Yamaha XJ 650, XJ 650 Turbo and XJ 900 F in comparison test

Yamaha XJ 650, XJ 650 Turbo and XJ 900 F in comparison test
Bilski

Comparison test Yamaha XJ 650 / XJ 650 Turbo / XJ 900 F

Four-cylinder Yamahas in the comparison test

Content of

Yamaha’s XJ series is still the epitome of reliable and robust four-cylinder machines, mostly equipped with an easy-care cardan. But despite all the similarities, the XJ siblings 650, 650 Turbo and 900 F are independent characters.

A Saturday in the Allgäu, between lush green meadows where happy cows graze. Where the villages are called Grünkraut, Hübschenberg and Schauwies. The sonorous hum of three four-cylinder Yamahas, an XJ 650, XJ 650 Turbo and XJ 900 F cuts the silence. Because it is important to bring out common characteristics such as character differences between the siblings.

Successful start

30 years old, but simple, timeless and unfussy, the 1981 XJ 650 leans on its side stand. With it, Yamaha landed a direct hit in 1980 – the year with the greatest growth in the German motorcycle market since the 1950s. The first of all XJs immediately became a bestseller. Because although it was created as a sports motorcycle, it quickly gained a reputation for being perfectly suitable for everyday use and touring. 

D.The XJ 650 already has a restrained, dynamic presence when stationary, as shown by the five curved double spokes in each of the cast wheels. No component appears intrusive. Only the huge H4 round headlight with a diameter of 200 millimeters has a dominant effect. In the new series, it embodied brand identity in the style of the SR 500 and TR1. Only the XJ 650 represented a new technological stage. For the first time in a four-cylinder, Yamaha had relegated the alternator piggyback behind the cylinder bank.

This arrangement made the engine 44 centimeters narrow, no wider than the silhouette of a 500. Nevertheless, it is strong and easy to care for, with a peak output of 71 hp and a cardan drive. At the beginning of the 80s, Yamaha had more cardan machines in its range than today! Memories come back. In 1986 I bought a used 82 XJ 650 for 4,000 marks, as a 50 hp throttle version – a tribute to horrific insurance premiums in the open class.

Everything is still so familiar, everything where it belongs. The slim handlebar is right at hand. The bench is wide, thickly padded and long, and if necessary it folds out lengthways with a hinge. With a seat height of 79 centimeters, both legs are safely on the ground. Because the waist of the tank end, seat bench nose and side covers is cut nice and narrow. Overall, a good seating position for young and old. The two round instruments in chrome-plated beakers can be read at a glance. The engine wakes up with a characteristic high whistle. The straight-toothed primary drive sings its turbine-like song. You can hear it clearly among dozens of other guys.

The choke for the 32 mm constant pressure carburetor from Hitachi can be operated easily from the left handlebar end. The cable-operated clutch is easy to pull and the first of five gears gently engages. The double-deflected shift linkage of the XJ 650 was adjustable, a model for the following models. This also applies to the soft, elastic throttle response. The cardan also has a low reaction thanks to a shock absorber at the transmission output. Raising and collapsing when gas-to-gas is almost absent.

In the cylinder head of everyone "Icksjotts" there are two valves per cylinder, actuated by two overhead camshafts. With the 650er, a stroke of 52.4 millimeters and a bore of 63 millimeters suggest a sporty characteristic. The four-cylinder pushes on without holes and starts its second spring from 6500 rpm. MOTORRAD once measured 5.5 seconds from zero to one hundred and a rapid 196 km / h top – the highest value in its class. In fact, the performance characteristics are not particularly high-torque. 15.5 seconds for pulling through in fifth gear from 60 to 140 were and are rather poor. The plain-bearing motor of this example also vibrates noticeably.


Bilski

Yamaha XY 650 Turbo.

