Among the list of Inductees into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame announced on May 12th are CMA Life Members Joe and Vera Godsall of White Rock, BC.
The Induction Banquet and Reunion will take place on November 17th at the Delta Hotel Burnaby Conference Centre in Burnaby, BC.
Born in England, they moved to Canada in 1963, first settling in Montreal and then heading to British Columbia in search of weather more to their liking. They became involved in Canadian motorcycling, particularly motocross, while raising a family in White Rock. Joe was the 1981 CMA Vet Junior National Champion.
Impressed with the quality of the events being organized, they decided to get involved with the CMA and both were elected to the CMA BC Region Board, where Joe served as President and Vera as Region Secretary. Each of them attained the status of CMA National Referee, overseeing many events, positions they still occupy to this day.
Joe has served as CMA National President twice; 1989 – 1997 and 2001 to the present.
Along the way, he has earned FIM licences in Trial and Environment while Vera rode her bike to work daily, 100 km round trip, including during the winter, and became a member of the Westwood Motorcycle Racing Club, riding at their track weekly.
In 1993, Vera was presented with the CMA Award of Merit for her dedication to motorcycling and our Association.
Perhaps their major claim to fame is as the saviours, more than once, of the motocross activity in British Columbia.
When the track at Agassiz was in danger of closing, they worked with the previous operator to obtain a lease renewal under the CMA banner. It has remained so to this day with practices and races running on most weekends.
When motocross was suffering under harsh economic pressures, they gathered together interested parties and formed a not for profit club (now known as the Lower Mainland Motocross Club) who were permitted to run events at the CMA Agassiz track until they obtained use of a track at Mission.
When we were losing clubs due to financial pressures, Vera organized a race herself to fill the void. She also formed a group, Hi-Tech Racing to organize CMA motocross events in BC.
Both Joe and Vera were very active in producing the CMA Super Series, one of the most successful motocross series, with events taking place at all tracks in the Province.
They truly deserve to be recognized by the motorcycling community. Congratulations and thank you Joe and Vera.
Tourism Sarnia-Lambton and Grand Bend Motorplex want you to Cruise the Coast
(Grand Bend) Monday, May 28, 2018 – Earlier today, officials from Grand Bend Motorplex announced a new partnership with Tourism Sarnia-Lambton and specifically their Cruise the Coast initiative.
“Tourism Sarnia-Lambton has always been a great advocate for all of us in the area. We hope that everyone coming to the track for these events will stay an extra day or two and visit the wonderful things our region has to offer.” Paul Spriet, Grand Bend Motorplex.
The Sarnia-Lambton area is also known as Ontario’s Blue coast, referring to its proximity to Lake Huron and the St. Clair River, and more specifically their miles of beautiful shorelines. While navigating these shorelines, you will see, award winning floral gardens, sandy beaches, picturesque parks and charming waterfront communities. One of those waterfront communities being Grand Bend, which is home to Grand Bend Motorplex.
Situated on over 400 acres, Grand Bend Motorplex consists of a Drag Strip, Road Course and a ¼ mile oval track, all of which play host to some of the biggest motorsports events in Canada. For 2018, with assistance from Tourism Sarnia-Lambton, Grand Bend Motorplex will be hosting 2 upcoming events with added incentives for anyone cruising the coast.
The Mopar Canadian Superbike Championships, the leading road racing superbike series in Canada will visit the Raceway from June 8-10. In 2017, this was the only race that 22 Time Champion Jordan Szoke did not win, and he is coming back with a vengeance. New for 2018, this event will also see PA system improvements and expanded seating.
Leaving the strategy and finesse of the raceway and going to the noise and thunder of the dragstrip, on Father’s Day Weekend, June 15-17, is the NAPA Auto Pro Ultimate Showdown ( formerly Stratford Spectacular). Running for over twenty years, this event is the largest community organized drag race in Canada. Everything from Jet cars, Nitro Funny Cars, Nitro Harleys and Pro Mods will roar down the strip at up to 500 KPH! For this event, all spectators arriving on a motorcycle will be entitled to a special discounted admission of only $15for Sat or Sun, per motorcycle (not extra fees for a second rider on the same bike). There will also be a special motorcycle parking section.
Please be sure to visit www.cruisethecoast.ca when planning your route to the track. The Sarnia-Lambton area has many memorable things to experience. Your see & do list will include, culinary delights, notable attractions, outstanding festivals and events, unique shops, or sandy beaches. You will also find information on places to stay, including hotels, motels, B&B’s, Cottages, or one of the 30 campgrounds in the area.
