Top test Yamaha XJ 600 N
Solid running culture and four-cylinder sound paired with the light-footed handling of an entry-level bike. Yamaha’s mid-range classic XJ 600 N has been practicing the balancing act for over ten years. For little money. So, nothing like the top test.
A Sunday morning in autumn. With the first strong rays of the sun, the early morning fog evaporates into the vastness of the atmosphere.
The perfect time to leave. Where? Anyway, just get out. An all-rounder like the Yamaha XJ 600 N is not picky, takes things as they come. From quickies on the home route to day trips to casual vacation trips for two.
But first I want to be shaken up with feeling. The fiddly handlebar lock with the little extra key arouses delicate, nostalgic feelings in veterans, but contemporaries spoiled by the central lock shake their heads uncomprehendingly. Anyway, at this point, tradition and red pen have just made a successful pact. After all, Yamaha’s four-cylinder medium classic has now been built for eleven years. And ?? despite cost pressure ?? a thoroughly evolutionary period of maturity. So in 1998 there was finally the second disc brake at the front and a more stable fork. The combination of a single disc and slender 38 mm stalks that had been used up until then turned out to be limp and not true to the line.
The air-cooled two-valve valve supplied by 28 downdraft carburettors, on the other hand, has survived to this day and, after having been pepped up with a loving choke adjustment, invites you to take your first dives into the depths of the surrounding area with a gentle humming behavior. Even if the clutch engages rather rebelliously when cold and the sometimes quite nonchalantly locking six-speed box doesn’t always get to the point, despite its weight of 214 kilograms, the remarkably easy handling and the relaxed seating position behind the pleasantly cranked tubular handlebar make you want more. Thanks to the low seat height and sinking suspension, people under 1.80 meters tall will find full-surface contact with the floor with both feet and conditions that are otherwise quite suitable for long distances. This creates trust, especially among novices. And gives courage.
For example, for a tiny acceleration duel towards the expressway. 4.8 seconds to 100 is one word. The tin cage faction has to move up with its wildest representatives ?? For whom there is just a tailor-made leather suitcase set for the price of an XJ. The power of the XJ is even enough up to 140 km / h to show the narrow rear of a Porsche Boxster S, for example. In order to run up to top form, the aged two-valve engine requires a good speed. Downstairs, rather blessed with restrained vigor, it speeds up to five-digit ranges from around 6000 rpm in a cultivated and low-vibration manner. It sounds like a lot of effort there, so that even those in a hurry can quickly find their way back to the Sunday swing. And it is best enjoyed on winding country roads.
For example in the Swabian Alb. Only a few veil clouds populate the deep blue sky. Which can be observed very well in the chrome-plated housing of the headlight, especially since the gentle Yamaha always allows its pilot enough leisure to let their gaze wander. It doesn’t always demand top performance, courageous inclines or brutal slow braking on the last groove. With the XJ you are always on the ideal line. Of your own.
What ?? and this is where it gets pragmatic ?? among other things is due to the modest tire widths. Instead of showy broad rubbers, downright shy asphalt saws are stuck on the three-spoke cast wheels, more precisely 110 / 80-17 at the front and 130 / 70-18 at the rear. Always sufficient to bring the peak power of 61 hp to the ground even when accelerating out of the way. And also of an outrageously inspiring effect on handling. The XJ turns the corner easily and easily on its Dunlop Arrowmax, and it doesn’t matter to her, whether it’s about wide arches, hairpin bends or nasty dog turns. Due to the lack of erecting moment, it is even possible to brake in the course of the bend without being stuck in the vetch. Another plus point of the narrow tires: In order to circle a curve as quickly as the broadly rubberized competition, significantly less lean angle is necessary. Not only fine for beginners, but also for the ambitious. You can cheer up quickly and only when you boldly bend down after the first warning signals in the form of rasping footrests come across tough resistance from the main stand scraping across the asphalt.
If they have not been warned beforehand by slight unrest in the undercarriage and slowed down accordingly. Due to the low spring rate, the fork dips helplessly even during normal driving despite sufficient damping – transparency and exact feedback are the devil. Especially annoying in wavy curves. On bad slopes and at brisk pace, the also very soft tuning of the rear attracts attention. If this set-up guarantees litter-like comfort on a well-tended surface, the same goes when loaded despite the correct setting of the shock absorber directly attached to the swing arm. Anyone who rushes over bumps with smack as a couple makes rough acquaintance with the stop buffer. At a species-appropriate pace, however, such hardship should rarely occur.
