1990 Yamaha XJ900F
Cheap and reliable do everything mile muncher
Over the last 18 months / 17000 miles of ownership I've had to replace:
Rear wheel bearings (centre bearing went)
Ignition lock (keys kept falling out when switched on)
Front brake callipers (previous owner had fitted Suzuki slabside GSXR ones, which were pretty poor)
I bought this for £700 as an MOT failure, requiring replacement fork seals and rear shocks. Investing in a pair of hagons and some seals, all of which I fitted myself, I quickly had a road legal, big shaft-driven touring bike.
The previous owner had fitted K&N filters and rejetted the carbs, which meant the bike ran terribly and returned about 30mpg. I replaced the carbs and filters with original Yamaha items (after a real job refitting the original air box), after which it ran perfectly.
3 months after I bought it, I fitted hard luggage to it and I set off on a 4500 mile tour to the North Cape of Norway, mainland Europe's most northerly point. The bike ran perfecly and in touring mode on the narrow roads of Scandinavia, returned 65mpg cruising at 60-70mph. This can drop to low 40s on long, high speed motorway blasts.
The bike was perfectly comfortable and I did 3 500+ mile days in a row without feeling any pain.
Since then it's been on several tours around Scotland (where I live) and one 2500 mile trip to the Swiss Alps with a pillion, as well as year round commuting through the worst of Scottish weather.
There have been a few problems (regulator / rectifier going which stopped it from charging for example) but parts are readily available cheaply from ebay. I recently picked up a complete spare engine for £30 for example!
The bike isn't the best handling or fastest of bikes, but it's got great mid range torque and can hold its own in most conditions. It's also easy to maintain, and after the hassles of chain driven bikes, the shaft drive is excellent!
I've considered upgrading to a diversion 900, the XJ900F's replacement, but apart from more modern looks, I don't think I'd gain anything.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th October, 2006
7th Jan 2008, 17:57
I too have an XJ900, but a 1983 model. They are excellent all rounders and very easy to live with, especially in the hot Australian conditions.
26th Oct 2008, 16:30
Yes, I have just bought another XJ900F, the same colour as the new one I had twenty years ago, and I am very happy I did as well.
My first 900f I bought from new. After running in it would do 142 mph, 190 miles before reserve on a full tank, so over 200 miles. Altogether great for my trips to the bol/spa/le-mans south of France. The top gear could be used all the way from 30mph to top speed; great for easy touring.
The servicing I did myself. It was very easy to get to all service items, and in 96,000 miles all I had to change was oil filters, tyres and two shims. The carbs I balanced myself after buying the Yamaha yics tool. I still have the two shims, yics tool and shim adjuster tool after 20 years.
The new Yamaha I have just bought is the same year as my first one, the same colour, and has only done 17,000 miles and is in immaculate condition, so it should last me well.
I have just sold my 2006 Yamaha XVS 1100 Classic, as I found this a little too slow for me, and I did not ride it anymore as I was having too much fun on my XJ900F, so if you can find a clean low mileage one, I can recommend it.
Ride on, from Rick.
29th May 2009, 16:02
Just returned to motorcycling and decided on a Yamaha XJ900F. Read several reviews and the common theme seemed to be good reliability and ease of ownership. Managed to find a really good example 1991 in white and blue. Totally standard and only covered 17,000 miles. Find the five speed box a little strange, but as I have only done 600 miles as yet am hoping I will get used to it. Replaced front tyre last week with a Bridgestone Battleaxe and this has improved handling enormously. Looking forward to a good few years of happy riding.