Frankly the first modern-era Triumph to wear the legendary Speed Twin moniker was a tad disappointing when it rolled down the skids for 2020. All was forgiven, though, when Triumph made it all right with the 2022 version. The weedy suspension components of the first bike (which, in fairness, may have been more period-correct) gave way to a new, 43mm inverted Marzocchi fork brandishing radial-mount Brembo M50 monobloc calipers squeezing bigger, 320mm discs. A pair of “higher-spec” shocks brought up the rear. New lightweight 12-spoke cast wheels rolled onto the scene, shod with Metzeler RR Racetec rubber.
Some of us were a bit surprised when Yamaha’s newly overhauled 2021 MT-09 snagged first place in last summer’s 900cc(ish) Naked Bike Comparison, against such more-expensive heavy hitters as the new Ducati Monster and KTM Duke 890. And all of us were a little surprised when the XSR900 defeated Indian FTRs 1200 and 1200S, and the now-defunct Monster 1200S, in an only slightly unfair 2019 comparo. (Slightly unfair because our test route was really nothing but tight, twisty roads.) Now, the 2022 XSR900 is newly overhauled just as last year’s MT-09 was, using all the same parts from the waist down, including the new super-sized 890 cc version of that most excellent CP3 three-cylinder and all its electronic controls.
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.
After 21 years, Yamaha has announced the venerable YZF-R6 will be discontinued after the 2020 model year. This coming on the news today of the V Star 250, Bolt R-Spec, XSR700 and XSR900, Super Ténéré ES, FJR1300ES, Star Venture, and XMAX all continuing on for 2021 with what basically amounts to, as we say in the moto-journo biz – Bold New Graphics (BNG).
Yamaha‘s MT-09 is getting a larger engine for 2021, as part of an update to allow the “Master of Torque” Triple to meet Euro 5 standards. The new engine will increase from the current 847cc to close to 890cc and increase its maximum power by 4 hp to a claimed 118 hp while reducing its emission output. At the moment, we can only confirm the MT-09 will receive the updated engine, but we expect other Yamaha models that share the three-cylinder engine, such as the Tracer 900, XSR900 and Niken to receive the new powerplant as well.
Not every model needs a complete makeover every year, and today, Yamaha released the information about its 2020 carryover models. Here, you’ll find three classes of motorcycles. First, the Touring models of adventure and sport persuasions. Then we get Yamaha’s Hypernakeds. Finally, the Sports Heritage models for you Faster Sons (and Daughters) out there.
I was a little surprised my kid liked the new Honda Rebel 500 as much as he did last week, but then all of us are surprised by our offspring, aren’t we? His daily driver lately is my old Yamaha R1. He finally got around to getting his motorcycle endorsement last month – on our borrowed KTM Super Duke GT… so he does have quite a varied motorcycle background for a kid who’s only 23 years old. In an effort to understand the younger moto-mentality, and as a service to all the manufacturers trying to figure out what the hell millennial motorcyclists want, anyway, I drilled further into my child’s mind to get down to the Top 10 of things.
Maybe it’s human nature, but motorcycle publications are constantly trying to determine which bike can lap the fastest, jump the highest, or travel the farthest. Competition is what feeds the beast. Motorcycle.com’s as guilty of it as anyone, and it’s easy to see why: motorcycling has become so segmented these days, with machines designed to satisfy one particular niche. They do it very well, too; sportbikes are insanely advanced, adventure bikes are capable of traversing nearly any terrain, and both cruisers and sport-tourers can pound out miles in two very different, yet also very satisfying, ways. And we haven’t even mentioned streetfighters, nakeds, and standards…
Yamaha’s 847cc Triple hasn’t failed to impress since its 2014 introduction powering the FZ-09. In either FZ-09 or FJ-09 guise, the frisky engine combined with the bike’s light weight and modest MSRP has helped both models to win numerous MO shootouts and Best Of awards:
Think of the new Yamaha XSR900 as an FZ-09 that went backstage for a costume change and emerged for act II in disguise. In the process the XSR was also wired to perform some on-stage acrobatics of which the FZ is incapable. Ticket prices went up, but so did the bike’s technological accountability.
Last month we brought you the Top 10 Most Anticipated Bikes of 2016. For February, let’s take a look at the most affordable new bikes of 2016, because, well, a lot of the bikes in that other list are pricey: XDiavel, Brutale 800, Super Duke GT … you get the picture. There already exist a lot of motorcycles in the sub-$10k price category, and here’s 10 more new models joining that list. From retro to modernistic, cruiser to sportbike, on-road to off, there’s a little something for everyone in this list.