On the MOTORRAD test course, however, these weaknesses prevent an even better performance. Here, in the quasi-compressed everyday biker life, the XJ is doing well thanks to its nimble handling, but could scurry around the pylons even faster if the Yamaha people finally gave it a suitable fork set-up. Which would also put an end to the lightning-like impact on the stop buffers when decelerating heavily. However, the braking values themselves are okay. Well-dosed, not too biting, progressively responsive stoppers bring the Yamaha to a stop after almost 40 meters from a speed of 100. No problem even for the less experienced, thanks to the tendency towards rear-heavy weight distribution, the rear wheel always remains down-to-earth even with extreme braking and helps cheerfully when decelerating.
The XJ cheerfully even masters motorway passages, where the pilot sitting upright can easily lace up at 160 km / h ?? if he doesn’t cling too much to the handlebars. Then his nervousness is transferred to the undercarriage, and the whole load begins to excitedly describe wavy lines. So let the handlebars loose and you can achieve veritable continuous speeds with good straight-line stability. Those in a hurry scratch the 180 mark while crouching down low. And soon notice that the four-cylinder engine develops the thirst of a dried-up quarter drinker at high speeds. While it is still a halfway acceptable 5.6 liters at a leisurely country road trip and 5.2 liters at a constant speed of 100, the XJ already burns almost seven liters at a constant 130. Their legacies are released from the chrome-plated mufflers without any catalytic aftertreatment. Oh well. No matter how, after a good 200 kilometers the reserve tap comes into play, there is no fuel gauge, the analog cockpit is limited to the basics.
Basics, an enjoyable chapter. Load a comfortably padded pillion seat with deeply arranged notches and solid handles for driving along, luggage hooks for lashing on solo trips. And since the XJ doesn’t hold back with its technology, even moderately talented people can enjoy the small service ?? about changing oil and spark plugs – try. Should the load tip over? half as bad: rubber-mounted indicators and the lack of protruding plastic parts save the budget in the event of an accident. Manageable costs for tires, inspections and insurance also make a warm shower-like seasonal license plate superfluous and predestine the easy-to-use license plate XJ 600 N for year-round bikes. After all, sun-drenched Sunday mornings beckon even in autumn and winter. Four pleasures with it!
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Top test Yamaha XJ 600 N
What else caught my eye
PlusEasy handlingHigh service friendliness, as all four spark plugs as well as the oil filter, battery and fuses are directly accessibleOil level control via sight glassGood view in the rear-view mirrorsMain standWarning flasherStorage compartment with space for a U-lock Spring base solo level 3, with pillion full preload
This is how MOTORRAD tests handiness
MOTORRAD explains the individual criteria of the 1000-point evaluation (part 5)
It drives itself? if a motorcycle is praised like this, it has earned full marks in the criterion of maneuverability. It is ideal when the driver can steer the machine through curves and bends with minimal effort and corrections, which is seldom the case today, not least because of the wide tires. Expressions such as stubborn turning, high steering forces and physical effort are used much more often. In the assessment, MOTORRAD takes into account that the handling can be very different in different speed ranges. Some motorcycles only appear unwilling in the upper speed range, others only require high steering forces to correct course in tight bends. Various aspects have an effect on the handiness, such as weight, center of gravity, chassis geometry, tire dimensions and contour, but also gyroscopic forces from rotating masses of the wheels, brake discs or crank drive of the engine.
MOTORCYCLE readings – Yamaha XJ 600 N
MOTORCYCLE measured values²Braking and driving dynamicsBrake measurementBraking distance from 100 km / h 39.8 meters Mean deceleration 9.7 m / s² Comments: Fork locks, together with minimal stamping of the front wheel, at which the tire starts to whistle. Balanced weight distribution. Slightly shifting pressure point after a few measurements. Handling course I (fast slalom) Best lap time 21.5 seconds Vmax at the measuring point 99.8 km / h Comments: Easy, neutral handling; narrow tires enable tight lines. The fork, which is set too softly, affects the steering precision, the entire suspension travel is already exhausted when changing the lean angle. The gentle engine power enables a clean line at the turning point. Carrier Use of power at low speeds.Circular orbit d 46 metersBest lap time 11.0 sec Vmax at measuring point 50.1 km / h Comments: Main stand touches down. Drives very neutrally without any tendency to understeer or oversteer. Lever on bumps over the main stand. Almost no set-up moment due to narrow 110 front tires.
The XJ 600 N is a real good-mood motorcycle. Its cultivated running four-cylinder takes you everywhere and apart from fuel the XJ doesn’t ask much. Blessed with an almost unrivaled price-performance ratio, it is the tip for everyone who just wants to drive. The few marks for a couple of harder fork springs should easily be there.
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