In return, the good-natured chassis is still popular today. It’s comfortable without being spongy. The damping of the shock absorbers is rather weak, the 36 fork is a bit stucky. But as handy as a 400, the 650 falls in an inclined position and gratefully accepts steering impulses. It takes its course in a neutral and predictable way. And this although the raised Metzeler Lasertec lag behind the famous Bridgestone BT 45 in terms of steering precision and grip. Raised silencers of the chrome-plated four-in-two system, which are laid tightly around the double loop frame, allow sporty inclines. With that, unclouded cornering is still fun today.

The single-piston floating calipers bite the two 270 mm discs at the front, quite toothless and can only be activated with great manual force. At the back a drum brakes reasonably well. 231 kilograms of weight are okay considering the cardan shaft, solid design and extensive equipment. The front mudguard, instrument housing, lamp pot and turn signal housing are made of metal. Oil cooler and vacuum-controlled fuel tap, main stand, large 20.5 liter tank and on-board lock for chaining made the trendsetter of the XJ family suitable for everyday use right from the start. Well thought out: The inclined spark plugs can be changed even with the tank mounted, the rear wheel can be removed in no time: Simply loosen the quick-release axle and pull it through the cardan housing, done.

Ultimately, the robustness and unpretentiousness of the indestructible 650 series matured into a legend. Her owner André Gorecki from Rinteln has a second one and wants to sell it in its original condition. It is really worth considering.

Turbo tourer

I’ve driven, owned, bought many XJs. But never before has a 650 Turbo moved. From 1982 to 1985, Yamaha sold only 315 copies in Germany. Back then, the XJ 650 Turbo was exotic, today it is a rarity. Collector Franz (“Franjo”) Meier from Meschede provided us with his nominally 90 hp machine. Technically, the Turbo was based on the standard 650, adopted its short engine with specific changes. These included reinforced crankshaft bearings and engine seals, thicker piston heads and a modified lubrication circuit.

The turn of the ignition key is answered by a wildly flashing block of warning and control lights in all colors. Was the word “mouse cinema” invented in 1982? Almost 30 years ago, the technology carrier carried out a self-check of the vital functions: the electronic display rolls a short film for the fuel level, battery, brake fluid level, oil temperature and pressure as well as headlights and tail light bulbs before they go out and signals that you are driving. Stop, a pictogram sounds the alarm, the side stand is still open. The electronic gimmicks are an heirloom of the 1981 XJ 750 Seca designed for the US market.

The Turbo also inherited its futuristic design from it. “Looks like a Concorde landing,” wrote MOTORRAD editor and ex-Turbo owner Rolf Henniges about the angular, pointed downward-pointing fairing. It is fixed to the frame and in two parts, with a connection to the integrated front spoiler, which is supposed to fan cooling air to the engine. Even the spokes in the cast rims look angular. Yamaha praised the high-tech turbo as a messenger from the future: “Tomorrows motorcycle today.”

The seat rehearsal is surprising. The tubular steel handlebar hidden under a plastic cover, tall and 70 centimeters narrow, fits perfectly. Levers, brake pedal, seat, everything fits like a tailor-made suit. Press the button, start! The choke requires a little sensitivity in order to adjust the four 30 mm Mikuni equal pressure carburettors correctly. The four-cylinder whistles and sings almost like the uncharged 650.


Bilski

Yamaha XJ 900 F..

And the additional boost? Wild stories about turbo motorcycles were circulating at motorcycle get-togethers in the early 1980s. Uncontrollable use of power in curves, wildly wrenching rear tires, sheer excess power – expectations flew higher than a jumbo jet. And the reality? Rather cautious. If the driver engages below 2000 rpm, the four-in-line falls deep into the turbo lag and loses contact with the sucking sister models.

So again, disengage, accelerate and go. Always keep an eye on the boost pressure indicator and downshift before overtaking. Because around the bottom the motor works as a pure vacuum cleaner. A membrane between the air filter and the air collector in front of the carburetors lets fresh air directly into the combustion chambers. Until the turbocharger builds up enough pressure and turns fast enough. According to Yamaha, the bonsai turbine with a diameter of 38 millimeters was considered the smallest turbo in the world at the time. If the rev counter approaches the 6000 mark at the zenith of the display, the booth really comes to life. Now the needle of the “boost pressure” display for the boost pressure makes a jump to the right. And the motorcycle a leap forward.

