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Yamaha Introduces 2016 XSR700: Retro Design Built on FZ-07 Platform

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A short while ago, we asked where Yamaha was going with its “Faster Sons” riff. Now we know. Yamaha Europe has announced the production 2016 XSR700 — a bike likely to come to the United States, as well. It shares the 689 cc twin engine with the FZ-07, along with its chassis, suspension and wheels (although the subframe is different to accommodate a flatter, retro-style seat).

Like the FZ-07, the XSR700 is very light weight at a claimed 409 pounds wet. Having just ridden the FZ-07 through Norway, we expect the XSR700 to display similar performance characteristics with a potent engine and nimble handling. You can open the full product brochure with this PDF file, but here is Yamaha’s summary of the new bike, followed by a video:

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Born tomorrow

The XSR700 makes a serious statement. Designed to take a timeless feel built on historical icons, matched with tomorrow’s technology for a pure, entertaining riding experience. With deep torque and a super agile chassis, it’s for those who appreciate heritage and love to ride.

The cutting edge 689cc inline 2-cylinder engine features our special ‘crossplane philosophy’ enabling it to develop linear torque for outstanding acceleration. The retro styled XSR700 also benefits from a tight and lightweight chassis for outstanding agility and handling.

The XSR700 takes the best of design from Yamaha’s history in homage to the past but is very much the motorcycle of tomorrow.

Details

  • Built for optimum riding enjoyment
  • Vintage inspired headlight and rear light unit
  • Two-texture leather vintage style seat unit
  • Pirelli Phantom tyres with authentic tread pattern
  • Outstanding fuel efficiency
  • Low dry weight of only 164kg
  • Aluminium fuel tank unit
  • Liquid-cooled 689cc inline 2-cylinder 4-stroke
  • Mass-forward design with sculpted bodywork
  • Crossplane philosophy design with 270-degree crank
  • Deep and powerful linear torque output
  • Dual 282mm front discs with 4-pot calipers and ABS

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140 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    From the video, while the tank looks abbreviated from the side, but looks fat and right from the riders view. I’m wondering how much the 270-degree firing of the fz07 twin will enhance the riding experience of the car – some xs650 owners have swapped cranks on old 650 motors rephrasing from 360 degree to 270 to achieve the same effect as this new engine. Said to smooth out the xs650s vibey vibes. is the 270 crank different from the fz? Will it potato potato like a HD?

  2. jim says:

    Meh, they copied a Ducati Scrambler.

  3. Bill Lustrick says:

    I like the bike because it’s really different and I can live with the radiator because it’s water cooled. You can always paint the shroud any color you like. But I think the Faster Sons must have been smoking crack when they came up with that LED flashlight tail light mounted on what looks like the last few inches of a Schwinn Stingray fender with something that looks like they sawed it off some other bike for the rest of the abortion shoved into it. I’ll make my own thank you. That said, I bet this bike will be a gas to ride and thats what its all about 🙂

  4. Don says:

    I thought I wanted to get one, until I watched the video, then I was sort of “meh…” Maybe I’d still consider it, hoping no one else sees the video. Wondering if a black surround would help that radiator blend in visually a little better. Geez it looks tacked on.

    • Curly says:

      But we don’t ride the video do we? That’s just marketing. Let’s see if the road testers like it.

      I don’t see why everyone seems to hate the silver radiator. To me it breaks up that sea of black in the middle Of the bike. Heck, I’d polish those side covers on it to make it stand out more. Maybe polish the brown clutch cover too. Natural finish wheels might look good too. Then make some color matched covers for under the seat to cover up the brake fluid reservoir and swap on an SR400 headlight and rear fender painted black and it’s done.

  5. Gary says:

    Anyone who buys into that “Born Tomorrow” video is soft in the head. There’s nothing remotely retro about this bike. Yamaha is just trying to cash-in on a theme (ditto for the Ducati Scrambler). I enjoy riding real motorcycles, not themes. It will be nice when all those who look at motorcycles as an accessory to their façade just move on to another trend.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      The CB1100, Triumph Bonneville: those are retros. I think the point of the video is that this bike is NOT a retro yet manages to capture the “less is more” spirit of simpler times. I feel the same way about the Ducati Scrambler. It isn’t a retro. It is just a simple, minimal bike that pays homage to – but doesn’t try to replicate – designs of the past. That makes them real motorcycles as far as I am concerned.

  6. Skif says:

    I was thinking FZ-07 this early spring but now I will wait till I can do a comparo with this XSR thing. If Yamaha dumbs down the engine for the U.S. that will kill it. Nothing in the PDF specifically forbids such an outrageous act. The euro info is for the euro model. Who knows what the U.S. will get? Based on history, I’m worried.

