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XSR 700 - 2018


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I bought this to wind my neck in a little on the roads and to have something to potter around on whilst COVID-19 sorts itself out and this it does perfectly.

What model was it? Late 2018 with the stiffer suspension updates.

When did you buy it and how much did it cost? May 2020 and paid £5500 with only 650 miles on it.


Good points? Very lightweight (186kg wet) and nimble to throw around on twisty roads/ filtering. Fairly frugal on fuel providing you don’t wind it open everywhere. I usually get around 120-140 miles before the light comes on. Put some sticky rubber on it and it transforms how the bike performs (night and day).

Seating position and bars are really comfortable and I’m 5’11 with a fairly stocky build (no gut) 14 stone.

Cracking little engine with plenty or torque and providing you are happy working the gears it does get a move on on the back roads, to the point people ask what the power is and are shocked when you say 74bhp. It will reach 135mph (displayed) on a circuit but you need a vice like grip to stop being blown off the back.

Build quality and finish is pretty good for a “budget” bike.

Looks retro enough for people to ask what it is, and it looks a little more relaxed than the other MT range.

With an after market can on it sounds fantastic, I put a full (de-cat) Black widow system on for about £350, it took about 45 minutes to swap it over and it is very easy to do.

Easy to work on and do the basics e.g. oil change/ pads etc.

Great for modifying as there is so much out there to bolt on, great modular bike. You can really make it “yours”.  

Up to 80mph you hardly notice any buffeting issues which is amazing for a naked bike.

Dunlop Mutant 2020 Tyres really suit the bike and its looks whilst still offering great grip in terrible weather. 1300+ miles in the last few months and they are wearing very evenly with loads of tread. I would guess another 4-5k left in them.


Bad points? Suspension is shocking and I mean really shocking, if you push on a bit it gets all out of sorts, which is funny, but it does tie itself in knots on fast changes. Rear can only be fixed with a full replacement (next summer) and the front I changed the oil to 15w, overfilled it, then trimmed the shim down to get some stiffness in it. If you are just tootling around then its ideal and quite plush when absorbing the British roads.

The suspension cannot keep up with decent rubber and you have to ride around the flaws.

Under seat storage is non-existent, maybe a Mars bar and that is it, so I added a rack and a Kreiga 10ltr saddle bag. This is down to the fact the back end is modular and can be stripped down to a single seat.

Foot peg sliders get annoying as they touch down too easily (way too long) and make a horrible noise that scares the cr*p out of you every time.

OEM tyres are terrible – I changed them the week after I picked it up.

Stock exhaust sounds like someone following through!

Breaks are a little wooden, I did replace all the pads with EBC superbike and this made a noticeable difference if I needed to stop fairly sharply.


Would you get another? Probably not for me as I would go for an MT09/10 next (completely different league) but I would have it as a second bike.

If all you wanted was a knock about/ cruising around and for a little bit extra fix the suspension it is a fantastic bike, really fantastic. Fun, comfy and not fear inducing if you crack the throttle open. It is a spot on first big bike or for someone who isn’t interested in taking corners fast and wants something that doesn’t look like a Transformer.  

This bikes comfort zone is up to about 80-90mph and after that the suspension struggles to keep up.

My bad points are only down to the fact I wanted to ride it out of its comfort zone and nothing more really. It is a cracking looking bike for the money and that engine is awesome and it can be made to ride even better for a little extra cash.


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  • 2 years later...

Bike Guide: Yamaha XSR700 (2015-2021)


18 November 2023


Mark Lancaster

The XSR is a cracking bike. That should come as no surprise, because it’s essentially a reworked version of Yamaha’s massively-popular MT-07. It features the same 689cc parallel-twin engine and lightweight chassis – but gets some stylish extras to help it stand apart from its slightly more aggressive middleweight naked sibling.


It’s light, easy to handle and an absolute hoot to ride, though the suspension (particularly at the rear) can be a limiting factor if you’re looking to push on. Some owners have uprated to an Yamaha-provided Ohlins unit, so if you can find a model with one of them, that’d be the best choice.

Other than that, it’s really hard to find fault with the first generation of Yamaha’s retro roadster. It looks good, goes well and has a proven track record for being reliable, sturdy and easy to look after. As modern retros go, the XSR 700 is right up there.

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