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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I registered here in full expectation that I would be taking delivery of an XSR700 in the next week or so.
I was looking forward to posting my introduction post with the new bike.
However I had a test ride today and I am completely confused.

I've come from a more sporty bike - Honda VTR1000 Firestorm (Superhawk outside the UK). I've had the bike from new for coming up to 19 years.
Now I need something with a more relaxed riding position, but still keeping some of the characteristics of the V-Twin.
My top contender was the SV650.
However I saw some videos on the XSR and was drawn to the looks and customisability. The 270 degree crank was also a draw, with it's similar feel to a V-twin.
I spent a few days doing some research and found a number of options for bikes to buy. Then I discovered my local non-Yamaha dealer had an XTribute trade-in in stock.
Well that's handy as that's the colour scheme I wanted, as well as the black upper forkcovers/gaiters and relocated dash.

I went for a test ride today, and I'm wondering if I need to just give up riding completely.
Engine was great, enough power and fun there for me, engine braking like I'm used to.
However the handling was so twitchy. I didn't feel like I was in full control at any time. The bars were shaking on every gear change, cornering felt like I was either going wide or going to fall over.
I felt like I was a passenger, rather than being in control.
I realise the sitting position is completely different to a sport bike but it felt like there was literally no weight over the front wheel.
I was out for 30-40 minutes. I was getting used to the rest of the bike (throttle response and clutch were quite snatchy but I had worked them out in the first 10 mins or so), but the twitchy front end felt the same at the end.

When I told all this to the dealer he was surprised and said that maybe the tyres were having an affect, but I don't know.
Getting back on the Firestorm (cramped as it now felt) reinforced the feeling that I need more weight over the front wheel to feel comfortable.

So was this bike a lemon? Would the regular model feel better with the slightly lower bars? (Although with the increased pull-back of the standard bars I doubt it) Would a set of very low aftermarket bars (Pro Taper Carmichael?) and slightly rear-set pegs give me the feel I'm after without putting too much strain on my wrists/back?

Or am I too set in my ways to learn to ride differently and too fat/old to ride a sports bike?

I'm going to book a test ride on a stock new model at my local Yamaha dealer but what I really need is to ride one with lowered bars to know...
 

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Welcome @gsh

This doesn’t sound right at all! I have a new 22 plate (21MY) XSR700 (not Tribute) and love the lightweight handling. Never any twitching, vibration or shaking. The Michelin tyres give me plenty of confidence with cornering and braking.

The steering on mine does feel light compared to my other bikes but not dangerously and I may fit a damper or update the springs.

I hope the second test ride goes well.

P.S. I too have reached an age and realisation that I can’t handle dropped handlebars anymore but I have successfully updated my 1998 Triumph Daytona T595/955i with a top yoke conversion and higher bars. The handling has not suffered as a result but it is a much heavier bike I guess.

Cheers

Geoff
 

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Light could easily be due to significantly wider bars than the sport type. More leverage makes your input higher. Personally I am wanting to quicken the steering of my bike and have raised the forks about 10mm in the clamps and will likely go another 10 shortly. The tires aren't going to be as sure footed as some of the street tires with less coarse tread pattern.

Not sure what differences there are on the X-tribute vs the standard XSR, if there is any difference in tires or wheel size that could be part too.
 

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I don't know the steering geometry of the VTR but I could assume a longer wheelbase and a more relaxed steering will cetainly make it feel more stable than the shorter and rather steep XSR.
One review says:"....With 24.5 degrees of rake and 100.5mm (3.96 inches) of trail, the steering geometry was obviously aimed at stability over agility " while the XSR is clearly designed for quick turning at lower speeds
If you can't get your head around the different handling of the XSR the only option is extending the forks to slacken the angle, but it will never feel as planted as a high-speed bike
 

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I have a 2016 SV650AL7 (from new) and my XSR700 arrives tomorrow. You are used to a more sporting riding position where more weight is placed over the front wheel, neither of the bikes you've mentioned are like that although the Suzuki is closer (imho) but you'd have to go back to the SV650S (pointy) to get closer still. The Yamaha has quite an upright position with wide bars giving a lot of leverage which your VTR would not have possessed, in some ways it reminds me of my old Yamaha YR5 two stroke with its West Coast USA bars and riding position. The SV has narrower bars - I've not checked the wheelbase and/or geometry but its steering feels slower and heavier than the Yamaha. I fitted risers to the SV to force a more upright position.

