Yamaha XT660R


Is the R the Aussie bike that the X wasn’t?

Sometimes it’s hard for me to work out what the importers are thinking, but then I think I’m hardly Robinson Crusoe there. I remember riding the XT660R nearly four years ago but for most of that time Yamaha Australia restricted itself to bringing in only the supermoto X version – a highly enjoyable bike but not one with the sales potential in Australia of the R, I would have thought.

Yamaha now informs me that the R is an “adventure tourer designed to perform equally well both on and off road, commute during the week and escape on weekends … [with] excellent reliability, plenty of power and many refinements [making for] a capable mile muncher and dirt road blaster ideal for Aussie conditions” which “means it’s the perfect machine for local conditions”.

I pretty much agree with this, but it’s surprising that it took Yamaha Australia so long to wake up to the virtues of the bike. Seeing that it’s here now I don’t suppose it matters, but I’d love to know.

The XT660R is one of the most versatile and useful motorcycles around. The problem is that any specialised use means you need to spend more money on it: for commuting or touring you really want a rack, for any dirt use you need a bash plate and a radiator guard. Weekend corner carving, on the other hand, is possible and highly enjoyable without spending any more of your hard-earned cash except perhaps for investing in some pure road tyres.

So if you’re after a motorcycle and aren’t too sure about the particular type you want, take a look at an XT660R before you commit yourself. It’s reasonable value for money, although a Kawasaki KLR would save you quite a few dollars.

Model: Yamaha XT660R
Price: $10,999 (plus on-road charges)
Warranty: Two years, unlimited distance
Power: 36kW @ 5800rpm
Torque: 62Nm @ 5100rpm
Engine: Liquid cooled single, 4 valves DOHC, fuel injection and electronic ignition
Bore x stroke: 100 x 84mm
Displacement: 660cc
Compression: 10:1
Transmission: Five-speed, wet multi-plate clutch, final drive by chain
Suspension: Front, 43mm telescopic fork, travel 225mm. Rear, link-type monocross, preload five-step adjustable, 200mm travel.
Dimensions: Seat height 865mm, weight 172kg (dry), fuel capacity 15 litres, wheelbase 1505mm
Tyres: Front, 90/90 21. Rear, 130/80 17
Frame: Diamond frame with dual tank rails
Brakes: Front, 298mm floating disc. Rear, 245mm disc.
Top speed: 165km/h
0-100km/h: 5.2 sec
60-100km/h: 5.3 sec
Fuel consumption: 4 litres per 100km, unleaded
Theoretical range: 375km
Colours: Yamaha blue, black