Words: Jeff Ware, Tony Wilding Pictures: Alexandra Cooper
Along with the GSX1400 (we visit that next week), the XJR was a true muscle naked and can be a great used bargain. We step back a decade to test the beast…
I had a Yamaha XJR1300 project bike for some time in 2010/2011 (this is the bike in the shots) and after that, I had a GSX1400 bored to 1620. More on that next week…
You can pick up an XJR13 these days for $7000 - $12,000 for an XJR now, depending on year and model, with the average price of a decade old one hovering around the $10k AUD mark, they have certainly retained their value.
The bike is bullet proof, with the engine really going all the way back to 1984 and the FJ1100, it had been in production and development for 30-years! The last model of the XJR had Ohlins shocks, while fuel injection was introduced in 2007.
The first thing I noticed about this bike was the weight. It’s heavy – there’s no getting around that but as I put on my gear to take the XJR1300 for a ride, I take a moment to have a good look at what you get for your $14,699 [in 2010 – Ed].
The bike is well equipped, especially in the suspension department, which is a pleasant surprise for a retro style bike. In fact, it’s fully adjustable and even features a set of Ohlins rear shocks. You also get powerful four-pot stoppers and a grunty 1300cc motor.
As I push the start button, click first gear and head off up the road, I find the engine to be surprisingly smooth with a quiet rumble coming from the single stainless muffler. Once I hit the freeway, I find the ride position perfect and the seat is like sitting on a lounge chair, but you do suffer from a bit of wind buffeting – as you’d expect on a nakedbike.
One thing that is slightly annoying is the engine vibration through the pegs at 4500 to 5500rpm, that’s around the 120km/h mark in top gear. However, the vibration disappears after that.
The bike is not really designed for carving mountain roads but that didn’t stop me trying; in-fact, this part of the test is what surprised me most. As I tip into my first corner, I can’t believe how great the bike feels. Flicking from side to side is a breeze and I forget that the bike weighs 245 kilos. It goes against all logic, that a bike of this size should be this much fun, but it is...
Within a few kilometres, I have the ‘pegs scraping the tarmac but I really have the bike lent over, so this should not be a problem for most riders. I do find the suspension wallowing a bit, especially on bumpy corners. So, I pull over, get out the tool kit and have a fiddle. The rear Ohlins shocks are easily adjusted, and I can even increase the preload by hand – I also add slightly more compression. With the front, I wind up the preload and compression but leave the rebound as is. The wallowing is all but gone and the pegs are not hitting the tarmac as much.
Another thing that I like are the brakes – they are powerful and more than up to the job of hauling the muscle bike to a very fast stop.
So, does the bike tick all the right boxes for a retro muscle bike? The answer is yes. In fact, the XJR1300 more than meets and exceeds all expectations, especially in the engine and handling department…
I updated my XJR, with Hel brake lines, and Hindle four-into-one exhaust, Pirelli tyres, Trooper Lu Garage suspension tune, alloy handlebars, Sydney Dyno engine remap, a fender eliminator and some other goodies that really made it an awesome bike. I loved it and I wish I kept it!
Price New: $14,699+ ORC
Used Price: $10,000-$12,000
Colours: Midnight Black/Silver Tech
Claimed Power: 71.9Kw[96.4@8000rpm
Dry weight: 245kg
Fuel Capacity: 21L
Engine type: Air-cooled, four-stroke, DOHC, four-valve, in-line four
Bore x stroke: 79.0 x 63.8 mm
Compression ratio: 9.7:1
Ignition: TCI fuel injection
Final drive: Chain
Frame type: Steel double cradle
Front suspension: Telescopic fork with 130mm travel
Rear suspension: Monocross with 120mm travel
Front brakes: Dual 298mm disc twin-piston calipers
Rear brakes: Single 267mm disc single-piston caliper
Wheel/Tyres 120/70 – 17, 180/55 – 17
Overall height: 1115mm
Overall width: 765mm
Overall length: 2175mm
Instruments: Analogue taco/speedo, clock, fuel gauge, trip meter, warning lights.