Yamaha Is Not So Super

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), July 9, 2004 | Go to article overview

Yamaha Is Not So Super


Byline: By Andy Feeley

None of the big Japanese manufacturers have come up with a road-based supermoto, which in this age of niche markets is strange.

The only explanation I can come up with is that they are perhaps afraid of the thought of a high-revving single-cylinder engine being thrashed down the local bypass and the subsequent warranty claims.

European manufacturers like KTM and Husquvarna don't have such problems, although a couple of the smaller Italian firms with pure competition motors are prone to going pop.

Yamaha did dip its toe in the market with the Enduro-based WR 450, which is sold through off-road dealers with off-road wheels as well as 17-inch supermoto wheels and, although it is road-legal, no warranty is given as they are, strictly speaking, competition motorcycles.

New for 2004 is the XT 660 X, which should have filled that niche market.

However, supermoto fans who thought that at last there was a serious competitor from the Far East are going to be disappointed.

Yamaha has a strong tradition in big singles and the latest liquid-cooled version should be up there with the best, but the claimed 48bhp is fighting a losing battle trying to propel a dry weight of 173kg.

That's heavier than the R1 and about 50kgs up on the ball park figure of the Europeans.

Maybe I'm being hard on Yamaha here. …

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