Tested: Yamaha XT660R

Can you really have the best of both worlds?

Tested: Yamaha XT660R
Brand
Category
Engine Capacity
660cc

Tested: Yamaha XT660R

The grass is always greener right? Or perhaps in the words of my less monogamous mates, “you can have the best of both worlds”.

The world of biking is full of compromise and a fair amount of banter and debate is shared between my mates and I because of that. But banter is one thing that makes biking so great. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, motorbikes are usually good at one thing and rubbish at another. That’s why there are no-less that 12 different bike categories to choose from.

Life with the XT has been a mixed bag of fun a frustration. For getting to work it’s proven to be useful. The massive steering lock means that squeezing between traffic and manoeuvring around gridlocked cars is easy. Its 105-mile tank range and limited power make it far from the perfect streetbike but it does the job and thumps along at 80mph in comfort all day long.

The XT does however have a card up its sleeve, It will go off-road. Its 21-inch front wheel and 225mm front travel mean that it will hump over any amount of off-road terrain it encounters. Its wide bars and classic motocross seating position place you well and truly on top of things.

Standard fitment rubbers are the Metzeler Tourance dual-sport tyres. The slightly knobbly road-based tyres are designed to cope with loose gravel and forest trails. Take a pump with you and drop the pressures to 18psi and they will cope with deep mud and reasonably steep inclines. Unfortunately the XT weighs 181kg which makes it an elephant in the off-road fraternity. Compare that to the measly 117kg of a dedicated trail bike like the WR250 and you get my point.

Off-road you can tackle most obstacles on the XT but you have to do so slowly and with great concentration. But the point here is that you can go off-road. The hardest trails most of us will encounter on UK roads are ideally suited to the XT and after a wet weekend of thrashing through the UK countryside you can jet wash it clean, pump up the tyres and ride to work for the sleepy Monday morning start at the office.

You really can’t beat that feeling when on the road when you see a Byway coming up, drop it two gears and turn straight onto the dirt and head into beautiful countryside that feels like a mile away from civilisation.

My next bike is the Yamaha R1 and, once again, I find myself in the world of compromise. The dedicated power and aggressive riding position make it a trackday tool but not exactly the most manoeuvrable and comfortable steed to hack to work on. Every. Single. Day.

I certainly don’t have a shed of cash to spend on two or more bikes so for me life is all about compromise, but what would you do?

You can see more about greenlaning on the XT here and check out our first ride here.

Thanks to Moto legends for supplying the GPR pipes. You can read my review of those here and see more of their range here.

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