Post Sale Update: After being relisted, this Yamaha Seca Turbo 650 sold on eBay for $1,600.
The Yamaha Seca Turbo was one of the quintessential examples of the 1980s Japanese movement to bring turbochargers to motorcycles. Right after Honda brought out the CX Turbo (an example of which is found here on Bike-urious), Yamaha brought out a turbocharged variant of their 650 Seca. In my opinion, this was the best looking of the 80s turbo bikes.
Interestingly enough, the engine only put exhaust through one of the dual pipes – the other pipe was designed only to exhaust overboost coming from the turbocharger. Unfortunately, despite the turbo, this bike didn’t produce the horsepower of bigger bikes like consumers expected, and it quickly disappeared from the marketplace.
This specific Yamaha Seca Turbo has incredibly low miles, and been the recipient of a decent refurbishment after having sat in a body shop for 20 years. Ignoring the restored pieces, it’s pretty much stock, with no aftermarket extras. This is a bike for someone specifically looking for something unique. The Turbo was not all it was cracked up to be – it returned less mpg than the naturally aspirated version, and it was heavier than 1100cc sport bikes of the time even though it performed like NA 750cc bikes. Worst of all, of course – these bikes suffered from Turbo lag. As Cycle magazine put it,
As they now exist, turbocharged bikes are rolling platforms for expressing new, advanced ideas. The name Turbo immediately lends validity to other new ideas (such as a truly functional seating position) that might otherwise have been overlooked by an image-conscious public. We welcome these new Turbo bikes for the functional advantages they bring to sport bikes. We remain less than enthusiastic about turbocharging for the sake of increased engine performance.