One other thing is the weight, the VTR weighs 472lb (says google), the XSR 410lb thats half a hundredweight - if you're old like me but even if you're not, losing 60lbs/27kg is significant. I should also add that my Z900RS' riding position is like the SV but it feels nothing like the SV in the way it sits on the road (ignoring the engine characteristics) but it's another heavy lump (480lbs ish).

If you have been used to the VTR for 19 years, one test ride wouldn't be enough for you to get used to a bike aimed to give a completely different, more relaxed style of riding. Both the XSR and the SV can be ridden quickly, safely but they are not sportbikes. One other thought - I owned a 2013 (fox eye - last of the high pipe models) Street Triple, it was a 675 but felt more like a "big bike" than the SV/XSR or the Z650RS, maybe that would be a better transition bike for you? Personally, I would ask for another test ride and I suspect you will find it a bit more natural the next time.

One word of advice, if you go for the SV, start looking for a new seat immediately, the original was recovered from the Spanish Inquisition. I only lasted (survived?) 300 miles on the original, but now have ridden 34,000 miles on its replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the comments.

P.S. I too have reached an age and realisation that I can’t handle dropped handlebars anymore but I have successfully updated my 1998 Triumph Daytona T595/955i with a top yoke conversion and higher bars. The handling has not suffered as a result but it is a much heavier bike I guess.
I had thought of fitting bars/risers but it would entail chopping the fairing a bit. Plus I'm looking for something to keep for my golden years now and the Firestorm will need some fettling. Best to let it go to someone who wants toi get their hands dirty.

Not sure what differences there are on the X-tribute vs the standard XSR, if there is any difference in tires or wheel size that could be part too.
The differences from the standard XSR are slightly taller and wider bars, +30mm on seat height and block-pattern tyres, plus some styling differences.

I don't know the steering geometry of the VTR but I could assume a longer wheelbase and a more relaxed steering will cetainly make it feel more stable than the shorter and rather steep XSR.
One review says:"....With 24.5 degrees of rake and 100.5mm (3.96 inches) of trail, the steering geometry was obviously aimed at stability over agility " while the XSR is clearly designed for quick turning at lower speeds
If you can't get your head around the different handling of the XSR the only option is extending the forks to slacken the angle, but it will never feel as planted as a high-speed bike
Same rake as the MT07.
I think the wide tall bars is the main culprit.
I've got a test ride on a standard model on Saturday. Now I have a frame of reference I will concentrate on getting my riding position right to put weight over the bars. That was my main issue with the Xtribute - the steering/bars felt almost like a cruiser.

I suspect this is simply a "me" issue and I would be able to adapt over time. After all, it shares almost the exact same geometry as the MT07 and there's few complaints about the handling. A set of MT bars may feel better to me.
 

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Thanks for all the comments.


The differences from the standard XSR are slightly taller and wider bars, +30mm on seat height and block-pattern tyres, plus some styling differences.
I guarantee you the block pattern tires and wider bars are a definite player in the twitchiness. I remember the first time I rode a dual sport I was looking for a do it all bike.

I had ridden my brother's '92 Interceptor VFR750 with Heli bars and found I couldn't handle the sport riding position (short reach), so I tried his NX650 since I was also looking at the possibility of going big dual sport to do it all. The first 25 miles the bike was squirrely due to the dual sport tires on it. As you said, the bike was doing its thing and I'm along for the ride. But after about 25-30 miles I had gotten used to the tire characteristics and by the end of the day, about 120 miles, I felt totally at home with the NX.

I ended up picking up a Kawasaki KLX650 and put another 20 years and 30,000 miles on it. Doesn't sound like many miles, but it was a lot of short commuting to work. The interesting thing was I got so used to the bike with the Duro Median tires that I was riding with sport bike and supermoto riding friends hanging with them in corners all while running dual sport coarse tread tires.

I'd say definitely check out riding the regular XSR before you write it off. Tires and wider bars can play a big part of feel when you are used to narrower bars and road tread tires. It's going to have a total different feel. You can do both things you mention, going to a superbike bend fat bar and in another post there was a rider who found some blocks that would raise and rear set the pegs about an inch. But in my opinion you should get a ride on the standard XSR enough to see how it feels and keep in mind the Pirellis may affect the feel a bit, a lot of riders who are street only change them out for a better street tread.
 

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I would say it's not completely you. Coming from larger, heavier bikes, XT1200Z Super Tenere last, the XSR has a more sensitive steering and hard acceleration lightens the front more than what I'd been riding before. Not out of control, just an awareness of what it is.

I look forward to reading about your experience test riding the standard XSR700 compared to the Tribute version.
 

