One of our favorite retro-bikes, the XSR900 combines vintage design elements with modern naked-bike engineering in a satisfying way. Its basis is a three-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 847cc engine borrowed from the previous FZ-09. With its MotoGP-bred crossplane crankshaft, that engine provides gutsy power delivery, a pleasant vibration signature, and a unique ripsaw sound. The inverted fork and shock offer only modest adjustability, but the triple disc brakes have standard ABS. And another nice point: The XSR900 has contemporary 17-inch wheels, allowing a wide choice of replacement rubber. Want to tour? Get some sport-touring tires. Or go for a sticky DOT-approved race compound for trackdays. It’s all possible.
Yamaha’s design team nailed the XSR900. The bread-loaf-shaped (or maybe sandwich roll or croissant?) 3.7-gallon fuel tank nestles atop the aluminum frame just so, and lightening holes punched in the headlight mounting ears and subframe plates look right. Thin-spoke cast wheels, an abbreviated headlight and fenders, a thin instrument display, and a minimalist muffler further impart an aura of lightness (the XSR900 actually is pretty light at a claimed 430 pounds wet). Rapid Red paint completes this future classic.
Likes: Terrific styling, meaty three-cylinder mill, 17-inch wheels, rearset footpegs
Dislikes: Pod taillight is excessively hipster
Verdict: Retro meets modern, done right