1.01. Models

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Model History

The Yamaha XS 650 is powered by an upright, parallel twin 4 stroke motor igniting every 360° of crankshaft rotation. It was produced from 1970 into the 1980s for the worldwide motorcycle market. In the United States, the last model year was 1984.

See the Australian XS650 Club page for detailed information on the history of the different XS650 models.


Model Designations

The 1970 model was designated the XS-1. Subsequent models were XS-1B (1971), XS-2 (1972), then they changed the model designation from XS to TX. It went TX (1973), TX-A (1974), then they changed it back to XS but went on with the alphabetical suffix. XS-B (1975), XS-C(1976), XS-D(1977), XS-E (1978), XS-F (1979). 1979 was the last year of the so-called "Standards" (owner's term meaning opposite to Special) The Es and Fs also came in Special form; XS-SE (S for Special) and XS-SF. From then on it was Specials only to XS-SJ.


From an email by Mike Wilhelm:

Specials have cast wheels, Special IIs have wire wheels and a bit less chrome (economy model). Heritage Specials have "gazillion spoke" wire wheels, the '82 Heritage has black fenders & fork legs, headlamp shell, etc, the '83 Heritage is chromed out. The '84 (Canadian) Heritage is like the '83 US except it has cast wheels and a kilo speedo. That's basically it in a nutshell, there are some finer points though. Oh yeah, the '80 Specials have rear disc brake. '80 and up all have TCI (transistor controlled ignition), no points. The '80 and up models also have the "flying brick" 2 bulb tailight set into the rear of the seat. IIRC the Haynes manual has a list of the years produced and model #s. Mine's down in the garage right now and I'll check that last out tomorrow if I get a chance.


1980 XS650SG Special: File:US1980.jpg


1982 XS650SJ Heritage: File:b734500c.jpg


1983 XS650SK Heritage Special: File:bc011228.jpg


1981 XS650H Special II: File:14d7bff9.jpg


The bikes pictured are basically stock. The Specials were produced from '78 through '84.

Swapping Parts

Parts swap like Lego.

All wheels (chrome rim wire, aluminum rim wire, 7-spoke cast aluminum) swap on all years.

Except that:-

   * Drum fronts on early models are on their own.
   * Pre '77 & post '77 fronts have different brake disks, 
     the wheels swap but not the disks.
   * On earlier fronts the disk bolt holes are not as deep,
     using later disk and bolts can bottom or "push thru".
   * Drum rear wheel into rear disk frame needs the rear 
     drum frame swingarm too.
   * Disk rear wheel into rear drum frame needs the rear 
     disk frame swingarm and also needs brake master-cylinder 
     lugs welded to the frame.

Handling differences on swapping rear wheels:-

   * Standard rear tire is 110/90-18. Special rear tire is 130/90-16. 
     Because the Standard tire is narrower it corners quicker. Because 
     the Special tire is wider it's steadier in a straight line. Overall 
     gearing will not change as the two tires are essentially the same 
     outside diameter.
   * Left-side front disk brake (omitted on North American models only) 
     can be added by bolting another disk to the left side of the wheel 
     (the bolt holes are there) and the left-side caliper from an XS750, 
     XS850 or XS11 (the fork lugs are there) and adding the other brake 
     line & a double-length banjo bolt. XS650 stock master cylinder still 
     works. The system needs very careful bleeding, stainless steel wire 
     braid hoses improve the feel.

Standard (large) and Special (small) gas tanks interchange but must keep their own gas caps because they are different.

Mid-'77 the front forks had a major redesign, fork tubes went from 34mm to 35mm, brake totally different, internals upgraded. The entire fork will swap either way but fork parts won't mix'n'match.

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