Please endulge me in my hurrah cries. I could think of no better forum to do it in
Yay...I finally got it! My brand new Yam XT660R. I've only had it for 5 days and driven about 1000km, but I'm allready in love. It performs with excellence in the haripins as well as on the straight away highway. I've found that it settles snuggly at around 115-120 km/h with plenty of power left for the occasional overtaking. Since the bike is brand new, I am waiting for all the nuts and bolts to settle in before I test the topspeed. But I'm guessing it will be in the 160 area.
I've fitted two 43l Hebco and Becker panniers and a rack for a Matilda bundle. Took me about 30-40 mins to install. Everything fitted nicely (that was a recommendation for Hebco and Becker Alu pans, guys). Put on top of that, a 100 kg slightly chubby danish guy, a strong headwind, and you're bound to get some pretty ugly fuel consumption figures. Even under the abovementioned circumstances, I got an average of 19,6 km/l. That's all kinds of driving included. Red light chasing, 120 km/h highway, 80-90 km/h rural freeway thumping, and a little (very little) bit of offroading. I'm quite pleased with those figures. As happy as I am with the bike, here are three points that I feel Yamaha could have done better on.
The 15l tank doesn't offer much of a range. The reserve tank light comes on when there's 5l left in the tank. It is however, pretty nifty that the secondary trip resets itself when this happens so you don't have to remember at what point you had 5l left. As a potential overlander (planning trip across Africa), I'll have to say the range is dissapointing. 300km's as the max? Come on Yamaha, you could have done better than that! Offtheroad.de does offer the option to buy a 26l tank. But the price...YIKES! 900 Euros for 11l extra fuel seems a bit steep. I'm still debating with my budget if this is a good (or even necessary) buy. Balance wise on the bike, it sure beat's a huge jerry can on the back. Not to mention the spaceconsumption for such an attrocity. But still, the price puts me off a bit.
The seat. Maybe it's because it's brand new and I've never owned a completely new bike before. But man, it's hard. I realize that the foam hasn't yet adjusted to a McThor-shaped ass, so I am hoping it will become a bit softer with time and use. Regardless, for long treks, I've understood that the standard seats are rarely good enough on their own. Be it sheepskin or a more high tech solution.
Windshield. A matter of preference perhaps, but in my oppinion it is waaay to small. At high speeds you catch the wind square in the chest. The chill factor of this doesn't bother me at all. That can easily be solved with decent motorcycling clothing. No, it's the strain it puts on both your arms and your lower back. If you sit yourself back and let the wind beat you backwards, you'll need to keep a tight grip on the handlebars. You can relax your lower back muscles in this position but within 10-15 minutes you start to strain your forearms and your fingers become numb due to the forced vibrations. At some point I couldn't sense the "click" in my thumb as I deactivated the turnsignal after an overtaking. Alternatively, you can lean into the wind and rest your hands for a bit. But this means that you constantly have to move your upper body forward and back, depending on the force of the wind at any given time. With winds from changing direction and overtaking trucks and other windbreaking vehicles, I found myself constantly adjusting my position, thus putting unaccustomed strain on my lower back muscles. For long treks on highway, I would definately recommend a higher windshield. For speedsaround 90 km/h and lower, it isn't a problem. Or at least not as outspoken.
Enough slander of my lovely bike! They are only minor problems compared to all the good things I can say about it.
For a single, it runs remarkebly smooth. Yes, there is more vibration than a two cylinder, but to be honest I was actually quite surprised regarding the low vibrations. I am used to a Cagiva Elephant 900ie and the difference in smoothness is negligable albeit noticable.
The warning lights and turnsignal indicators seem small and puny at first glance. But they are positioned well and they catch your eye with an amazingly powerfull glare. Without blinding you, ofcourse.
The clutch operates with extremely little effort. You can easily hold the clutch with one finger should you want to. This makes you less inclined to go into neutral, when waiting for clear passage at a left turn cross and enabling you to quickly move if trouble comes up behind.
The gears operate surely and efficiently. You are never in doubt if your gearchange was succesfull. And neutral is very easy to find both from 1'st and 2'nd gear. A small tap is all it takes. But should you overdo it, the gearbox is forgiving with enough freespace in neutral to let you get away with and excessive tap. Yet without being an annoyance when speed launching from 1'st to 2'nd gear.
The headlight doesn't look like much but is surprisingly powerfull. I especially like the way it's shape allows a good deal of light to illuminate the sides of your path. It gives you a good overview of your sorroundings, even in completely unlit and dark areas. I haven't used high beam a lot, but when you do, it gives you the impression that you can use it to smelt snow in the winter
. Again, dispite it's puny looking size, it is very very powerfull.
The brakes. Even with the weight as described above, the breaks work surely and efficently at all times. It doesn't "bite" even when you come close to full blockage. As with many other parts of the bike, the breakpads can be changed easily and without too much fuss. Appearence wise, the breaks radiate power and sturdiness. I know, I know...performance is paramount, not appearences. But it doesn't hurt when they look the part too, now does it?
The engine is very "open" and accesable. Ofcourse oilfilter, airfilter, breakfluid, cooling liquid are easy to get to. Without having done any work at all on the engine itself, it seems to be easy to get to the trouble spot with plenty of workroom. Not like my old bike (Cagiva) where everything is crammed into too little space and you have to take half the bike apart to make even minor reparations.
Allthough Yamaha can't be credited for this entirely, another good thing about this bike, is all the wonderfull accesories you can get. You could argue that Yamaha should have put these accesories on the bike to begin with, but I guess it just allows individuals to custom "make" their bike to fit their needs and not having to pay for accesories they have no use for.
It has been said that there was a problem with the fuelintake so that the engine would cut out at low revs. I think there are several threads on this forum about it. According to Yamaha this was true. Once. But not on bikes from 2005 and onwards (or was it 2006, I forget). In any case, during my past 5 days on the bike, it has run flawlessly. Low revs or high. I realize that 1000km on ONE bike hardly makes an in depth study of the problems existance. But to be honest....I don't think I'll ever encounter it on this bike.
Oh, and before all the anti XT'ers come out of the woodwork, I'll grant you one last slander: The decals ARE flimsy and give the impression of last minute work by a japanese intern (or french, as the case may be) who didn't have anything better to do. I doubt they will endure untill I leave for Africa in November.
I'm not sure this is the right forum for my review of the XT660R, since there is nothing wrong with the bike (yet
). Just thought I'd share my brief experience with other people who might be thinking about getting a bike like this. So far, it comes highly recommended. At least by me
. With regards to reliabillity, I'll let you know when I come back from Africa in May 2008
By the way, if anyone knows of a cheaper solution for extra fuel than offtheroad.de has to offer, gimme a hollar.