Yamaha XJR 1300 Racer Review!

Author: Bike Social Road Tester Posted: 23 Feb 2015

Yamaha's XJR 1300 Racer

By now you will have read our review of the 2015 Yamaha XJR1300. However while we got our hands on one of the first naked bikes to hit our shores, none of the Racer kits have made it to the UK yet so we had to wait until the bike was officially unveiled in Australia to bring you a review of this version.

Costing £9599 (£1000 more than the stock XJR) the Racer gains clip-on bars, a carbon mudguard, carbon pillion seat cover, carbon nose cowl and a leather strap over the tank. What does this do to the XJR? As well as making it noticeably more uncomfortable to ride, it changes the whole bike’s attitude.

Due to the fact the XJR is quite a long bike, it is a stretch to reach to the clip-ons whereas the flat bars are positioned far more naturally. While this gives an authentic ‘Joe Bar’ feel to the riding position, it also makes it quite painful on your wrists, lower back and neck when cruising at low speeds. It may look and feel cool in a retro way, but it’s certainly nowhere near as relaxed as the flat bar stance and if comfort takes precedence over style with your riding, stick with the flat bars. However, up the pace and the Racer makes more sense.

Which version is worth having?

Through faster bends the clip-ons come into their own and give the XJR a more sporting attitude. The stretched out riding position is better for moving around the bike and hanging off a bit while the fact you are sat lower also helps with cornering. It’s not a massive difference as the flat bars are also quite useful when it comes to levering the bike into bends, however the Racer is certainly, as the name suggests, sportier in its outlook. Which is the model to get?

Although the Racer looks great, it is compromised due to its riding position and if you are looking at riding through town a lot it will become a frustration. If, however that whole cafe racer image floats your boat, and you don’t mind a bit of discomfort, then for £1000 it does give the XJR a whole new outlook on life and a nice spark of attitude. Especially if you fit a loud exhaust.

Although the Racer is currently only available as a dealer fitted extra when you buy a new XJR, in a little while all of its components will be in Yamaha’s spare parts range, meaning you can retro fit them yourself. No prices have been announced for this yet, but it is fair to expect it will cost more than the £1000 you pay to have it done when you but a Racer from a dealer.