Top Speed Motorcycle Buying Guide for the 2019 Yamaha Lineup
What Yamaha Has Available for 2019by Allyn Hinton, on
Yamaha Corporation has a hand in a multitude of industries to include musical instruments and mixing equipment, electronics, outboard motors, personal watercraft, off-road vehicles, snowmobiles, and of course, motorcycle production. It is from the former that the marque draws its iconic symbol comprised of a trio of tuning forks, which in turn lends it the nickname “The Tuning Fork Company.” As one of the Japanese “Big Four,” Yamaha is involved in two-wheeled racing, and is competitive within the global motorcycle market.
Yamaha started out life as the Nippon Gakki Co. Ltd back in 1887 building pianos and reed organs. After World War II, the marque repurposed its wartime airplane-propeller machinery to produce inexpensive efficient transportation for the war-ravaged islands. Its first effort produced the YA-1 (Aka-tombo, or “Red Dragonfly”) which was a motorcycle proper, not a powered bicycle or scooter. By 1955, the motorcycle division was successful enough to be self-supporting, and was thus split off as the Yamaha Motor Company, Ltd. The brand has since grown to become the second largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world based on sales metrics.
Crossplane Crankshaft: Derives its name from the fact that each successive crankshaft throw is 90-degrees out from the adjacent crankpins so that overall, the conrod journals are in two planes crossed at 90-degrees. Inertial forces are reduced by linking the pistons in pairs so their forces are self-canceling, and as a result, the engine can develop full revs more quickly and with less bottom-end stress.
Deltabox Chassis: Frame design built around the premise that a Delta (triangle) is stiffer than a square. Diagonal outer spars connect the steering head to the swingarm pivot sans any kind of central backbone to leave room for the upper regions of the engine and the large airbox to reduce the overall height of the assembly.
Yamaha Ride Control: The YRC bundles Yamaha’s engine management systems together with input from the Inertial Measurement Unit to include the Launch-, Lift-, Traction- and Slide-Control Systems to give you complete control over the bike’s personality. Data from the IMU is used to make the Traction Control and ABS features “lean-sensitive” so they moderate their levels of intervention based on the calculated traction.
Y-TRAC: A smartphone/tablet app that monitors all the pertinent racing metrics and records it for wireless transfer to your mobile device for easy analysis. It’s rather like watching a fight tape after the event.
D-Mode: Selectable Drive Mode that delivers a trio of power curves so the rider can dial in delivery to match a variety of conditions.
YCC-T: Yamaha Chip-Controlled Throttle feature that modulates throttle, ignition timing and fuel delivery to reconcile the difference between demand at the grip and what the engine can smoothly deliver.
YCC-I: Yamaha Chip-Controlled Intake. An electronically controlled, variable-length intake tract system that helps to broaden the torque band.
EXUP: Exhaust Ultimate Power Valve that helps broaden the powerband further by delivering variable exhaust backpressure via input from a hot-oxygen sensor.
Ram Air Intake: A port in the fairing that funnels pressurized air from the entry to the intake tract for a boost to volumetric efficiency sans turbo or compressor/supercharger. It’s mainly useful at speeds upwards of 100 mph.
Yamaha Motorcycle Models
Yamaha Dual Sport:
The dual sport segment combines off-road prowess with street-legal equipment to produce a multi-surface machine with a definite bias for the brown. Long suspension strokes and generous ground clearance join with headlights, taillights, turn-signals, and mirrors to accomplish that goal with stealth-knobbies to make the final connection to trail and/or tarmac. At the bottom of the range Yamaha offers the 196 cc TW200 for the entry-level market. In the mid-range is the XT250 with a 249 cc lump, and at the top of the foodchain is the 250 cc WR250R made for advanced riders.
Yamaha’s supersport lineup toes the genre line with near-complete body enclosures and an aggressive nose-down/tail-up stance. The line starts out with the entry-level YZF-R3 that limits its electronic safety equipment to ABS and runs with a relatively small, 321 cc powerplant but delivers sharp sporty handling. Next up is the YZF-R6 with its 599 cc lump and electronics suite that boasts the YCC-T, traction control and D-Modes features. At the top of the range is a spread of R1 variants that bring MotoGP tech to the streets with Yamaha’s 998 cc Crossplane Concept crankshaft and varying levels of top-shelf electronics.
|YZF-R3||$4,999||321 cc||321 cc|
Yamaha’s MT line brings sportbike performance to the table with minimal body panels that let it compete in the naked market. Recently renamed for the U.S. market from “FZ” to match the rest of the world, the line starts out with the 689 cc MT-07 that rolls with ABS as the only electronic perk. The 847 cc MT-09 rocks more in the way of higher electronics, and the powerful MT-10 draws from the top shelf for its ride-control components.