Two-time defending champion Jordan Szoke picked up right where he left off at Shannonville Motorsport Park on Friday, topping both the morning and afternoon practice sessions at the Canadian Superbike Championship season opener despite very windy conditions.
Szoke, searching for his record 13th Mopar Pro Superbike Championship in 2018, paced the field with a time of 1:05.109 in the morning session, just over a tenth of a second faster than Mississauga, ON's Matt McBride in second place and another three tenths faster than Collingwood, ON's Ben Young. All three riders are aboard BMW S1000RR's, a bike that was featured heavily in the top ten in both sessions.
Szoke again paced the afternoon practice, this time ahead of Young and Trevor Daley, who is returning to the CSBK tour aboard a Kawasaki ZX-10R. However, Szoke's time was slightly slower in the afternoon, clocking in at a 1:05.320, something he – and many other riders – attributed to the intense winds.
"The wind actually hit me pretty hard and knocked me into the gravel, but luckily we didn't crash," Szoke said. "Otherwise, it was really promising to be this consistent with our times, especially given the conditions."
Young, who figures to be one of Szoke's biggest rivals this season, was also affected by the wind, though he said it's not something that put him at any disadvantage.
"We were slower than we thought we would be because of the wind, but at the end of the day it's the same for everybody," he said. "We could have gone quicker, but the bike's still working amazing, so now we're just on track to getting P1 [in qualifying] tomorrow."
McBride, meanwhile, was unable to repeat his success from the morning after crashing early in the afternoon session, though he was able to make the necessary repairs and end the day in fourth between Daley and Beaconsfield, QC's Michael Leon, who finished fourth in the morning practice aboard his S1000RR.
Daley, also from Mississauga, ON, is expected to compete in most – if not all – of the 2018 season after only appearing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park a year ago. The former championship runner-up set the fifth-fastest time in the morning session and looks like he could be a dark horse in this year's title fight.
"The winds were bad, but everyone's dealing with it," Daley said in agreement with his rivals. "We're just trying to get some clean laps in and make the best of things."
Missing from the top of the timesheets was St. Isidore, QC's Samuel Trepanier, who badly damaged his S1000RR in the morning practice and was unable to repair it for the afternoon. The third-year Pro managed to get in a few laps in the final session after borrowing a bike from friend and mentor Brett McCormick, though he failed to record a time.
As for the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, it was largely a two-horse race up front, with 19-year old reigning champion Tomas Casas setting the pace in both sessions ahead of Laval, QC's Sebastian Tremblay, who is piloting a Kawasaki ZX-6R. Casas, riding a Yamaha YZF-R6 out of Peterborough, ON, is widely considered the favourite to defend his title in 2018, though Tremblay and fellow Yamaha rider Mitch Card likely won't make it easy for him.
"The track temperature started to get better and after that it was a lot of fun," Casas said. "We're working really hard, so hopefully we can keep it going [in qualifying] tomorrow and in the race on Sunday."
Card (Ripley, ON) failed to record a time on Friday, crashing out in the morning and experiencing mechanical issues in the afternoon, though he is expected to have things resolved by the weekend.
Dave Natale and Michael von Ek were the men to beat in the Magnetti Marelli sponsored Amateur Superbike field, finishing first and second, respectively, in the morning before swapping positions in the afternoon. They were followed both times by Mirabel, QC's Luc LaBranche, who also topped the afternoon session in the Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike class. That class saw Ottawa, ON's Max Kathron set the fastest time in the morning, before settling for second in the final session.
Highly-touted teenager Jake LeClair was dominant in both sessions of the brand new Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike series, finishing at least a second clear of the next fastest rider in both sessions. The Yamaha YZF-R3 rider finished ahead of John Taverner and Mark Rocha in the morning, before pacing Alex Berthiaume and Neil Graham in what should otherwise be an exciting inaugural season for the class.
Qualifying will begin on Saturday with the Amateur Lightweight class at 10:00 am, before the Dalton Timmis Insurance Pro Superbike Superpole kicks off at 2:50 pm, which will set the grids for the season opening races on Sunday.
Full results and the rest of the weekend schedule can be found on the official series website at www.csbk.ca.
Toronto ON – (May 22, 2018) – The Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship is set to get underway this weekend, May 25-27, at Shannonville Motorsport Park, where three-time defending champ Jordan Szoke will look to win his sixth consecutive season opener.