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Interesting comments....I recently bought a CB500F, which definitely pitches more weight towards the front wheel. I noticed a big difference in handling compared to my XSR. The CB500F corners more like my old SV650. The XSR has a more relaxed, more roomy, upright position, which, combined with its fairly wide bars, does mean that it loses a bit of feel in fast cornering. It takes a bit of getting used to after a more sporty stance. The more relaxed position of the XSR does make for a very pleasant ride and its wide bars are excellent in urban riding, where it can be flicked easily. Which is better overall? Depends on your riding style and preferences, I guess.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Second test ride update:

It went much better. Partly I think because it was a newer bike with no mods (the tribute had a screen and a centre stand and the clutch was very snatchy and rear brake was non-existent. All this leads me to think the bike may have been less than coddled in its 1900 miles) and partly due to being more aware of needing to adapt my riding style.
Standouts being to change up earlier (still going by muscle memory of a 1000cc vtwin) - this sorted the bars twitchiness on gear changes during acceleration. Sitting slightly further forward on the seat and remembering to grip the tank with my knees helped (all this is natural for me in a more sporty position)
Secondly changing to pushing the bike into turns sat on top rather than leaning off the side and pulling it. I'm probably describing that completely wrong but I think you get the idea - more motocross than MotoGP! Been riding almost 35 years and I'm having to re-learn everything!
The bars didn't feel too high but definitely need moving forward to get me into a better position. That leads to my new dilemma!

I am going to buy an XSR but haven't decided on the model/year. There are pre-reg 21 models available with 0 miles for £6499. To me the £1500 saving over a 22 model is well worth having to spend a little to get LED turn signals (headlight is another issue but not important for a purchasing decision). The dealer will fit the Yamaha official LED blinkers for free before delivery - just have to pay Yamaha retail for them. (To be honest I'm still dithering over whether to go for the Yam LEDs or some TEC slug indicators)
However the same dealer seems to have an XTribute in stock on a 71 plate, 0 miles, for £500 more. Colour scheme is my preference but the bars are definitely too wide.
On either model I will want bars with less of a pull back.
Dealer will also fit any Yamaha bars I choose for free.
Both models share the same throttle and clutch cables, so switching bars will be the same on either. Possible the cables will end up being too long and need replacing to stop them snagging? or will some re-routing of the cables alleviate the need to replace them?

So which bars to choose?
At first I thought MT07 but sitting on one today they are noticeably narrower, which isn't a priority over the standard bars.
Are the XSR900 bars a better choice? The new 22 model has a different part no. to the older version. I think one of these might be a better bet. For bars I want them changed before the bike is delivered, so aftermarket are not an option.

Final point for deciding which model/year is quite petty...euro4 engine on the Tribute has more aftermarket exhaust options than the euro5 on the standard model. I quite fancy a TEC pipe - UK made with 2 removable baffles so not obnoxiously loud but much better sounding than stock. And a reasonable price. However they only make them for euro 4 engines.

I plan to place the order Monday, one way or the other!

Thanks for reading my ramblings.
 

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You might consider the gauge cluster position, in relation to which bars you choose and how they interact.

2022 XSR900

Land vehicle Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Automotive tire


2021 XSR900
Tire Wheel Fuel tank Vehicle Motorcycle


2021 XSR700
Land vehicle Vehicle Wheel Tire Motor vehicle


2022 XSR700
Mirror Vehicle Fuel tank Land vehicle Automotive lighting


Gauge cluster relocation kits do exist for the pre-'21 bikes.
 

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We will see and read what happens on Monday.

Just for your handle bars considerations, you may pay attention that XSR all the years had tapered or conical bars. Only Xtribute is using those 22 mm bars.

MT had those 22 mm all the years, do not know if they changed it with the latest update towards tapered.

Height and pull back of the bar create that typical upright riding position on the XSR. Every less pull back or more straight bar will bring you more towards the front wheel and will also increase the connection to the bike. A light impulse to the bar end side where you want to go to, will easily steer in the chosen direction. Leaning into the direction in combination with the impulse will fasten up and increase that steering into the curve, especially when it comes to higher speeds.

Alternative bars from Yamaha could be MT-09 or 10, maybe Tenere 700, because they all should be more straight, less pull back. But they could be either too less or too much wide. Maybe you have a chance to feel them at your dealer? From my experience it is often not the first try of a different bar. Sometimes it needs two or three trials.

BR
hombacher
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You might consider the gauge cluster position, in relation to which bars you choose and how they interact.

