Yamaha Cruiser Reviews on Cycle Insider (12)
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2002-03-28 1981 Yamaha XS650SH Cruisers View Listings

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I bought one last spring out of a fit of nostalgia. Nice looking bike, good handling and torque. HOWEVER the vibration is literally unbearable. A short trip to the donut shop would leave my hands numb. It is no wonder the 70s were dominated by four cylinder bikes. The parallel and vtwins of the 50s and 60s were(are) like jackhammers compared to even the worst four cylinder. Leave this bike to the vintage dirt trackers.
- I.Hoover, SA, British Columbia

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2001-09-29 1981 Yamaha XV750H Cruisers View Listings

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My bike is actually an '82, but close enough. My riding is about 75 percent freeway speeds (70-75mph), rest backcountry roads. The bike is perfectly happy 'till you hit around 65 mph. From then on it can be challenging to keep a straight line while being blown around by the surrounding autos. The windshield I installed might amplify this, but the vibration felt at 70mph is also noticeable. Great for in-town riding though. Mine came with "drag pipes" installed (used bike) and for all the world sounds like an 883 Sportster. Cheap fun, but wish it was more stable.
- Gunner Hanson, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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2001-05-05 1981 Yamaha XJ750RH Cruisers View Listings

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I just had my 1st few rides on my Seca that I built, and let me tell you, she is VERY fast for a stock bike!! I can toast my buddy on his 84 XJ900 Seca off the line, but about mid-way through midrange he takes off. His 900 won't "eat" my bike and always has a surprised look when he looks in his rearview mirror. Very nice bike, comfortable for long trips and a great stoplight racer!!
- William D. Vining, South Haven, Michigan

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2001-03-14 1981 Yamaha XV750H Cruisers View Listings

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This bike is approaching 20 years old. The only problem I've had in over 20k is a blown Head gasket which did not leave me stranded, just decreased preformance a bit. It has been a pleasure to work on, simple and straight forword to the end. The bike rides very well through town, and always has enough "pep" to get you moving in a hurry (which is what biking is about isn't it?) At normal highway speeds it is comfortable, however when you bury the speedo (85) the ride gets a bit rough. I would highly recomend anyone this bike for reliablity and ease of use, even at 20+ years old it still looks and runs like a dream.
- Brent, Utah

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2001-03-12 1981 Yamaha XV750H Cruisers View Listings

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Being the first air-cooled V-twin should guarantee it a place in the history books by itself. But that's not the only reason to like this bike. I bought mine with only 13k miles on the clock and have put 15,000 more in the last 2 years. It's reliable, good looking, and comfortable to ride around town. After having a Russell Day long saddle built for it, and installing a Ventura cargro rack for extra supplies, you can cruise 450 miles to Disneyland in one day, like I did, and not have a problem. Of course, the 115 - 125 mile tank range (before reserve) is a bit small, but it gives you a reason for a break. In clean, & shiny condition, people still look. It's a bit cold blooded due in part to the EPA regulations in force at the time, but once warmed up, pulls acceptably hard in all gears. And it's very simple to maintain. I hope to keep mine for many more reliable years.
- Ferris Lewald, Redwood City, California

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2000-09-22 1981 Yamaha XS1100SH Cruisers View Listings