    • Curly says:

      The FZ07 and FZ/FJ09 engines we got were the same spec as the ones in Europe so I don’t think you need to be worried. I’d be more worried that they’ll even bring it here. I think the last bike they brought in that was assembled in Italy was a 2nd gen Zuma 50. The exchange rate with the Euro doesn’t make it a good deal for profit though it is better than in recent years.

  7. Don says:

    I like it. The radiator looks a little tacked on. But the rest is bold retro futuristic. I’d get it despite the radiator, in fact I just might.

  8. TURBOMAN says:

    Benelli has a 600cc 4 cylinder coming with Brembo brakes inverted forks with better styling than this Yamaha..5995.00

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I saw that: the BN600R. It looks like a nice bike, though I haven’t heard anything about availability in the US. Stylistically, I prefer this Yamaha (and the FZ-07) to the Benelli, but it looks like a nice bike nonetheless. $6K is pretty darn cheap though, if that will indeed the asking price in the US. I think I read it was 6800 Euros in the European market, so that might not be far off.

      • mickey says:

        I haven’t seen a Benelli dealer in 30 years.

        • todd says:

          No, it’s a only been a dozen years. The Benellis now are owned by Qianjiang in China (but at least built in Italy)…

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I’m not even sure they sell them here anymore.

          • TURBOMAN says:

            They are coming..SSR Motorsport Dealers will be getting those units in late fall..Also carrying a BN 302 with 37 hp .The BN600 will HAVE 80 hp..

        • TURBOMAN says:

          You will this fall!!

          • todd says:

            Of course, 99.9% of riders would rather have a 75hp Yamaha than a 80hp Chinese “Benelli.” Good luck with that.

          • TURBOMAN says:

            Same was said about the side by sides of CF Motos vs others and atleast in the southwest they are selling well..Same as was said about Hyundai autos but look at them now..Same was said about Honda cars in the late 70s and look at them now..Watch and see..

  9. VLJ says:

    Is it just me, or did the palpable tension between the guys in that video make anyone else think “Brokeback Garage”?

  10. cyclemotorist says:

    I’m an old fella. I like it.

  11. Agent55 says:

    It’s not a complete winner, but still a very smart variation on an existing model for Yamaha. The retro market seems to be flourishing, and I myself find the modern/retro market to be even more appealing (i.e. the models that don’t sacrifice performance for retro looks). I think with a few tasteful mods I could be very happy with one of these.

  12. TimZ says:

    Dear Gentleriders: a wonderful chance to watch you air your views!

    But nowhere in the blog did anyone reply to my point: how does this advance the state of the art.

    While design, safety, comfort and value have advanced in every other transport field, here we find respondents talking about distinctions which make little sense in terms of getting motorbike manufacturers to tackle real world problems.

    You should be able to buy a bike to fit you, not matter what your size or shape or needs. You should demand a saddle/seat adjustable to your own size. You should require easy access to any points on your bike you want to reach. Any time. You should be telling these providers of transport/sport/adventure that you know for a fact that they are not meeting your requirements and they can and MUST do a better job.

    And since when has a bike justified costing more than a four-door tin box?

    Over to you.

    • Curly says:

      To answer your question, it doesn’t. Who says every new model has to be an advance of the art? I don’t believe this bike pretends to do that. In fact I think it’s just a manufacturer trying to get more out of their initial investment on the engine (a really good one BTW) and basic chassis. If they happen to hit an unserviced sweet spot and sell a few thousand of these a year, fine. If you try to build a one size, fits all, does all bike you will inevitably miss the mark and appeal to almost no one.

      On the tin box price. It was reported in May that the average price of a new car in the US is now $33,560! This bike should be less than a third of that and about half of what you can buy a basic low end “S”-box car for.

    • Ron Beau says:

      1. I’m 5’10”, I’m pretty sure this will fit me. If they bring it to the US, I’ll definitely buy, and I’ll change the bars to clip ons or clubmans, it will be nice if the pegs adjust, but I’m sure it will fit me.
      2. The cars I buy sure as heck aren’t in the sub $10K range
      3. It advances the state of *my* art. I’ve owned much faster bikes (Blackbird, ZX9, etc). But I’m at a point in life where the most fun is in riding a slow bike fast rather than a fast bike slow. I want something closer to my first gen VFR700, or my friend’s Duc 748 I ride now and again: light, tossable, affordable. Able to take a passenger to the beach, able to go out on a Sunday with my friends. I don’t need the latest 18 way adjustable suspension (preload and rebound and I’m happy), I don’t need infinite ground clearance. But I’m not interested in a cruiser. I want a UJM with a little style, something I can customize a bitg to give me that cafe racer I lusted after back in the day with a modern drivetrain.
      $7500-ish and a little over 400 lbs? Sold. Too many of these retro bikes are porky, or hitting five figures which gets out of toy territory. This hits all the right notes, I’m four years without a bike and this has me ready to get back in.