Lynden, ON, based Szoke, 39, already holds the record for the most championships (12) and most race wins (65) in CSBK history, totals he will try to add onto as the five-round, seven-race schedule kicks off at SMP. The Mopar Express Lane BMW Motorrad Canada Superbike Team star will have a range of top riders to compete with this season, as he searches for his fourth consecutive crown and 11th in the last 13 years.
Samuel Trepanier, a third-year Pro out of Sainte-Barbe, QC, will perhaps be Szoke's biggest challenger after a thrilling battle to end the 2017 season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, one that helped propel Trepanier to fourth in the final standings. Ben Young (Collingwood, ON), the 2016 Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year, will also be a front-runner, having finished third in the standings in each of the last two years. Both riders are set to run on a BMW S1000RR, similar to the one Szoke will be piloting.
Behind the trio of Szoke, Trepanier, and Young, other challengers could feature veterans Michael Leon and Jeff Williams, also both aboard BMW S1000RR's. Former championship runner-up Trevor Daley (Mississauga, ON) is also expected to return full-time to the series aboard a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, after competing in only two races last season.
In the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, 19 year old Tomas Casas from Peterborough, ON will look to defend his title from a year ago, though he may endure a tough challenge from a number of capable competitors. Mitch Card (Ripley, ON), who was the runner-up to Casas last season, seems poised to battle his fellow Yamaha YZF-R6 rider again after the two ran side-by-side at last weekend's RACE regional opener at Shannonville. Card is also expected to show well in the Feature class with his Fast Company Yamaha YZF-R1s.
Veteran Louie Raffa and youngster Jacob Shaw-O'Leary, two of the lone Honda riders in the pro ranks (both aboard CBR600RR's), also figure to challenge Casas and Card up front. Each will look to make their presence felt at their respective home races, with Raffa a favourite at Autodrome-St. Eustache near Montreal, QC, and Shaw-O'Leary a usual contender at Atlantic Motorsport Park just outside of Halifax, NS.
Below the pro ranks, the amateur classes could feature some of the closest racing in years, with the Superbike, Sport Bike, and all-new Lightweight divisions set to produce a number of battles throughout the grid.
Vincent Levillian, Danny Cayer, and Dave Natale were the three top riders in the Magneti Marelli Superbike class who did not turn pro at the end of last season and are expected to be among the contenders for the title this year, with Levillian and Cayer also looking to win the Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike crown.
Szoke's wife and teammate, Amy, is also slated to return to the amateur class after taking a brief hiatus, though she was among the best female racers in North America prior to her maternity sabbatical in 2010.
Jake LeClair, just 17 years old, is widely considered the favourite to win the inaugural Amateur Lightweight Sport Bike crown after a dominant performance at last weekend's non-Championship event at Shannonville. However, the Yamaha YZF-R3 rider from Blackstock, ON will face some serious competition from his younger brother and teammate, Ben, as well as fellow teenagers Matthew Simpson and Connor Campbell, who are both aboard Kawasaki Ninja 300's.
Tickets are available at the track (gate); $10 on Friday, $15 on Saturday, $30 on Sunday, or $50 for the whole weekend. Additional information can be found at www.shannonville.com and at www.csbk.ca.
Action from the 2018 Mopar Canadian National Superbike Championship will be televised on Canada’s Sports Leader, TSN. Dalton Timmis Insurance presents Mopar CSBK on TSN will consist of half-hour programs from each of the seven national rounds. Dalton Timmis Insurance will also be a co-sponsor of the online coverage of the Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike class, typically available the day after each race.
For more information on the Mopar CSBK Canadian Superbike Championship, visit www.csbk.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toronto ON – May 17, 2018 – Parts Canada will sponsor the 2018 Mopar CSBK National motorcycle roadracing Championship series, supporting the Amateur Sport Bike National Championship class. As well, Parts Canada will back the Dalton Timmis Insurance presents Mopar CSBK on TSN SuperPole sessions, recognizing the top Qualifiers in the featured Pro Superbike division.
The newly-named Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike Championship series for middleweight machinery is one of the key development classes in competition. Last season, Jean-Francois Aubin of St-Jerome, QC. won the Amateur Sport Bike crown on a Suzuki GSX-R600, and will be a rookie Pro to watch in 2018 CSBK National action.
