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Yamaha XS650 review

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by thecptn, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. What?? a review of a very old bike? yes indeed, id figured some one had to do it, and seeing I have one, and ride it most of the time, id thought it would be a good idea to give a run down what it's like living with the thing on a day to day basis.

    Any one who has never ridden an old bike like this, will really appreciate there modern counterparts, not that the 650 is a bad bike, how ever it is an old bike, and quite a heavy one at that too, mine is the 81 model, heaviest of the bunch, for some reason, Yamaha thought it would be a dandy idea to make the bike heavier as the years progressed.

    The XS1s came in at 185 dry, according to the factory manual, the latter 81s came in at 210 or there abouts.

    The first thing you notice when you straddle your leg over the old thing is, its got quite a comfortable seat, I'm 6'3" and have not found it to be uncomfortable in any way, good leg room, how ever mine is going to be turned into a cafe racer, so you can forget what I said.

    Firing up the 360 degree parallel twin, introduces you to a world, where you find things quite blurry, you can feel each fire of the pistons going at it beneath you, you gaze at the front wheel and notice it vibrate visibly, every thing vibrates and shakes, screw taking your paint down to Bunnings! just pop it on the 650, do just a good job I reckon..

    Torque comes on incredibly low, as low as 1500 it pull evenly and strongly, how ever it ain't no revvy engine, redline sits about 7k, and you find your self shifting gears a lot, this motor does not like to rev..at ALL, which takes me to the next point..

    Gearing, the gearing on this, I don't know, it feels as though as it belongs on a 250 twin or some thing, at 100ks, im in 5th and final, and all ready I'm siting on 5k rpm, only 2k left, and with a motor like this, it feels very unatural, not to mention the vibration at that engine speed, Yamaha should of put at least a tall last gear, or a tall 6th for some sort of overdrive on the freeway, be aware though, there are mods that can be done to the 650 for that very purpose, I've never taken mine over 110 simply because I don't feel safe doing it on this bike!

    Handling..is well, its 70s technology, so don't expect it to be like a R1, it turns and goes ok, the brakes are mediocre, they stop I guess, quite wooden actually, and to make matters worse on mine, the rear ones don't work too, hooray!

    What to expect: as a 650 owner, you must carry several of these items on you at ALL times.
    *loctite (I'm not joking)
    *spare fuses
    *a multi tool, you know, screwdriver, some alan keys and what not
    *some sort of faith of some sort
    *have old men come at ogle at your bike "I used to have one of those!"
    *oil stains on your garage floor
    *quite a bit of wrenching, they are old bikes ya know

    Other than that, they are quite a nice bike, if you want to kick start it, be aware of how to do it correctly, they can bite back a bit, if your electric strarter is rattly and grinds and stuff, you can get a rebuild kit for about 40 bucks off mike xs, easy to fix, but yeah, if you fancy some retro biking, you cant go wrong with this old bird.
  2. CPTN I saw a mint one of these parked out the front of the local pool and I had to stop and take a picture. They really are lovely bike to look at and make a great base for a cafe racer. :cool: :cool: :cool:
  3. Stop this right now! How dare you dredge up the memories of my beloved XS-650D!!!


    You're right in every respect except the oil leaks; mine never spilled a drop under any circumstances (then again I DID buy it new.)

    As for revs/speed, I don't remember what revs I was doing when a policeman chased me home from Muswellbrook to Denman at over 160kmh, but fortunately I had made up a beefy front fork brace and I was able to lose him in the corners :LOL:.
  4. Paul? running from the law? no, thats not the law abiding Paul I know :LOL: oh my! that is a very nice looking machine! if you still had her in that condition, she would fetch for quite a bit! Matti, you wouldnt have a picture around would ya?
  5. That WAS nearly 30 years ago, when I was younger and not as wise. Funny thing was the cop was new to the area and he had a nice shiny new XD Falcon V8 to play with, and he didn't book me cos he 'just wanted to see what it would do, mate!'.

    I DO wish I had kept NZ-778 though; it was my first four-stroke and I genuinely loved that bike.

    I still have those leathers too, but funnily enough, they don't fit anymore; must've shrunk :LOL:.
  6. Hahahah! mate, I wish I was around those times, cheap petrol, cars with real chrome on em, non of this political correctness crap, and some nice bikes! ill let you know when I got the time machine warmed up..
  7. Cptn, just change the review title to '1982 Triumph Bonneville' as it's pretty much the same as my bike - good read, that :)
  8. Luv the front number plate! A real Scruby Slicer if I ever saw one!

    Photo will be uploaded today.
  9. awwwwwwwww, my eyes misted over reading that review :grin:

    Me and my brother spent a good part of our teenage years hooning around the streets on the various XS models. I still think they are the bikes I have had the most fun on.