Yamaha XS750 triple

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by mneblett, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. mneblett

    mneblett Professional Lurker

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    I'm considering an XS750 3-banger which appears from photos to be in good shape (to be inspected in person soon). 25K miles. I had an XS850 in 1980, and have good memories of the bike.

    HOWEVER, I don't want to let nostolgia override common sense (I have an R100RT for that purpose :D ). I didn't follow the XS line as it aged over the '80's/'90s, so the big question is:

    Is there any fundamental reason I should avoid the bike? Things like: Eats starters (920 Viragos were legendary for that one)? Electrics known to melt into a slag heap? Crankshaft falls out through the bottom of the crankcase? Gas tank rots into a flow-through ventilation system? Etc.

    Thanks for any real-world experience with how these bikes age -- I need to fill in the nearly 30 year knowledge void quickly!
    #1
  2. eric123

    eric123 Gott Mit Uns

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    #2
  3. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    My buddy bought one new in 1977, he and I logged 60,000 miles, lot's of mods, etc. (I rolled the XS11) No serious design flaws, although the engine spun a rod bearing at 34,000... but inspection revealed a crankshaft oil passage was partially plugged with a wad of drill chips from the factory. Put an oil cooler on it, adjust the valves, cam chain and go ride. Use GL-5 gear oil (I prefer Kal-Gard moly) in the diff. and be advised there is a small "front" bevel gearbox that needs it's OWN gear lube checked and changed. Small plastic double ended dipstick came in the tool kit. Cheers! And remember to RTFM!
    #3
  4. Colt03

    Colt03 Been here awhile

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    I purchased a 1979 XS 750 (new in 79) and while it hasn't been run much lately it is because the carbs need new diaphrams and the carbs need to be cleaned up.

    Other than that it is a great bike.
    #4
  5. Valleyrider

    Valleyrider I Survived The '60s

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    I rode the piss out of the one pre-production test bike that came over in 1976. The only thing we broke was a driveshaft at Ontario raceway! That was a weak item that the Japanese were aware of and the production shaft was beefier. Had a Honda CB750 that went side-by-side everywhere the XS went ( Baker to Death Valley Junction and back for 2 days straight during the heat of the summer!!). Never a whimper out of the XS!! The Honda had some piston scuffing due to the abuse. Great bike. If it looks to been well cared for and serviced regularly, go for it.
    #5
  6. Zecatfish

    Zecatfish XTique Rider

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    I got a pair of 850's off ebay. I love that thing.
    Its a nice torque engine.
    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. XJRetrofighter

    XJRetrofighter I ride them all

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    Great bikes, the XS, and the triple is the unique one of the bunch!

    Let's see this baby.
    #7
  8. Zecatfish

    Zecatfish XTique Rider

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    On a side note:
    It starts better with the kicker than with the electric leg. Seems the starter draws copious amounts of juice and kills the fire when turning over.
    Another weak point was the fuse block. I replaced mine with an aftermarket spade type automotive unit.
    2nd gear is a known weak point too, if the bike is ridden half assed normally its not an issue, but if you ride it like a Fireblade your going to have issues.
    you can also use 3 of the big bore pistons for the XS1100 to create a 900+cc triple and mix in a reground set of cams.
    It is a HEAVY bike that hides it well. my 850 felt lighter and more nimble than the V45 Magna I sold this year. I can ride the XS across the yard or field and not feel scared of it. The honda always had the feel it was not happy off the pavement.

    I got to get time to get it out of the garage and clean the carbs. I neglected it last year.

    I kept the XS over the V45 Magna, its a more comfortable bike and actually handles better imho. :ride
    #8
  9. terisda

    terisda Been here awhile

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    Had 1 for a couple of years (from '83)...It was an underestimated, characterful bike..toured Scotland 2 up with tent and never missed a beat. Not the fastest or lightest thing in the world but handled and sounded great with motad 3 into 1 pipe..I say go for it if its been looked after.[​IMG][/IMG]
    #9
  10. terisda

    terisda Been here awhile

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    [​IMG][/IMG]
    #10
  11. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    Almost bought one two summers ago to go on my cross country trip, but took my XS500 instead. I test rode the bike, it was a 1978 I believe, great bike, the inline 3 is the perfect mix of midrange torque of a twin and the smoothness of a 4. Very good package for touring in that it has both shaft drive and a kickstarter. Like others have mentioned, a bit heavy, my brother's Seca 750 totally smokes it in a straight line, but the XS750 has higher gearing so it's smoother and less buzzy at speed.

