YAMAHA XSR900 PROJECT CAFÉ RACER

Drop bars and rearsets head easy bolt-on trans­for­ma­tion

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage - ANDY CAL­TON For­mer two-stroke junkie who has now de­vel­oped a taste for funky road­sters HEIGHT 6ft WEIGHT 95kg andy.cal­ton@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

YAMAHA XSR900 £7849 FUEL 14 litres @ 45.3mpg = 139 miles WEIGHT 195kg SEAT 830mm POWER 115bhp TORQUE 64ftlb

Gen­er­ally, bike man­u­fac­tur­ers know what they’re do­ing and if they put cer­tain com­po­nents on a bike it’s for good rea­son.

Of course, some bikes are built to a bud­get so it is pos­si­ble to im­prove a ma­chine by adding high qual­ity, ex­pen­sive, after­mar­ket parts. Like bet­ter sus­pen­sion or a lighter ex­haust sys­tem.

But the XSR is aimed at a rider who’s not quite so ob­sessed by per­for­mance. While it has the same fruity 115bhp triple mo­tor as the MT- 09, the XSR’S real sell­ing point is its looks and the op­por­tu­nity to tailor those looks to your per­sonal taste.

And so, af­ter nearly 3000 (mostly happy) miles with the XSR, it was time to make a few changes. Now I’m no Roland Sands – Roland Rat more like – but I wanted to do the work my­self, which lim­ited the op­tions some­what.

Hav­ing had a good fer­ret through the of­fi­cial ac­ces­sories list, I opted for parts that I felt gave the bike some ex­tra café racer flavour with­out spoil­ing the essence of the XSR. So I or­dered the bil­let rearsets (£489.99), suede seat (£ 189.99) and cowl (£269.99), a set of drop han­dle­bars (£ 103.99) with bar- end mir­rors (£ 149.99 each), a front sprocket cover (£ 149.99) and en­gine crash pro­tec­tors (£ 171.99).

Now I just needed a few hours to bolt it all to­gether!

The to­tal cost of the parts is over £ 1600, but they are top- qual­ity items. The rearsets are made by Gilles, the mir­rors are beau­ti­ful Ri­zoma items and the suede seat oozes class.

De­spite my con­cerns, ev­ery­thing went to­gether with­out too much fuss… ex­cept the rearsets. These are fid­dly in the ex­treme. The rear brake con­nec­tions and gear lever link­age re­quires a lot of pa­tience (which I don’t have) and the swingarm pivot bolt needed re­mov­ing, which re­quired a fair bit of courage and axle stands (nei­ther of which I have). But with a lit­tle help from Joe, MCN’S pho­tog­ra­pher, I man­aged to get ev­ery­thing in place dur­ing a morn­ing.

I love the seat cowl, rearsets and drop bars and couldn’t wait to give the re­freshed ma­chine a try.

I’m a lot more hunched over the front of the bike now it’s been mod­i­fied and it makes for a more in­volv­ing ride. A brief blast on the A1 high­lighted how much weight is now on my wrists.

The rearsets are ad­justable, though and I will ad­just these a bit to try to make the rid­ing po­si­tion a lit­tle more bal­anced. Be­cause the rearsets and new seat are black, they don’t im­me­di­ately stand out, but to those in the know they ex­ude class and I think give the XSR a touch of unique­ness.

I think the sil­ver paintscheme suits the café racer stance and, al­though the bike may not be as com­fort­able as it was in stan­dard guise, I think the changes have added char­ac­ter and I’m re­ally pleased with the up­grades.

AF­TER Bil­let rearsets £489.99 These Gilles rearsets are works of art and are much lighter than the orig­i­nals. They have 24 dif­fer­ent foot­peg po­si­tions, which are set by ro­tat­ing ad­just­ment, and the toe pieces on the brake and gear levers are also ad­justable. Classy and the XSR lo­gos are a great touch. En­gine pro­tec­tors £171.99 Chunky and easy to fit, these en­gine pro­tec­tors fea­ture the XSR logo. Seat cowl £269.99 Alu­minium cowl comes in a few parts and has a sticker kit. It is a bit of a DIY job but it goes on eas­ily and seems sturdy.

BE­FORE Andy stud­ies the in­struc­tions be­fore the XSR mod­i­fi­ca­tions com­mence

Su­per-smart Col­lie was on hand to help Andy with his tricky new rearsets

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