Zonko’s attack on the small Yamaha XJR 1300

Zonko’s attack on the small Yamaha XJR 1300

Eternal love

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The murderous noble Yamaha XJR 1300 of the tuner Klein roared the aria of eternal love and blazing fire in the Swabian Alb.

"Are you sure you can do it?" – "I’ve already removed an appendix with a grapefruit spoon." And then Robert de Niro cuts the ball out of the bleeding rump and Jean Reno assists. This dialogue from the film “Ronin” leads me directly to Dominik Klein and his madmen Yamaha XJR 1300 – an absolute masterpiece of mechanical surgery. When the killer furnace was christened, Klein didn’t have the film in mind, but rather thought of the original meaning of the Japanese word ronin: an abandoned samurai roaming the country.

Zonko’s attack on the small Yamaha XJR 1300

Eternal love

XJR 1300 costs 36,000 euros, wanders from fair to fair, and leaves people in awe on their knees? Or because the muscle racer in the metaphorical sense is the long faded AMA superbike scene of the 80s, when Eddie Lawson and Co. wowed people with their air-cooled, brutally erupting Japanese nakeds? "For me, Noriyuki Haga was a ronin when he had to leave Yamaha and switched to Ducati and later also to Aprilia, "explains Klein, who always uses the number 41 on his project machines as a tribute to the wild Japanese.

Key to happiness

One day before the PS industrial exit, I arrived at the headquarters of Motor Presse Stuttgart and almost lost my mind in the underground car park when I saw the "Ronin". Wow, what an unimaginably charismatic, beautifully made killer trip! Single-sided swing arm, spoked wheels, racing hump, open frame triangle with Ohlins central spring strut, 320mm Brembo double anchor, Ohlins fork, gold, milled Magura pumps, BKG-2D handlebars, over frame struts, individual air filters and an extremely promising four-in -one plant in titanium from SC-Project. This Yamaha XJR 1300 is a dream!

I took zero risk and sprinted like a madman up the stairs to the PS editorial office (the elevator could have been too slow), in the heat of the moment I forgot all the rules of etiquette and greetings and came across the most important thing in front of Seitz’s desk Sentence from: "Please the ignition key!"

"I will make Stuttgart the metropolis of madness"

When he hesitated for a moment, I immediately added: “You won’t regret it! I will enchant the city with the thrilling roar of the large four-cylinder Yamaha XJR 1300. I will make Stuttgart the metropolis of madness. Of course, fully controlled. This is going to be legendary. Everyone will talk about this trip for a long time and yes, everyone will benefit from it! Win-win-win, you know. "

But despite this convincing plea, the Seitzmographer did not want to give out the key. I was stunned and stammered: “Please! If I am not allowed to fire this murderous Yamaha XJR 1300 right away, I will get severe, psychosomatic toothache, maybe even resignedly defiant heart racing and possibly – I don’t want to think about it – I will wither immediately like a lily of the valley in a hot air stove! "

Killer sound from the SC-Project buffer tube

Count Seitzmo remained stubborn. Luckily. Because I wouldn‘t have come very far with the small Yamaha XJR 1300 in Stuttgart. Rod is still imprisoned in Switzerland and they might have gotten me here in the center of Baden-Wurgenberg. Not a nice idea. A gorge shit in Piefke prison. Sure hardcore. In Stuttgart I wouldn’t have had to scare hysterically gasping fur sausages with discreet slides near the sidewalk or cause a horrified sensation with spectacularly harsh traffic light wheelies. No, the brute engine noise would have been sufficient to exceed the tolerance limits of even the mildest law enforcement officer many times over. The godly sound of the 1251 in-line quad from the open SC Project buffer tube would have unscrewed the fuses under the cap for the officer. Official!

We took the Ronin in the windowless cargo hold of the PS dangerous goods transporter out onto a small test track in the Swabian Alb and unlocked it. And, ladies and gentlemen, I will never forget the powerful sound of this killer engine. Insanely beautiful! When we woke up the four-in-a-row of the small Yamaha XJR 1300 with a brief press of one of the shiny metallic micro-buttons from Motogadget on the left handlebar, the narrow basin in which we were filled with a deep, threateningly hungry wolf’s rattle.


