Stumbling into the Yamaha booth I was immediately taken by the DT-07 flat tracker display. Flat track is on my “to-do” list this year, hopefully I’ll get a chance to see this concept make its way onto the track for real.
Stepping around the corner, I was gripped by the sights of the new XSR900. I had seen various news blurbs about the concept, but I didn’t know that Yamaha was actually going to field this retro (yet very modern) naked bike. I was truly impressed that Yamaha had taken the FZ-09 chassis and threw in all the amenities of the FJ-09 (radial brakes, adjustable suspension, etc.) on an otherwise “throwback” motorcycle, i.e. the Triumph Bonneville. I suppose Yamaha took a page from Ducati’s book, following suit with Ducati’s Scrambler. Regardless, I love naked bikes and retro styling, I’m sold; with a $9,500 sticker, that’s a deal on a classy (and loaded) 900 standard bike. Suddenly I find myself asking… can I make this thing a Yamaha Scrambler?
Yamaha also brought a sweet cutaway exhibit of the new R1. Normally I fall asleep when the media starts touting the blistering speed and performance of the latest and greatest liter bike (The Panigale is beautiful, but for $26k… get real…) but for some reason the YZF-R1 has grabbed my attention ($16k doesn’t hurt either). Despite my Triumph leanings, there’s no doubt I’d ride home on a Yamaha; for the right price I’d even leave the Triumph at the dealership. I’ve said it publicly before, while Suzuki, Honda, et al are sitting around on their laurels, Yamaha is making the bikes that the market wants and for the most competitive prices (timing on the FJ-09 was nearly perfect, sporty yet affordable touring option, just as Triumph pulled the Tiger 1050 out of the U.S. market); I’m anxious to see how this plays out. At any rate, I don’t see myself parking a sports bike on the porch anytime soon, but there’s no denying I would take home an R1 if I had the space and the means.
Speaking of the FJ-09, it’s certainly not the dirt oriented adventure bike I really want, but it’s a viable, budget conscious, alternative. I think I would be overly uncomfortable on most naked bikes riding long distance, and many of the true sport touring bikes are well north of $15k, the FJ-09 is a deal at $10,500. If I could just convince Yamaha to drop the XT660Z Tenere into the U.S…
I also have a soft place in my heart for the FZ-07. While I love the sound of a triple (i.e. the FZ-09), the lower weight (and lower price tag) of the FZ-07 also deserves some airtime. Maybe that Yamaha Scrambler should spin off from that flat tracker concept?