YAMAHA XSR900 PROJECT CAFÉ RACER
Drop bars and rearsets head easy bolt-on transformation
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