Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1980's

Cycle News 1982 03 10

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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(Above)Yamaha's Vision is strikingly different than your run of the mill motorcycle. Finless "V" engine. angular style and trailing axle forks ara the first items to catch the eye . (Inset top left) The Vision's rear cylinder exhaust exits from the back of the head and is almost hidden in the surrounding metalwork. (Center top) The tail section is utilized as a storage area. Note the excellent hand holds for a passenger. Turn signal stalks are rubber. (Far right) Hidden under the Fuel tank and behind the YICS box are two 34mm downdraft carburetors. Impression: Yamaha XZ550RJ Vision School's out By Karel Kramer and Mark Kariya By the time.a person has spent their allotted time in some manner of institution of higher learning, they generally have begun to feel some of the " Big Man on Campus" syndrome. Th ey a re a bo ut the most knowledgeable and self assured of th eir p eers , but when they go into the job market, th ey find 16 that th e tabl es have turned. All o f th e sud de n , th ey are th e young on es as king th e q ues tio ns . The people around the m are do ing more an d better work. T he new grad ua te ca n just cruise, or h e can get on th e gas, get def iant a nd rise to the occasio n. Yamaha 's Vision is in th at same kind o f situa tion. It came fro m the drawing boa rd into on e of th e coldest and hardest of mo torcycling's worlds. T he 550cc di splacem ent class is vir tually filled with the fin est mach ines in h istory. All are light. fast, handsom e and can carve corners like a chef does a fine roast. Pretty rough competit ion for th e gradua ting class. Five-fifties th ese day s tend to fall into two classes - sporting, like the Kawasaki laSsO and th e Suzuki 550. an d reall y sport ing, like th e G Pz, Seca an d Kata na 550. T he Vision h as th e parts to be to ps in bo th o f th ese classes, but in the rea l world o f goi ng to work an d weekend pl ayin g. it falls short by a bit - soft front fork s. Yama ha has blessed th e Visio n wi th, simp ly, the neatest motor ever to rest in th e tubes o f a mediu m size fra me. Wide, smooth power and lot s of it is th e Visi on 's forte. T h is m agical mot or is cra d led in th e arms o f a sto ut fra me and wrapped wi th beautifu lly fin ished, if a bit u north odox , bod y work. People ma de th e Visio n th e o bjec t of co nversation everywhe re we rod e it, a n d one ma n in a beau tiful tr uc k as ked if we h ad to go o ut of sta te to ge t a bike th a t n ice. Most o ther co mme n ts were a bo ut h ow m uch gas th e la rge fuel ta n k holds (n o t as much as it looks lik e). First day on the job The Vision has more un ique Iea- tures tha n its liquid-coo led V-twi n engine. Up fro nt there arc a pair of trailing-axle forks . Yama ha claims th is design was u til ized to move th e forks out in order to clear the radiator and sti ll retai n q ui ck steering. T ha t is very probably more tha n j ust h yp e as th e for ks do have a great dea l of off-set in ' th e triple cla mps, a nd the Vision is def ini tely a q uick steering motorcycle. At th e end of the forks rolls a new type of m ag-style whe el tha t appears to h ave a very la rge cas t h u b. In rea lity the h ub portio n is h ollo w an d is su pported by strong, li ght m in ispokes. Li ghter bra ke discs ca n be used wi th th is design because th e d isc bol ts u p di rectly to th e hub. The bot: to m lint; h ere is less steel an d more alu mi n u m or less wei gh t. On top of the unusual forks are a top cla mp/ ha n dle bar combinatio n an d a o ne- piece in strument pod containin g a ta ch ometer . speedome ter a nd wa ter temperature gauge. A ro w of idio t lights just bel ow the ins trum ents tell yo u wh en you have lost your oi l pressure, found yo u r neutral or yo ur h igh beam. T urn indicat or lights are in th e instrumen t pod. T he gas tan k has a claime d capacity of four an d a half ga ll ons, but with th e bik e on reserve o u r bik e took o n ly 3.3 ga llons to top o ff th e tank. We ro de the bik e hard, a nd it went on reserve li ke cloc kwo rk at 120 mil es which works out to a ro u nd 36-37 mpg. Normal ridi ng will certain ly yiel d a better figure. . T he tan k covers two downdraft carbu retors, a n ai rbo x an d a single shoc k. The radiator is mou nted on th e fron t down tubes but is fill ed via a reservoir on the side of the bike. T he sea t pivots up a fter it is unloc ked an d th e la tch a t th e rear is p u lled . U nde r the seat, fuses are fou nd a nd in the ta il section is a sma ll stor age area th at doesn 't hold much more th a n th e tool kit al ready residing th ere. T he engine, obvio us ly a V-twi n, is liqui d-co ol ed with dual ove rhe ad cams o n top of eac h cyli nde r a nd has four valves avoidi ng each p iston. La ckin g are cooling fin s a n d a kickstarter, Two ex ha us t pipes exi t eac h cylin der, two from th e front a nd two fro m th e back. Power for th e sha ft drive is ta ken off of th e left side of th e en gi ne . A sig h t-g lass on th e sa me side tell s wh ether th e engine is getting its full 2.5 quarts of oil. Dunlop tires are m ounted on the ca st a lumi num wh eels; a n d for OEM tir es th ey are excellent! Anyone, o u tside of fu ll-on racers . should be happy with thei r performance. T he tra ns m issi on ha s five forward spee ds and sh ifts smoothl y but is " cl u n kier" than most four- cylinder bik es. Brakes a re a single disc in front and drum in th e rear. On the road again First sensatio ns aft er sliding onto the Vision a re pl easant. All co ntrols fall readily to h and an d are well finish ed. The ex haus t note is very pl eaant. without bein g o ffensi ve. Wa terpumper s a re quieter in terms o f en gi ne ra ll ies so th e exhaus t note ca n be louder a n d still meet EPA requirem ents. T he tach jumps eas ily and seems to be co n nec ted directl y to th e th rottle, but th e lillie motor never sounds like its revving too hard. Even at th e 9.500 rpm redl ine, things don't sound frantic.

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