Yamaha XJR1300 Owner’s Review – Classic For Good Reason

Big, boisterous, intimidating and classy, the Yamaha XJR1300 makes as much of an impression as man with a 6-pack and a doctorate in quantum mechanics. So if you’re looking for a motorcycle that leaves jaws on the floor wherever you go, and is practical enough to take you and your partner on adventures of wild proportions, don’t go anywhere; this might just be the motorcycle for you.  

First launched in 1998, the XJR1300 is a muscle bike heavyweight with a track record as impressive as Mike Tyson.  

Equipped with an air-cooled 1251cc inline-four producing 105hp, this is a motorcycle with plenty of legs. With the muscles to cruise at high speeds, while still remaining useful in town, the XJR1300 can really do-it-all with ease. A big strength of the XJR1300’s engine is just how much torque it produces. With only a small twist of the throttle, it takes off with ease, quickly becoming stable and planted. 

The engine sound produced from the enormous, twin-exhaust setup is deep and manly. As you achieve the redline of 8000rpm (if you dare), the phenomenal sound produced will easily rival the likes of any modern-day supercar. My XJR in particular, was known to set off car alarms upon start-up, and as the engine burbled with organ-shaking low frequencies down busy residential streets, you’ll leave chaos in your wake, as puzzled pedestrians try to figure out what’s just happened. 

The handling department is an interesting area for the XJR1300. The responsiveness of steering is very good. She is a big bike afterall, but riding solo it’s more than satisfying to enjoy some of the more exciting roads you’ll encounter on your travels.  

Now what I find quite surprising, is that the cornering and stability at higher speeds seems to improve noticeably with the addition of a pillion. Take the XJR1300 on the highways and you’ll keep up with any vehicle, no questions asked. 

Now don’t be put off one iota by the fact that the engine is cooled by air and oil. Even on the most scorching of summer days, being pushed near it’s limit, the XJR1300 shows no signs of overheating or losing any of it’s oomph. 

The brakes on the XJR1300 are nothing special to be fair. They get the job done, but beyond that they struggle to impress. It might be wise to source an upgrade in pads or callipers if you plan to ride her hard for extended periods of time, as they soon lose their gusto when really put to the test. 

In terms of equipment, the instrumentation nods gracefully to it’s retro roots and provides all the information you’ll need while still looking and functioning fantastically. The hand controls are well-placed and within easy reach. 

Lockable panniers are easy to fit onto the motorcycle with a Givi Top-Mount frame and really prepare the bike for adventures of any length. The set of boxes I was using also had LED tail and stop lights which increased the visibility during night rides. 

As for economy, the XJR1300 is not as thirsty of a bike as you’d expect. A steel 21-litre tank placed comfortably between your thighs holds plenty of juice for a couple of hours in the saddle. The shape of the tank is well designed to accommodate your knees while shifting you body position through the turns. A handy fuel gauge lets you know when it’s nearing time for a refill, and the tripmeter that can be reset makes it easier to keep track of how many miles you’ve completed between refills. When it comes time to refuel, you’ll often notice your very own fanclub will emerge on the forecourt, as current and previous owners will marvel at the sight of a machine they know and love so well. Good luck trying to leave the forecourt and continuing your journey with that one.  

That’s right, the Yamaha XJR1300 is a real looker. With curves that would make Jessica Rabbit look like she’s been on hunger strike, the classic lines and outright girthiness of this motorcycle make it a solid fan-favourite. I wasn’t aware of this before purchasing, but this motorcycle really has made a name for itself and gained somewhat of a substantial cult following over it’s many years of production. Almost everywhere you go, people will approach you and tell you their very own stories of when they owned one and how much they love it. This is one aspect of XJR1300 ownership I really enjoyed.  

All in all, the Yamaha XJR1300 is a fantastic motorcycle for short and long journeys. They are still very well priced if you’re on the lookout for pre-2006 models, which in many owners’ eyes, are the ones to get for motorcycle touring.

The XJR1300 may not be the easiest motorcycle to manouver at low speeds, but you won’t experience that too often, as a bike capable of a whopping 160mph doesn’t like to hang around for long.

Once you own one, you’ll inherit a family as part of the deal and you’ll never look back. This bike really is a cult classic and will only increase in value as more people recognise the greatness of this do-it-all motorcycle.

I’ve regretted selling my beautiful Donna since the day I handed over the keys, and the only reason I sold her is because she was a bit too troublesome to manouver around London on my commutes to work.

Nonetheless, I know the XJR will come into my life once again in the future and I’ll be able to love riding this remarkable machine once more.  

If you want to ask any questions or need any advice regarding the XJR1300 if you’re looking to buy one, please leave me a comment or email and I’ll be happy to help.  

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