitive traction control, slide control and anti-wheelie control. The Brake Control system offers two ABS modes: standard and lean-sensitive. Other electronic features include cruise control, an up-and-down quickshifter and four engine modes.  The previous model’s circular LCD unit may have been a better fit for the retro vibe, but the more complicated electronics resulted in a switch to a rectangular 3.5-inch TFT display.

The braking system is similar to the MT-09’s Nissin set-up with the exception of a Brembo front master cylinder. The suspension is also similar, with a fully-adjustable KYB inverted fork and a KYB rear shock with adjustable preload and rebound damping. The 10-spoke aluminum wheels are also the same as on the MT-09.

Other features include a round LED headlight, LED taillight, 3.7-gallon fuel tank and a claimed curb weight of 425.5 pounds.

The 2022 Yamaha XSR900 will arrive in European showrooms in February, 2022, with a choice of Legend Blue or Midnight Black. We await word on U.S. availability.


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