Parts Canada will also back a new initiative recognizing the “Hardest Charger” in Amateur Sport Bike action. A comparison of best lap times between Qualifying and each Race will determine the winner of the “Parts Canada Hardest Charger” for that event.
Competitors will only be allowed to win this special bonus once per season, so in the case of a repeat best effort, the second best racer will get the Award. At the completion of the CSBK tour at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park August 12, the results for the season will be tabulated and an overall Parts Canada Amateur Sport Bike Hardest Charger Champ will be crowned.
Parts Canada will also provide support for contests and social media giveaways prior to and during National events, encouraging participation by fans, spectators and competitors.
Parts Canada is a national distributor of aftermarket parts and accessories for the Canadian power sports industry. With distribution centers in Calgary, AB, and London, ON, Parts Canada have the ability to offer next day delivery from coast to coast.
Parts Canada are long-time supporters of motorcycle sport in Canada, and currently back Yamaha YZF-R6 mounted Liqui Moly Pro Sport Bike National Champ Tomas Casas of Peterborough, ON. Among the products offered by Parts Canada are HJC, Z1R, Icon, Alpinestars, Thor, Hot Bodies Racing, Drag Specialties, Rinehart Racing, Yoshimura, Moose and DP Brakes.
The 2018 Mopar CSBK tour kicks off at Shannonville Motorsport Park east of Belleville, ON, May 24-27. The opening round using the 11 turn, 2.45-km “Pro Circuit” at S.M.P. is the 230th event in the 38-year history of the CSBK National Series.
Reigning National overall number one plate holder Jordan Szoke of Lynden, ON., has won the opening race at Shannonville for the past five years and aims to make it six in a row on his Express Lane BMW S1000RR Superbike.
CAMBRIDGE, ON – May 7, 2018 – Flat Track Canada is excited to announce a new Title Sponsor to the National Championship Series. The long-term OEM sponsor, Harley-Davidson Canada is increasing its support for the 2018 race season and is now the series Title Sponsor.
“It is an honor to unite the long history of flat track racing to the roots and heritage of the Harley-Davidson brand in a way that will positively propel the development of the sport in Canada”, states Aaron Hesmer, president, Flat Track Canada. “Harley-Davidson’s brand carries a strong history and loyalty, which is a great fit to our organization and brings an appeal to the sport unlike any other motorcycle brand.”
Harley-Davidson has been involved in the sport since the 1920s, and the XR750 currently holds the record as the most award-winning motorcycle in motorcycle racing history. Harley-Davidson has also recently introduced a new Street® model called the XG750A – the Harley-Davidson Street Rod™ (MSRP $10,399). As the Street Rod™ begins to make its way towards the racetrack, it too is on the verge of achieving race-winning legacy.
“Harley-Davidson Canada is excited to build upon our Flat Track Canada partnership, and elevate the experience for racers,” says Karen Mayberry, Harley-Davidson Canada. “This partnership allows us to further encourage the dreams and aspirations of Canadians in the motorcycle industry, supporting freedom of riding and the close bonds of camaraderie based on the love of this sport.” There are twelve races in total starting May 19 until September 29. Race schedule and ticket purchase available at: www.flattrackcanada.com
About Flat Track Flat Track Canada is an organizing body that promotes, organizes and sanctions motorcycle race events in Canada. The organization is a member of the Motorcyclist Confederation of Canada (MCC). For more information about the organization and the race schedule, please visit www.flattrackcanada.com.
About Harley-Davidson® Canada In August 2015, Harley-Davidson Inc. took over distribution in Canada as part of a global strategy to establish subsidiary units in its most important markets. The new entity, Harley-Davidson Canada, has focused on bringing the full Harley-Davidson ownership experience to Canada. Harley-Davidson® motorcycle parts, accessories, general merchandise, riding gear and apparel are available in 67 independent dealerships across Canada. For more information, visit www.h-d.com.
TORONTO - The Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival announces its 2018 Judging Panel who will select the winners for the various film categories including Best Canadian Film, Best Feature Film, and Best Short Film.
The panel includes editor and journalist Jacob Black (Sr. Editor AutoTRADER, and Managing Editor Canada Moto Guide); motorcycle adventurer, racer and journalist Lawrence Hacking (first Canadian Paris-Dakar Rally finisher, global motorcycle racer); entrepreneur and journalist, Vicki Gray (founder Motoress, the world’s largest female motorcycling magazine and founder of the global International Female Ride Day); professional photographer Dan Lim (Dan Lim Photo and themotofoto.com); and motorcycle racer, Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee Toni Sharpless (first woman to win a Canadian Motorcycle Association championship, one of first two women to qualify and finish Daytona 200, competitor in Suzuka world endurance series, Bol D’Or and Lemans finisher, Canadian Woman of Influence Award recipient).