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Paint/Chrome were in excellent condition. I loved the classic look of the white and blue gas tank. After getting on for a test ride, my first impression was that this was the largest motorcycle I have ever ridden. Now I've had 14 others - a Concours, GS1100 and V65 Magna to name 3 of the larger ones - but this thing was huge. Seeing as my girlfriend believed the Nighthawk was too small to ride with me (no excuses now) and the $1000 we finally settled on, I bought it. After 3 months 1700 miles (20 years overall riding by the way) with the XS my ratings as follows, Comfort: Excellent comfort for a six footer - legs are never cramped, the set back handlebars are easy to reach, noise and vibration are reasonable for a 20 year old bike. I hated not getting any airflow with the excessively tall windshield and had Tap Plastics cut a good eight inches off it. Though slightly more buffeted by the wind, you get nice fresh air now and it looks great. Speed and Power: It has a locomotive like power, not peaky, but incredibly strong through the 8500 RPM powerband. The maximum power seems at the 6000-RPM range. The weak clutch, which I am going to replace this winter may detract from some of the overall power. In fact I'm sure this is the case. I typically achieve about 38 MPG. Handling: Although I expected a bike hitting about 600 pounds to wallow a bit in the turns, I was actually quite pleased with the handling. The large and wide handlebars provide good leverage to initiate a quick turn. The Dunlop K491 tires seem to provide good stability even at higher speeds 70+, where I still feel confident. The brakes, were probably great when the bike was new, now they require a great effort to make rapid stops, basically they suck. If I didn't have pretty strong hands I would worry. As it is I will replace the pads, fluid and possibly rebuild the master cylinder this winter. The fairing and bags look good and give that substantial look. Nice picture of this model and other XS1100's on XS11.com Website. Problems/Repairs: I believe the exhaust gaskets are almost gone (sound and smell), brakes as mentioned prior, clutch (prior), cam chain tensioner leaks a few drops. The design of the oil filter bolt makes it very prone to stripping (mine was completely stripped off when I got it). The initial price has made this a great value so far, and riding it is lots of fun!!!!
- Steve Geller, Vancouver, Washington

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2000-09-11 1981 Yamaha XJ550RH Seca Cruisers View Listings

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The Seca is way too overlooked as a good bike value for the dollar. A Seca in very good condition can be picked up for less than $1000 and with a little creative modifying, it can be made very modern. Sure, the after market is not being flooded with all kinds of parts for a Seca, but a little ingenuity can make this one hot little street rocket. A K&N filter, header, and re-jetting adds plenty of "off the line" and roll-on power. (My buddies Eclipse Turbo couldn't touch it). Its lightweight and moderate power makes it very predictable and tractable...important to both novices and seasoned riders alike. Yes, it's a bit of a dinosaur but give one a ride and you'll see what I'm talking about!
- Deadhead, Pennsylvania

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2000-08-08 1981 Yamaha MX100H Cruisers View Listings

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This bike is an excellent starter/kids bike if you don't want to spend lots of money for a little bike. Despite its displacement, its top speed is comparable to most 1995 or newer 80cc bikes. Bottom line - great kids bike because when they grow out of it, it's not like you have put a lot of money into it.
- Anonymous, Edmonton, Alberta

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2000-08-02 1981 Yamaha XS650SH Cruisers View Listings

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I bought this bike back in 1992 -- I'd say it had been around the clock once then and it's nearly up to doing it again. I've rebuilt the engine once. I love having both electric and kick start!!! It's a shame parts are getting harder to find. The only thing I could wish for is one more gear - it revs a little high when you're cruising in the country.
- Yammyman, Australia

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2000-06-27 1981 Yamaha XS1100SH Cruisers View Listings

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My 1981 Eleven Special was bought used from the original owner in 1994 with 13,000 miles on the odometer. It had been stored for the prior six years. After replacing the battery and cleaning the carbs and master brake cylinders, I put another 13,000 miles on the bike over the next five years. I recently sold the bike to a friend when I decided to purchase a new 2000 Yamaha Road Star. My decision to purchase another Yamaha was directly due to the satisfaction I had experienced with my 1981 Eleven Special. It was a very fast and dependable motorcycle. Simply change the oil and do the standard maintenance and it will run forever!
- Jim Gallagher, Cocoa, Florida

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2000-06-09 1981 Yamaha XV750H Cruisers View Listings

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Has good power through the mid range level. Will vibrate your teeth loose over 75mph. Low fuel range (120 miles) but your ready for a break about then. Not hard to drag the pegs if you get carried away on the twisties.
- Timothy Burns, Kansas City, Missouri

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2000-05-29 1981 Yamaha XS1100LH Cruisers View Listings

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This machine has locomotive grunt, and features that were ahead of it's time. Self-canceling turn signals, integrated braking, 3 hyd disc brakes, electronic ignition (no points). Easy to tune-up & change oil & filter. Gearbox is clunky shifting, but rugged. A very attractive bike and is a very desirable collector bike as few were imported in the USA.
- Charles Schneider, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

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