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The new Yamaha XV950

9th July 2013 Print
Yamaha XV950

A new era of Sport Heritage Yamaha motorcycles starts with the introduction of the XV950 and XV950R, two performance bobbers that are inspired by the past, yet built for the future. With looks influenced by Yamaha’s strong heritage and traditional values, these models mark the beginning of a new range of Yamaha motorcycles that will blend the very latest technology with established looks to inspire riders that are looking to the essence of motorcycling.
In garages all over the world, riders have been customising Yamaha motorcycles to give their own timeless spin on already established classic looks. Drawn by the iconic machines of the 1970s and 1980s, these fabrication specialists have used traditional Japanese quality engineering as a basis to build a whole new style of motorcycle. Each bike is individual to its creator, reflecting their own personality and influences, however at their heart they remain true to the core principles of engineering excellence ingrained within every Yamaha motorcycle.
For 2014 Yamaha is opening up the door of the world of customisation to every rider with the new XV950 and XV950R models – two bobbers that encapsulate the character and personality of those original back street creations in a new neo retro Japanese look.
Powered by a 58-cubic-inch (942cc) air-cooled V-twin engine housed in a steel double cradle frame, these custom bikes are individual in their raw looks with a casual and laidback attitude. Perfect for unwinding after a hard day’s work, the XV950 models will return riders to the roots of motorcycling as they re-discover the joy of riding a unique looking custom bike with the pulse and feeling that only an air-cooled V-twin can provide.
Compact and stylish with a low seat height, the XV950 models deliver both a refined and agile ride while retaining the timeless character and soul that is a critical part of owning such an individual machine. Yamaha’s unique flat line style and use of exposed metal components accentuates the bike’s pure simplicity while the V-twin motor provides both spirited performance and unquestioned reliability. Stripped back and stylish, the XV950 model provides a perfect entry into the world of customisation while the XV950R injects a further element of sporting ability with twin ‘piggy back’ shock absorbers, a buckskin-look seat cover and the use of a painted stripe along the fuel tank.
The XV950 models represent a new direction for Yamaha as it looks to the past for inspiration on a new line of neo retro Japanese motorcycles, creating timeless machines that encapsulate the pure joy and freedom offered by two wheels without compromising on the quality or reliability that riders expect from a Yamaha product. By blending the very latest technology such as ABS (R version only), advanced 3D fuel-injection mapping and LED lights with already established iconic flat line styling, these new models are certain to inspire riders who are not willing to accept compromise between style and technical specifications.
The engine
Designed to capture the true soul and feeling of a stripped-down custom bike, Yamaha have taken the proven engine from the popular XVS950A and developed it further for the XV950 models.
The air-cooled 60-degree V-twin engine produces 80 Nm of torque at 3,000 rpm thanks to its four-valve per cylinder SOHC design with a compact pentroof combustion chamber, making it ideal for urban use as well as spirited performance outside of the city’s limits. With a capacity of 58-cubic-inches (942cc) the V-twin motor’s cylinders have ceramic composite plating while the piston is constructed from forged aluminium for optimum reliability as well as performance. To aid urban use and provide smoother engagement, a new rubber damper is incorporated within the clutch mechanism, helping to reduce rider fatigue during frequent use.
In order to achieve the compact styling of the XV950 models, Yamaha have completely revised the motor’s intake system and air cleaner. Designed for outstanding efficiency and to contribute to the pure look of the bike, the new compact air cleaner is located on the right side of the motor. Despite having a 15% smaller 2.3 litre capacity when compared to the XVS950S air cleaner, flow analysis and road test evaluations have demonstrated this new style of air cleaner gives the XV950 motor improved torque characteristics.
With the aim of delivering lively acceleration and drivability as well as excellent fuel economy, specific fuel injection system settings to compliment the new intake layout have been created for the XV950 models. New 3D maps for the ignition timing and fuel injection have been developed with the aim of increasing the V-twin engine’s already excellent acceleration in the mid and low-speed ranges, optimizing its performance within an urban environment.
