1981 Yamaha XJ650 Maxim from United States of America


Fantastic experience



Seat (1 time)

Headlight (2)

Fork cover (1)

Tires (3)

Battery (8)

Spark plugs (3)

Tach cable oil seal (1)

Rebuild front forks (1)

Rapered steering bearings (1)

Starter (1)

General Comments:

When I purchased this bike new in 1981, it was like falling in love with a highly desirable woman. I thoroughly enjoyed it every time I rode. I never even looked at another until recently. No other M/C compares except for the Yamaha V Max. I may try that one next. But it will be very hard to give this Maxim up, because of all the fun times. Hope you find the same excitement.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th May, 2008

4th Jun 2008, 11:29

You said that you rebuilt the forks! How easy was it?


12th May 2023, 14:54

Seals and dust covers were $6, took about 4 hrs.

1981 Yamaha XJ650 Maxim from United States of America


It is one of a kind. I would never find another like it


Carbs needs to be adjusted and or cleaned.

The exhaust needs to be replaced.

General Comments:

The bike handles well.

I think the bike is great overall.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd March, 2008

1981 Yamaha XJ650 Maxim from United States of America




I have had the forks rebuilt by the mechanic I bought it from; they had started to leak after 25 years.

The return spring on the shift lever broke and I replaced it myself for about $5 with a spring I found on Ebay.

I replace the speedometer myself; the needle broke off, with another also bought on Ebay.

My total repair costs for a - 26 year old bike during the two years and 14,000 miles have been less than $400. Most new bikes can't match this.

General Comments:

I bought the Yamaha XJ650 Maxim in 2005 from a motorcycle mechanic. He reported it was in good shape. This is my 22nd bike, having started in 1965 with BSA 650s.

I have found it handles very well on the highway. It can cruise all day at 70 with plenty of power left to pass. It is quick and agile in town. It handles like a much lighter bike. I am 6’2” and over 200 lbs.; it gets 40 to 45 mpg on the highway. With my wife on back it gets about 38 mpg.

When my wife is on board, with the shocks at their firmest setting, it bottoms sometimes on rough roads. I have not replaced the shocks and do not know if they have ever been replaced; they may be 26 years old.

I have a full size windshield, and find the upright riding position with the foot pegs under the seat to be very comfortable. Cross winds and passing 18 wheelers do not bother much.

At interstate speeds, the engine vibration is almost absent. I can see clearly in the mirrors and there is no felt vibration through the handle bars. The Travelcade seat is very comfortable; on 200 mile trips I experience no bottom tingling or numbness.

I also own a 2005 Suzuki S50, and the XJ650 handles much better than the Suzuki.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th October, 2007

25th Aug 2008, 12:29

I can say ditto to almost everything in this review.

I am 6' 2" and 210 lbs. Started in 1964 on BSA 650 Lightnings, and the Maxim is also my 22nd bike, with the 21st bike being a 2005 Suzuki S50.

I bought my 650 Maxim in 2005 with 13,000 miles; it now has 29000. I had to replace the speedometer with an eBay buy from a XJ550.

I had the front forks rebuilt by the mechanic I bought the bike from.

I replaced a broken shifter return spring.

The bike has a full size National Cycle faring windshield.

It does handle better than the S50, more like the 3 BSAs. I haven't tried to drag the foot pegs in a turn like I did with the Beezers, but I believe I could, the Maxim is that steady.

The 210 mile trips to Dallas to my son's are pleasant. There is very little vibration at interstate speeds, and it can cruise all day at 75 mph.

I wish it has a bigger tank; 95 miles between fill ups is a pain on 210 mile trips. I am considering a 4.5 gallon tank from a 750 Maxim as a replacement.

I have just bought a Saddleman two up seat kit to replace the Travelcade seat. It will staple on to the seat pan. More for the wife's comfort than mine.

The Maxim still has the original exhausts. The fork job cost me $210 and the shifter spring and speedometer were $120. So $330 for 14000 miles is not bad for a 27 year old bike.

The finish is in good shape with a few nicks and dings, there is no rust on the chrome or exhaust.

Mileage is 40-45 MPG single and 36-40 two up.

I have found www.bikebandit.com has most replacement parts I will need for the bike. I have just ordered rear brake shoes and replaced the front pads after the fork job, because the fork oil had saturated the front brake pads.

At about 550 lbs wet, it handles like a bike 100 pounds lighter.