1981 Yamaha XZ550 Vision from United States of America


The first sport bike, and acts like one


Replaced stator twice.

Rebuilt carburetors last year.

Replaced gas tank in 1992.

Circuit board in 1985.

Had seat recovered in 2006.

General Comments:

The Vision seems to have a mind of its own. When cold, two full twists on gas, and it starts immediately. Three, and it's flooded. Any twist when hot, and again flooded.

The bike is a lot of fun to ride, and I have taken several longer rides in relative comfort. As I get older, I find it is not quite as comfortable as before. I purchased a wrecked Vision in 1988 for parts, and as there are fewer parts available, the parts bike was a wise purchase.

I am completely satisfied, but only use it as a pleasure bike, and use a newer one for everyday.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 16th July, 2007

1982 Yamaha XZ550 Vision from Canada


Liked it so much I replaced it with the very similar Suzuki DL650 V-Strom


Stator went twice.

Changed the fork seals.

Replaced the brake lines with stainless steel.

Sealed the gas tank with POR.

Excessive oil in the air box, vented breather to outside.

Changed the exhaust to a MAC.

Sealing O-rings in the left hand case cover.

Engine went at 83,000 km (rear cylinder timing chain must have slipped). Anyway, the engine went out of time and broke a camshaft.

General Comments:


The engine has a satisfying mix of low end thumping and high end revs (half a Venture/V-Max). Classy appearance in grey with the small Shark fairing. Shaft drive meant no chain to maintain, and with soft bags it made for a nice adventure tourer. Rad, etc well shielded, tipping it over doesn't damage anything. Big steel tank, handy for tank bags. Not too heavy to lug around.


Not exactly a Gold Wing on the highway. More stability, a bigger seat, and a better shock would have been good for long distance touring.

Bought this bike cheap second hand for a trip across Canada. It took me from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland and back, and then lasted nearly another 20 years doing various trips across the country.

Came from the factory set way too lean, with a stumble aggravated by soft front forks. Adjusted the mixture correctly with a Color tune, put in heavier fork oil, and other than heated grips, throttle lock, and a heated vest connection, that was it for mods. Basically ran and ran until it broke for good.

See http://www.ridersofvision.net/rovforum/ for support, parts, etc.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd May, 2006

1982 Yamaha XZ550 Vision from United States of America


An excellent bike for anyone who likes to work on their own rides


Replaced the charging system, including stator and regulator/rectifier.

Replaced the fuse box.

I had to have the carburetors rebuilt.

General Comments:

This Yamaha XZ550 Vision is very exciting to ride. Very quick and nimble in the curves.

The bike is very comfortable for very long rides.

The motorcycle is prone to having the charging system fail every 20,000 miles or so. Cost to repair the charging system is approximately $250 if you do it yourself.

I get 30+ miles per gallon when riding this motorcycle hard. Better gas mileage when I baby it.

It has a slight front wheel wobble due to a trailing front axle design flaw.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th February, 2005

16th Mar 2007, 15:59

Note: "front wheel wobble", the wobble isn't "due to a trailing front axle design flaw", the trailing axle design works very well and shouldn't be confused as the reason a wobble occurs on this bike. Bikes with a straight and leading axle design have wobble as well. Two things that are common with most other bikes are the likely cause, ball bearings used in the steering stem (replace with tapered ones), or the axle is only clamped on one fork leg allowing some movement (add a fork brace).

7th Oct 2009, 10:38

I would have to agree that the design of the frame and front suspension contributes heavily to a nasty front wheel wobble.

What I did with my 1981 550 Vision was to add a good aftermarket fork brace and replace the too skinny front tire with a wider Continental bias-ply tire appropriate for the bike. Be sure that you mate it with the same series rear tire for good handling. This made a BIG difference, but the wobble was still a problem at very high speeds (80mph+).

I think the tapered bearing idea noted above is good. Everything all added together makes a difference. If I had another Vision, I would pull the complete front suspension/fork and wheel/brake assembly out of the triple clamps and reverse them. This would make it a leading axle instead of trailing axle.

Note that you would have to replace the front brake line with longer aftermarket braided stainless steel line and also need to modify the speedometer hub gear in the front wheel so that it faces rearward. You may also need to get a longer speedometer cable. It would be worth a try.

Or just replace the whole front end with a 1980s Yamaha FZ600 front end. That would be a good time to put in the best bearings in the frame crown.

Now that you have gone to all this trouble, you still have a very weak frame that flexes like a kite in heavy wind. I would find ways to bolster the frame that is safe, or have a custom frame built.