The Yamaha XJ650 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, but then I’ve always had a thing for oddballs.
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. 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 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.
This specific Yamaha XJ650 Turbo (VIN: JYA16G005CA003191) has just under 9,000 miles and the seller (Wheelsport Center) claims that everything works. There’s some minor scratches and the emblems are a bit blemished, but the bike doesn’t look bad for 33 years of age. Impressively, it’s a one owner bike who stopped riding it last year due to age, but it’s just had a recent service and is ready to go.
Find this Yamaha XJ650 Turbo for sale in New Rochelle, New York with bidding up to $1,025