Yamaha reveals XSR900 GP retro racer

Yamaha have taken the covers off their retro-inspired XSR900 GP. Headed down under in 2024, it pays homage to some of the most celebrated race machines from their illustrious past in a way never before seen in the Sports Heritage range.

Adorned in one of the most iconic Yamaha Grand Prix colours of all time, the XSR900 GP is available in a heritage livery inspired by the machines ridden by legends such as Wayne Rainey, to multiple 500cc Grand Prix World Championships.

Complete with authentic yellow number boards on the front and rear cowlings, it combines a sense of 1980s Grand Prix nostalgia with the very latest technology, including the iconic, torque-rich 890cc CP3 engine, R1-derived six-axis IMU and lean sensitive rider aids.

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The aim was not to create a replica, but instead release a bike that pays the utmost respect to the past, while holding its own with the latest in performance and technology. That is the XSR900 GP. To that end, it features an upper cowling reminiscent of the era.

With a clear influence from the 1980s YZR Grand Prix bikes, there are notes of the FZR and TZR production sports machines of the late 1980s and early 1990s. To maintain the race-bike look, the XSR900’s round LED headlamp is replaced by a compact lens module.

It’s neatly hidden in the front cowling, creating a sense of unity with the front fairing while maintaining excellent illumination. The bodywork is fixed in position with a tubed structure connecting the cowling to the frame, and straight brackets supporting the dash.

To emphasise the classic cockpit, the upper fairing stay is supported by a nut structure identical to that used for the original TZ250. In true racing style, this structure is fastened with a beta pin, marking the first time Yamaha has used such one on a production model.

While the windscreen and individual knuckle guards incorporate a taste of the 1980s, it’s not solely about looks. The power output and gear ratio of the 890cc CP3 engine are identical to that of the XSR900.

Specific to this variant though, the front cowling structure increases both acceleration and top speed, and the ducts on the side panels efficiently discharge heat from the radiator to maximise cooling performance.

The colour-matched seat cover fits over the passenger seat to complete the racer look with a boxy 1980s style rear end hiding the rear light. A seat stopper on top of the cowling keeps the rider in position to enhance the feeling of acceleration.

The Deltabox-style chassis and swingarm are finished in silver to better evoke the era of the 1980s prototypes and emphasise the character of the frame itself. Separate ‘clip on’ handlebars add to the racer-style cockpit and offer a sportier riding experience.

To accommodate the extra load on the front end as a result of the more forward riding position, the areas surrounding the frame have been tuned to optimise stability in turning. The subframe has also been reinforced over the one found on the XSR900.

2024 Yamaha XSR900 GP
2024 Yamaha XSR900 GP

To further correspond with this front end-led riding style, the XSR900 GP is the only CP3 model to feature an aluminium steering stem shaft, adjusting rigidity to better balance the often conflicting feelings of lightness and stability when changing direction.

In conjunction with the lightweight spin-forged wheels and new Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S23 tyres, the rider can have precise confidence in placing the XSR900 GP exactly where they wish.

A KYB upside down front fork is fully adjustable for preload and compression damping, as well as re- bound. The link-type rear suspension actuates a forward-inclined fully adjustable KYB shock virtually hidden from sight.

Remote pre-load adjustment makes customising the ride a simple task. A Brembo radial front master cylinder underlines the bike’s cutting-edge specification and backs up its sporty potential too.

Even the brake hoses have been optimised to improve control, especially under harder stopping forces. Riders can customise their experience via Yamaha Ride Control (YRC), and for simpler use, engine power characteristics and rider aids are integrated.

Three pre-set riding modes, Sport, Street and Rain, feature factory settings with different intervention levels to suit different conditions. These are complemented by two custom settings for the various electronically controlled, lean-sensitive rider aids.

Each can be set using a smartphone via the MyRide app. A new 5.0-inch full colour TFT display offers four different themes to suit a range of mindsets, including a traditional analogue-style tachometer theme inspired by race bikes of yesteryear.

The six-axis IMU delivers lean sensitive traction, slide and front wheel lift control, along with improved braking. The XSR900 GP also becomes the first Sport Heritage model to be equipped with the third-generation quick shift system.

The 2024 Yamaha XSR900 GP will be available in two colours, Legend Red and Power Grey. Delivery dates to Australian dealerships, pricing and final specs are yet to be announced.

2024 Yamaha XSR900 GP
2024 Yamaha XSR900 GP
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin is the ride editor at Exhaust Notes Australia, founding editor of Two Wheel Addicts, a contributor at Bike Review and panel judge for Harley Davidson's Breakout Boss competition. Andrew has a love for anything on two wheels whether that be sports, naked or adventure bikes, with a guilty pleasure for cruisers.

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