XS650: Hello world!   Leave a comment

You may ask ‘Why an XS650 ?’, I did once. In 1974.

I was working a holiday job at W H Bond, tinmakers. The young journeyman toolmaker had a new Yamaha TX650, his pride and joy. He was busy fabricating parts for her, customising, making her his. Putting his soul into the job. And doing a tasty job.

I was driving a Morris 1000 and coming to grips with my Suzuki RL250 trials bike. This is an interesting riding style-time, balance, body-bike coordination and an eye for a route-great skills building. Having grown up with british bikes the jap-crap metal coming out of the rising sun was definitely a paradigm change.

First bike was dragged out of the old barn when I was 13, an ES2 Norton 500 single. It had belonged to a family member who hadn’t returned from Europe in 1945. He was one of the few men of that generation the family had left, the ‘Great War’ had wrecked a heavy toll on the family manhood and left many woman unable to find husbands. Against family will he went and afterwards the pain was so great no-one talked about it until I discovered the dreams of my teenage fantasies hidden under layers of accumulated farmyard crap. Had I known the depth of memories this would stir-up I would still have done it. I scored it on the condition I restored it AND didn’t ride her until I got my drivers license. Yeah, right.

I developed a taste for large displacement british singles and parallel twins. My first attempts at trials riding were on Matchless 350’s. I have dabbled in 2 strokes, larger cruisers but my heart comes back to the ‘thumpers’. Although most of the brits I’ve owned over the years sit quietly in the shed alongside some of the more exotic Ducati’s, Guzzi’s etc I’ve picked up on the way, my daily rides are my XS650’s, an SR500 and an SRX600. I love these bikes with a passion shared only for 1 other machine, but that’s another story.

It has been interesting watching the resurgence in interest in the XS650. She has proven herself to be a strong, reliable bike and this is being recognised in rising cult status, current customising trends and a wide availability of parts. These machines will be seen on our streets for many years to come. This Japanese Lady is most definitely not crap.

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Posted December 28, 2010 by xscafe in General

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