Yamaha XT 660 R test
Intro: THE RETURN OF A LEGEND
With the new European anti-pollution standards, this famous XT could possibly fall by the wayside. But this motorbike carries with it a very long history and is way too emblematic for it to disappear, and here is in fact an XT all spruced up, ready to keep rolling on for generations to come. It does have some plus points nevertheless : a good look, the capability to do just about everything you ask from it and its enormous reputation. The XT also comes in a Supermoto version, a model that we will be testing in the near future.
Esthetique: MORE MODERN
The first changes made to the XT were cosmetic. Without being demonic, this newest style offers a more modern look.
New front lights, a two-part mud flap, more aggressive fairing flanks and a raised double exhaust : The Yamaha trial bike
has nearly been transfigured by these changes, and we notice them from the first glimpse.
Motorization: MORE COMPACT AND SMOOTHER
The motor too has made important strides. Measuring in at 659cc, with 48 brake horsepower and a torque of 42.48 foot-pounds. At the same time, its conception allows it to be more compact. The single-cylinder was fitted with an electronic injection, a new cylinder head and a gain in smoothness even though at the lower range of the revs. these modifications go un-noticed. In this case, employing the gearbox is a definite must.
On the road: EFFECTIVE BUT NOT ABRUPT
If we chose essentially dirt tracks to conduct this test, it was not because the XT boasts of enduro like qualities, but more
to verify its legendary easy use. We hit the dirt roads with the principal that this machine remains robust on tricky terrain,
and obviously on the tarmac as well. And we can honestly say that the XT is more than up to the task. It was one of the
objectives of the designers : allow for an easy and smooth transition from on road riding to more challenging all-terrain
The new steel tubular chassis represents serious progress in terms of rigidity. The 43mm Paioli fork and the monocross
type rear suspension are nothing extraordinary, but they do the job in a way that makes you forget they are there... Very
discreet. Standing straight up on the foot pegs, there is nothing left to do but have some fun.
As for the brakes, the XT uses a simple 298mm disc at the front with a 245mm disc at the rear. The performance level is
quite correct for a single rider, but you will have to pay extra attention when you are two on the XT. However, a positive
point is found in the progressiveness, still appreciable on those surfaces where grip is not bountiful.
So with that the XT is ready to set off on an adventure. The controls are smooth and the handlebars are large. But beware
of the weight in respect to the machine; the 165 kilograms of the bike will remind you quickly that care must be taken into
account. You will have to adapt your riding style to the particularities of the XT. When taking off the bike reminds you that p
rudence is the order of the day. With the considerable weight, a rather unresponsive gearbox, and a set off mixed tyres,
obviously, it has its limitations on the dirt, but paradoxically you will be pleasantly surprised once you return to the tarmac.