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    Yamaha XJR1300 - The Bare Bones of a Muscle Bike Classic

    The Yamaha XJR1300 is the perfect motorcycle for those of us who like the perfect blend of old-school looks in new bikes. This mighty beast is one of the best-looking retro new motorcycles in the market today. The mix of the naked body, the immense power of the air-cooled engine and the exhaust is thrilling.

    Yamaha XJR1300

    Don´t get the wrong concept; it is a modern bike and has been a flagship muscle bike for Yamaha since 1998. It took the design concepts and also the looks from its predecessor, the XJR1200. The first official Yamaha XJR1300 saw the street for the first time in 1999. It came in bright colours resembling the superbikes from the 80s. Yamaha made some improvements on the chassis, suspension, and tires of the bike to improve manoeuvrability and handling. The company kept an honest view of the engine minimising all covering parts.

    Yamaha XJR1300

    The year 2002 saw a new version of the Yamaha XJR1300, a lighter one. The design had some modifications, making it slimmer in the middle. The most significant change for this year was that the riding position became a little more leaned forward for improved handling. Finally, colours and graphics became the standard choice on all the range. By the year 2004, Yamaha kept on changing the bike to make it lighter still, and the wheels plus the brake discs became even lighter. Also, it is the year of the EU-2 regulations, so Yamaha changed the exhaust and the catalyser to meet such demands.

    2007 was the year of improvements

    It´s the year 2007 and Yamaha made a bold move with the XJR turning this beast into a fuel-injected machine. Again, the company modified the exhaust system to meet the brand new EU-3 regulations. The taillights went LED and the suspension settings, as well as the riding position, got some improvements too.

    Finally, the Yamaha XJR1300 took the shape it has today. It is a bold ride with nothing other than what´s needed for a fantastic ride. Just the look of it sets it apart from all the other 1000+ cm3 in the market. It is not by any means a luxurious ride with lots of gadgets for cruising, but a bare bone warrior. It looks robust, menacing and fast and that is precisely what it is, but I don´t want to spoil the test-ride. Keep on reading as we go deep into this beast´s capability.

    Yamaha XJR1300

    Yamaha XJR1300 review

    The Yamaha XJR1300 is a stunning machine from many points of view. First of all, it is a big-engine bike featuring a roaring air-cooled 4-stroke 1251cm3 animal right in the centre of the storm. It features four forward-inclined cylinders and four valves. This DOHC engine is mighty and can produce up to 98PS at 8,000 RPM. Believe me, due to its air-cooling feature, the roar of the engine is audible several (hundreds of) meters around.

    Additionally, the chassis of the Yamaha XJR1300 is balanced to take power and distribute it well. It takes on the boldness of the engine and adds some menacing looks to it. Although it is a light bike, the double tubular steel frame gets more muscularity from an aluminium swingarm.

    Muscle bike classic

    Yamaha XJR1300 handles like a bicycle

    In the traction department, the 3-spoke alloy wheels are what high-speed steering needs. The tires attached to the wheels on the Yamaha XJR1300 are wide enough to handle just about any road. Moreover, the traction is smooth too because of the chunky suspension. The shocks are fully adjustable and feature long-travelling springs. Cushioning on this bike is good; in fact, it is so good that you have to look at the speed meter to check velocity. It all feels like floating like a feather over the pavement.

    The exhaust, which is a big part of the purr and roar of this bike, is an EXUP, which meets emission controls and also sounds fantastic. To finish it up, it also looks classic and menacing going all the way from the front of the bike to the back. Finally, the breaking department of this classic bike is up to the demand with a dual-disc, 298mm front brake. The four-piston, monobloc callipers give superb control and response to the rider and look great too.

    The Yamaha XJR1300 is an excellent combo for old-school lovers who want a capable, reliable bike. If you enjoy the roar of the engines and the response of a brand new motorcycle, this is just for you. Plus, it has seen some significant upgrades with time, which turn it into a modern beast, not just a beast.

    Yamaha XJR1300 test

    Let me start this by telling you that my heart started beating a little faster as I saw my testing bike parked outside the shop. It had this silver finish on the gas tank with a number one on it. The bike´s finish is excellent because Yamaha blackened the entire engine and left few parts shiny silver. The sight of the silver pipes of the exhaust coming out of the blackened engine on daylight is quite astonishing.

