- Reaction score
- Coldwater, Mississippi
I suspect I may be a bit taller than average. As such I seem to recall the Triumph was somewhat larger and that much more comfortable. At least, that’s how I remember it.Re. Triumph 4 speed, oil-in-tank 650 vs. Yamaha 650, there were tradeoffs both ways. The 74-forward Yamahas are heavier than a 4-speed Bonneville by 50 to 100 lbs., depending on year, and a lot of that heft sits up high, resulting in top-heavy steering. The Triumph's pushrod motor has less topside weight. Better balance, better dampers, and better frame design give the Triumph much better handling--quicker, more linear steering and less deflection in bumpy corners. As to power, the Bonneville delivered approximately the same peak power as the XS650, but at lower rpm. I cruised my '68 Bonnie at 80 mph frequently and could turn up the wick to 115 at will. The bottom line was that you could buy British and get a rider's machine at the price of much maintenance, or buy Japanese and get a reliable machine and either tolerate its rotten handling or spend significant bucks correcting its bad manners. If you wanted something that could dance with the Brits, the final price of the Yamaha was higher. Back in the day the connoisseur's ride of choice was the 500 cc. Triumph Daytona--superb handling, think the line and the bike was on it. Sadly, that fine handling was a bit too confidence inspiring. Bob Dylan's near-fatal crash was aboard a Daytona, and John Gardner, novelist, critic, and scholar, died on one.