From now on there’s thumping all the way to the red area at 9500 rpm. “Turbo-Lenz” was the headline for MOTORRAD 11/1982. And only found 76 of the promised 90 hp on the test bench. The XJ 650 Turbo pushes on late, but cultivated and soft. Even when the turbine rotates at a maximum speed of 210,000 / min, the XJ doesn’t kick you wildly. The extra kick is more reminiscent of the pull of a rubber rope that is now noticeably tighter. That must be due to the moderate boost pressure of a maximum of 0.53 bar.

Tricky: Under normal conditions, the engine releases its exhaust gases from the left silencer alone. Only when the boost pressure has reached its maximum does a bypass valve open, the wastegate and the excess pressure also escapes into the right-hand silencer. Thanks to a knock sensor per cylinder, the on-board computer cuts the ignition if there is a risk of ringing.

In the sprint, the 262 kilogram turbo storms off quickly, the 31 kilogram lighter 650 takes a good half a second from zero to 100, from zero to 180 it’s already four seconds, 18.5 instead of 22.5. Better, but not great. Especially since the cardan drive of the thirsty turbo is designed to be shorter with the same gearbox and primary drive. Between six and eleven liters flow through every 100 kilometers, depending on the twist of the throttle. The draft is worse below 100 km / h and better than with the naturally aspirated engine. But you just feel faster, more sporty. The Turbo encourages brisk driving.

The fully shielding full cladding contributes to this. It even protects knees and lower legs almost perfectly from the wind, but limits the top speed to 196 km / h as with the XJ 650. The basic data of the chassis concept comes from the XJ 650: double-loop tubular frame, steel rocker arm with spring struts, double disc with two-piston fixed calipers at the front and 19-inch wheel, drum brake at the rear in the 18-inch rim.

Shorter spring travels make the Turbo noticeably firmer. The air-assisted 37 fork works amazingly well. Like the whole motorcycle. Today it looks good as a sports tourer. A motorcycle with rough edges and a special character.


Bilski

Yamaha XJ 650.

Shiny appearance

The XJ 900 F from Wolfgang Grob-Henkel from Fladungen looks fresh from the factory. Solid, mature, well-groomed. The Franconian has a second, “better” one at home. Almost 23 years passed the black XJ, first registered in April 1988, with its shiny metallic engine. At that time, the 900 had already been in the program for five years and had clearly sided with the touring group. The cardan shaft, comfortable bench and 22 liter tank were predestined for this.

A concept that also got me excited early on. 1985, as the “58L” series with a full 892 cm³. After all, for the 1983 season the 900 was born somewhat grandiose with 853 cm3: as a 31A with the then fashionable Antidive until 1984. That year I succumbed to the charm of the undisguised XJ 900 N at the Cologne IFMA bought my first “N” with a meager civilian salary and a generous small credit from my father. Today, almost 25 years later, I have my third naked 900.

So what can the half-faired F with the same engine do better than protect it from the wind? Well, a little throttle assist helps with starting. For the first few hundred meters, the engine needs to be carefully readjusted, as with the sisters using the choke on the handlebars. The four-cylinder heart whispers comfortably, discreetly and dull. It also has only two valves per cylinder, two overhead camshafts and bucket tappets. A large four-cylinder, and yet narrower than 50 centimeters. Warmed up, the extremely elastic row quad is a source of joy. Switching speed of 3000 rpm is sufficient, that’s how easily the largest XJ engine develops its power. Even at 50 km / h with 1500 tours in fifth gear, it runs smoothly and in a cultivated manner. In addition, your engine seems more revving than that of my N. Compliment. On the track, in the final fifth gear, it tickles the red area at 9500 rpm and a speedometer display of 230 km / h. This could then be the promised 218 km / h.