    Yamaha XJR1300

    I am an experienced rider you could say. That’s me who rode most of the bikes you can think of. I love riding my bikes into the sunset; I´ve done it since I was a teenager. I can´t get enough of that feeling of adrenaline with a vibrating machine beneath you. That being said, the motorcycles I love the most are the old-school ones. I am a long-time Harley lover, but I have been on high-tech bikes too like the Honda Golden Wing.

    Yamaha XJR1300 first impression

    As I put one leg over the seat of the Yamaha XJR1300, I immediately felt that excitement in my spine. I started the engine, and it roared beautifully. The vibration beneath me was very subtle, more so than I imagined, and the seat was wide and comfortable. I rolled it gently into the pavement, and as soon as I was down in it, I felt the softness of the suspension. As I took my first turn into the traffic of the city, I could feel the manoeuvrability at low speed and torque right away. My first traffic light was quite an experience since I tried to test the way it reacted from zero speed. I opened up the throttle, and it went blasting out on the asphalt. You should hold on tight to the handlebar because it is one fast bike.

    Luckily for you reading this, but not so luckily for me, the rain started pouring down. This was when I found that the grip from the fat tires is adequate to a certain point. I noticed that as soon as I took a wet corner at mild speed, the back tire drifted a little, almost a foot. It didn’t take long to get back to its initial position. Although it is a fun bike to go around the city and do some long commuting, the best for it is the open road. There I went, under the pouring rain, into the highway. Opening the throttle and letting the free spirit of this pure-blood out is like running in the wind on a big metal horse.

    Muscle bike classic

    Adrenaline is only a twist of the wrist away

    If any of you readers ever spent time over an FJR, you will get with this bike the same sense of speed, but with more adrenaline. The lack of side protection makes you feel the wind stronger on your body. I have tested both, and although you are not moving faster, you feel like you are going more quickly. This is why I liked the XJR better than the FJR, even though it gets a little vibey if you keep it at a steady high speed. The riding position was very comfortable for me, even more so than the FJR one.

    I took an hour and a half of speeding in a high way and was ready to return the bike before I fell completely in love. Furthermore, the thing about the Yamaha XJR1300 is that it is not perfect and you can fall in love with its imperfections. I went down from the highway and found my way around the city taming the throttle and testing the brakes. The bike was as smooth at high-speed highway driving as city traffic.

    Once I climbed down from it, the adrenaline rush I had slowly faded, and I got in the car again. I surely miss that machine now that I am home. I highly recommend it to all riders looking for a fun, reliable and powerful bike.

    Yamaha XJR1300

    Yamaha XJR1300 specs

    • Engine – 1251cm3, four strokes, 4-in-line featuring forward-inclined parallel cylinders
    • Total power – 98HP at 8000RPM
    • Fuel system – Injected fuel with double overhead cams (twin cam DOHC)
    • Ignition system – TCI
    • Cooling – Air
    • Lubricating system – Wet Sump
    • Final drive – Chain
    • Driveline – Constant mesh
    • Gearbox – 5 speed
    • Frame – Steel with double cradle
    • Suspension – Front: 130mm telescopic forks. Rear: 120mm Öhlins Swingarm
    • Tires – Front: 120/70-ZR17. Rear: 180/55-ZR17
    • Brakes – Front: 298mm double hydraulic disc. Rear: 267mm single hydraulic disc
    • Wheels – Triple spoke alloy
    • Seat – Solo seat
    • Total weight (including gas and oil) – 245kg (540lb)
    • Overall height – 1,120mm (31.3 inches) at the lowest setting
    • Seat height – 795mm (31.3 inches)
    • Overall length – 2,175mm (85.6 inches)
    • Overall width – 765mm (33.9 inches)
    • Fuel capacity – 21 litres (5.55 gallons)
    • Colour options – Silver
    • Ignition –Electric

    Yamaha XJR1300 accessories

    This is a list of the best official Yamaha accessories for the Yamaha XJR1300. Also, you´ll find the addition of two after-market pieces I found that are indispensable for anyone serious about riding. Let´s dive right into them.