2022 XSR900

View attachment 27461

2021 XSR900
View attachment 27462

2021 XSR700
View attachment 27463

2022 XSR700
View attachment 27464

Gauge cluster relocation kits do exist for the pre-'21 bikes.
Those pictures make it look like the old 900 bars are lower/less pullback than the 700 and comments from riders on here who have made the swap seem to concur.
They are different part nos.
However the Renthal comparison tool has them as identical bars. That said it also has the same specs for the 2022 XSR900 so it's obviously not correct.
We will see and read what happens on Monday.

Just for your handle bars considerations, you may pay attention that XSR all the years had tapered or conical bars. Only Xtribute is using those 22 mm bars.

MT had those 22 mm all the years, do not know if they changed it with the latest update towards tapered.

Height and pull back of the bar create that typical upright riding position on the XSR. Every less pull back or more straight bar will bring you more towards the front wheel and will also increase the connection to the bike. A light impulse to the bar end side where you want to go to, will easily steer in the chosen direction. Leaning into the direction in combination with the impulse will fasten up and increase that steering into the curve, especially when it comes to higher speeds.

Alternative bars from Yamaha could be MT-09 or 10, maybe Tenere 700, because they all should be more straight, less pull back. But they could be either too less or too much wide. Maybe you have a chance to feel them at your dealer? From my experience it is often not the first try of a different bar. Sometimes it needs two or three trials.

BR
hombacher
Thanks - I didn't consider that the Xtribute would have different diameter bars. So no direct swap with the XSR900 bars without also changing the risers.
I'm definitely leaning to the XS900 bars though, so the standard 21 bike is edging ahead.
 

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Also be aware, for reference, the OE XTribute bars have a plug in the end of the bars since they don't come with bar ends, so it's a real pain to mount anything that goes inside the bars, if not impossible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well I've just pulled the trigger on the pre-reg 21 in Dynamic White. Hopefully be here early next week.
Had a slight hiccup in that wewantyourmotorbike.com who were going to buy my trusty old Firestorm (for a fair price tbh) pulled out due to a stupid bloody clerical error on the 2011 MOT (tester missed the last digit off the mileage). Buying the new bike was dependent on getting the old one shifted as I don't have space in the garage for two bikes. However I've found somewhere to store it if I can't get it shifted quickly and the dealer I'm buying the XSR from is possibly going to make me an offer when I've got some pics over to him tomorrow (after I wash it).

Having XSR900 bars fitted but decided against the Yam LED blinkers - I'll fit something less obtrusive later on.

Looking forward to being able to post my official "new owner" thread after the first shake-down ride.
 

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I registered here in full expectation that I would be taking delivery of an XSR700 in the next week or so.
I was looking forward to posting my introduction post with the new bike.
However I had a test ride today and I am completely confused.

I've come from a more sporty bike - Honda VTR1000 Firestorm (Superhawk outside the UK). I've had the bike from new for coming up to 19 years.
Now I need something with a more relaxed riding position, but still keeping some of the characteristics of the V-Twin.
My top contender was the SV650.
However I saw some videos on the XSR and was drawn to the looks and customisability. The 270 degree crank was also a draw, with it's similar feel to a V-twin.
I spent a few days doing some research and found a number of options for bikes to buy. Then I discovered my local non-Yamaha dealer had an XTribute trade-in in stock.
Well that's handy as that's the colour scheme I wanted, as well as the black upper forkcovers/gaiters and relocated dash.

I went for a test ride today, and I'm wondering if I need to just give up riding completely.
Engine was great, enough power and fun there for me, engine braking like I'm used to.
However the handling was so twitchy. I didn't feel like I was in full control at any time. The bars were shaking on every gear change, cornering felt like I was either going wide or going to fall over.
I felt like I was a passenger, rather than being in control.
I realise the sitting position is completely different to a sport bike but it felt like there was literally no weight over the front wheel.
I was out for 30-40 minutes. I was getting used to the rest of the bike (throttle response and clutch were quite snatchy but I had worked them out in the first 10 mins or so), but the twitchy front end felt the same at the end.

When I told all this to the dealer he was surprised and said that maybe the tyres were having an affect, but I don't know.
Getting back on the Firestorm (cramped as it now felt) reinforced the feeling that I need more weight over the front wheel to feel comfortable.

So was this bike a lemon? Would the regular model feel better with the slightly lower bars? (Although with the increased pull-back of the standard bars I doubt it) Would a set of very low aftermarket bars (Pro Taper Carmichael?) and slightly rear-set pegs give me the feel I'm after without putting too much strain on my wrists/back?

Or am I too set in my ways to learn to ride differently and too fat/old to ride a sports bike?

I'm going to book a test ride on a stock new model at my local Yamaha dealer but what I really need is to ride one with lowered bars to know...
I’m not getting g any of your comments - rode mine today - smooths and fun :).
 
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