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The Yamaha XT660R - One of the industries most underrated Dual Sport Adventure Motorcycles
XT660R - River Splash
 When the Going gets Tuff......
Design & Appeal
The ruggered looks are equally matched by the bikes ability to handle the rough terrain like a true off road bike.
In its class of dual sport bikes, you can bet that few owners actually do the bike any justice by sticking to the tar road (No pun intended, cause it sticks wonderfully).
If you want a dualsport bike that can be pushed hard like an enduro bike, but has the comfort and road handling of a street commuter - this is the bike for you.
The Yamaha XT660R
Having the XT660R under me for 680km was definitely fantastic way to spend a weekend. The bike is without doubt one of, if not THE most underrated Dualsport bike on the market. I was very impressed with the off road capability.
Craig Marshall - Rider
Test Ride Location
The Overberg Overnighter
is a 680km route over 2 days through the rolling hills and mountain passes of the Western Cape Overberg.

Starting on the highlands trail in Grabouw and dissecting the farms and winelands all the way to Cape Agulhas and De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Day two takes a northern direction to the Malgas Pontoon acss the Breede River and up through Suurbraak and the fantastically scenic Tradouws Pass to Barrydale and joining up with the R62 to Montagu. From Montagu to Robertson and Le Chasseur farm lands to Theewaterskloof, then back to Botriver via Van der Stels Pass.
XT660R Crossing the farm lands in the Overberg
XT660R Dashboard
Yamaha XT660R - Bike Review by Craig Marshall - Photography by Mark Curnick
Light, robust, agile, A real pleasure off road and on tar.
XT660R - Wheelie
2012 Yamaha XT660R - Specifications
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, single cylinder, 4-valve, SOHC
Displacement 660 cc
Bore x stroke 100.0 x 84.0 mm
Performance 35.3 kW (48 PS) @ 6,000 rpm
Max. torque 60.0 Nm (6.1 kg-m) @ 5,250 rpm
Compression ratio 10.0 : 1
Starter/Battery Electric
Overall Height 1,230 mm
Fuel System Fuel injection
Ignition TCI
Primary drive Chain
Cooling Liquid Cooled
Clutch Wet, multiple-disc coil spring
Gearbox Constant mesh, 5-speed
Frame Steel tube, diamond shaped
Front suspension Telescopic forks
Rear suspension Swingarm (monocross)
Suspension travel front/rear 225 mm / 200mm
Front brake Single disc, Ø 298 mm
Rear brake Single disc, Ø 245 mm
Tyres, front/rear 90/90-21 M/C / 130/80-17 M/C
Trail 107 mm
Wheel base 1,505 mm
Seat height 875 mm
Tank capacity 15L
Wet Weight (With fuel)
181 kg
Yamaha XT660R
Underrated, Understated, Undeniably a legend in the making...
Yamaha XT660R Dualsport

The Comparison Between the XT660Z Tenere and XT660R (Download Specs Comparison)

Rent a Yamaha XT 660 R in Cape Town
Fuel Economy:
It’s claimed that the bike can do an average of 23km per litre, I did 190km and the petrol reserve light did not come on, going on the given stats it would be safe to say that with a 15 Litre tank you should get 345km. But that’s only if you are cruising along the tarmac conservatively between 80 - 100km/h. Get of the dirt road and pull a few wheelies and drift the corners, and you may see 18km per Litre before the reserve light comes on. The digital “F-Trip” meter will initiate and start counting….. Reserve is 5 litres so you should do another 60-70km if you ride slow.

The standard fuel injection can be improved with a little programming. Just press and hold both dash buttons as you turn on the ignition and the display will read "diag" after about 6 seconds. Then press the select button once for "co", then press and hold both buttons for "co1" and then again for the co1 number (probably about 10 as standard). Then press select to increase the number to about 15-20. Turn off the ignition to store the new setting. Repeat the whole process to try each number 15-20 and see what you like best.

