I stopped by BEM today for one last look at the place in all its new-bike glory. Next week, all the scooters, dirt bikes and Ducatis will be sent back. The store closes when their lease is up on June 2. Until then, they’ll be selling parts, gear and service–and hopefully any remaining consigned bikes.
It was a bit surreal walking around today. I felt a little lost and definitely very sad. My best birthday present ever came from there–a shiny red 2006 Ducati Multistrada 620. That was a great bike. It took a couple of years and a fair number of motorcycles passing through my garage to realize that.
I couldn’t leave empty handed, so I ordered some CRG bar-end mirrors and adapters for the Speed Triple and picked up a Hypermotard 1100S while I was at it. Who can resist a sale? OK, so maybe the Hyper is really just a small model–you have to start somewhere.
I dug through Craigslist today but didn’t come up with a lot. There was a cool bike in Portland (seems like they’re all up there). Another retro bike, though not from Europe this time. Instead, this is a classic 1978 Yamaha XS650. I’ve seen so many things done to these it’s not funny. Everything from cafe racers, to bobbers, to flat track racers. The bike is really just a hunk of clay waiting for the right person to come along and carve away the stuff that isn’t supposed to be there to reveal what’s waiting underneath–or something like that. Anyway, here it is:
1978 Yamaha XS650
1978 Yamaha xs650 Cafe racer — everything a true cafe racer should be — loud, fast, light weight, matte black and mean. It can smoke most modern bikes — after-all this model was a champion flat track racer back in the proverbial day. ’78 is the last year of the pre-emissions laws high-performance fully adjustable 38mm Mikuni carbs Also has the desirable stock wire spoke wheels, electric and kick start front disk, rear drum. Stripped down to right around 400 lbs, 50+ HP, and nice low center of gravity for easy cornering. It makes it power in the low revs, so it is a lot of fun in town racing from stoplights and whatnot.
This bike has 10K original miles and looks it — it is probably the nicest XS you will ever find. a solid 9.5 on the absolute scale and 9.999 for a 32 year old vintage bike. Everything works as it should. It is the kind of bike that gets a lot of attention — if I park it somewhere there are admirers when I get back. Special custom stuff includes:
– Lightweight custom 2-1 shorty dragpipes with tuned baffle for proper back pressure and high performance (light, fast, good looking and loud)
– K&N Pod style high flow airfilters
– Recent professionally tuned carbs, timing and points — runs like a champ w/ no issues.
– Early 70s vintage larger capacity 4 gallon XS650 tank professional cleaned and painted with newly rebuilt standard-style petcocks (The later XS tanks were ugly, held only 3 gallons and had problematic vacuum actuated petcocks.)
– Modern round profile tires with 80%+ tread remaining
– Low super bike bars for an upright slightly forward riding position — comfortable but aggressive
– New electronic flasher relay (for running modern signal lights)
– Many new rubber parts(seals, gaskets, etc)
– Custom fabricated steel solo cowl seat (not cheap fiberglass) + professional upholstery w/ high density foam. Stylish and very comfortable.
– Highly polished aluminum engine cases and most other metal parts
– Polished wire wheels
– Vintage BMW bar end signals (DOT legal and super slick — a rare part)
– Polished stainless Ford Model A “Dual Lamp” tail light with “ruby glass” lenses.
– Professional matte black paintjob w/ no badges or logos — the engine cases say Yamaha and that is enough for me.
– 8″ headlight
Asking $3000 — I’m into it a lot more (and I have a ton of receipts that go with the bike). . . This was not a bike that was neglected and then reworked as a project — it has been loved its whole life and it shows.
p.s. It comes with a bunch of misc. stock parts if you want ’em. p.p.s. I know you can get a vintage Triumph for the same amount, but unlike one of those, this bike will start and run reliably and doesn’t leak.