Yamaha XSR900 Abarth review: first thoughts

Visordown’s just ridden Yamaha’s new XSR900 Abarth

Yamaha XSR900 Abarth review: first thoughts

VISORDOWN Editor Steve Farrell’s just finished riding Yamaha’s new XSR900 Abarth in Sardinia. Here are his first thoughts:

‘The XSR900 Abarth is Yamaha's new limited-edition cafe racer.

‘It's based on the XSR900 and a collaboration with Abarth - hence the name.

‘That's good because it means it's also based on the MT-09, with the same aluminium frame and three-cylinder 115hp engine, with the combination of low-down torque and top-end that you only get from a triple.

‘To make it a special edition, the XSR900 has gained a three-piece carbon-fibre body kit, including a single-seat tail unit and nose fairing.

‘It's got new swallow-tail cafe racer handlebars which are very low, making quite an extreme riding position.

‘It's got a new Akrapovič full system with stacked twin silencers.

‘And it's got loads of really nice styling details, including a stitched suede seat, a plaque indicating which in the limited run of 695 bikes it is and Yamaha speed blocks on the tank, which obviously all Yamahas should have.

‘It is about 80% styling exercise, and a very nice one. The other roughly 20% is a deeper rumble from the Akrapovič exhaust and that new, more committed riding position.

‘The extra weight on your arms, and the more committed position, makes the suspension seem slightly softer than it ever did when I rode the MT-09. It’s the same spec. Perhaps changing it could have made the Abarth feel as much about upgraded performance as styling.

‘But the new riding position also significantly alters the character of the machine.

‘The moment you’re onboard you feel like you’re there for one reason: to go as fast as you dare, on bendy roads, riding something special. A café racer, and one that looks like it might even have been custom built.’

Visordown will have a full review of the Yamaha XSR900 Abarth for you soon.