Yamaha XSR900 DB40: Vintage Roadracing Style About To Make A Comeback?

Yamaha XSR900 DB40
The Yamaha XSR900 DB40 in action at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Credit: Yamaha

Over the past five years or so, retro-styled sportbikes have made a comeback in Europe, with machines like Bimota’s KB4. Now, it looks like Yamaha is planning to make a bike along those lines, with the XSR900 DB40 Prototype appearing recently at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed in the UK.

Now, the XSR900 is itself supposed to be a retro; Yamaha says it has “the perfect blend of sporty performance and timeless heritage styling.” The DB40 takes this a step farther, though, with some sporty chassis bits. It appears the DB40 has a suspension similar to the much-more-aggressive MT-09 naked bike (not identical), but with a retro fairing bolted on. There’s a set of raised clip-on bars, for a racier riding stance. The engine is the same liquid-cooled 889 cc CP3 triple that’s in the base-model XSR900, MT-09, FJ-09, and so on. That should mean the DB40 would have 117 hp and 68 lb-ft of torque.

It would actually be a usable sportbike, then, even though Yamaha is looking at dressing it up in retro clothes (much of the bodywork is the same as the standard XSR, but the rear bodywork and front fairing are new, with visual cues to classic Yamaha racebikes). Even better, the weak link of Yamaha’s CP2- and CP3-powered bikes has long been seen as the suspension, so giving the XSR900 a better fork and shock could be a very big improvement!

Currently, this machine is being transported from moto festival to moto festival around Europe, whipping up interest in Yamaha’s retro project. Credit: Yamaha

When could this machine be coming to the market? Yamaha has taken out legal protection on the XSR GP name, and this machine, when it was shown off at Goodwood, was explicitly labeled a Prototype, not a concept. Putting two and two together, we’d expect some version of this bike to debut in coming months as the XSR GP. Maybe at EICMA? Yamaha says this machine was only built to celebrate 40 years of the company’s Deltabox chassis technology, but we don’t really believe that…


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