About the Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival The 2nd annual Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival will take place September 27 - 30, 2018 at the Revue Cinema. The Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival combines a passion for motorcycles and storytelling and screens the newest and best motorcycle and moto-culture films curated from around the world. The festival includes red-carpet Q&A sessions with attending filmmakers, producers and cast, as well as juried awards and People’s Choice awards.
On August 4, the Official Selection of films will be announced together with ticket information on the Festival’s website and social media channels.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month and what better way to mark the return of riding season than with a visit to Toronto Motorsports Park.
Whether you are already a dedicated track day enthusiast or simply want to experience the thrill of riding on a racetrack, we have programs that cater to all levels of experience and skill.
Toronto Motorsports Park offers a safe and controlled environment to develop both on- and off-track riding skills, and provides an opportunity to experience the true performance of your motorcycle on a three-kilometre road course. Riders are grouped according to experience level: Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced. Toronto Motorsports Park’s first motorcycle lapping track date of the 2018 season is May 19 and the complete schedule along with technical requirements and other important information can be viwed at www.torontomotorsportspark.com/motorcycle-lapping/. In addition to our regular motorcycle lapping sessions, Toronto Motorsports Park’s 2018 schedule also includes track days that are specifically dedicated for vintage motorcycles.
If you have no experience on the track or if you are a new rider, we strongly recommend that you take the Intro to Track school. As well as contributing to the safety of everyone on the track, the instruction will make your lapping session far more enjoyable. Program covers track etiquette, passing, flags, emergency situations, lines, cornering, body position, counter steering, throttle steering, braking and more. The Intro to Track school will be held on May 19. All participants must pre-register by visiting www.torontomotorsportspark.com/motorcycle-instruction-program/.
Toronto Motorsports Park will also be hosting its Surviving the Streets program on June 16, 2018. Designed to improve riders’ abilities to respond to hazards that are encountered while travelling on public roadways, this program takes advantage of the controlled environment of the racetrack to allow concise instruction and skill development. Details on this course are available at www.torontomotorsportspark.com/motorcycle-instruction-program/.
Conveniently located in southwest Ontario near Cayuga, ON, Toronto Motorsports Park is an easy drive from most cities in the region. Constructed in 2000, our three-kilometre 13-turn road course is ideally suited for motorcycle track sessions and our staff and instructors are dedicated to ensuring you get the most from your time at Toronto Motorsports Park. See you at the track!
Former Flat Track Canada National Champ Doug Lawrence is just about ready for his first National of the season, round two of the American Flat Track National Championship, coming up this weekend in Georgia. Lawrence will compete in the Harley-Davidson Atlanta Short Track presented by Hellbender Harley-Davidson at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock on Saturday, April 7.
“Atlanta, round two, was always part of the plan,” explained Lawrence prior to his next trip south. “We’re warmed up, and getting back in the game. This should be a good track for us, a forgiving track, it’s round and slippery, so that should work for us. The stage is set to get back on the pace.”
After skipping most of the American Flat Track series last season, this year Lawrence plans to compete on the tour full-time for the next couple of months.
“For Atlanta, it will be one motorcycle only, and that is our Harley-Davidson XR750,” confirms Lawrence. “We always had the plan to use the XR for the half miles, and then move to our new Kawasaki at the big (mile) tracks.”
Last month, Lawrence and his tuner/father Doug Sr. went south for the traditional warm-up events, bringing both their established XR and brand new Ninja twins. That program was a success, so now they are ready to get back on the premier Flat Track tour.
“We had two days with the Kawasaki testing at Savannah, and then raced the XR. Then we went to Volusia and raced the Kawasaki, and we were satisfied with the progress overall from those events.
“We had slow starts racing the XR, but we worked up good enough to get third, we were really going good on my kind of track, behind Brad Baker (Indian) and Kenny Coolbeth (Indian). As far as the slow start, my excuse is that it is tough to come off the bench!”
“At Volusia, we maybe should have ridden our XR, but we needed to race the Kawasaki, learn about that bike, so I knew going in that would be the harder plan. We were getting there with the Ninja, getting faster, and the shorter 15 lap race actually helped us.”
