Short test of the Yamaha XJR 1300

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Naked bike

Short test of the Yamaha XJR 1300

Short test of the Yamaha XJR 1300
The small difference

Since Yamaha increased the displacement of the XJR from 1200 to 1300 cubic centimeters, the naked bike has found a lot of new fans. Now, changes in detail should make this undisguised form of motorcycle construction even more popular.

Mathias Wohlfeld

December 04, 2001

Your appearance is your capital, no question about it. In the style of puristic driving machines, the XJR frankly shows what it has. Four cylinders, of course in a row, that do not have a water cooler installed and no frame branches are disfigured. On the contrary, they are ennobled by filigree cooling fins, adorned with chrome-plated manifolds and complemented by huge engine covers. A naked bike, as it is in the book.
But standing still is a step backwards even in the traditionalist genre. That’s why the manifolds are now even thicker and the sparkling engine covers are loud Yamaha even more corrosion resistant. And while they were at it, the technicians also lend a hand with the carburetors. They became one kilogram lighter and their diameter grew from 36 to 37 millimeters. In conjunction with the larger manifold cross-section, the measures are intended to ensure an optimized, even more generous torque curve for the big block.
The test bench attests to 109.5 Nm at 6600 rpm and thus 1.5 Nm more than the previous model. No outstanding increase, but peak values ​​are also not the issue with the XJR and speeds above 6000 rpm are the exception for enjoyable curve surfing. Much more important: the powerful acceleration from the lowest engine speeds, and this is where the new one really has more to offer. Especially between 3000 and 4000 rpm, the XJR acts more spontaneously and looks more lively. This fact is not reflected in the torque values ​​because Yamaha changed the secondary gear ratio from 38:17 to 39:18 in the same breath, thus reducing the speed level again. But not the consumption of the inline four-cylinder. 7.2 liters in highway operation are a capital amount.
From 7000 rpm, the new loses performance and liveliness. But this will only bother performance fetishists, while friends of the well-groomed thrust enjoy the impeccable manners in the speed basement. And the comfortable accommodation. Longer journeys can be made, as the modified bench seat still offers enough space for even two tall people and the Yamaha shows itself from the uncomplicated side when driving. The agile Brummer steers surprisingly easily in curves of all kinds, pulls through them calmly and stays true to the planned line of the rider. Changing lean angles is easy despite her bulk of 247 kilograms. The gearbox also pleases with good manners. You step up and down the gears smoothly and precisely.
Precision is also the keyword when it comes to chassis modifications. Too hard at the back, too soft at the front – that was the accusation of days gone by. The XJR can do that now? at least in part? invalidate. The shimmering yellow and, with their brass-colored reservoirs, seemingly high-quality suspension struts from Ohlins tighten the buttocks of the muscular Japanese woman. The spring base is adjustable, rebound and compression damping are balanced. With noticeably more reserves and a ten millimeter longer spring travel, the rear suspension is far less troublesome than its predecessor. The struts also provide more clarity for what is happening between the asphalt and the tires. The redesign of the fork was not quite as successful.
Not quite so softly tuned, it gives a slightly better feel for the front wheel, but still relies too much on comfort. At brisk pace, especially on bad roads and when using the one-piece four-piston stoppers from the YZF-R1, the damping reserves still reach their limits too quickly. The rear brake has a new, one-piece cast two-piston saddle. Thanks to its sensitive response behavior, it can be dosed in a targeted manner up to the blocking limit and also helps save weight. In total, the engineers slimmed down the XJR by six kilograms.
In terms of comfort and equipment, however, the Yamaha has increased. The newly shaped tank offers a clean knee connection without annoying edges exerting permanent pressure on the inside of the thighs. The levers for the clutch and brake can each be adjusted to five different positions and are more cheaply cranked, the steering lock locks on both sides and, in an emergency, a hazard warning light system provides the necessary attention. All small things, indeed. But in total they make the subtle difference.

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