1980 Yamaha XS400 Special

Summary:

Best beginner bike out there!

Faults:

It doesn't like to start up with the electric start after it's been sitting for more than 2 days (battery in the bike goes every 2 years, depending on the battery).

It was designed for going a max of 87.5 miles an hour, so when I changed its front sprocket to a 17 tooth instead of its 16, it starts to shake the bike at 100 miles an hour (no stabilizer bar on bike; a good thing because it keeps me from going that speed).

General Comments:

Even after changing its front sprocket, which I recommend to be switched to a 17 tooth or an 18, the torque and get up and go in the lower gears is still high! With the new sprocket it gets 70 MPG (riding fast), 75 (riding nice), and the 18 tooth gets 85 MPG, and it feels like riding a 250 with a little more CCs to it!

Handles well, braking is not the quickest, but down shifting in the bike is not an issue.

Kick starts well, I like doing the kick anyway, and it's nice to have if your battery ever dies (I don't know why they ever got rid of the kick start in newer models).

Seat is nice! It's a very quiet bike! Slowly eats oil compared to bigger bikes!

If you ever need to replace the air filter, a simple double ply of lawnmower filter works better than the new bike filters for it (if you still have the metal case for it!).

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th April, 2013

1978 Yamaha XS400 Special

Summary:

Wish I hadn't wrecked it!

Faults:

Bike wouldn't start on the electric starter after the plugs had about 1k miles on them.

Bike was totaled when I ran it into the back of a stopped car at 60 mph.

General Comments:

Great bike to learn on... it was powerful enough without having so much power that I might have been tempted to ride beyond my abilities at the time I owned it.

It was my first new vehicle... my introduction to payments and full-coverage insurance.

It was very reliable except for the aforementioned spark-plug issue.

Wreck put me in the hospital for a month, and I still have a rod in my right femur.

Bike got about 60 mpg... was a great thing to have when we had those gasoline lines back in '79.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th May, 2010

1981 Yamaha XS400 Special

Summary:

Classic looks and cheap to buy, reliable bike

Faults:

Had to replace the starter, but has a kick start also, so never left me stranded.

Had fuel tank re-lined.

Had fuel system issue that took two trips to the repair shop to fix. Previous owner had installed an in-line fuel filter.. once it was removed, it ran like crazy.

General Comments:

I bought it for my wife to learn on. It's a fun little bike, and it will even pull me down the highway, and I'm a big dude.

I repainted the tank and side covers the original black, and had the seat recovered. The previous owner had installed new tires, hand grips, and had kept the bike in decent mechanical condition. It runs good, and I love the black with the chrome fenders and trim.

It's a small bike, but it will pull me a 60 on the highway. Great choice for someone learning to ride or that wants a cheap commuter. Had a good riding position, and is easy to handle. Despite its age, it's been very reliable.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th November, 2006