French motorcycle racer Christian Sarron rode for the Sonauto-Yamaha Grand Prix squad for 15 seasons (1976-1990). Together, Sarron and Team Blue competed in the 250cc, 350cc, and 500cc classes. In 1983, the rider finished the season as vice-champion on the TZ250 and achieved two third-place finishes (1985 and 1989) in the rider’s championship with the YZR500. However, Sarron’s crowning achievement will always be his 1984 250cc World Championship.
When it came time for Yamaha to update its XSR900 retro roadster for 2022, the brand turned to Sarron’s time with the Sonauto-Yamaha team for inspiration. Sporting a vibrant blue and gold livery, the new XSR is more head-turning than ever. The designers match that ‘80s sportbike paint job with updated styling.
A new circular headlight unit, revised perforated headlight bracket, and bar end mirrors update the XSR’s front end. Rearward, a side panel covers the previously exposed subframe and the seat ditches its removable cowl for a thicker passenger pad. The stubby back end maintains the ‘80s Grand Prix form but also delivers more function in the process.
Under the new cosmetics, the XSR900 is more potent than ever. Now featuring the Euro 5-compliant CP3 engine that debuted in the 2021 MT-09, the nostalgic naked bike boasts an 889cc displacement. The liquid-cooled, DOHC inline-triple produces 117 horsepower at 10,000 rpm and 68.6 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm. The popular powerplant now nestles into a lightweight Deltabox-style chassis complete with lightweight Spinforged wheels and fully adjustable suspension.
In addition to the upgraded mill and chassis, Iwata also equips the XSR with a quickshifter, cruise control, and a slipper-assist clutch. The new adjustable Brembo radial master cylinder, twin four-piston calipers, and 298mm discs provide precise stopping power at the front end. Just like the latest-generation MT-09, the XSR900 also receives the brand’s 3.5-inch TFT color display. Packed with an R1-derived six-axis IMU, the electronics suite includes lean-sensitive traction control, slide control, and ride modes.
Along with the Legend Blue colorway, Yamaha will offer a Midnight Black paint job for a more subdued look. Team Blue hasn’t announced availability or pricing yet, but we expect it to land around the MT-09’s £8,999 ($9,399 USD) price tag.