1978 Yamaha XS750 Special

Summary:

Twin rumble with 4 cylinder power and smoothness

Faults:

1) Shortly after I got the bike and went on the highway, the rear brake caught fire due to maladjusted brake pedal (brake was constantly on). I replaced the entire rear brake system and adjusted the brake pedal. No problem since.

2) Throttle cable gave away. I adjusted the idle higher and was able to make my way home on idle. Great low end torque and smooth running engine.

3) Started to constantly miss second gear. Apparently this is a common problem that can occur on the triple. I got hold of a known good motor, so I replaced the entire motor rather than taking the motor apart to fix the transmission.

General Comments:

1) The motor has a twin-like rumble and low end power delivery, but as you rev up, the vibration is gone and you have a multi-cylinder smoothness and DOHC liveliness.

2) Smooth shaft drive. If you play Kenny Roberts make-believe on twisties, you will want chain drive, but at a reasonably fast tour pace, the shaft drive will not give you any weird behavior. Just eliminates the chain maintenance fuss.

3) Although mine is a "Special", it is an early SE model with the 18 inch rear wheel. I slid the forks up about 3mm, and I think the agility of the bike is about on par with the "Standard".

4) This is particular to the Special, but it has a weird "swing caliper" front brake that uses canted brake pads. They work fine and braking is excellent for a bike of this generation, but the very unique caliper mount gives you very little choice of brake pads, nor any prospect for upgrading the caliper (e.g. Brembo) without going for a "Standard" fork set. As far as I know, this system was never applied to any other bike. Another one of those innovations that go unappreciated and fade away (like the B.A.S.S. rear damper control system on their YZ motocrossers in the mid 80s).

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd August, 2012