Thierry, who told us about his Yamaha TDM900, wrote to ask me about the Yamaha XJR1300, as he was considering buying one and knew that I owned one. It wasn’t that he was unhappy with the TDM, but rather that he was attracted to the retro muscle-bike style of the big nakeds. Here he explains his decision and early impressions after buying it.
I love the TDM and I had enough money, I'd probably own both. The thing is that I'm a child of the 70's and I can't help but wanting to own a classic muscle bike, because I think they look so good!
Of course, looks alone is not enough to justify a purchase like this and that's why I asked you what you thought about the XJR; adding to the many hours spent on the internet reading reviews.
I chose the XJR over the Suzuki GSX 1400 purely because I have a soft spot for the Yamies. I also think they are better built than the Suzies. Maybe I'm wrong though.
(I like the GSX1400 – even picked it as a winner over the XJR in my comparison of big-bore nakeds – but I think you’re right on that. Elwyn).
My only issue with the XJR, when I sat on it in the dealer shop, is that the seat to peg height is a bit less than for the TDM and I'm afraid that it would make it a bit cramped on long rides. I'm 179cms tall and I read that you were quite a tall bloke so wanted to enquire if it works well for you on longer rides. (I explained to Thierry that I have either a sheepskin with a thin piece of foam, or an AirHawk, on mine which does make the seat a bit higher; although that’s not why I use them. I find it quite okay, although having the pegs lower would probably make it better for me. The TDM, being the style of bike it is, has more room in the seat / peg area. Elwyn).
I made the purchase and on the short ride back home I really enjoyed the XJR. It is so much smoother than the TDM but at first it seemed that it was missing a gear in top. (We discussed how 4 cylinders make the motor sound busier than 2 cylinders. That’s one factor. There are times when I go to “change-up” from top, but then there are times when I forget I’m still in 4th. With a red-line of 9,500rpm, and showing 4,000rpm at 110kph I think the gearing is pretty much ideal. Elwyn).
I am very happy with the purchase of this beautiful bike! I have already ordered a few aftermarket fittings for protection such as Oggy Knobbs, Fenda-extenda, amhp headlight-protector and I will get a radiator cover from Beowulf as well.
What is fantastic is that I'll be able to buy a connecting pipe for one of the Beowulf cans that were on my TDM to put it on the XJR; it's going to sound good and I'll save a bit of weight. I mounted my storm barkbusters as well and they do blend-in very well.
I'll send you a picture when all is mounted.
The bike thanked me for my purchase by falling on top of me when I tried to put it on the centre stand! Jeez it's heavy to lift off! Fortunately I was in my garage. The damage was very minimal and I polished it as good as new. Fioufffff! (It is heavy to lift on and off the stand. I’m weak, and jopeless with centre-stands anyway, so I rarely use mine. Elwyn).
I can't wait for my next ride!
Good to see that you are enjoying your new bike, Thierry!
I like the TDMs too (and actually considered buying one when I bought the XJR), but the XJR is certainly a different beast. And I, too, find it enjoyable to ride!
I hope you have many happy times on your new bike!
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