All in the Family: 1973 Yamaha TX650

This 1973 Yamaha TX650 might look like just a motorcycle, but to owner Keith Allen, it’s a fully functioning time machine.

| November/December 2016

  • This freshly restored Yamaha TX650 has been in the same family since it was purchased new in the summer of 1973.
    Photo by Jeff Barger
  • 1973 Yamaha TX650
    Photo by Jeff Barger
  • 1973 Yamaha TX650
    Photo by Jeff Barger
  • 1973 Yamaha TX650
    Photo by Jeff Barger
  • The 653cc twin produces a claimed 53 horsepower.
    Photo by Jeff Barger
  • 1973 Yamaha TX650
    Photo by Jeff Barger
  • A hidden electronic ignition makes the TX650 easier to start, while updated fork springs and rear shocks make the ride more controlled.
    Photo by Jeff Barger
  • “For me, it’s all about nostalgia,” owner Keith Allen says.
    Photo by Jeff Barger

1973 Yamaha TX650
653cc SOHC air-cooled parallel twin, 75mm x 74mm bore and stroke, 8.7:1 compression ratio, 53hp @ 7,000rpm (claimed)
Top Speed:
105 mph (period test)
Two 30mm Mikuni CV
5-speed, chain final drive
12v, coil and breaker points ignition
Dual-downtube steel cradle/56.1in (1,425mm)
35mm telescopic forks front, dual shock w/adjustable preload rear
Single 11.7in (297mm) disc front, 7.9in (201mm) SLS drum rear
3.5 x 19in front, 4 x 18in rear
Weight (dry):
420lb (191kg)
Seat height: 30.5in (775mm)
Fuel capacity:
3.3gal (12.5ltr)
Price then/now:
$1,419 (1973)/$2,500-$6,000

This 1973 Yamaha TX650 isn’t a motorcycle. While it might look like one, in reality it’s a fully functioning time machine. That’s because owner Keith Allen is connected to this particular motorcycle in ways most of us could only imagine.

“In the early summer of 1973 I was 16 years old,” Keith explains. “I’d been riding and racing dirt bikes, and my dad and I went to the Honda, Harley-Davidson and Yamaha shop Zanotti Motors in Butler, Pennsylvania, because he wanted to get a 2-stroke Yamaha RD350 street bike.

“When we got into the dealership there were five TX650s lined up in the window, and I steered him towards the larger 4-stroke motorcycles. He wrote a check for this one and tossed me the keys, telling me to ride it home.”

Keith had only just received his driver’s license, and the road home was a major four-lane highway. Back in 1973, the Yamaha 650 was considered a big motorcycle, and Keith was slightly nervous. “Once I got on it I wasn’t stopping, and the nervousness disappeared after a mile,” he says, chuckling at the memory.

Mike S
9/18/2019 11:29:12 PM

My first new bike was a 1973 TX 650, I was 18 and bought it in spring of ' 74. I traded in my R5 350 I bought used. I have had many bikes over the years but always thought the 650 had maybe the most beautiful paint. Last week I bought a very nice and almost completely stock TX650, I am waiting delivery .

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