by Lars Tibben / posted on 14/11/2015
The Yamaha XS name has been around for decades and the bike has become one of Yamaha’s most enduring types. So what better to use again in a completely revamped, modern reincarnation? The all new XSR700 isn’t just a reissue of the old XS60, but more like a present day homage to the bike that has put Yamaha on the map.
As I swing across yet another bend on yet another road on yet another mountain, I realise i’m having fun. Fun with a capital F, that is. This bike doesn’t only look the part, it rides great too. It really is a bike that ticks several boxes, previously thought to be impossible to unite.
Yamaha have played a clever game with this and that has everything to do with their new plilosophy. Calling it ‘Faster Sons’, it consists of several points that merge in the middle. Making a bike look as good as it gets from a design point of view but also making it handle perfectly from a technical perspective used to be two different things. However, looks don’t always have to get in the way of performance and that is what this little bike is trying to prove. Yamaha do point out that this is not a retro bike, so should not be treated as such either. It’s a modern view on the feel of the old bike. So, to make things easier, Yamaha have taken the MT-07 as a basis and in short redesigned the heck out of it. the end result is a bike with plenty of hints tot he old, but with the tech of the new. And they are not afraid to show it either, so we get to see the watercooled twin cyliner engine, the trellis frame, brakes and ABS, cast wheels, everything. The real trick is in the details. The dash looks like a vintage piece from a distance, but in fact shows all the information in LCD nevertheless. Both lights have the same oldskool round shape, but are fitted with LED. The exhaust is fitted under the bike like many other modern day bikes, but also has that classic style rounded end. And even the tank, which fits perfectly and is fitted with fuel pump and other stuff that you best want to leave untouched, has quickly removable covers that make the looks.
With the low weight and easy handling, the engine performance sets the mood completely. And a good mood makes for a good ride. No stress, no rush, just you and the bike, like it should be. Yes it does make you relive the joy of the old days, but with the reassurance of today. Just pick a color and be off towards the sunset. The XSR700 has a very high quality finish you don’t often see in this class and for that alone it’s a real bargain.
Text and images: Vincent Burger