Yamaha has always been renowned for its racing DNA. This rich heritage, marked by legendary riders like ‘King’ Kenny Roberts, is a testament to Yamaha’s prowess on the raceway, especially between the 1984 and 1992 period, the GP Golden Era. In 2024, Yamaha once again celebrates this legacy with the introduction of the new XSR900 GP model. As part of its Sports Heritage range, the XSR900 GP combines a salute to Yamaha’s illustrious past while also being a state-of-the-art testament to their modern-day achievements.
Reminiscent of the distinctive Yamaha Grand Prix colours, the XSR900 GP is available in a heritage livery that mimics the machines ridden to victory by legendary riders such as Wayne Rainey. Emphasising these classic aesthetics are authentic yellow number boards on the front and rear cowling.
However, the Yamaha XSR900 GP is more than just about aesthetics. The bike comes with an iconic, torque-rich 890cc CP3 engine, an R1-derived six-axis IMU, and lean-sensitive rider aids. This stunning blend of Yamaha racing history and advanced technology makes the XSR900 GP a pride of the brand’s Sports Heritage Range.
A throwback to the 1980s
Taking design cues from the 1980s YZR Grand Prix bikes and the FZR and TZR production sports machines from the late 1980s and early 1990s, the XSR900 GP features an upper cowling that is evocative of this era. The round LED headlamp of the XSR900 is replaced in this model by a compact lens module neatly tucked away in the front cowling. This neat layout perfectly maintains the bike’s vintage look while also ensuring efficient illumination.
The bodyworks are similarly inspired by the 1980s. A tubed structure connects the cowling to the frame, while straight brackets behind the dash create a rider’s view with a genuine golden-era feel. The upper fairing is supported by a nut structure identical to that used for the original TZ250, demonstrating Yamaha’s continued commitment to maintaining classic design elements.
Reflecting the design functional concepts of the 1980s, the XSR900 GP focuses on improving aerodynamics and providing wind protection to riders with its more squared-off style in comparison to the curvaceous models from the 1970s. Even the windscreen and knuckle guards incorporate an 80s taste, but it’s not just about the looks.
The 890cc CP3 engine of the XSR900 GP has the same power output and gear ratio as the XSR900. However, the front cowling structure is designed to enhance acceleration and top speed. The ducts on the side panels efficiently discharge heat from the radiator to maximize cooling performance. The finishing touch to all these tweaks is the colour-matched seat cover, which completes the retro look, hinting at the 1980s-style boxy rear end while enhancing the feeling of acceleration.
In a nod to the prototypes in the 1980s, the Deltabox-style chassis and swingarm are finished in silver, underscoring the character of the Deltabox-style frame.
Further enhancing the racer-style cockpit are the ‘clip-on’ handlebars that offer a sportier riding experience. The rider is moved further forward on the machine, yet the position is comfortable enough to be enjoyed on the road without discomfort. The aluminium diecast footrests are adjustable to two positions, underlining the sportier riding position.
Construction rigidity has been tuned to accommodate the extra load on the bike’s front end. The subframe has been reinforced, and greater stability in turning and under rapid deceleration has been achieved by featuring an aluminium steering stem shaft, the first for a CP3 model. To further inspire rider confidence, the XSR900 GP is fitted with high-performance brakes and adjustable suspension, both from KYB. There is also Yamaha Ride Control (YRC) for riders to customise their riding experience with preset and custom modes.
In keeping with modern trends, the XSR900 GP features a new 5-inch TFT meter with full connectivity. The MyRide app can be used to select power and intervention settings and to enable smartphone connectivity.
Riders can expect the new XSR900 GP in two colours – Legend Red and Power Grey. Yamaha will provide details of availability and pricing in due course. An Akrapovič Exhaust System, Lower Fairing, a License Plate Holder, a Tinted Screen, and other individual accessories can also be purchased for further customisation.
The XSR900 GP is evidence of Yamaha’s commitment to honouring its heritage while also investing in the future. Embodying the thrill of the 80s and 90s Grand Prix racing while offering state-of-the-art technology, the XSR900 GP is a testament to Yamaha’s standing as a motorcycle brand that can expertly mesh the past with the present.