January 12, 2021 By Maynard Marcelo Photos by Randy Silva-Netto

Bike Review : Yamaha XSR155

Starting a motorcycle build is every retro motorcycle enthusiast’s ultimate dream. From concept to the finished product, if there’s such a thing as a finished product because a build is constantly evolving, a project usually takes months, and sometimes even years, to finish. It really depends on the builder’s imagination of how he/she envision the motorcycle build to turn out. If there is one thing that is certain about these projects, it’s that no two builds are exactly the same. Two builders may start with the same base bike and come out with two totally different concepts. A motorcycle build is modern art on two wheels and each is as unique as the artist that builds them. And it’s not cheap. Motorcycle builds often cost thousands of pesos and hundreds of hours to complete, and that doesn’t include the base bike. 

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So what’s a retro motorcycle fan to do if he doesn’t have the time nor the patience to work on a motorcycle build project? Well, he can start by buying a factory custom like the Yamaha XSR155. The XSR155 is the newest addition to Yamaha’s popular XSR series of neo-retro motorcycles that includes the XSR700 and XSR900. Like it’s bigger XSR brothers, the XSR155 inherits the XSR series philosophy of combining timeless styling with the latest components they share with the Yamaha MT series of sport naked motorcycles. 

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If you haven’t noticed yet, the XSR155 is basically an MT15 in tasteful retro clothing. I must say Yamaha did a superb job of giving the XSR155 a totally different personality, where the only giveaway to its sport naked persona are the Deltabox frame, the aluminum swingarm, the cast-aluminum rims, and the very un-retro looking side mirrors. Otherwise it’s as retro as its other XSR series brothers.

The classically styled seat design is comfortable and blends well with the classic teardrop shaped tank that comes with a cover made of high-quality material and a fuel capacity of 10 liters. The LED headlight and taillight combines the simple, compact and authentic design of the XSR series. Completing the retro look is a full LCD digital speedometer designed with an authentic retro style with an easy-to-read panel that includes a useful gear indicator.

The XSR155 is powered by a liquid-cooled, 4-stroke SOHC, single-cylinder 4-valve 155cc fuel-injected engine with Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) mounted in a rigid Deltabox frame. The XSR155 benefited from the MT15’s assist and slipper clutch system that enables smooth downshifting that mitigates the effects of engine braking during deceleration.

It also features an inverted front fork with excellent strength-rigidity balance. Compared to the regular fork, this provides excellent shock absorption performance and a handling with superb feel of road contact and feedback from the front wheel, as well as solid front-end rigidity under hard braking. The Front and rear IRC Trail Winner tires come with a dual-sport tread pattern that offers surprisingly good grip over a variety of road conditions. These are mounted on 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels with size 110/70-17 in the front and 140/70-17 in the rear. 

Riding the XSR155 is a classic case of having your cake and eating it, too. You have this tasteful-looking motorcycle that performs like a sport naked, and it’s a whole lot of fun to ride in the city and on the open backroads. We used the XSR155 extensively in the city where it functioned as a stylish and very agile commuter, then we took it to the serpentine mountain roads of Infanta, Quezon for a breath of Covid-free fresh air and some photo sessions.

The VVA equipped single cylinder motor certainly feels more powerful than its 155cc displacement suggests. It dishes out plenty of usable power at low to mid rpm that’s very useful for slow to moderate speed and a second burst of power above 9000 rpm for more spirited riding. It’s surprisingly frugal on fuel, too. We averaged no less than 50 kilometers per liter of fuel during our testing, and we’re not even trying to conserve on fuel. A single disc brake setup on the front and in the rear provide a soft initial bite with progressive stopping power. It would be better with abs, though. 

The XSR155’s intricate design pays true homage to the XSR design philosophy. It is highly customizable, and builders are allowed countless interpretations in which they can express their creativity. Those who don’t have the time nor the patience can simply choose from various bolt-on accessories that will enhance the standard styling or turn it into a cafe racer or a scrambler themed ride. Whatever you decide to turn it into, the Yamaha XSR155 will surely satisfy your craving for old-school styling with modern-day performance.


Engine: VVA, efi, liquid-cooled, 1 cylinder, 4 stroke, 4 valves, sohc

Displacement: 155 cc

Max Power: 19.04 hp @ 10000 rpm

Max Torque:  10.84 lb-ft @ 8500 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed

Seat Height: 808mm

Fuel Capacity: 10 liters

Tire, front: 110/70-17

Tire, rear: 140/70-17

Brakes front/rear: Hydraulic, Discs/Disc 

Curb Weight: 134 kg.

Price: PhP162,000

+: Retro styling with sport naked performance

-: No abs

C! Rating: 9/10

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