Without having to prove yourself, the nominal 98 hp is enough, in real terms it is more like 90, in all situations. Especially since the straight-line stability is flawless, the wind protection with the higher touring windshield is top. You catch yourself on the autobahn with the thought of crossing the Allgäu straight through to Italy. It would be easy to endure without folding up behind the handlebars. Travel speed 180? No problem, neither are 1000-kilometer stages.

You can’t sit much better on a motorcycle. The 650er integrates the rider into the motorcycle, the 900er packs you more on top. So you sit a little away from the 18-inch front wheel, a little more passive than on the Turbo. You show the 900er in acceleration, top speed and pulling the wide rear light. More displacement with less technology. The big bike, which weighs 242 kilograms, falls easily into an inclined position. It drives lightly on the narrow tires, rolls, like the Turbo, on the Bridgestone BT 45, which adheres well, round, precisely and with really good adhesion.


Bilski

The instruments on the XJ 650 were modeled on classic Japanese racers.

The 1987 model is considered to be the highest evolutionary stage of all 900s. The two-piston fixed calipers at the front, including the slotted discs, come from the small XJ 600. In fact, however, they brake better than the machines from 1983 to 1986 with internally ventilated brake discs. And they are easier to dose, not least thanks to the retrofitted steel flex lines. The original suspension struts are now clearly lacking in damping, the rear bobbing happily.

The handlebar flutter is pronounced in this example between 60 and 90 km / h. It is due to the rather worn front tire. The chassis reacts sensitively to interference. Just like the extra weight of the Hepco luggage rack & Becker. Many 900s wear one. The elevator effect is more pronounced than on the 650s. The rear end with the relatively short rocker rises when you accelerate and lowers when you close the throttle valve of the 36 mm carburettor battery. It was once called “a Japanese BMW”, even if it was more about robustness. A great youngtimer tourer that you should have. Good copies cost from 1500 euros and are always worth the money.

It dawns. We enjoy once again flowing curve combinations on the XJ Armada in front of a white-speckled alpine panorama, which awakens the touring qualities of the Yamahas. A great day with the really nice family.

The XJ-IG

MOTORRAD CLASSIC would like to thank the XJ interest group for the procurement of the three test motorcycles. The aim of the IG is to maintain the Yamaha XJ series (XJ 550 to XJ 900 F / N), to support each other with tips and spare parts and to get to know as many like-minded people as possible. In April 1995, seven XJ freaks met at the Löwenherz villa in the Weser Uplands, following a call from Andreas Grillmeier and launched the “XJ-IG”. Since then she has held two meetings a year. The members also organize regional get-togethers at various locations. With the membership fee of 10 euros per year, workshop manuals and special tools are purchased for members and the website is financed. Every member receives Infopost free of charge by email. Every motorcyclist is of course invited to the meeting. The next one will take place from June 2nd to 5th, 2011 in “Saxony’s Biker Hotel” in Zwota in Vogtland. Info: www.xj-ig.de.

Technical specifications


Bilski

The rear brake disc with two-piston fixed calliper on the XJ 900 F was always internally ventilated .

