The 2022 Yamaha XSR700 has received several updates this year, and it’s as good a reason as any to throw a leg over a retro-styled upright naked sportbike. The updates are both technical and aesthetic, so let’s ride around town and beyond.
- The 2022 Yamaha XSR700 is based on the modern MT-07 sportbike. Moving from the angular, modern MT-07 of the 2020s to the 1980s-inspired XSR700, Yamaha didn’t touch either the chassis or the engine. Instead Yamaha took a route focused on driving experience. Fortunately, the brand did not use such strange moments as an 18-inch front wheel; only the ergonomics make a difference in how the XSR rides compared to the MT-07. Yamaha gave the XSR a rounder fuel tank, taller and wider handlebars, and a double bucket seat. Oh, and Yamaha had KYB remove the shock’s rebound damping adjustment – apparently to maintain authenticity.
- Ergonomically, the XSR700 is the Yamaha classic it was meant to be. The seat is comfortable, upright and relaxed. The seat, pegs and grips are exactly where I want them for versatile city, suburban and country riding. The stepped bucket-style seat is comfortable, if a bit narrow at the front where I usually sat – a strategy that benefits shorter riders at stops.
- The parallel twin Crossplane Concept has been a favorite of ours since its introduction seven years ago. With a 270-degree crank that mimics the feel of a V-twin, the XSR700’s 689cc powerplant literally purrs. It has great low-end pulsation and plenty of pull right through to the midrange, making it equally effective in urban and sporty environments. Despite a 10,000rpm redline thanks to the dual overhead cams, there’s not much going on past 8k apart from a noticeable rumble, so use the well-shifting six-speed if necessary. It is also versatile because it feels at home in an adventurous world 700 tennernaked sport MT-07and super sports YZF-R7.
- While we like the XSR engine package, we would like to lobby for a few improvements. Fueling at full throttle or opening the throttle after full closing can be a little uneven. If you have a nimble wrist and use this skill, you can keep it smooth in both directions. However, if you don’t pay full attention to the throttle, you’ll notice a bit of harshness. The transmission is excellent, but the clutch falls short of the competition, with no assist or slipper. A light click of the clutch is always welcome, especially in traffic, and we missed the rear tire a few times when downshifting during a bumpy canyon ride.
- The 2022 Yamaha XSR700 loves city riding. While the smaller racks are great for tight spaces, they lack exciting motor performance. The XSR700 pulls away from red lights with authority, even if you don’t twist the throttle all the way. Plenty of low-end torque takes no effort to steer, and acceleration is a simple flick of the throttle. When you need access to the freeway, the XSR700 accelerates to 100 mph with joyous ease. You won’t freak out when the flow of traffic exceeds 80 miles per hour, as it does on the Los Angeles freeways, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Fortunately, the XSR700’s nimble handling doesn’t compromise its stability at highway speeds. Fortunately, even though it’s an upright naked bike, you don’t feel like you’re being blown away at speed.
- Excited canyon carving is the specialty of the XSR700. While not a 10-10 rider, the XSR700 is more than capable of sporty riding when the road gets twisty. The wide power range means you don’t have to spend a lot of time casting, so you can focus on technique and executing your line. If you find yourself cornering off your intended line, the 410-pound XSR is more than willing to accept mid-corner corrections. If you input too much English, you’ll stand on the XSR700 to avoid going through the corner too quickly. It’s not that the XSR suddenly turns—it’s just ready to execute your input without delay. Experienced riders will be able to get the most out of what the handling attribute has to offer, while new riders can nail the lines with ease.
- Rough corners are the XSR700’s kryptonite. The suspension does a great job of absorbing bumps. However, it is not as effective for arranging the motorcycle afterwards. The shock has no damping adjustments and obviously needs rebound buttons to slow it down. When hitting rough terrain, the rear end bounces too quickly, increasing the time it takes for the XSR to settle. As the frequency and intensity of bumps in the road increase, the problem feeds on itself. Smooth corners are no problem for the XSR700, and you won’t even think about the shock’s behavior.
- The new front discs make a big difference when you need to brake. The first time I rode the 2022 Yamaha XSR700, I didn’t read about the changes—I wanted to go out with a clear head. One of the things I noticed was that the bike was willing to slow down much more aggressively than I remember. Well, there’s a reason for that. The old XSR700 had twin 282mm diameter discs, and in ’22 the diameter increased to 298mm. Initial engagement remains pleasantly soft, with the ability of the larger discs to show up under hard clamp for hard cornering after a long straight.
- No matter where you ride the 2022 Yamaha XSR700, you’ll appreciate the Michelin Road 5 tires. We’re big fans of rubber, as it helps the bike perform better in several ways. Cornering confidence is increased, handling is predictable, and grip is available for both braking and acceleration.
- Other updates include a new LED headlight, a repositioned dash and a new switchgear. The headlight is still round, so it continues to match the dash and taillight, though curiously not the turn signals. While the round dash looks like an old-school analog speedometer, it’s reverse LCD display is modern, not retro. The new switchgear is intuitive; the displayed information about the dash is scrolled with the index finger of the left hand.
- Yamaha gets an extra $900 for the XSR700 over the MT-07. You can’t justify the difference from a practical point of view – the MT-07’s more aggressive ergonomics make it a marginally better sport bike, though not quite as good for urban use. So you’ll pay a premium because you like the look – a perfectly reasonable proposition. If you’re wondering where the paint scheme on the XSR700 came from, check out the side stripes on Yamaha Seca sportbikes from the early 80s.
- The 2022 Yamaha XSR700 is an extremely versatile motorcycle that is easy to live with. With so many cool things you can do with this bike effortlessly, it’s hard to resist sitting in the garage. While we might wish for a few more retro touches — say, the exhaust — it’s going to take a lot more than that to wipe the smile off our faces.
Photo by Kelly CallanDRIVING STYLE2022 Yamaha XSR700 SpecificationsENGINE
- Engine: Parallel twin
- Displacement: 689cc
- Bore diameter x stroke: 80.0 x 68.6 mm
- Compression ratio: 11.5:1
- Valve mechanism: DOHC; 4vpc
- Cooling: liquid
- Transmission: 6-speed
- Clutch: Multidisk Web
- Final drive: chain
- Front suspension; travel: KYB 41mm non-adjustable fork; 5.1 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: KYB shock with lever-adjusted cantilever preload; 5.1 inches
- Tires: Michelin Road 5
- Front tire: 120/70 x 17
- Rear tire: 180/55 x 17
- Front brakes: 298 mm discs with 4-piston calipers
- Rear brake: 245mm disc
- ABS: Standard
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITY
- Wheelbase: 55.1 inches
- Rake: 24.8 degrees
- Travel: 3.5 inches
- Seat height: 31.7 inches
- Fuel tank capacity is 3.7 gallons
- Estimated fuel economy: 58 mpg
- Cured weight: 410 lbs
- Color: raven
2022 Yamaha XSR700 Price: $8,799
2022 Yamaha XSR700 Review Photo Gallery