XS750 Bio

 1977 Yamaha XS750D: The Resurrection. (there’s something about a triple)
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride unites classic and vintage style motorcycle riders all over the world to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer research and men’s mental health.

A few years ago, a friend asked if he might ride one of the RetroTours bikes in the DGR since he did not own a vintage machine. I guess you can ride a new bike if you want, but then no one would talk to you. The idea is for everyone to ride old bikes and to dress the part. It’s for a great cause and makes motorcycling look good so I was happy to sponsor his ride. In the third year of this arrangement, another rider approached me about the DGR. He rode up on a huge, shiny Victory Vision and we talked. Turns out this rider also owned an interesting old three-cylinder Yamaha which he had partially disassembled for refurbishment. That was decades ago, and it had been sitting in boxes on a screened porch, partially exposed to the elements. We talked some more, and an agreement was reached: I would buy the bike for $250 and Don would enjoy a RetroTours ride for the DGR for 4 more years. Win/win!

Riding the bike, I have been impressed with the character of the engine. At first it feels like a Japanese 4 with one cylinder not running. As one adjusts, one appreciates that it is torquey down low, like a twin, yet with double overhead cams, still capable of spooling up like a 4-cylinder bike. As the rpms increase, power increases in a perfectly linear fashion, making for a very enjoyable riding experience. It came equipped with Progressive rear shocks, and judging by the front forks’ performance, probably has good quality aftermarket fork springs fitted as well. The road holding is confidence inspiring: a bit on the heavy side but quite well planted. The seat is flat, broad, and well padded, promising posterior comfort over the long haul. Steering is neutral and stable; the steering head bearings are tapered rollers. Triple disc brakes, even with calipers that are primitive by current standards, prove to be adequate, though massive hand pressure is required.

The joy of riding is greatly enhanced by the unique exhaust note: the wail of the triple. I admit that the original three-into-one exhaust system has suffered from extensive corrosion. Before mounting it, I welded up four or five large holes, and the baffles inside have no doubt lost much of their sound deadening ability. It’s not so loud as to be offensive; many riders pay 3 or 400 dollars for an aftermarket exhaust with similar acoustic properties. Only ’77 models had this 3 into 1 system, subsequent years had a muffler on each side. Further research revealed that first year models frequently had 2nd gear issues. This motor may have been changed to a ‘D2’ later year model, since the frame and engine numbers do not match as one would expect from this vintage Yamaha. The shift to second is notchy, but engagement is positive. There is a bit of rear suspension ‘jacking’ due to the drive shaft configuration, but it’s not excessive, and seems like a fair trade for being rid of chain maintenance chores.

All in all, this is a great bike for RetroTours. It is the 4th Yamaha in the fleet, and they are a very varied assortment, from a time when motorcycle sales were booming, and new models and technology were flying out of the factories in Japan. As the only triple in our fleet, it offers a unique riding experience that I look forward to sharing with other classic bike enthusiasts.