Yamaha unveils 2024 XSR900 GP: A Grand Prix tribute revival
The foundation of the XSR900 GP is the XSR900, but Yamaha has given it a distinctive retro twist.
In the world of motorcycling, there's an undeniable allure to retro-inspired designs that pay homage to the legendary racing machines of yesteryears. Yamaha, a name synonymous with performance and innovation, has decided to stoke the fires of nostalgia with its latest offering: the 2024 XSR900 GP. While it might not be the eagerly anticipated YZF-R9, this new sportbike brings a taste of the past into the present, drawing inspiration from Yamaha's iconic YZR Grand Prix racing bikes of the 1980s.
Yamaha's decision to introduce a sportbike powered by the renowned CP3 three-cylinder engine is a thrilling one for motorcycle enthusiasts. The XSR900 GP is a visual delight, with a striking red and white color scheme reminiscent of cigarette branding and yellow number plates that evoke memories of legendary racers like Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, and Wayne Rainey.
The foundation of the XSR900 GP is the XSR900, but Yamaha has given it a distinctive retro twist. The most noticeable change is the addition of a half fairing, which leaves the 890cc Inline-Three engine and the silver-colored Deltabox-style frame exposed. This design choice mirrors the squared-off front fascia of the race bikes from the 1980s, not only enhancing aerodynamics but also providing better wind protection for the rider compared to the curvier fairings of the 1970s. While the engine and gear ratios remain the same as the regular XSR900, Yamaha claims that the fairing's aerodynamics contribute to a higher top speed and improved acceleration. The addition of side ducts aids in heat dissipation and enhances engine cooling.
To maintain a period-accurate aesthetic, Yamaha has employed a tubed structure to connect the fairing to the frame, with an upper fairing stay supported by a nut structure similar to the one used on the original TZ250. Notably, this structure is fastened using a beta pin, marking a first for one of Yamaha's street-legal mass production motorcycles.
The XSR900 GP's suspension is a notable highlight, with KYB providing an inverted fork and link-type rear shock, both of which offer full adjustability. The front suspension provides 5.1 inches of travel, aligning with the regular XSR900, while the rear travel is slightly reduced to 5.2 inches. The braking system is similar to the XSR900, with a Brembo radial front master cylinder and dual 298mm front discs, complemented by a single 245 mm rear disc. Bridgestone's Hypersport S23 tires adorn the 17-inch wheels.
In the realm of modern electronics, the XSR900 GP shines with its inclusion of a six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), three pre-set and two custom ride modes, lean-sensitive traction control, slide control, front wheel lift control, and brake control. What sets the XSR900 GP apart is its third-generation quick shift system, allowing for clutchless up and downshifts.
For a more aggressive riding position, clip-on handlebars have been added, distinguishing the GP from the XSR900. Diecast aluminum footpegs are adjustable to two different settings, with the factory setting favoring a sportier posture. Yamaha has also retuned the frame, encouraging a forward-weighted riding position. Furthermore, an aluminum steering stem shaft has been introduced to enhance rigidity and stability during direction changes and deceleration.
While the XSR900 GP offers a sporty riding posture, Yamaha hasn't sacrificed comfort for the sake of aggression. The addition of a thicker seat provides the rider with improved support, ensuring a comfortable ride even during longer journeys.
The unveiling of the XSR900 GP has left many enthusiasts wondering about the fate of the long-anticipated YZF-R9. Yamaha's continued development and branding efforts for the R9 suggest that it remains on the horizon. Moreover, the chassis adjustments made to the XSR900 GP imply that Yamaha may be gearing up for an even sportier CP3 model in the future.
For now, European customers are the fortunate ones who can get their hands on the XSR900 GP. As for U.S. availability, there is no official word yet, but with Yamaha dropping names like Kenny Roberts and Wayne Rainey in its announcement, it's only a matter of time before the American market gets its taste of this retro-inspired sportbike.
In the world of motorcycling, the Yamaha XSR900 GP represents more than just a bike; it's a nostalgic journey back to the golden era of Grand Prix racing, reminding us of the legends who paved the way for the exhilarating machines we ride today.