View Full Version : Yamaha XS650 (Copy of Triumph)

Simon TR4a
12-13-2007, 10:45 AM
Although not British I remember these bikes as being similar in concept and appearance, but have only ever ridden a "custom" the low saddle version.
I do know the early ones had a weak frame and poor rear shocks but from about 1973 or so they were better developed.

Anyone have opinions, fond memories etc.?

12-13-2007, 11:27 AM
One of my favorite Japanese bikes.
I like them in the Green/White paint combination.
I haven't seen one in awhile.

- Doug

12-13-2007, 01:48 PM
Yes, especially when fitted with wire wheels, they do have a "Brit-look" (see below).

I own a Honda 500 Ascot "thumper", which also has the "look" of certain Brit-scooters.


12-13-2007, 04:14 PM
Very Brit looking, though I seem to remember some had some serious vibration issues.

I think one of my issues of Classic Motorcycles had a quick buyer's guide on these bikes. I'll look it up when I get home.

tony barnhill
12-13-2007, 09:01 PM
WOW!! You're right!!


12-13-2007, 09:38 PM
From the Nov/Dec 2006 Motorcycle Classics magazine:

Prices: $1500 - $3000

"Although they don't handle as well as the Triumph [T140V, also reviewed], The XS has the Triumph's classic look with Yamaha reliability. Their long production has resulted in ongoing availability of parts and reasonable resale value."

They quite liked it, really. Nice looking bike, I wouldn't mind coming across one myself.

12-16-2007, 11:05 PM
Some ramblings from my foggy recollections. The XS-1 was a 1970 model and was green and white with red behind the Yamaha on the tank badge. The first two years were kick start only, electric start first fitted on the 72 models which were red and white. That years electric start incorporated a compression release which let the starter turn and start only one cylinder with the other firing when the starter, comp release lever was released. On the 73 models the electric start was more conventional with the comp release deleted. The 73's were blue with the gold flash on the tank which identified all the Yamaha street bikes that year. The 73's were the first to be designated XS 650. The tank shape was changed for 74, being more rounded and more british looking, the brown color for that year did not flatter the tank shape however. I don't remember the vibration being all that much worse than the Triumph 650-750 twins of the time. There was a Vetter fairing available for the 650 Yammie by then but it did incorporate rubber bushings for the fairing to mounting bracket attachment. The 75 model was my favorite as it was black with the gold flash on the tank that marked the 75 street bikes. Had I bought the 650 that year instead of the 500 I might have still had it. Enough of my inanity thank you for your indulgence.

01-19-2008, 12:32 PM
A bit of a thread resurrection here -- I'm off to look at one of these I found for sale about 4 miles from my house. Asking $1200, 4200 miles. Who knows, I may have a bike again.

Too bad it's freezing and snowing here today. Will make for a bitter cold drive home if it checks out.

01-19-2008, 01:07 PM
Let us know, Drew. It would be fun bike to restore, I think.

01-19-2008, 03:20 PM
Looked at the bike today. Wasn't in bad shape, but it needed some work. 'd figure $800 or so in tires, gaskets, and bits and bobs. Not a bad deal, but not what I'm really looking for. A pass.

Paul Johnson
01-20-2008, 08:53 AM
How about a TX650? I don't know enough about them to understand the difference in an XS and a TX.
Check Omar's website for goodies.

A dealer in Dallas has a spectacular one for $2500. Looked at it last week, but decided I really am after a thumper.

01-20-2008, 02:54 PM
Paul, the TX is the same bike -- it was called a "TX" for a couple years mid-70s before they switched back to the "XS" name.

I think I'm going to hold out for either an early 70s BMW airhead, or a new Triumph Bonneville. Those 2 bikes are really my favorites.

Paul Johnson
01-21-2008, 09:13 AM
I think I'm going to hold out for either an early 70s BMW airhead, or a new Triumph Bonneville. Those 2 bikes are really my favorites.

You would likely enjoy either. I rode a new Bonneville for 30k miles troublefree, and enjoyed every mile of it. Am currently on a 60/5 which is slow and ill handling but plugs along mile after mile. Also like an old Brit car, I can ride hard without attracting police attention.
Just in case you don't know, and if it does not break any Basil rules, you can find bike info at the BMWMOA website as well as a good classified section in IBMWR. Details of BMW, photos and specs are at https://www.bmbikes.co.uk and complete parts fische with prices at Max BMW.

01-21-2008, 11:14 AM
Paul -- I've been thinking about 75/5, or a 75 or 90/6. I'm not looking for speed (been there, done that, got the ticket to prove it /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif ), just a nice interesting ride.

My current favorite of the BMWs is the 75/5, though I have some concerns about how it would tackle the mountains around here, especially with the 4-speed transmission. My father-in-law is a BMW guy, and I need to see if any of his friends in the local BMW club ride an old airhead around here.

I still like the looks of the Bonnie, but like the BMWs almost as much and they've got great character.

01-21-2008, 05:20 PM
.... and they won't depreciate like the newer Triumphs.

- Doug

01-21-2008, 05:28 PM
Good point, Doug. Hopefully I'll keep this next bike longer than the last few, but you never know what comes up.

Paul Johnson
01-22-2008, 09:35 AM
Drew, there is a very nice 90/6 in Ft Worth at
Boxers by Bruce. The fellow put on some Mikunis, the front master cylinder up on bars along with braided lines, a solo seat and Pichler fairing. Supposed to be a very strong runner. Bruce told me the owner wants $3200. Bruce is at

Agree that in the mountains, the extra gear would probably be nice. The final ratio on 4th/5th is the same I think, so you just get a better choice along the way.

01-23-2008, 09:09 AM
Thanks for the heads up on that bike, Paul. I'm still a bit from being ready to pull the trigger on a bike purchase. I've still got to finish the Bugeye overhaul I'm in the middle of. Once that's done, though, a bike moves to the top of the list.

01-31-2008, 05:01 PM
A BMW airhead boxer is also on my list of wants. I always had a thing for the R80 and R100RT. Maybe some day.