 Yamaha XJ 650 ENGINE  
design type  Air-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine,
 two overhead, chain-driven camshafts,
 Two valves per cylinder operated by bucket tappets
drilling  63.0 mm
Hub  52.4 mm
Displacement  653 cm3
compression  9.2: 1
power  71 hp at 9400 rpm
Mixture preparation  four constant pressure carburetors, Hitachi, Ø 32 mm
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM  
starter  Electric starter
battery  12 V / 12 Ah
ignition  contactless transistor ignition
alternator  Three-phase current, 12 V / 260 W.
POWER TRANSFER  
coupling  Multi-disc oil bath, mechanically operated
transmission  Five-speed, claw shift
Primary drive  Gears
Secondary drive  Cardan 
LANDING GEAR  
Frame type  Double loop frame made of tubular steel
Front wheel guide  Telescopic fork, Ø 36 mm
Rear wheel guide  Two-sided swing arm made of steel, two spring struts
bikes  Cast light alloy wheels
Front tires  3.25 H 19
Rear tire  120/90 H 18
Front brake  Double disc, Ø 270 mm, single-piston floating calipers
rear brake  Drum, Ø 230 mm
MASS AND WEIGHT  
Weight  231 kg
Tank capacity  20.5 liters
DRIVING PERFORMANCE  
Top speed 0-100 km / h  196 km / h 5.5 sec
 218 km / h 3.6 sec
PRICE  7015 Mark (1980)
MANUFACTURER  Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd, Iwata, Japan
 Yamaha XJ 650 Turbo ENGINE  
design type

 Air-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine,
 two overhead, chain-driven camshafts,
 Two valves per cylinder operated by bucket tappets  

drilling  63.0 mm Hub  52.4 mm Displacement  653 cm3 compression  8.5: 1 power  90 hp at 9000 rpm Mixture preparation  four constant pressure carburetors, Hitachi, Ø 32 mm ELECTRICAL SYSTEM   starter  Electric starter battery  12 V / 12 Ah ignition  contactless transistor ignition alternator  Three-phase current, 12 V / 260 W. POWER TRANSFER   coupling  Multi-disc oil bath, mechanically operated transmission  Five-speed, claw shift Primary drive  Gears Secondary drive  Cardan LANDING GEAR   Frame type  Double loop frame made of tubular steel Front wheel guide  Telescopic fork, Ø 37 mm Rear wheel guide  Two-sided swing arm made of steel, two spring struts bikes  Cast light alloy wheels Front tires  3.25 H 19 Rear tire  120/90 H 18 Front brake  Double disc, Ø 270 mm, single-piston floating calipers rear brake  Drum, Ø 230 mm MASS AND WEIGHT   Weight  262 kg Tank capacity  19.0 liters DRIVING PERFORMANCE   Top speed 0-100 km / h  196 km / h 4.9 sec   PRICE  12228 Mark (1982) MANUFACTURER  Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd, Iwata, Japan

 Yamaha XJ 900 F. ENGINE  
design type  Air-cooled four-cylinder, four-stroke in-line engine,
 two overhead, chain-driven camshafts,
 Two valves per cylinder operated by bucket tappets  
drilling  68.5 mm
Hub  60.5 mm
Displacement  892 cm3
compression  9.6: 1
power  98 hp at 9000 rpm
Mixture preparation  four constant pressure carburetors, Mikuni, Ø 36 mm
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM  
starter  Electric starter
battery  12 V / 14 Ah
ignition  contactless transistor ignition
alternator  Three-phase current, 12 V / 260 W.
POWER TRANSFER  
coupling  Multi-disc oil bath, mechanically operated
transmission  Five-speed, claw shift
Primary drive  Gears
Secondary drive  Cardan
LANDING GEAR  
Frame type  Double loop frame made of tubular steel
Front wheel guide  Telescopic fork, Ø 37 mm
Rear wheel guide  Two-sided swing arm made of steel, two spring struts
bikes  Cast light alloy wheels
Front tires  100/90 V18
Rear tire  120/90 V18
Front brake  Double disc, Ø 270 mm, two-piston fixed calipers
rear brake  Single disc, Ø 267 mm, two-piston fixed caliper
MASS AND WEIGHT  
Weight  242 kg
Tank capacity  22.0 liters
DRIVING PERFORMANCE  
Top speed 0-100 km / h  218 km / h 3.6 sec
 
PRICE  11200 Mark (1987)
MANUFACTURER  Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd, Iwata, Japan

The model history


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1981: As the US model Maxim, the XJ 650 mutated into a soft chopper: with a drop tank, step bench and high handlebar. Here disguised as “Midnight” Maxim.

