2022 Yamaha XSR900 gets more power and a 1980s-inspired design

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Yamaha's big news for the 2022 model year is the new MT-10, but the Japanese firm isn't forgetting about the rest of its range. It also unveiled a new version of the XSR900 with a more powerful three-cylinder engine, updated electronics, and a heritage-laced design.

Like most motorcycles in the Yamaha line-up, the XSR900 was shaped by a unique philosophy; this one is called Faster Sons, and it aims to blend iconic style with modern technology, according to the company. Its design isn't retro in the same way that the Volkswagen New Beetle was, but look closely and you'll find several styling cues that subtly echo some of the Grand Prix motorcycles that raced in the 1980s. The aluminum frame is exposed, and elements like the shape of the fuel tank and the overall silhouette are a tribute to older models.

And yet, it's not old-school. It notably receives LED lighting on both ends and a full-color 3.5-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) screen that replaces the instrument cluster. Drilled fork caps, a forged brake pedal, and hidden passenger pegs add a finishing touch to the design.

Power comes from an 890-cubic-centimeter three-cylinder engine called CP3 internally. Shared with the MT-09, the triple develops 117 horsepower and 69 pound-feet of torque. Yamaha notes that nearly every part of the engine has been redesigned, including the pistons and the crankshaft, to help it rev more freely. Ride-by-wire technology is standard, as is a quick-shift system that enables clutchless up- and down-shifts. And, because sound is part of the experience of riding a motorcycle, engineers fine-tuned both the intake and exhaust notes.

Riders can count on the same basic six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) fitted to the MT-10 to stay as safe as possible. On longer trips, they can relax thanks to cruise control, which now comes standard on the XSR900. Not every riding aid needs to be electronic, however: Yamaha explained it relies on a die-cast technique to make the aluminum frame extremely thin without compromising its rigidity. Some of the XSR900's frame sections are merely 1.7 millimeters thin. In turn, the weight saved improves the bike's straight-line stability.

Yamaha dealers will begin receiving the 2022 XSR900 in April 2022. Buyers will have two color combinations to choose from: Legend Blue with gold wheels and a gold fork and Raven with black wheels and a black fork. Pricing starts at $9,999 before destination.

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