There has been some fuss made around the fact that Yamaha’s SR400 is retro-a-no-go in Canada. But truth be told, and there are going to be a lot of you that might disagree, an air-cooled 400 single no matter how appealing for the nostalgic value doesn’t make a lot of logical sense in today’s world of motorcycles where a modern engined water-cooled, multi-cylinder bike of equal displacement would be more satisfying in all but retro appeal. But the SR400 has a kick start! That’s going to lose it novelty pretty fast. The SR400 would not be an inexpensive machine if sold in Canada making it even more of a marketing challenge to the folks at Yamaha Canada. The fact that it is available in the USA makes it a little odd that it isn’t up here to but these things do happenl. However there is another retro machine that resides across the pond for British fans that would be fun and possibly appeal to a broader audience. The success of the Bolt shows that the hipster crowd – as well as the less hipsterishly-endowed – looking for a good bike at a good price prooves a retro-modern machine will get some notice. The Yamaha XJR1300 is offered in two guises in the UK – standard and Racer. It is so hipsterly cool that the fairing on the Racer version doesn’t even have to match the rest of the bike! The heart of the matter is a 98hp air-cooled 1250cc four, a solo-style seat, a four into one exhaust (matte of course) and an Ohlins rear suspension. Seriously, who need modern when you have displacement? Beyond the fairing the Racer also gets clip-ons rather than the bar of the standard version. Following the Bolt’s lead there is a closet full of accessories for the XJR1300 should you want to dress up (down?) the bike further.
The XJR1300 has been in the line-up in Europe for a while but the machine was looking dated so the 2015 version is new take and – quite remarkably-seems fresh because it has embraced the past.