With the XJ 650, Yamaha founded a dynasty in 1980 that played a major role in the German motorcycle market for more than two decades.

A look at some model stories reveals the tremendous market dynamics that prevailed during the motorcycle boom of the 1970s. After a turbulent entry into the four-stroke scene in the mid-1970s, Yamaha, for example, would have liked to rest for a while on the success of the XS models. The two-cylinder 360/400 series shone in Europe, the three-cylinder 750 series delighted touring riders from all over the world, and the four-cylinder 1100 series surprised with top results in the USA.

But towards the end of the decade, the post went in the sporty upper class – and the company management demanded leaner, more muscular machines. Chief developer Takehiko Hasegawa did not start his attack head-on against Honda’s top seller CB 900 Bol d‘Or, CB 750 K or Suzuki GSX 750. With the XJ 650, he targeted the Kawasaki Z 650. And while the CB and GSX fours competed with four valves per cylinder, Hasegawa donated only two to his new unit.

To reap new fame, the perfect motorcycle should only weigh a good 200 kilograms and have around 80 hp and a cardan shaft. And Yamaha deliberately leaked it to work precisely on these specifications. At the eagerly anticipated 1979 presentation, the Japanese unveiled not a revolutionary, but extremely well-designed motorcycle. The engineers missed their targets with an empty weight of 231 kilograms and 71 hp, but testers and customers nevertheless appreciated the practical concept. The XJ 650 established itself as a top seller for several years and won series tests.

The first XJ also impressed with its high level of reliability. Apart from occasional rust damage to the four-in-two exhaust system, knocked out throttle valve shafts that drew air on the housing, as well as constantly vibrating fuses, the flagship four-stroke engine could not be blamed for anything. Towards the end of his career, spoiled ghosts criticized the lack of light output. But actually the XJ 650 was far from being a discontinued model when it retired during the 1985 season.

Just one year after starting the family, Yamaha followed suit with the XJ 550. Open it made 58 hp, in Germany insurance-favorable 50 or 27 hp. Around 800 marks cheaper than the XJ 650, which cost 7015 marks, it fitted with its six-speed gearbox into the sporty middle class, which has long been well-stocked by all other Japanese. Because it only weighed 208 kilograms and was very easy to handle thanks to a chain drive and other features, it was even more fun on small roads than the premiere model.

The 550 also introduced one of those technical abbreviations that Nippon’s sons love so much: YICS – Yamaha Intake Control System. Behind it was a system with additional air ducts in front of the inlet valves, which should swirl the mixture particularly well. The marketing strategists promised higher performance and lower consumption. The reality: In the first MOTORRAD comparison test, the XJ 550 consumed just 0.1 to 0.3 liters less than other Japanese in-line fours. After all, she won the test.


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1986: Another model for the USA and Canada: The “Radian” in Vmax style on its 16-inch wheels shared the design language with the FZX 750. Only with an air-cooled two-valve four-cylinder that developed 63 hp.

The 650 also got YICS in 1982 – the biggest technical change in its entire construction period. Nevertheless: With an unchanged 71 hp, the best specimens hardly exceeded 65 hp in real terms, it fell further and further away from the competition’s 750s. The optional 50 hp throttle version was only logical. And again, Yamaha reacted strangely: The XJ 750 Seca designed for North America was temporarily exported to Europe from 1982 onwards. Named after the Laguna Seca race track, it looked like something in between an all-rounder and a soft chopper. It corresponded to US preferences at the time – and flopped in Europe. Their technical qualities were sufficient to also win in the MOTORRAD comparison test.

In any case, the rather unfortunate US import of the XJ 650 Turbo presented in the same year helped to attract even more attention. Honda launched the topic with the CX 500 Turbo, followed by Yamaha and Kawasaki and Suzuki, ultimately all of them failed: The turbo technology could not convince experts and customers, a total of 315 buyers took hold. No wonder with a hefty 12,228 marks purchase price and rather well below 80 instead of the promised 90 hp. Today the Turbo-XJ is a sought-after, hard-to-find classic car.

