Prac­ti­cal­ity? Pah!

Drop bars, high pegs… gain with no pain

Motorcycle News (UK) - - MCN Garage - andy.cal­ton@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

The café rac­eri­sa­tion of the Yamaha XSR900 was greeted with a cer­tain amount of scep­ti­cism by other mem­bers of the MCN team. Many didn’t seem to care how much bet­ter it looked with the seat hump, dropped bars and rearsets – they seemed in­tent on point­ing out such mun­dan­i­ties as com­fort and other ir­rel­e­van­cies. But they would not be si­lenced by my shrug­ging of the shoul­ders and as­ser­tions that it ‘wasn’t too bad once you got used to it’.

There was only way these haters were go­ing to go away – if I ac­tu­ally rode it a long way and then came back

as fresh as a daisy. And so I set off for the an­nual MCN Awards cer­e­mony with the in­ten­tion of rid­ing 120 miles to Sur­rey in one hit, then adding an­other 50 miles as part of a ride­out be­fore get­ting on board the fol­low­ing morn­ing for the ride home. This would be a 400-mile trip and would surely make or break my de­fence of the XSR.

I set off try­ing to keep weight off my wrists as I’m now canted for­ward. And it was fine. Tank range was a big­ger is­sue than the rid­ing po­si­tion.

Dur­ing the in­dus­try ride­out my rear brake light stuck on and Yamaha’s top UK man came to the res­cue. The spring had been turned a bit too harshly when fit­ting the rearsets and a lit­tle work with a screw­driver soon sorted this out.

By the end of the trip, I was aching, but I think I would have been on any bike. You learn to sit back on your haunches a bit to keep weight off the wrists and that takes its toll, but my back didn’t hurt.

And any­way, it’s not a bike I’d buy for long tours. It looks a lot bet­ter for the changes I’ve made and it’s com­fort­able enough. No re­grets!

‘By the end of the trip, I was aching, but I think I would have been on any bike’

Did any­body men­tion a don­key?

Fuel range tests re­quire four litres of safety net strapped on the back

‘When it reaches zero it still has some in re­serve in case of emer­gency, which is a com­mon-sense ap­proach’

No Andy, Beaulieu won’t let you swap for that comfy-look­ing clas­sic MG

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