Seat Comfort:
Seat Comfort is always a debatable issue, if you’re like me and stand up for 90% of all off road riding, then it’s never a big issue. But I did find the seat relatively comfortable remaining in the seat for over 100km along the R62 tarmac. I never once felt the need to stand up and let the blood circulate. Unfortunately Yamaha do not bring in any other options compatible for the bike. So if you have a soft butt and seat comfort is the reason behind buying a certain bike, then I guess you gonna have to sit on it and find out.

It’s rated a 181kg with fuel however if you need to suddenly shove the bike over and avoid a nasty pothole, it reacts very quickly and it a pleasure to move around in tight spots when you need to execute a 3 point turn on a narrow path. Most riders will be able to pick the bike up if dropped. In soft sand even with the road bias tyres, the bike skipped across the surface showing little tendency to snake or plough in.

Wind Protection:
The stock standard XT660R fairing is too small, so you will need to add the after market wind shield from Yamaha (As seen on the Right), and then if you can add an extension of 6cm you will be able to sit upright and not have the wind buffer your helmet. As it stands (As seen on the Right) with the bigger wind shield, you still get buffeting unless you hunch below the vortex. Of course body height is a factor to consider

Yes it does vibrate, so does anything with an engine. Jokes aside, being a single cylinder, the XT660R is not vibration free, but has much less than some of its competitors. At speeds up to 115km/h it’s not noticeable, between 140km/h and 160km/h you know you’re not on a V-Twin 1200 cruiser.

Off Road Handling:
This is where I was most impressed. I have spent many years on Moto-X style bikes and this was one of the first Dualsport bikes that I have ridden that handles like a 650 Enduro bike. That’s not to say it will take the chequered flag, but for a Dualsport bike, it’s extremely nimble in the dirt and will out perform many similar bikes in the 650cc and 700cc range.
The bike has the power to wheelie in 3rd gear if traction allows, although the gearing has been designed for road usage – if you were to fit a bigger rear sprocket and knobbly tyres the XT660R would be in a class of its own.

Road Handling:
The 5 speed gear box has been selected for predominately rod usage, but that is easily changed with a bigger back sprocket to give more torque. Its 60nm of torque are more than adequate both on road and off road. There were times I felt like a sixth gear would be nice, but it’s rare to find a 6 speed in the 650cc single cylinders class. The XT660R sticks to the tar and is wonderfully responsive in corners, some of the characteristics inherent in the XT660X (Motard) version. The braking could do with a little beefing up as in the XT660Z Tenere with Twin front Discs.
2010 XT660R
To say the lease, the Yamaha XT660R has what it takes to be the leader in the 650cc Dualsport motorcycle market. The bike will suit most riders, not only from a price perspective, from commuters around cities and the occasional dirt road trip – to the hard core adventurer who wants to cut a straight line through Africa’s toughest terrain. Maybe the XT660R is not the bike to do 12 000km on tarmac, but then buy a cruiser and wear leather if that’s how you ride. This bike was designed for adventure, and it certainly can deliver. You will need to fit a few extras like the full size wind shield, a bash plate to protect the vulnerable exhausts and perhaps a better selection of off road tyres. Add a set of Panniers and you’re in the Adventure Motorcycling business.

With the late arrival of the new XT660Z Tenere and XT1200Z Super Tenere, Yamaha may just have the three best rated Dualsport bikes under one roof. We know that the market is flooded with much more powerful brands, but when it comes down to overall capability, retail price, availability of parts, cost of services and frequency of services (10 000km) less if you work her hard – the Yamaha XT660R will surprise any one who takes her out for a ride, and I don’t mean a 5 min spin around the block.
The XT660R and XT660Z Tenere are now available for demo rides at selected Yamaha dealers. Be sure to test the XT660R before just buying a bike like the rest of the sheep
Yamaha Tenere 660 - Adventure Motorcycles KTM
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