Yamaha XT660R review

Although it looks the part, it’s best ridden on the roads or firmer tracks. The image of the double-hard rally rider appeals, in a package that makes riding round town and country lanes a cinch

Ben Cope's picture
By Visordown on Thu, 1 Jan 2004 - 12:01

Details
Manufacturer:
Yamaha
Category:
Off Road
Price:
£ 4899
Overall
3
Need Insurance?
Capable enough offroad and great fun on it
Utterly useless over distance or for speed

This year, the XT has been given a proper seeing to. Say hello to a liquid-cooled, fuel injected engine, brand new chassis and styling. If you picture a rally-type bike as a tall and imposing beast, the XT no longer fits this bill. It looks small and compact and even climbing aboard the 855mm seat height’s a doddle.

In true off-road style, the bike gets 21-inch spoked rims kitted out with knobblies, while the soft suspension has decent travel to tackle the dirt. The package coped well on the hard, rocky terrain that led us onto the muddy stuff. But when the going got trickier the road-biased tyres, gearing and power delivery came to the fore, with the bike slipping and sliding its way forward. The chassis felt less suited to the dirt than the heavier BMW F650, another ‘adventure’ bike I’d ridden off-road just a few weeks earlier. So it was with some relief that we hit the twisty Tarmac.

Here, the ‘fun bike’ tag that accompanies these machines made better sense. Forty-eight bee-aitch-pees don’t sound like much, but they’re delivered cleanly from 2000rpm with a hearty low- to mid-range punch.

Revving the engine is of course pointless as power tails off to leave a wheezy top-end. But ride the mid-range and it’ll pull you effortlessly from one corner to the next. The wide handlebars give plenty of leverage to flick the lightweight (for the road) chassis around, a welcome bonus since the squishy, long-travel suspension means it’s not the most agile thing out there – although it soaks up town speed bumps and potholes like they don’t exist. This year, the XT has been given a proper seeing to. Say hello to a liquid-cooled, fuel injected engine, brand new chassis and styling. If you picture a rally-type bike as a tall and imposing beast, the XT no longer fits this bill. It looks small and compact and even climbing aboard the 855mm seat height’s a doddle.

In true off-road style, the bike gets 21-inch spoked rims kitted out with knobblies, while the soft suspension has decent travel to tackle the dirt. The package coped well on the hard, rocky terrain that led us onto the muddy stuff. But when the going got trickier the road-biased tyres, gearing and power delivery came to the fore, with the bike slipping and sliding its way forward. The chassis felt less suited to the dirt than the heavier BMW F650, another ‘adventure’ bike I’d ridden off-road just a few weeks earlier. So it was with some relief that we hit the twisty Tarmac.

Here, the ‘fun bike’ tag that accompanies these machines made better sense. Forty-eight bee-aitch-pees don’t sound like much, but they’re delivered cleanly from 2000rpm with a hearty low- to mid-range punch.

Revving the engine is of course pointless as power tails off to leave a wheezy top-end. But ride the mid-range and it’ll pull you effortlessly from one corner to the next. The wide handlebars give plenty of leverage to flick the lightweight (for the road) chassis around, a welcome bonus since the squishy, long-travel suspension means it’s not the most agile thing out there – although it soaks up town speed bumps and potholes like they don’t exist.
Length (mm) 2240
Width (mm) 850
Height (mm) 1235
Dryweight (kg) 165
Seats 0
Seat Height (mm) 855
Suspension Front Telescopic fork
Suspension Rear Monocross with linkage
Adjustability Front 43mm
Tyres Front 90/90-21 M/C 54S
Tyres Rear 130/90-15 M/C 65S
Brakes Front Sinlge 298mm floating disc
Brakes Rear Single 245mm disc
Wheelbase (mm) 1500
Ground Clearance (mm) 200
Cubic Capacity (cc) 659
Max Power (bhp) 48
Max Power Peak (rpm) 6000
Torque (ft/lb) 43
Torque Peak (rpm) 5250
Bore (mm) 100
Stroke (mm) 84
Compression Ratio 10
Cooling Liquid cooled
Stroke Type Four Stroke
Drive Chain
Top Speed 102.2
Max Power 47.8
Max Power Revs 7985
40-50mph 2.38
40-60mph 5.56
40-70mph 8.6
40-80mph 10.93
40-90mph 16.63
Standing Quarter Mile - Terminal Speed MPH 92.44
Standing Quarter Mile - Time 14.06

Score Breakdown
Overall
3
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