  13. RD350 says:

    Want to see how uninspired this new design is? Stare at the original 1970-72 XS-1 & XS2 for 30 seconds.

    For starters, the fuel tank on this concept is too tall on top and at the same time, missing its bottom front portion? It is simply unpleasant to look at. The headlight seems like an after thought as well …

    Come on Yamaha, build a proper retro or a real scrambler or a street tracker with this FZ-07 motor. Add good quality suspension and brakes and you will bring many old-time fans back into the fold.

    • Curly says:

      The problem with the tank shape has a lot to do with the frame. It’s not a traditional backbone frame and you can’t hang a saddle tank like the old XS1 had on. The frame is wider than the cylinder head and so it has to sit on top as on later bikes like a RZ350 or FJ1200. So to get 3.7 gallons in it they had to make it a bit funky. It’s not going to have that nice traditional teardrop shape that Bezzi is so fond of drawing in on his impossible creations. It not the most pleasing tank I’ve seen but I’m betting it will look OK or even pretty good in person. We’ll see. And again, this bike is not a “Scrambler” with faux off road pretentions or a street tracker with a near useless 2 gallon tank. It’s just a regular bike like the standards of the old days. The good thing about a standard is that it’s sort of a blank canvas that the buyer can choose the direction they want to go with it. Ride it as is, hang a windshield and some soft bags on it, strip it down and call it a bobber if they like (Yuk). I can see changing some parts like that awful tailight and headlight body and maybe making some nice home made parts like covers in those blank spots under the seat.

      • RD350 says:

        You are obviously correct about the frame limiting certain shapes and sizes of tank. But the tanks you mention, the Yamaha RZ and FJ tanks were both really nice compared to this one, demonstrating that it can be done. The other problem bits on this bike are fairly easy to remedy. Changing the tank however, would require major surgery. Maybe it will look better in the flesh as you suggest? I hope so. I really want to like this bike.

        They should hire Oberdan Bezzi and fire that team of Transformer watching, origami practitioners that are currently in charge of style and design. That goes for all the Japanese and almost every other manufacturer. Sorry, this is what happens when you hit 50 … now get off my lawn!

        • mickey says:

          Wait till you hit 65. BTW I put a 6′ high fence around my lawn j/k

        • Curly says:

          Agreed on the RZ/FJ tanks. What I’d rather they had done with this bike is to have styled it like more recent standards that we didn’t get in the US such as the 1998 FZ600 Fazer. That was a good looking bike that probably would bridge the generation gap. (He,y I’m 65 too)

          • RD350 says:

            Do young people actually like the “New Style” I wonder? Maybe 16 year old sport bike squids with Star Wars Speeder Bike fantasies. But many young enthusiasts seem more captivated by classic cafe racers, scramblers, bobbed bikes and Brat style. Those are all based in retro design. I rarely see young builders taking old classics and turning them into to Cybertronian specials. Even young folks appreciate good design. Good design is timeless … whether you are talking ’68 Bonneville, original 916 or Honda RC30.

  14. VLJ says:

    Neither retro nor futuristic, it borrows elements from the worst of both designs. I want to like it, but it’s just plain misshapen and borderline homely.

    Someone mentioned that they should have simply followed the style of the CB1100. Yep.

    • KenHoward says:

      Yes, “I want to like it” sums it up for me, as well. I think the problem might be the apparent influence of Japanese customs designer, Shinya Kimura, promoting that disjointed, cobbled-together, crazy appearance (also seen in Roland Sands’ designs). It’s just uncomfortable to look at, at least by my approaching-elderly eyes – but that might be exactly what they’re going for.

      • KenHoward says:

        I love the style of the CB1100, but hasn’t that been a sales-flop for Honda in the U.S., appealing mostly to old folks (like me)?

        • mickey says:

          Ken we don’t exactly know how much of a success or failure the CB1100 has been since Honda won’t release the figures on how many were made and how many were sold. We do know that the CB1100 DLX is sold out at Honda and darn hard to find at a dealership. We also know that the owners of these bikes praise them beyond the numbers on the spec sheet. CB1100forum.com is the spot to find out info on the bike. BTW we have members from 21 countries on the forum and over 2000 members so the bike has been somewhat successful.