Yamaha Sport Heritage:
The sport-heritage line is a mixed bag of models with an entry-level model V Star 250 that pays homage to the standard/UJMs of the ’60s and ’70s. Yamaha’s XSR700 and XSR900 fill out the Neo-Retro line with a fresh take on the classic roadster/café look and a 689 cc and 847 cc mill, respectively. The Bolt and Bolt R-Spec deliver a slice of Americana with some very Sportster-like looks that are further reinforced by their 942 cc V-twin powerplants. At the top of the totem pole we find the VMAX power/sport-cruiser with its powerful 1,679 cc, 65-degree V-four lump and low-slung good looks.
|V Star 250||$4,349||249 cc|
Yamaha Transcontinental Touring:
The Star Venture delivers long-range comfort with a heavy build and host of electronic ride-quality features on top of a torquey 1,854 cc V-twin. Built to compete against Harley-Davidson tourbikes and the ubiquitous Gold Wing, it sports a full front fairing and windshield for weather protection, dry storage in a pair of bags and top case and oodles of pilot- and passenger-related comfort items. The Star Eluder is a somewhat stripped-down version that drops the top-case and chops the windshield height for more of a boulevard-bruiser/bagger look.
|Star Eluder||$22,499||1,854 cc|
|Star Venture||$24,999||1,854 cc|
Yamaha Adventure Touring:
Currently, the Super Ténéré ES is the only adventure-touring model in the lineup this year having already dropped the non-ES model out of the lineup. It brings a go-anywhere attitude with long-stroke, electronically-adjustable suspension components and a powerful, 1,199 cc engine. Laden with Yamaha’s ride-quality systems, it comes built to square off against rally-ready models such as the Africa Twin and Multistrada. It also performs well as an urban commuter for riders looking for an alternative to the sport-commute models.
|Super Ténéré ES||$16,199||1,199 cc|
Yamaha Sport Touring:
The sport-touring line starts with the sleek Tracer 900 and Tracer 900 GT, the latter of which comes stock with hard-side panniers for a bit of secure/dry storage. At the top of the food chain is the FJR1300ES and FJR1300A that really put the “sport” in sport-touring with a 1,298 cc four-banger and top shelf engine electronics that include a choice between manual- and electronically-adjusted suspension members. Plus, the FJR models come with stock panniers as part of the standard equipment package to make them tour-ready right out of the box.
Last but not least is the Niken family made unique by its front suspension. Paired forks give the model its name – literally “Two Swords” – and deliver trike-like stability with two-wheel handling as its able to bank into the turns. Like the Tracer, it comes in a sleek version and a GT variant with stock panniers.
|Niken GT||$17,299||847 cc|
|Tracer 900||$10,699||847 cc|
|Tracer 900 GT||$21,999||847 cc|
Yamaha shuns the classic Italian-style scooter models to focus on a more modern look. At the bottom of the range, the Zuma 50F and 50FX button up the entry level with sporty looks and a 49 cc thumper. The Zuma family has a big brother in the Zuma 125 (125 cc) that carries itself with the same panache.
Next up is the 155 cc SMAX sporting a tall vented windshield with business-class looks and 32 liters of dry storage under the seat, but it’s the 292 cc XMAX that claims the top of the totem pole with an adjustable handlebar and windshield on top of even more storage, though it sacrifices most of the step-through to a structural tunnel. Across the board, the scooter range runs with the genre-typical swing-mount drive system that uses the engine and CVT gearbox as stressed units in place of a swingarm.
|Zuma 50F||$2,599||49 cc|
|Zuma 50FX||$2,599||49 cc|
|Zuma 125||$3,399||125 cc|
See our review of the Yamaha Bolt.
Yamaha Bolt R-Spec/ Bolt C-Spec
See our review of the Yamaha Bolt R-Spec/ Bolt C-Spec.
Yamaha FJR1300A / FJR1300ES
See our review of the Yamaha FJR1300A / FJR1300ES.
See our review of the Yamaha MT-07.
See our review of the Yamaha MT-09.
See our review of the Yamaha MT-10.
See our review of the Yamaha Niken.
Yamaha Niken GT
See our review of the Yamaha Niken GT.
See our review of the Yamaha SMAX.
Yamaha Star Eluder
See our review of the Yamaha Star Eluder.
Yamaha Star Venture
See our review of the Yamaha Star Venture.
Yamaha Super Ténéré/ Super Ténéré ES
See our review of the Yamaha Super Ténéré /Super Ténéré ES.
Yamaha Tracer 900 / 900 GT
See our review of the Yamaha Tracer 900 / Tracer 900 GT.
See our review of the Yamaha TW200.
Yamaha V Star 250
See our review of the Yamaha V Star 250.
See our review of the Yamaha VMAX.
See our review of the Yamaha WR250R.
See our review of the Yamaha XMAX.
See our review of the Yamaha XSR700.
See our review of the Yamaha XSR900.
See our review of the Yamaha XT250.
See our review of the Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M.
See our review of the Yamaha YZF-R3.
See our review of the Yamaha YZF-R6.
Yamaha Zuma 50F / 50FX
See our review of the Yamaha Zuma 50F / 50 FX.
Yamaha Zuma 125
See our review of the Yamaha Zuma 125.
Honda Africa Twin (CRF1000L)
See our review of the Honda Africa Twin.
Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour
See our review of the Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour.
Ducati Multistrada 950
See our review of the Ducati Multistrada 950.
Read more Yamaha news.