Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1979 11 28

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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~ 00 CN 1-0 QJ ..c e ~ z The 860cc twin ian't the biggest thing In town .nymore. but for. mld"'zed powerplllnt It·. strong enough for most of u•. And It fits y....,."••• Speclel ....... stvfI Impress~on: Yamaha XS650-SG . ' New wave/traditionalist stateme just a neat scooter? By Cherles Morey As stated in the Yamaha XS650-SG brochure: "The 1980 XS650 should gladden the hearts of traditionalists everywhere. Here is the only sport/touring vertical twin currently in prothe compliment and produce an XS d~ction today. Eleven replica Triumph or BSA or "Yet for all its classic charm and British mystique, the XS650 features all the contemporary Yamaha Special styling so es- 16 pecially popular with the American rider. A perfect blend of image and technology brought even closer to perfection in 1980." A plastic spiel, for sure. Son of like buying a miniature Tower of London souvenir in England and finding a "Made in Japan" label stuck to its polystyrene bottom. It·s a shame the British can't return Nononor ... Yamaha's pitch has its flaws. While there's a cenain amount of (What shall we call it?) Triumph hangover going around: the 650cc twin has been relocated, image-wise, in the motorcycle hierarchy. Some of its mystique is lost in that relocation. A 650cc motor used to be considered big. The memory of The First Ride on back of a buddy's Triumph still clings. He wound out his high-pipe model giving me much more than a ride home on a narrow Maine din road, leaving one wide-eyed young paSlenger with the belief that a Triumph twin was indeed the baddest thing on two wheels: It wasn't until fall of 1978 - 12 years later - when that former kid attended a new model presentation of a cenain manufacturer of green motorcycles who shall remain nameless, and rode a 1500cc machine, that things suddenly fell into perspective. That devil was twice as big as the Triumph! And with that doubted dis· placement came dam near double performance. The 650cc twin cenainly is not dead, thanks to Yamaha, God bless the poor Q.ueen. But it is no longer among the muscle machines. It used to be a superbike. Now it's mid-range.. Relatively speaking. Of course, if you haven't ridden a 1000, II 00 or 1500cc motorcycle, that's another whole viewpoint. The 650cc twin Yamaha fits in perfectly. It's an ~ceIlent step-up model for the guy who's been putting around on a 400cc street bike and looking for something bigger. And here's where the best part of Yamaha's sales spiel comes in, the pan about, "A perfect blend of image and technology .. ," It isl It's a tougn-looking, bad black (or red) street machine. And it has the Japanese technology to keep it running for today's rider, who's not necessarily the kind of guy who is willing to spend equal time working on and riding his bike. Fine. He doesn't have to. And it'll still rush his, body down Main Street, USA faster than he shoufd be going. In the Image depanment, Yamaha hasn't missed a trick, Seven-spoke onepiece cast aluminum wheels, black with highlights on the rim and spokes, stand out from our black test model. Tubeless tires, a fat 150/9OS X 16 on the rear and a 5.50 X 19 up front, add to the chopper-styling. One complaint here: The XS650·SG wobbles excessive·

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