To match this new fuel mapping and further boost low to mid-range acceleration, the XV950 models also feature a newly designed exhaust system. A 2-into-1 exhaust pipe layout on the right side of the motor emphasises the compact nature of the motorcycle by hugging the engine’s form, creating a tightly packed unit with a short muffler. While passing all the required noise and emissions standards, the use of glass wool within the silencer produces a clear and crisp exhaust note that is unique to the XV950 models.
With both the air cleaner and exhaust being shielded by stainless steel covers, the raw metal appearance and compact minimalist styling of these neo retro Japanese bobbers is thanks in a large part to the air-cooled motor.
Designed to deliver light and energetic handling, the XV950 models feature a brand new double cradle steel frame. Constructed as one unit without a separate sub-frame assembly, the V-twin engine is mounted as a stressed member with a rigid mount system to allow it to transfer the motor’s pulse through to the rider.
A short wheelbase of 1,570 mm provides a light and agile ride for maximum maneuverability in an urban environment as well as a neutral and stable feeling when cruising on the highway. Upfront, 41 mm forks compliment the traditional look of the twin shock absorbers that have been set up to provide a compliant and soft initial stroke with increased damping later in the movement. The XV950R features improved shock absorber performance thanks to the addition of ‘piggy back’ compression damping adjustors.
To keep the bobber look, the XV950 models utilise newly designed 12-spoke cast wheels in 100/90-19 size front and 150/80-16 size rear. Together with the sporty suspension these wheel and tyre sizes offer the optimum balance of performance, grip and feeling from the road’s surface. This is a bike that encapsulates all of Yamaha’s legendary sporting heritage as well as its traditional styling lines.
Despite containing the flowing styling of the classic bobber look, the XV950 models use modern components and techniques where they benefit the riding experience. Advanced 3D fuel-injection maps, compact pentroof combustion chambers and highly developed intake design gives the XV950 models outstanding efficiency as well as impeccable throttle feeling for relaxed riding. Escape the city’s confines and the dynamic 60-degree V-twin comes alive, pulsing with torque and complimenting the sporty chassis by delivering the kind of riding pleasure that riders expect from a Yamaha product.
The brake discs have a wave type design on a floating rotor with both the front and rear running a 298 mm diameter disc. This contemporary design improves braking control, helps prevent brake noise and provides a greater resistance to heat distortion in the disc. In keeping with Yamaha’s philosophy of blending future technology with classic looks, the XV950R has ABS as standard, further enhancing its sporting potential.
A newly designed drive belt, which with a width of 21mm is the smallest on any Yamaha motorcycle, contains a carbon-fibre core for added strength and rigidity as well as achieving excellent levels of quietness.
Using the classic bobber style of a slim and stripped down look as a basis, the XV950 models expand on this to create a unique and modern neo Japanese design. Yamaha’s unique flat line style and use of exposed metal components accentuates the bike’s pure simplicity while the V-twin motor gives a compact heart to the motorcycle. The XV950 models have a raw metallic image while remaining simple in their design and sporty in their performance.
The single round headlight, jewellery-look round LED rear light, use of stainless steel highlights and cut-down steel fenders all accentuate this look while the 12.2 litre teardrop style fuel tank and round LCD speedometer introduce another neo Japanese visual element. The sculpted rider’s seat, which has a Buckskin-like cover on the XV950R, is relaxed for urban riding and has a 690mm seat height, making the XV950 models reassuringly low for any kind of rider.
Genuine Accessories
To assist riders in adding their own personal touches to their XV950 or XV950R, Yamaha has developed a full range of genuine accessories. Whether it be transforming their bike into a ‘performance bobber’ with an Akrapovic slip-on exhaust, mini-fairing, stiletto seat, stainless steel brake lines and a performance air cleaner cover or creating a ‘vintage bobber’ with spoke wheels, springer seat and fork cover, the decision is up to the individual.
The XV950 and XV950R models exist to inspire riders to express their own personality and influences. How far they let their imagination take them is all part of their journey together…
Matt Grey with tank graphics
Camo Green with tank graphics

Competition White
Midnight Black
Suggested Retail Price:
XV950R £7499
XV950 £7199
plus road fund and first reg. fees.
Available: September

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Yamaha XV950