Saturday, January 31, 2015


On Tuesday night I dropped the Connie in for the fitting of her 13th pair of shoes so I somehow needed to get home...enter a Yamaha XT660R with only 460km on the clock.

It wears a sticker on the side of it which says "Enduro" but it doesn't look much like an enduro bike to me.  Yamaha NZ describe it thus:
The XT660R is a highly evolved member of the XT clan that thrives on journeys of any length. A bike that can waltz through the weekday commute and head out on the adventure trail when the weekend beckons.
Whatever it's supposed to be, it is a nice little bike.  I say little because I got off a 280kg tourer and the little blue bike felt tiny.  I was actually surprised to see that it's wet weight is 181kg - it feels a lot less than that.  A reasonably low (for this style of bike) seat height also made it a doddle to get on and off and stop at lights etc.

Screen looks aftermarket to me, as are the bark busters
 One of the nicest things about the bike is it's great motor.  It is the same 660cc fuel-injected, water-cooled single that lives in the Tenere and after riding Colin's one I new that it'd be pretty good.  The beast fires up straight away and settles down to a muted (yes, very quiet) thump, thump.  Once underway it is surprising how smooth the single is and the motor definitely doesn't mind a few revs.

First gear is possibly a bit tall for off road stuff and the 5 ratios are spaced fairly wide giving effortless cruising at 100km/h (you may even need a downchange on big hills if you want to maintain the legal limit) and the ability to sit on slightly higher speeds should you want to be naughty.  I think that if you lowered the gearing slightly for off-road riding you would still easily be able to pull 100km/h without pushing the bike too hard.

Around town I didn't take it out of third gear and thought that perhaps the fueling was a little snatchy, although the bike is still new so maybe it just needs some more miles under the wheels.  I didn't attempt a wheelie (due to my lack of skill in this department) but the old man went for a wee squirt and he reckoned it was a piece of cake and even popped it up in 2nd...

Brake line is in the way of the speedo most of the time...
Handling-wise, the XT is similar to pretty much every other single-cylinder adv-style bike I've ridden - light and chuckable.  (I had to adjust my riding style after stepping off the Connie).  The brakes were just fine - nothing stunning but they simply work with no nasty faults.

Old hooligan prepping for a taste of Yamaha
On a lot of motorcycle forums the Yamaha XT series seem to get a lot of stick for being an expensive option - especially when something like a DR650 can be had for around $8,500 (I see one NZ dealer pricing the XT at $12,300).  But these yammies are built very well, are far more modern in design and offer more goodies than other options: locking fuel-cap, immobilier, fuel-injection, liquid-cooling, digital speedo etc.  Up to potential buyers to decide whether it's expensive or not...

Pipes are too quiet
So would I have one?  Well, probably not.  While I could be looking for a new Adv bike in the future I think that I still need a bit more poke than a single can offer - I tend to have to ride a fair bit of tar before I hit the gravel and also would like to be able to carry the kitchen sink on tour if need be.  I bet she would be fun on a tight gravel road though...

Pick your Adv weapon...


  1. A fun but somewhat expensive little motorcycle it seems.

    1. Be fun messing around in that white stuff that you like playing in Dom...

  2. Nice write up Andrew. So it looks like I'll stick with the Tiger for now then...

    1. Dare I say it - yes....

      Would have been nice to take it on some gravel...

  3. Nice looking bike, unfortunately not available in the USA