Wirenutt

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While putting them away for the cold central NY winter, I lined my stable up in the driveway next to the wife's Mustang. L to R:
1999 Kawasaki ZG1000 Concours (running when I took the pic)
1980 Yamaha XS 650 Special (Runs)
1976 Yamaha XS 650 (Runs)
1978 Yamaha XS 650 Special (Doesn't run yet, sits exactly as I got it in July)
1981 Yamaha XS 650 Special (Bought it in the middle of conversion to cafe - Owner diagnosed with pancreatic cancer - I have other plans for it)

2nd pic is just the XS650s.
 

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halfmile

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Is there a Yamaha Racing thread on this forum? If not maybe it`s time to start one.:thumbsup: This #14n was a friend of mine that lived up the street and was in my senior class in H.S. His name was Ken Pressgrove and he raced BSA`s. Sadly he was killed at a race in Louisville Kentucky.
Ken Pressgrove - Kansas (1).jpg
 

Kevin Werner

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Is there a Yamaha Racing thread on this forum? If not maybe it`s time to start one.:thumbsup: This #14n was a friend of mine that lived up the street and was in my senior class in H.S. His name was Ken Pressgrove and he raced BSA`s. Sadly he was killed at a race in Louisville Kentucky.
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I think all "Not XS650" content is welcome in the "Motorcycles not XS650" thread. And certainly XS650s too, but there is the great and long running "Lets see the XS650" thread that I would not want to diminish in any way.
 

halfmile

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I think all "Not XS650" content is welcome in the "Motorcycles not XS650" thread. And certainly XS650s too, but there is the great and long running "Lets see the XS650" thread that I would not want to diminish in any way.
I agree completely.:thumbsup: There`s plenty of XS650 race stuff out there to warrant a separate thread.
 

13R

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San José half-mile, when I was young and foolish. (Pat Hennon 65 (riding a monocoque Triumph, as I recall), Ivan Shigemasa 56Z, Gary Tonda 76Z, Larry Schultz 72, who went on to work with Ira Kanemoto at the GPs)
Those interested in reading about what it's like to work for the Yamaha factory in Japan can do a search for 'Scenes From Behind the Bamboo Screen' on Amazon Kindle.
 

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13R

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That race he won was, as I recall, on a strange track surface on which there was some kind of rubber matting over which dirt or pumice had been laid. Maybe a horse track of some kind?
Chuck Palmgren was the first racer to win a national on a XS650 based Yamaha. I forgot the track, maybe Nazareth, PA.


I spoke with Chuck briefly at San José because I was too young and dumb to know how to build a proper XS and one of the tips he gave me was to drill out the opening in the oil feed fitting that screws into the cases in front of the cylinder and feeds the rocker arms. Apparently, when the engine is run at high rpm for extended periods it floods the cam box with too much oil, so drilling it out a bit reduces the flow — at any rate, that's what I thought he was talking about. Wish I'd a known about offset cranks back then......
 

13R

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XS650 enthusiasts will be surprised to learn that the most exotic XS650 race bike ever built was created not in the US but in Japan, by Japan's gamble racers (auto race). This is state-sponsored gambling on oval track motorcycle racing. The heydays for gamble racing were the sixties and seventies, when top riders made serious money, a fact reflected in the tuning of their race bikes. The favored engines in those days were non-unit BSA, Triumph, and Meguro (a Japanese copy of the Triumph but with some modifications/improvements).
Anyway, my buddy, now retired, was one of those guys and he showed me a photo of an experimental auto racer they built using the XS engine, and it was wild! They cut the whole gearbox/ wet clutch off the the thing (along with all the cooling fins on the head), drove the oil pump off the right end of the cam and put a primary drive sprocket on the left end of the crank, driving a typical dry clutch/non-unit type gearbox.
Only the one bike was built and apparently it didn't offer any better performance than the other motors, so only the one bike was built. I've got a photo of it somewhere and will try to find it.

Eventually, the old twins were superseded by the HKS650, a very powerful Japanese racing engine, which was in turn replaced by the very boring Suzuki race engines they run today and on which no tuning is allowed.
 

Kevin Werner

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My early 78 XS650E which I bought this year as a very rough sort of runner and my good frieds 1976. We put alot of miles on these this summer/fall. Absolute gems.
In my opinion, not that it is worth alot, the subtle pinstripe of the 78 E is a very classy look...
With my current project I hope to get that same feel.
 
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