All Tests – 2015 Yamaha XJR1300 Review: tight roadster and extended Cafe Racer – 2015 XJR: tight roadster, extended Cafe Racer

2015 Yamaha XJR1300 Review: Tight Roadster and Extended Cafe Racer

All Tests - 2015 Yamaha XJR1300 Review: tight roadster and extended Cafe Racer - 2015 XJR: tight roadster, extended Cafe Racer

To celebrate two decades of its XJR1300, Yamaha has given its big roadster a little facelift. The Japanese also offer him a more sporty outfit, called Racer. Site tried both versions, under the Australian sun.

2015 XJR: tight roadster, stretched Cafe Racer

While the two versions of the new XJR1300 await test journalists at the exit of their hotel, Site chooses to start driving at the controls of the roadster version in order to better perceive the changes made for 2015.

First observation: if the saddle is higher on paper (829 mm against 795 on the previous version), it is not insurmountable. Generously padded and nicely padded, it accommodates the pilot pleasantly, just like the suspensions which sag noticeably under our weight (72 kg "dry" in this case).

Lifting the machine off its side stand is then less pleasant because you can then feel each of its 240 kg (all full). Maneuvers with the engine off are no more obvious and require both force and good downforce. Nothing new at this level.

Then, the 2015 XJR1300 differs from the older generation in two important points. First, the handlebars higher and closer to the rider slightly straighten the bust. The footrests are still quite high and set back, but the new reservoir helps to tighten the knees more.

The driving position on the new XJR is therefore more pleasant than on the old one. We gain further comfort by wedging at the bottom: the buttocks then benefit from the maximum width of the saddle, while the knees move away from the protruding cylinder heads.

A few kilometers in the suburbs of Sydney are enough to recognize the hyper docile character of the 4-cylinder of Iwata, the biggest – air mill! – still in production. The most fussy will blame him for a selection a harsh suspicion to downshifting, but a well-dosed gas shot is enough to soften it considerably.

The smoothness of the mechanics of the XJR is particularly appreciated in town where the engine accepts to run on fifth and last gear – as a reminder, this bike is an "authentic old" (read our) – and sets off again without flinching. from idle.

Thanks to the two levers adjustable in spacing, the rider can literally control his bike with the fingertips. Wearing the Dunlop D252, our test model seemed more – but by memory only – easier to handle than the XJR1300s previously driven by Site..

Our "Yokozuna" (read our) does not tend to fall into tight bends: without going for a slender, our roadster of the day is finally doing well in this short foray into town..

Without a 2014 model within reach, it is even more difficult to assess the effects of the new DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) treatment of the fork, which is supposed to limit friction and improve its behavior. Aesthetically, however, it is a success: its black color will particularly appeal to fans of the "Dark Side".

From a dynamic point of view, we will therefore remember that the front and rear suspensions of the XJR1300 always spare the arms and the back of its pilot in an urban environment. By attacking the sublime roads leading to the Blue Moutains National Park, we also find the limits of the whole.

The front end always tends to stiffen when entering curves on the brakes, then slackens a little too much when the lever is released. This greatly limits improvisation and can cool bikers used to lighter roadsters, or even sporty ones..

On the go-around, the XJR1300 is no more precise. It is even the opposite when you decide to use a large ladle of torque, i.e. 108.4 Nm maximum reached from 6000 rpm: the rear axle sags noticeably, then is slow to regain balance while its light waddings inexorably widen the programmed trajectory.

Due to the colossal torque of the engine, the sometimes slippery surface of Australian roads but also the perfectible grip of the Dunlops, a pair of rear wheel glides at the exit of a curve enamelled our driving in the Australian undergrowth….

But that’s also vintage! No electronic system takes care to make up for any excess of zeal or inadvertent underestimation of the level of grip. No traction control, so everything is in the right hand … and no ABS either, even as an option! Would XJR users only ride placidly and in good weather? ?

On the winding roads down to the Tasman Sea, we (re) discover that the stability of the XJR is not perfect, especially when running over a bump. The Yam ‘clearly prefers well-maintained nationals to deteriorated departmental ones. In the end, it is in the straights that we take full advantage of the 98 horses (at 8000 rpm). No need for more.

Still unsurprisingly, course changes require some involvement from the pilot. The motorcycle’s inertia is also noticeable when braking hard: you have to pull the right lever quite a bit so that the calipers – of the 1998 R1, first of the name! – effectively clamp the two 298 mm discs.

Insensitive on small roads where our right hand is not idle – while the left hand can simply grab its own lever briefly to drop the gears – the vibrations in the handlebars become troublesome on the fast track.

After about twenty kilometers traveled at a constant pace (90 km / h, at 3200 rpm in 5th gear), ants – Australian, the worst … – roam the phalanges of Site. Fortunately, a few "photo" stops then lunch allow them to be quickly eliminated..

After the midday break, the Journal moto du Net takes control of the new "Racer" version of the XJR1300 2015. Since leaving the hotel in the morning, the new Yamaha "kittee" is watching us. … and charms our ears !

Indeed, the XJR1300 Racer models lent during this press presentation are equipped with Akrapovic pots (and an elegant optional license plate holder). Their sound is much more exhilarating than that, relatively muffled, of the XJR1300 "just short" and their original pot..

Unfortunately, the pleasure of roaring the engine in short straights and hearing it roar under deceleration is quickly erased by the discomfort generated by the Cafe Racer’s very stretched out riding position. Many, like Site, are likely to be "disillusioned".

Inspired by the superb "Red water"created by the Deus Ex Machina workshop, the Racer has a bracelet handlebar placed far forward – but not that low, so that the wrists are not only resting, but also broken, too in extension.

It is therefore necessary to suffer to be beautiful on the handlebars of the Racer! And this is all the more true as to limit the work of the arms, the pilot tends to tighten the thin tank more between his thighs. He thus feels the vibrations distilled by the 4-legged, passed unnoticed on the roadster on which we drive more relaxed, thighs in a fan (it was over 30 ° C in the middle of the afternoon)..

The sporty stance induced by the Racer makes driving more physical, whether you are in the city center, in the countryside, or in between on the highway. The bubble also offers little protection, only protecting the chest from the wind, while the arms, shoulders and head remain exposed regardless of the speed adopted..

At very low speed, the added weight of the fork crown, mount, and brace – useful, really? – make the front axle drop slightly. Not practical to move with the engine off and surprisingly at low speed, the XJR Racer therefore requires a much longer adaptation time than that required by the original XJR.

Still, the beautiful rear end of the Yamaha makes you want to ride it … The hood covering the passenger seat and the simple brake light gives it the air of a racing animal! "For me the XJR belongs to the vintage Superbike scene of the 80s and we have developed our style studies in this direction.", explains Stephane Zache..

"The XJR is actually closer to an 80s Superbike than a 60s cafe racer", continues the designer Yamaha. Whether it is considered heir to one or another of these glorious families, the Yamaha Racer is paying dearly for its devastating look: physically we have seen it, but also financially..

To have an XJR1300 Racer (kit including fork crown, small front fender and rear carbon shell, aluminum handlebar strap), the future customer must indeed add to the price of the 2015 XJR (i.e. € 10,999) an extension of 1000 euros. But this quickly doubles with the essential Akrapovic pot, a pair of mirrors at the end of the handlebars and the more discreet license plate holder. But when we love, we don’t count, if ?!

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