Scratch-free up to 90 degrees.

What a sound! Thanks to the almost dampening-free titanium system, which was specially made for the small Yamaha XJR 1300, the explosions in the four large cylinders condensed into an incredibly briskly orchestrated symphony. Music lovers may think of me as a terrible stupid, but the sound that came out of the pipe in perfect mezzo forte was the best that has ridden through my ears so far.

This is what motorcycles should sound like! Free inhalation through small individual air filters, free exhalation through a smooth tube without a decibel gag. Land of milk and honey! No question about it, in this day and age, in which the settlement density is getting stronger and people have thinner nerves due to the enormous pressure to perform, one has to show understanding for legal noise restrictions, but with all the knowledge I would like to give further consideration in terms of health care, that the sound of the ronin breathed cleansing through my soul and enriched it with euphoria. No matter how many tabs stress pill swallowers throw in, they will never reach this state of inner bliss. And when I then fired the small Yamaha XJR 1300, there was no stopping me anyway!

Pilates for deer, rabbit and hedgehog

It’s crazy how the engine of the small Yamaha XJR 1300, which greedily turns from the very bottom to 9500 rpm, roared unleashed. Fortissimo! During my harsh acceleration orgies on the straights, out of the corner of my eye I saw Count Seitzmo smiling happily at the edge of the road, and photo master Jacek, whose disheveled hairstyle reminded me of Beethoven, followed me with his mouth open. The valley basin had certainly never experienced such a wonderful soundscape.

Since I am firmly convinced that nature has a feeling, I assume that the boiler will continue to draw from our test drive for a very long time. And it was probably the best form of exercise therapy for the fleeing game in the forest. Pilates for deer, rabbit and hedgehog.

No engine intervention necessary

The large, air-cooled block of four produced 122 PS and 123 Nm on the PS test bench. This is of course a significant increase compared to the nominal 98 PS from the series, albeit not a world (the last XJR already pressed 107 PS as standard on our test bench). Why did Dominik Klein not install the 1,400 cubic over piston? “I don’t even know,” he says, “whether Over still offers these pistons. Since the cylinders are made of aluminum – they used to be made of cast iron – boring has become much more complex. In addition, the 34 mm cross-section of the injection does not make considerable engine tuning easy. One would have to come back to the flat slide. I think the engine’s performance is very good now. "

Absolutely! The incredibly elastic foursome goes through extremely cultivated from 2000 / min and then serves an almost dents-free, very strong crescendo up to 8000 / min (to stay in the musical language). Over the entire range, the engine of the small and small Yamaha XJR 1300 is much more powerful than the standard engine. The decisive factor is not only the general increase in power, but also the broad plateau from 8000 to 9500 rpm. While the series engine drops significantly from 8000 tours and thus forces the driver to shift gears, the small quad keeps full power right down to the limiter. Other camshafts? “No,” says Klein, “we haven’t changed the engine, only the peripherals and the management. So air filter, exhaust and software. "


Beethoven’s lost one hundredth: The open titanium tube from SC-Project delivers fat orchestral music.

Apropos exhaust: the full sound is infinitely desirable in my ears, but law enforcement officers usually hear differently. Does the sound-technical SC super pipe also exist with a db killer and if so, how much power does that kill? Klein nods: “With a four-stroke engine, the exhaust always costs performance.

The freer it is, i.e. the less there is in the pipe, the more power the engine can produce. Now we are about 25 hp above the standard output, with the db-Killer only just eight hp left. ”All right, I want the empty pipe!

From 50 km / h you can easily insert the five

In the realm of public radii I used the "trick of peace". So no high speeds and therefore little noise. The huge row quad works brilliantly even in the lower speed range and impressively pushes the 219 kilo small Yamaha XJR 1300 through the world with a full tank. From 50 km / h you can easily insert the five, there is no six.

I’ve ridden a lot of XJRs and loved them all, but none of them captivated me as much as this small Yamaha XJR 1300. At least as captivating as the divine sound of the engine is the visual appearance of the machine. The iron looks incredibly coherent and coherent in every detail. As if milled from the solid. A total work of art.

