2022 Yamaha XSR900: MT-09 Power With New ’80s Retro Vibes

Retro-style bikes like the Triumph Bonneville and Moto Guzzi V7 aren’t just still popular, they’ve arguably become even more so. And that means motorcycle companies are expanding their selections and updating their existing vintage-style models. Some, like Triumph, maintain the style but add extra features and/or performance. The 2022 Yamaha XSR900, though, does both.

It may use its engine, but the 2022 Yamaha XSR900 isn’t just a reskinned MT-09

The side view of a blue-and-black 2022 Yamaha XSR900 on a rear-wheel stand in a garage
2022 Yamaha XSR900 side | Yamaha
Spec2022 Yamaha XSR9002021 Yamaha MT-092021 Yamaha XSR900
Engine889cc liquid-cooled inline-three890cc liquid-cooled inline-three847cc liquid-cooled inline-three
Power117 hp117 hp113 hp (Cycle World)
Torque69 lb-ft69 lb-ft64 lb-ft (Cycle World)
Front suspension and travelFully-adjustable KYB inverted forks; 5.1”41mm fully-adjustable KYB inverted forks; 5.1”41mm fully-adjustable KYB inverted forks; 5.4”
Rear suspension and travelFully-adjustable KYB mono-shock; 5.4”Fully-adjustable KYB mono-shock; 5.4”KYB fully-adjustable mono-shock; 5.1”
Trail4.3″4.3″4.1″
Wheelbase58.9″56.3″56.7″
Seat height31.9″32.5″32.7″
Curb weight425 lbs417 lbs430 lbs

From its inception, the Yamaha XSR900 has been used the MT-09 naked bike’s engine and aluminum chassis. But while that continues with the 2022 XSR900, the updated model changes several things from the current MT-09 platform.

For one, although the 2022 Yamaha XSR900 has the same rake and trail as the MT-09, the former bike’s wheelbase is longer. That comes from the longer swingarm, which also increases the bike’s overall length. But the change isn’t purely for style (which we’ll get to later), Cycle World notes. It’s to counteract the 2022 XSR900’s new lower seat; without a longer swingarm, the bike’s center-of-gravity would be too far back.

Speaking of the seat, the one on the 2022 Yamaha XSR900 is mounted further back than the MT-09’s seat, Bennetts says. The seat itself is shaped differently, too. Also, it sits above an XSR900-specific rear subframe and folding passenger footpegs.

Apart from these changes, though, the 2022 Yamaha XSR900 is essentially identical to the 2021 MT-09. And that means it improves on the outgoing XSR900 in more ways than one.

The 2022 Yamaha XSR900 hides more features and tech under its new 1980s look

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As we alluded to earlier, some of the changes Yamaha made to the MT-09’s chassis and powertrain for the 2022 XSR900 were styling-related. And apart from the new powertrain and stiffer chassis, the visuals are arguably the biggest differences between the 1980s-inspired 2022 model and the 1970s-style 2021 one. However, those looks come with changes that are more than skin-deep.

Normally, extending a motorcycle’s wheelbase adds stability but removes some handing sharpness. But because the 2022 XSR900 has lighter wheels (from the MT-09) than the 2021 bike, Yamaha says that the new one turns in sharper. Also, the 2022 XSR900’s styling comes with a lower head pipe, steering yoke, and handlebars. So, even though the 2022 and 2021 models have the same 25° rake, the updated one has lighter steering, Cycle World explains. The lower curb weight should help, too.

A close-up look at the 2022 Yamaha XSR900's TFT display, black handlebars, and golden fork tops
2022 Yamaha XSR900 TFT display | Yamaha

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Both the 2021 and 2022 Yamaha XSR900 have six-speed manuals with slipper-assist clutches. However, the updated bike has new gear ratios to accommodate the extra power and torque. And unlike the 2021 version, the 2022 XSR900 has a standard bi-directional electronic quickshifter.

That quickshifter is just one of several tech updates Yamaha added to the XSR900 for 2022. While the 2021 XSR900 has ABS and adjustable traction control, the 2022 model has cornering-enhanced ABS, traction control, and slide control. Also, instead of three riding modes, it has four. Additionally, the retro bike comes standard with cruise control, wheelie control, and a 3.5” color TFT display.

When will it be available in the US?

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As of this writing, Yamaha hasn’t confirmed if or when the 2022 XSR900 will come to the US. But the announcement is inevitable, given that it sells the 2021 XSR900, as well as the updated MT-09 and MT-09 SP, here. Over in Europe, dealers should get the new bike in February 2022.

As for price, the current XSR900 starts at $9499, while the MT-09 starts at $9399. Therefore, the new bike will likely start at around $9500. Now, all that’s left is to find some suitably ‘80s-style riding gear.

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