    Here's a link to some old reviews if you're interested.

    http://www.biker.net/roadtest/xs750e/xs750e test.htm
    #11
  12. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

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    I put about 70k miles on my '78, or "79 (whatever year the E was). Only problem was one of the three coils crapping out. Ditto on using the kickstarter vs the battery. After 55k it became rather ragged and uncomfortable. The cure is/would be new seat foam/cover, a general tightening up and most of all, for sure, new (& better) shocks. The shaft drive is bullet proof, (same as the XS1100's) just check the fluid and change once in awhile. This is the bike that got me thinking all drive shaft bikes are unbeatable, but sadly, that's not the case. The 2nd gear issue: Easy to test. Under power go down a steep hill in second..if it pops out, it'll fail later on. Somewhere there's a fix for this that doesn't require taking the tranmission out, but I never had to use that. The bike can be made to handle OK (for its era) and it is a very good tour mount. I did a lot of touring on it, came with Samsonite hard bags (way pre-Givi) Mine had the goofy Vetter fairing which was superb..and with a fairing looking like that you better be into touring. If you take all that crud off its a good looking bike. The stock pipes are very nice, but I doubt they'd be around these days in decent shape.
    #12
  13. Zecatfish

    Zecatfish XTique Rider

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    Some of the Triples, I think it was limited to the 850's but it needs to be noted.

    The Hitachi carbs are seriously obsolete and parts are nearly impossible to find. You will be a 1000% better to find the Mikuni setup from an earlier bike.
    #13
  14. mneblett

    mneblett Professional Lurker

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    Thanks very much for all the input, folks!

    The question has become moot. After having a good conversation at the beginning of this week with the owner, and arranging to come up to see the bike, the owner sent me an e-mail the day before i drive up saying "uh, I don't remember where we left it, but I've sold the bike." Total bullshit -- he knew I had the cash and when I was coming up with my trailer. :bluduh :jerko

    Sigh -- guess it wasn't meant to be, and life will go on. Frustrating that the guy will get away scott free for this behavior, but I have to assume that his karma account just took a hit.
    #14
  15. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    when horse trading. Getting a feel for identitying flakes and douche bags takes time. :deal
    #15
  16. JR Greenhorn

    JR Greenhorn Been here awhile

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    A technique I learned from riding similarly afflicted XS650's is to "drop" [let go of] the starter button at just the right time, thus "giving back" the starter's juice to the ignition.

    Hard to describe properly, but once you get a feel for the timing, it works pretty well. I've used the same technique on XJ's, XV's and other Yamaha bikes of the era that come up slightly wanting in the electrical department.



    Sorry to hear about what the seller pulled on the OP.
    Just today a friend told me "there will be other bikes," regarding a particular DT400E I'm lusting for. Some guys just don't get it, do they?
    #16
  17. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    I had sellers do that to me several times last summer when I was looking for an affordable road burner. Good thing too, I ended up with a pristine bike for less than the flakers were asking! Good things come to those who wait!

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Pigford

    Pigford British

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    The XS 750 was a bit of a Pig in a Poke :puke1 You've had a lucky escape :clap they never have been "desireable".

    They never were very well thought of and not one of Yamaha's successes! Had a few issues, electrics & engine (cam chain I think?)

    But, the flip side is they usually go very cheap - coz no one wants them.
    #18
  19. Fleg

    Fleg Fleg in 2012

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    I have one that runs and drives great that has sat in my garage for a year. The reason is I can't get the title straightened out with it. Sucks to see it still sitting there.
    #19
  20. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    Simply NOT TRUE. I was there. Please.... give us a few details on your alleged electrics and engine issues.
    #20