A hodgepodge of fine components

The Ronin is actually a hodgepodge of noble components. The 48er Ohlins FGRT fork comes from the Ducati Diavel, the central shock absorber was made for the Yamaha R3, the single-sided swing arm of the small Yamaha XJR 1300 comes from a Ducati Hypermotard 796. Klein: “We have the innards of the Ohlins components in 15 test steps adjusted. The pivot bearing in the steel frame was not a big problem, but we worked longer on the deflection with a rocker. "

The two gold-shimmering, ultra-precise Magura HC3 pumps for brakes and clutches, the Kineo spoked wheels (3.50 x 17, 6.00 x 17) and the hand-laminated rear with inner fenders, which hold the battery and various electronic components, are also incredibly constructive lucky charms. Wherever you look, the small Yamaha XJR 1300 is incredibly elegant and beautiful.

An unforgettable ride

The sitting position takes getting used to when smoking. Haga, 168 centimeters, would probably be a bit too small for the small Yamaha XJR 1300. With my 178 centimeters, it stretched me a lot forward. As soon as you get used to it, nothing stands in the way of full fire. The chassis is by far the best I’ve ever seen in an XJR, and the freedom of lean angle is always greater than the pilot’s courage in the open country.

One could once again bring a classic: “The load only scratches when it is no longer possible to straighten up.” Usually it doesn’t matter to me that I’m not in the money, but the 36,000 euros for the small Yamaha XJR I would really like to have 1300. And yes: I will always have the ride on the Ronin in my heart. Something like that never fades.

Technical specifications


Massive 48 fork tubes of the Diavel paired with the aluminum fork bridge milled from solid.

Technical data small Yamaha XJR 1300

Drive: Four-cylinder in-line engine, four valves / cylinder, 90.1 kW (122 hp) at 8100 rpm **, 123 Nm at 5700 rpm **, 1251 cm³, bore / stroke: 79.0 / 63.8 mm, compression ratio: 9.7: 1, ignition / injection system, 34 mm throttle valves, hydraulically operated multi-plate oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, chain

Landing gear: Double loop frame made of steel, steering head angle: k. A., caster: n / a A., wheelbase: 1480 mm, upside-down fork, Ø fork inner tube: 48 mm, adjustable in spring base, rebound and compression. Central spring strut with deflection, adjustable in spring base, rebound and compression. Spring travel front / rear: 120/110 mm, cast light alloy wheels, 3.50 x 17 / 6.00 x 17, front tires: 120/70 ZR 17, rear: 190/55 ZR 17, first tires: Bridgestone S21, 320 mm double disc brakes with radially hinged four-piston fixed calipers at the front, 245 mm single disc with two pistons-
Fixed saddle at the rear

Max. Rear wheel power **: 84 kW (114 hp) at 7800 rpm

Acceleration**: not determined   

Draft **: not determined

Top speed: not determined

Weight: 219 kg with a full tank 

Tank capacity: 14.5 liters

Setup fork: k. AT..

Setup shock absorber: k. AT..

Price: 36,000 euros

all damping settings counted from completely closed; static negative spring deflection standing vertically without driver; U = revolutions; K = clicks * manufacturer information ** PS measurement



Zonko: "The small Yamaha XJR 1300 is an extremely charismatic muscle bike that is reminiscent of the rampant, wild times of the early 80s, and at the same time a battle iron that has been upgraded with extremely high-quality components."

When I think about the small Yamaha XJR 1300, despite all the euphoria, it strikes me that the beautiful iron wouldn’t stand a chance against power nakeds such as the Tuono 1100, S 1000 R, 1290 Super Duke R and MT-10 in an emergency. But that in no way diminishes my deeply felt love and my unstoppable longing.

The small Yamaha XJR 1300 is an extremely charismatic muscle bike that is reminiscent of the rampant, wild times of the early 80s, and at the same time a battle iron that has been upgraded with extremely high-quality components. A work of art of emotion. The craziest XJR of all time – and I’ve driven many, dearly love this air-cooled big block, this gigantic four-cylinder. This engine in this chassis – that’s the crown of creation!

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