“We defiantly would have done really well with the XR at Volusia, but that wasn’t a goal. We got a 4th and a 6th with our Kawasaki, and we are getting there with the chassis and the handling in terms of set-up. Our whole mission for the trip south was accomplished, the lap times on the XR750 were fast, we are right there, where we need to be.”
“With the Kawasaki, we were about .2 of a second behind Jared Mees (Indian FTR750 mounted National Champ), so that is a positive. I’m not planning to race the Kawasaki on the Half Miles, it is there for the Mile races.”
“At Atlanta this weekend, the goal is obviously to make the Main event,” considers Lawrence. “With the new format down there, you only really have one shot to make it into the feature, and you can’t risk any kind of issue.
“Things have changed with the American Flat Track tour, and it will take some adjustments,” continues Lawrence. “People are riding all the time, practicing, where as ten ears ago, people were busy working on their bikes. Now the top guys have paid mechanics to look after their twins. It’s tougher now, and you have to be mentally stronger.”
“Things are really serious now, everyone is in this to make a living,” continues Lawrence of the revamped National Tour. “It is different to before, and the little guy doesn’t really get much play. I’m going to be that little guy who makes it out of the Heat race, who makes his mark. I respect these guys, and I want to be part of all of this.
“We will have to see how we make out with our new plan in this new atmosphere. After this weekend, we have a short break and then we are on the road for five races. J.R. Addison will be taking my bikes across the country, we will share expenses.
“After the big Springfield AFT National (May 26/27), the next weekend is the Flat Track Canada National at Welland, and we will take our single to that if everything works out. And I’m still trying to work out a program for Mopar CSBK, maybe a 600cc program for Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in August.”
Among the supporters for Lawrence on the American Flat Track tour in 2018 are Town Moto, John Briggs, American Harley-Davidson, Arai Helmets, Full Bore, Side Boots and MotoNation.
On day two of Yamaha Motor Canada’s American spring Press event, the assembled Canuk scribes headed out on a cool and overcast morning aboard the 2018 XSR700 liquid-cooled twin. This “Sport Heritage” model is based on the successful MT-07 (and the previous FZ-07), using the existing engine, frame and slightly revised KYB suspension.
Yamaha have taken the workhorse twin and given it a circular makeover. The theme of the retro redo is expressed with the retro round headlight, tail light, instruments, exhaust canister as well as a restyled gas tank and short tail section, complete with leather accent on the tail.
This new XSR gets a new removable tail sub-frame section, a give-away that this bike will be the Yamaha 700 twin of choice for custom-oriented builders. Based on a Euro model, the XSR has front turn signals mounted on extenders to meet North American requirements – maybe the first part that will get revamped!
Yamaha showed a few accessories that suit the handsome XSR700, including a mini wind screen, radiator guards, small beige leather saddle bags and swing arm spools for a race/service central stand. All looked right at home with the 1970s-styled 698 cc Twin.
Yamaha see the XSR as a potential step-up model, for newer riders looking for more machine. Riders who want an around-town, versatile commuter will also like the XSR, and the traditional, upright riding position (and wider handlebar) offers good comfort and visibility for traffic work.
The round instrument pod is clearly marked and easy to use, but sits well down in my six-footer’s field of view, while the key is located in at the very front of the bike, a bit of an odd spot. The seat is somewhat high and fairly soft, OK for a couple of hours but not ideal for touring.
An iffy morning gave way to a gorgeous afternoon, and the roads north east of Nashville are among the best for sports riding. The XSR was in it’s element, the slightly stiffer chassis set-up a defiant improvement in terms of stabilizing the bike in aggressive riding situations.
The liquid-cooled vertical twin is a strong mill, and while it revs out to 10,000 RPM, power peaks at nine grand, so there is no need to chase the over-rev. Good power comes into play around 5,550 RPM, and the Dynojet Dyno indicates a maximum output of 67.9 horsepower, with a solid 47.4 foot/pounds of torque to entertain as you drive out of turns and get ready to work the smooth-shifting six-speed.
However, these good specs do not do the Yamaha justice. This is a machine that reminds me of the first couple of versions of Suzuki’s all-round vee-twin SV650, a willing and safe platform for rider’s looking to build and sharpen their skills. The XSR700 might not be an R series SuperSport, but it is plenty of fun for sporty activity.
At more than one thousand dollars more than the strong MT-07 offering, the XST700 might not be the best choice for everyone. However, if you enjoy the performance and are drawn by the looks, you won’t be disapointed.