2018 Yamaha XSR700 | Long-Term Ride Review

Yamaha XSR700
Our XSR700 is a daily commuter and weekend canyon blaster, and with the addition of saddlebags we can even stop along the way for a picnic lunch! (Photos by the author)

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed Yamaha’s middleweight FZ-/MT-07 since it came out back in 2015, so it was no surprise when EIC Tuttle became somewhat smitten with its neo-retro XSR700 iteration. With a higher, wider handlebar, a taller, cushier seat and firmer suspension than the standard FZ-07, plus the FZ’s signature light, flickable handling, spirited Crossplane-concept parallel twin and strong brakes, the XSR700 is an ideal daily commuter and weekend canyon carver.

Read our 2015 Yamaha FZ-07 first ride review

Yamaha XSR700
The MicroCowl deflects a bit of air, but mostly just looks cool.

We decided to add one to our long-term fleet, but with a few tweaks; as a commuter and daily runabout luggage was a requirement, with a garage full of comfy touring bikes we figured we’d never ride it two-up and there were a couple of “just because it looks cool” additions we wanted to make as well. So we ran it through Yamaha’s Genuine Accessory catalog and bolted on a set of Adventure Saddlebags ($505.98, including required Support Bars), a Solo Seat ($114.99) and Rear Rack ($119.99), a Smoked Micro Cowl windscreen ($174.99), a Radiator Guard ($149.99) and Radiator Side Covers ($119.99). The canvas-and-leather saddlebags are fairly small, but with ABS linings they hold their shape, making it easy to stuff them with the necessities: an extra pair of gloves, layers, a rain suit or a few groceries. Or, in the case of the photo to the left, some sandwiches and iced tea for a picnic lunch in the mountains.

Yamaha XSR700
Saddlebags are on the small side. Quick-release plastic buckles hide under the faux metal belt-style straps and buckles.

As the XSR has broken in, we’ve noticed some quirks that weren’t apparent on our first ride. The old-school look Pirelli Sportscomp tires grip well enough in corners, but they have a tendency to wander on rain grooves—a minor annoyance at worst. More concerning is our test bike’s increasingly clunky gearbox; downshifts, especially when the bike is cold, require a hard push, and even when warm it’s not the smoothest tranny we’ve tested. Perhaps chalk it up to needing an oil change? We’ll report back after we’ve investigated. Otherwise, however, the XSR700 has continued to prove itself as a quick, fun, relatively comfortable sport standard, and with average fuel economy of 57.2 mpg it’s a stellar commuter (just keep it under 75 mph for optimum comfort). 


  1. Just curious, do the passenger peg hangers bolt on/off like they appear to do in the photos? Because if so, why would you leave them on if you mount a solo seat? Seems like you could de-clutter the looks a bit and save some weight to boot.

  2. I’ve never understood how OEMs can charge so bloody much for their accessories. I mean, those look like fairly decent little bags – but $500+ worth of nice? ?

  3. That package sounds perfect! I just bought a 2021 XSR700 and love it! But I’d like to get bags and a rack. Just what you described is perfect. How do I get those bags and rack? Thank you in advance for your help.


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