1980 Yamaha XJ650 Maxim Review from United States of America

1980 Yamaha XJ650 Maxim

Model year1980
Year of manufacture1980
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2001
Acceleration marks 2 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 4 / 10
Handling marks 5 / 10
Braking marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired28000 miles
Most recent distance30000 miles
Previous motorcycleKawasaki KZ650


Decent entry-level cruzer


Seat vinyl was trashed.

Carburetors needed a thorough cleaning.

Air intake connectors were cracked.

Rusted mufflers.

Frayed cables.

XJ clutch springs (5) tend to weaken from age - easy and cheap to replace.

General Comments:

This is a great-looking and plush-riding cruzer. Not at all a speedster, as the acceleration sucks, and it is too low and wide for tight turns.

Mine had squishy wide foot rests with bumper studs on the bottom - very cool (after I got over the initial shock of scraping one on a seemingly shallow turn).

If you stick to bike's intended purpose, then it is very enjoyable.

Very low-maintenance after I fixed everything. Extra points for maintenance-free ignition.

Most parts are no longer available (like air tubes), so you better have the sources lined up before purchasing one.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd March, 2006

7th Jun 2006, 19:06

I couldn't disagree with your assessment of the 650 Maxim's power & handling more.

If mid-12 second quarter mile times are SLOW to you, then you might be happy with a V-Max. The 650 has plenty of power for any real world situation.

As far as handling goes, my 650 is equipped with nice firm fork springs, and it handles nearly as well as my Maxim X did, which was just a notch below my RD350, which was the best handling bike I've ever ridden. I would rate the 650 Maxim above average in the handling department. It gets right down in the curves and handles the twisties effortlessly. Of course I drive reasonably, and don't go faster than the roads and conditions warrant.

Comfort wise it is top-notch. My personal preference would be for a flatter seat like on the older bikes of the 70's, so that I could stretch out a bit more on longer rides. But with cruisers, style seemed to outrank practicality when it came to seats, and in some cases handlebars too.

As far as cruisers go, I believe the XJ650 ranks among the best of it's period and beyond. Compare it to todays cruisers, which have less equipment (no tachs or center stands for example), & less power (most are V-Twins). I'll take a four cylinder shaftie any day!

I believe that the XJ650 is far, far, more than a "decent" bike, as the reviewer describes.

I believe it is an underrated classic just waiting for a resurgence.

Average review marks: 6.0 / 10, based on 1 review