10 Days with a Yamaha TX650 — Classic Japanese Motorcycles — Motorcycle Classics

30 Янв 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 10 Days with a Yamaha TX650 — Classic Japanese Motorcycles — Motorcycle Classics отключены
Yamaha TX 650

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1973 Yamaha

Claimed power: 53hp @

Top speed: 105mph (period

Engine: 653cc OHC air-cooled twin, 75mm x 74mm and …, 8.7:1 compression

Weight (dry): 420lb

MPG: 3.3gal (12.5ltr)/47mpg

Price then/now: $1,399/$3,000-$5,500

heralded a new age of multis. Honda had its CB750 Four, Kawasaki its Mach I triple — even the Brits had the Triumph/BSA triple. So did Yamaha do?

Why, introduce a traditional 650 parallel twin of — but with a twist.

Badged the when it first went on as a 1970 model, Yamaha’s new 650 was an interesting mix of an old-school favorite — 650cc parallel twin — in new-school technology. Although it — by design — much like its inspiration (specifically, Triumph’s 650 Yamaha’s new twin was not like of yore.

Intelligent application of new technology it breathed easily (thank you CV and overhead cam) and spun a light flywheel accentuating the instant throttle response. It didn’t leak oil, to modern tooling unit construction with a horizontally-split superior to vertically-split cases for crankcase flex and subsequent of critical sealing surfaces.

A with legs

Yamaha’s approach paid dividends, and the 650 rapidly gained favor U.S. buyers. Although it really any more powerful a contemporary Triumph Bonneville 650 advertised 53 horsepower versus claimed 52) buyers considered it a modern, easier-riding machine.


were simple drums and rear, and it was a reliable first-kick (electric start and a front brake came with the in 1972), which was appreciated by Joes and Janes who still a no-frills approach to motorcycling in an era of complexity. While it generally little mechanical attention, it was a owners could — and still can — work on.

It wasn’t always sailing, however. Early suffered a multitude of electrical including blown headlamps, batteries and faulty charging Perhaps Yamaha copied the too well, as most of those were a direct result of to the new one glaring fault: vibration.

A certain amount of vibration is to be from any big twin, but Yamaha more than a little bad on the issue. “The footpegs and fairly tingle,” Cycle in a period review, adding: shakes the tachometer, blurring the marks between the numbers.” It was an raised in just about review of the bike, with finding it tiring to ride for any of time on the super slab.

It received some bad press for high-speed handling, but when it to slower around-town or country riding, the twin was generally as a solid, confident machine. It was no carver, and it was never meant to be, a amply evident during the I spent with our subject associate editor Landon 1973 TX650.

Out on the road

readers will recognize bike from previous MC Showing fewer than miles when Hall it a few years back, it perfectly how easy these bikes are to own and on the road. Although equipped 4-inch-over fork tubes found (Easy Rider, I come!), Hall’s slowly it back to stock with a new set of fork tubes, new fork and fluid, a new seat cover, a tune-up and an overhaul of the front hydraulics.

Relatively cheap to buy, been inexpensive to rehab and to making it an ideal classic for use.

To test the 650’s as a real-world classic, I used it for my 60-mile commute from to the palatial offices here at Classics Towers, amassing 600 miles in the process. Over a period, it reliably delivered me to every day, never a beat, using no oil and averaging

Yamaha TX 650
Yamaha TX 650

The first time I rode an was around 1979, when I was for my first “big” motorcycle and I a used 1975 model. with a Vetter fairing, it was the bike I’d ever ridden, and its and torque amazed me. Fast-forward years and many bikes and Yamaha’s “big” 650 no longer well, big.

Fact is, it almost downright small, is not a bad thing.

That sense of is accentuated in around-town riding, the 650 excels. Compared to contemporary like the CB750, the Yamaha like a bicycle; light, and very flickable. The light-action and quick-revving nature of the twin it feel faster than it is, and around town it’s a lot a Bonnie, its narrow beam you to scoot up close to the tank so you can into slow-speed corners gusto.

Out on the road, things change: period testers weren’t — this bike vibrates. At engine speeds the vibes good, giving the engine a lusty feel. But as revs so do the vibes, and at 75mph the engine’s at 4,500rpm, right where the are the worst.

And, ironically, where the engine seems to be its best. This makes riding a chore, because the 650 will hold 75mph ease, the vibration, allied slightly twitchy high-speed will encourage you to stay off the highway. It’s OK for a few miles, but 30 miles, it just gets

Hauling things down to a is a front disc/rear drum that’s a bit of a mixed bag. the front disc bites OK, it has feel. The rear drum has better feel, but it’s a little prone to premature

The front suspension on this was very stiff, even the recent fork overhaul. thinner fork oil might it’s really no worse most bikes of the era. shocks are original, and while have reasonable springing, have almost no damping.

Still, they keep the tire reasonably well to the road. Modern tires but this particular bike really benefit from suspension upgrading. Even testers were critical of the suspension.

When it’s all and done

The centerpiece of the big Yamaha its engine. Like the Triumph that inspired it, it benefits that classic vertical feel, slightly lumpy at but beating out the power with as the revs climb. Yet compared to a the Yamaha engine feels and easier to spin — even if it feel quite as broadly as a Bonneville 650.

The clutch is and light (although the cable on our bike was a little sticky), and the transmission shifts beautifully, no false neutrals, ever. the last Triumph TR6 I rode, required a finessed blip of the to get the clutch plates to free up, neutral on the Yamaha was easy, and the into first was nice and every time; just a “snick” and it’s in gear.

is not, we should point a bike you can disappear on. Most think it’s a Triumph they see the Yamaha badge, and it like everyone of a certain age had one, almost bought one or someone who did. A truck who stopped me in a parking lot said he his ‘73 “back in the day” for a bag of …! “I should have sold bike,” he lamented.

Over a 16-year production Yamaha cranked out a half-million-plus 650 making it one of Yamaha’s most models ever. U.S. stopped in 1983, but they available in other markets 1985, when production came to an end.

Classically and endowed with solid that deliver years of service, Yamaha’s big twin has become a favorite of classic fans everywhere. A natural for the street tracker or café they’ve inspired a huge making parts and support to find. MC

Read Randy’s Service: Yamaha TX650   and get an expert’s opinon on how to maintain classic Japanese Motorcycle.

Yamaha TX 650
Yamaha TX 650
Yamaha TX 650
Yamaha TX 650
Yamaha TX 650
Yamaha TX 650
Yamaha TX 650
Yamaha TX 650

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