          • mickey says:

            In addition, Honda just did a horrible job (as in nothing) promoting the CB1100. We have riders come up to us at every gas stop and ask what year the bike is and if it’s a restoration, and are totally surprised they are 2013s and 2014s having never seen them before.

      • Austin ZZR1200 says:

        Hit the nail on the head. This is an evolution of the ujm that is calculated to capture millennial’s attention. I remember similar comments about the Bolt when it came out..tacked on, fussy, etc…You just dont fit the target demo

  15. todd says:

    Just think if Yamaha designed it like this:
    http://ioannisdesign.com/speedjunkies/?p=866

    We’d be all like, “What Ducati”?

  16. LoneAmigo says:

    I didn’t like it at first glance — but it’s growing on me. Really depends on just how low and flat that seat is in real life. I hate the seats on virtually all of the so-called modern bikes.

  17. Gary says:

    I am sure it is a nice bike, but it’s not for me. Neither retro nor modern … a bike without a niche.

  18. McRider says:

    I heard a rumor that Yamaha was coming out with an FZ-07; the same concept as the FZ-09 sport tourer. I was hoping it would happen and result in a lighter, less expensive bike with a lower seat height than the FZ-09. I hope this retro thingy is not the truth of that rumor.

    • KenHoward says:

      Huh? Something lighter than an FZ-07? Less-expensive than an FZ-07? On what planet? That bike is the biggest performance bargain of the century! There’s mixed opinion about the appearance of this new model, but no one disputes (until now) the value proposition of the current FZ-07. You must be thinking ‘FJ,’ but still, how could adding a half-fairing result in a lighter, cheaper bike?

    • Curly says:

      Geeze guys, pay attention to the internets and sesrch for MT07 Tracer and you’ll see the “spy photos” of the bike being tesged in Italy where it’s going to be assembled.

    • mickey says:

      McRider if you google spy shots of Yamaha MT07 you will see the proposed FJ07. Indeed just what you are looking for

  19. Dave says:

    I don’t like the current trend toward smaller gas tanks that seems to be the norm in Japanese m’cycles. I’d like to ride more than 120 miles between fill-ups.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I’m with you on that. That has been a trend with most motorcycles it seems, not just Japanese. For me personally, anything less than 180 miles range gets hard to live with after a while.

    • Curly says:

      This one is 3.7 gallons, so figuring you can get 3.0 and a bit out of it safely it should go over 150 miles plus a 10 20 mile cushion between having to stop. That’s perfect for me as it’s only 147 miles from my front door to the Barber Museum!

      • KenHoward says:

        Personally, I never choose to ride more than 100 miles before stopping for a break. Refilling the tank, at least in the region where I live, is so completely hassle-free, it’s not even worth mentioning. Now, maybe if I didn’t ride a ‘naked bike,’ and had something more comfortable to spend extended time on, I could comprehend peoples’ attitude about having more tank capacity.

  20. turnergande says:

    The boxy radiator looks like it was just slapped on. Headlamp would look a bit better if its diameter was larger. A few industrial / robo styled panels / shields could be better integrated, made more in a true retro classical style (Triumph 1960’s). Not sure about the digital like speedometer or whatever that gizmo is.

    Nice small muffler – how did they manage that? So many new bikes have huge ungainly mufflers.

    Overall a decent package which could be made even better.

    • Bob says:

      I think the small muffler is an illusion. We’re seeing the outlet. The actual muffler is a huge stamped sheet metal blob shaped to squeeze into the underside of the chassis. My 1986 Yamaha SRX6 used that trick.

    • Curly says:

      Easy, it’s the same muffler as the FZ-07 with a slightly different outlet cover on it.

  21. Bob L says:

    I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder but this thing looks pretty funky to me. It doesn’t look balanced with the weird tank, extended headlight, retro-round tail light and the odd collection of trim pieces below the tank.
    meh – for me it doesn’t get it.

  22. mike says:

    The Bolt looks pretty good, and all they did was copy the 883. All they had to do this time was copy the CB1100.

  23. Andy1300 says:

    Looks nice, I would like it better if it had a old style crome head light and tail light.

  24. kawzies says:

    Love it.

  25. Bob says:

    As a 66 year old guy who started riding in the early 60’s and has bikes of that era permanently burned into his brain as examples of what a motorcycle should look like, that ain’t bad.

    Bob

  26. Austin ZZR1200 says:

    Man, Yamaha looks unstoppable! The R1, FZs and the others. All of them are fighting for my next purchase. I’ve completely forgot about the Ducati scrambler..