    Yamaha XJR1300

    Universal heated grips

    These are a great addition for the Yamaha XJR1300 and any other long-travel bike. If you are going to face any cold weather on the way to your destination, a simple pair of gloves won´t do the job. Heated grips are a definite must for mountain and cold-weather riding.

    Yamaha XJR1300 Motorcycle cover

    If you are leaving your bike outside or your garage is not fully covered, a cover is a must. The Yamaha XJR1300 can do great under rain and water (tested that myself), but too much of it might damage it. Being a bike with chrome parts, it is essential to keep it safe from water and humidity. This accessory is a definite must for leaving it outside.

    SBM – Smart Brake Module

    This after-market accessory is excellent for the Yamaha XJR1300 and any other bike you have. What it does is very simple, but at the same time, very useful: it engages the stoplight as you decrease your speed. Do you know how many of us use the gearbox and the throttle to brake? Well, that can be deceiving for other drivers because you won’t engage the stoplight even though you are slowing down. That is not a problem anymore with the SBM. In fact, I think this little easy-to-install gadget could save many lives.

    Smart Brake Module

    STS – Smart Turn System

    I am a car driver as well as a bike rider. My car disengages the turning lights on its own once I have completed the turn. My bike doesn´t do the same. The consequence of this difference is that I leave my turning lights one and confuse fellow vehicles, especially on the open road. This great accessory (which is suitable for the Yamaha XJR1300 or any bike) disengages them automatically. As soon as it senses that you have completed the turn, then they will immediately be off. Without a doubt, this is such an excellent addition, and I can´t believe how this doesn´t come stock in all bikes.

    Smart Turn System

    The Smart Turn System fits all XJR1300 models and you will not regret installing the STS to your beast. However, I still recommend to submit your motorcycle details in the form below and awesome guys from the STS team will send you some useful information and a special offer for your motorcycle.


      Enter your e-mail details below and STS team will send you compatibility confirmation for YOUR motorcycle.


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      Vigo Smart Track

      My test bike came with this interesting add-on. Well, it is a tracker, but I have never seen a tracker like this before. It gets connected to the phone app in which you can always check the location of your bike. An interesting feature is also theft prevention. Once you park your bike and go – let’s say – for a coffee, you’ll be notified immediately if someone were to steal your ride. But if the thief success, the app provides real-time data of your bike’s location.

      Smart Turn System

      But the function that I really think every motorbike rider should have on every ride is the SOS notification. If you happen to have a crash, the Vigo Smar Track would detect it and immediately notify your emergency contact listed in the app. Your friend or family member would then receive the exact information of the crash’s location and your life would be saved. If you wish to have more information about the Vigo Smart Track click here. I’m definitely getting one for my bike 🙂

      Verdict – Get a Yamaha XJR1300 for the adrenaline experience

      If you are into raw power bikes that will take your adrenaline rush a step further, then the Yamaha XJR1300 is for you. I am an old school, rider with rich experience and been on most bikes out there. I choose the Yamaha XJR1300 over many other models with higher comfort and technology because it is a lot of fun. It is not an outdated bike, but a modern version of a raw-powered muscle bike.

      Have you been in one of these? What do you think about our review? We would like to hear from you. Please feel free to share this post with fellow riders and see what they think.

      Happy riding!

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        4 thoughts on “Yamaha XJR1300 – The Bare Bones of a Muscle Bike Classic”

        1. blank

          Nice review of the XJR1300, I have just purchased a 2009 model and can confirm everything you have said about the bike; it brings a smile to my face whenever I ride it. Just fitted the Smart Brake Module – you can decelerate on this bike very quickly due to engine braking power – instructions are good and fairly easy to fit if you have some bike diy experience and are not colourblind. Three wires clipped at the back near the rear lights and positioned the module under the seat catch mounting bar on the left of the bike – perfect gap and sits horizontal. Now onto the challenge of fitting the Smart Turn System – a bit more of a challenge with a tangle of wires are the back of the headlamp (inside the cover). Definitely need to take my time on this one. Instructions not quite so easy to follow.

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