Factory official release picture of green Yamaha XS-1 650 motorcycle

Brief history of Yamaha XS Cafe Racer

There has always been a competition between motorcycle companies, whether it was on the market or on the racing ck. 1960’s the economy was growing worldwide, so did cities and motorways that connected them. As a result, customers started looking for larger, faster and more powerful motorcycles. Two stroke engines just weren’t good enough.

The beginning of Yamaha four-stroke engines goes back to 1955 Hosk SOHC 500 twin and Hosk’s draft design for 650cc. Hosk was later acquired by Showa Corporation which was bought by Yamaha in 1960. When the time and demand came for large engines, Yamaha had a head start.

Birth of Yamaha XS1

In October 1969 the very first parallel twin four stroke Yamaha XS-1 was released. It carried a 650cc “Single Overhead Camshaft” twin engine equipped with two valves per cylinder, and together with gearbox, it was all packaged in horizontally split crankcase, which improved the access for maintenance as well as eliminated oil leaks. The engine was nested in double cradle frame, aircooled by pair of quality Mikuni carb and started with a kick start. Yamaha XS1 was a slim sports model with only 5 speed transmission and drum brakes at both wheels, but the fact that a large engine was mounted onto a fairly lightweight frame brought its challenges such as vibrations and wobbling at high speeds.

Yamaha XS-2 was launched in 1972. It had several improvements to the original XS Model such as electric starter, front disc brakes and aluminium fork legs.

In 1973, the XS range somehow disappears, when Yamaha decides to replace XS with TX and experiment with different four stroke engine sizes. In 1975, the short live of TX500 and TX750 was ended and Yamaha XS was re-introduced as a large cruiser style motorcycle with various engine sizes from 250cc to 1100cc. The standard model Yamaha XS650 production continued up until 1978, followed by Special Edition Yamaha XS/SE produced until 1985.

Yamaha XS Parts

Nowadays Yamaha XS cafe racer motorcycles are famous for their versatility and customisation into a chopper bobber style. As Yamaha models evolved so did parts, some are still being used nowadays and are available from Yamaha dealers directly, some were made obsolete. We offer a quality reproductions of some of the most desired Yamaha XS Parts on the market. So whether you have an early XS1 / XS2 classic, modified XS650 or rare XS1100 model, check out our selection of parts!

For more information about the history of Yamaha 650 XS1 visit Cycle World