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Old 03-28-2005, 09:24 PM   #1
wpbarlow OP
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Worst motorcycle ever!



Yeah, what he said!


So a couple of friends and I were sitting at the bar tonight talking bikes and we got on the topic of bikes that were not big sellers when they came out but over time have become somewhat desireable to cult-like in following. This is a subject near to my heart as I've had (and have) more than one of these kinds of bikes

So we went through a reasonably common litany of them: i.e., Honda (seemed like a lot of Hondas fit this description) Hawk, TransAlp, Pacific Coast, CB1, CBX, Yamaha GTS1000, SRX6, TDM850, Suzuki Rotary, etc..

We then went on to bikes that didn't sell well then and still don't: Yamaha Vision, Seca, and XV920 (one on ebay right now!) Suzuki VX800, etc.

But sooner or later we got to the real issue; what was the worst modern (post 1965) bike ever sold? Several strong candidates- a lot depends on what you mean by "worst". Lots of potential for worst looking (late 60's MV Agusta GT, couple of 80's Italian cruisers, Suzuki Rotary, BMW crusiers, etc.); couple that were clear financial disasters (various Indian reincarnations, Excelsior, Bimota V-Due).

In the end, I came up with the Yamaha TX750. It had the "advantage" of being a major disaster from a major manufacturer- not because it did anything so terribly wrong or was too radical an approach or too weird looking, but just because it totally failed to capture the imagination of hardly anyone.



Cycle had this to say...
An extended trip leaves the rider with a multitude of impressions of where he's been, and no impressions whatsoever of what he's been there on. It's not fast, not slow, neither handy nor awkward, visually between striking and overcooked, neither expensive enough to drop your jaw nor cheap enough to be disposable. It is rational, reliable, quiet [85 dB(A)], elaborate, and entirely serviceable; the 1973 Yamaha TX750 is the Chevrolet Biscayne of big-bore motorcycling. It gives you nothing to put up with--and no reason for doing so if it did.

My dirty little secret of the time was that I really liked the way it looked and thought the vibration solution was pretty elegant and advanced for the time (counter-balancers).

My 2nd choice was the equally star crossed TX500; which was a bike that I really liked- first modern production 8 valve twin iirc.

Both bikes may have lasted 2 years, and were unmitigated disasters for Yamaha.

There was another bike that was under consideration but, despite being heavily advertised, I don't know that it ever reached production: the 1970ish BSA Fury/Triumph Bandit- a a modern DOHC twin dual sport- the development of which went a long way towards putting BSA (who owned Triumph at the time iirc) out of business. Maybe it should get the award just for that. Certainly worth a picture



You have any other candidates?
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Old 03-28-2005, 09:35 PM   #2
BARB
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Are you talking USA? couple of bikes mentioned are still in production overseas (transalp, pacific coast, vx800) Barb
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Old 03-28-2005, 10:01 PM   #3
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Yamaha had a shafty 850 that was a smoldering POS from the same vintage. Can't remember what it was called but it didn't hold up well and was pretty unremarkable. Sold in the mid 70's

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Old 03-29-2005, 03:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerg
Yamaha had a shafty 850 that was a smoldering POS from the same vintage. Can't remember what it was called but it didn't hold up well and was pretty unremarkable. Sold in the mid 70's

Gerg
The XS 850 here in Australia, the best thing about it was the headlight it was about 10" dia. The first and only m/c I have had with a great stock light .
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Old 03-29-2005, 04:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitch
The XS 850 here in Australia, the best thing about it was the headlight it was about 10" dia. The first and only m/c I have had with a great stock light .
How about the Hondamatic (i think 450cc) Knew someone who bought one for wife.And didn't Honda build a 900 with high and low range transmission back around 75
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Old 03-29-2005, 05:54 AM   #6
wpbarlow OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerg
Yamaha had a shafty 850 that was a smoldering POS from the same vintage. Can't remember what it was called but it didn't hold up well and was pretty unremarkable. Sold in the mid 70's
Gerg
Interesting comment. My recollection of that bike was that it was rather well received and a very viable alternative to the BMWs of the time. Only knew a couple of people who had them, but they had nothing but praise for them.
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Old 03-29-2005, 05:55 AM   #7
wpbarlow OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BARB
Are you talking USA? couple of bikes mentioned are still in production overseas (transalp, pacific coast, vx800) Barb
Yes, it was a decidedly US perspective. But that makes me wonder- were there bikes that were successful here in the US that were turds everywhere else?
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Old 03-29-2005, 05:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by RT jim
How about the Hondamatic (i think 450cc) Knew someone who bought one for wife.And didn't Honda build a 900 with high and low range transmission back around 75
After thinking I think the 900 was a Kaw.
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Old 03-29-2005, 06:01 AM   #9
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Old 03-29-2005, 06:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RT jim
After thinking I think the 900 was a Kaw.
Nope, the dual range tranny was on the Honda CB900 and CB1000 (I think).
Honda did have a 450 auto but they made the CB750A before that. The 750 was the old SOHC lump ('69-'78).
Seems like the Yam XS850 triple has a pretty good (if boring) rep.
Weren't the TX500 and TX750 notorious for the balancers getting out of time and shaking them to death?
As far as cult Hondas, you left out the GB500.
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Old 03-29-2005, 06:14 AM   #11
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the Chevrolet Biscayne of big-bore motorcycling.
that line had me laughing so hard I almost spit coffee all over my keyboard!
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Old 03-29-2005, 06:27 AM   #12
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Though I have never ridden it, I have read a couple of articles on this topic and the Suzuki Madura is generally regarded as the worst of the mid '80s Jap bikes. A cruiser that looks as if it were styled by someone experimenting with halucinogens. I saw one once at Mid Ohio during Vintage, and I have to agree. One ugly mofo bike!

I think any of the bikes from HD during the AMF years would also qualify. They put a new meaning to the term, "quality control", as they obviously did not have any!

Just my uniformed and opinionated $0.02 worth.

Rick

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Old 03-29-2005, 06:33 AM   #13
wpbarlow OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RT jim
After thinking I think the 900 was a Kaw.
Nope- it was a Honda- the CB900 Custom. Worked pretty well actually, and sold for a few years. There was also an 1100C that had the two range trans also.
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Old 03-29-2005, 06:52 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Rick G
Though I have never ridden it, I have read a couple of articles on this topic and the Suzuki Madura is generally regarded as the worst of the mid '80s Jap bikes. A cruiser that looks as if it were styled by someone experimenting with halucinogens. I saw one once at Mid Ohio during Vintage, and I have to agree. One ugly mofo bike!

I think any of the bikes from HD during the AMF years would also qualify. They put a new meaning to the term, "quality control", as they obviously did not have any!

Just my uniformed and opinionated $0.02 worth.

Rick

kinda looks like a V-Rod

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Old 03-29-2005, 07:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wpbarlow
Nope- it was a Honda- the CB900 Custom. Worked pretty well actually, and sold for a few years. There was also an 1100C that had the two range trans also.
my buddy has one.

Fucking thing is indestrucible.

I keep trying to talk him into turning into a rat bobber.

Here is is next to my thumper

Neither one of us knew the tranny was a 10 speed until I read a Salvadori article about the CB900 custom.

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