In contrast, the closest family member is valued and omnipresent. The XJ 900, launched in 1983, started out as a 97 hp sports motorcycle, ended up being a long runner and only left the stage after ten years. The sporty upper class had meanwhile established itself at 1100 cm³, the Yamaha had to line up next to Honda’s 900 Bol d‘Or. For the XJ, this rivalry lasted only a year, then the Honda disappeared from the market. The 900 engine received the clutch, oil pump, transmission and cardan shaft from the XJ 650 Turbo.

The large XJ passed the MOTORRAD endurance test with flying colors; When Yamaha retrofitted the fairing that was originally fixed to the handlebars, the critical high-speed commuting also disappeared. As early as 1984, all half-shell cladding, which was now significantly larger, was fixed to the frame.

While it was said at the debut that the engine of the XJ 750 Seca, which served as the basis, did not produce more than 853 cm³, the displacement grew to 892 cm³ for the 1985 season. The rated output rose to 98 hp and the torque increased noticeably. From now on the model was called the XJ 900 F. The fact that Yamaha had not developed a new engine led many experts to suspect that the 900 was just a transitional phenomenon. Which was true insofar as the FJ 1100 for the big bikes and the FZ 750 for the super athletes were already two promising models.

The reliability of the 900s became legendary. Their only technical shortcomings were broken ignition coils and vibration damage to trim holders, front spoiler, instrument glasses, taillight bulbs, side covers and rear aprons. Convinced touring riders bought the 900s until 1993. They did not want to buy the undisguised XJ 900 N, also presented in 1985 and specially produced for Germany. The MOTORRAD tester was so ecstatic that he excused the sensitivity to tires and their condition as follows: “After all, nobody expects the Playmate of the Year to break the world record in peeling potatoes.” The naked XJ stopped because she was the only family member who came too early.


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50 hp from 528 cm3 at 202 kilograms made the 550er agile. She was the first to wear the XJ “YICS”, had a six-speed gearbox and a chain as a secondary drive.

The half-faired XJ 750 came too late in 1984. Most of the Yamaha fans bought the 900, which was visually and technically largely identical and not much more expensive: 9,599 marks for the 750, compared to 10,488 marks for the 900, which offered more prestige and reserves. 

The XJ 600 proved in 1984 how much potential the original idea still had. It inherited its 50 cm³ smaller and larger sisters alike. Now without YICS again, like the 550 it was equipped with a chain drive. The 600 series was the only XJ with a central spring strut (“Mono Cross”). Despite the tendency to swing at a brisk pace, the 600er ran over 200 km / h, as well as the somewhat soft fork, the handy chassis demonstrated how easy and inexpensive motorcycling could be. It turned out as reliable as all XJs. Their concept also matched the throttled versions with 27 and 50 hp. The success: in Germany alone, over 12,000 customers by 1993.

The unbroken popularity of the XJ 600 and 900 showed in later years that many customers forego the last bit of performance and the latest technology when they could get an inexpensive motorcycle suitable for everyday use for less money. Yamaha understood the signs and developed successful successors with the XJ 600 S / N and 900 S Diversion. It was precisely this segment that Yamaha left untilled from 2004 to 2009, when the XJ 6 appeared.

XJ types in Germany

model  New registrations  Duration XJ 550  9633  3221
XJ 600  12 706  6310
XJ 650  13 863  5115
XJ 650 Turbo  315  approx. 63
XJ 750 Seca  3181  1058
XJ 750 F  895  426
XJ 900  14 240  8441

Loyal souls: The XJ models from 550 to 900 cm3 found around 55,000 buyers in this country alone. The Federal Motor Transport Authority counted just under 25,000 copies on January 1, 2010. And this, although the count only includes the machines registered in winter, including seasonal license plates. The KBA does not count canceled copies.

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