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

1973 Yamaha TX650

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
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.

bike on highway

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