YaXSR700_081

Tested by Roland Brown

The XSR700 must be one of the most logical new bikes for years. After all, Yamaha’s recent revival began with light, sporty roadsters such as the MT-07 and MT-09, in combination with the retro-themed Sport Heritage range in which old models such as the XJR1300 were revamped to ride the current retro wave.

For the next step what could make more sense than reshaping one of the new-generation stars in a way that recalls an old favourite, hopefully getting the best of both worlds – modern performance and retro image – as a result? Better still, why not do all that and tap into the current craze for customising at the same time, as Ducati has with the Scrambler?

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Yamaha came up with an ideal name for this new family: Faster Sons. And they didn’t need to look far for inspiration. Few current stars shine as brightly as the MT-07, which is topping sales charts worldwide thanks to its lively parallel-twin engine, lightweight chassis and ultra-keen price. And Yamaha’s first big bike was a twin of similar capacity: the 654cc XS-1 that was launched in 1969 and led to a successful string of XS650 models in the Seventies.

YaXSR700_026

Tell Me About the Engine

It’s taken straight from the MT-07, which means that it’s a 689cc, liquid-cooled parallel twin with twin overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. That capacity, from dimensions of 80 x 68.6mm, was originally chosen not to fit into an existing market division but because Yamaha’s engineers decided it gave an optimum balance between power, torque and economy.