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Yamaha XS750

Under the Radar: Yamaha's XS750 was the company's response to it's flawed TX750

| Premier Issue

  • 1976 Suzuki GT750
    Contender: 1976 Suzuki GT750
  • You daaaamn right! yamaha marketed its shaft-driven XS750 to a young crowd with big-bore European tastes but small potatoes budgets.
    You daaaamn right! Yamaha marketed its shaft-driven XS750 to a young crowd with big-bore European tastes but small-potatoes budgets.
    Image courtesy Jean Aker
  • 1976 Laverda 3C
    Contender: 1976 Laverda 3C

  • 1976 Suzuki GT750
  • You daaaamn right! yamaha marketed its shaft-driven XS750 to a young crowd with big-bore European tastes but small potatoes budgets.
  • 1976 Laverda 3C

Yamaha XS750

Years produced: 1976-79
Total production: 150,000 (est.)
Claimed power:  64bhp @ 7,500rpm
Top speed: 106mph
Engine type: Three-cylinder in-line 
Weight (dry): 232kg (511lb)
Price then: $2,240 (1976)
Price now: $1,200-$2,000

Imagine it’s 1976 and you’re hearing two new sounds, trying to determine which will have more staying power.

One is the sweet exhaust note of the new three-cylinder Yamaha XS750; the other the chain-saw guitar on The Ramones’ debut record. The band is a galaxy away from the mainstream in a year when the Starland Vocal Band will win the Grammy for Best New Artist, while the XS750 has the motorcycle press going nuts.

"Certainly new and different, and most certainly bound for success," declared Cycle World in August 1976.

Fast-forward 29 years, though, and "Blitzkrieg Bop" is a standard while Yamaha’s triple has largely faded away.

Not fair, says Rob van der Touw, who’s been riding XS750s for more than 20 years and considers them works of art.

4/30/2015 2:49:59 PM

Really enjoyed my '78 standard model. Smooth, plenty fast for daily use, quiet (though interesting), reliable, decent mileage. Not sexy, and when I told people that when it was introduced, it was one of the fastest bikes on the market, they just laughed. Super-nice daily rider, though; and as I said, plenty fast enough.

Robert Bissett
12/26/2011 7:29:15 PM

These were continued to be released through to 1982 for the Japanese Market and New Zealand Market I have restored a 1982 XS750SP Special I have the original paper work to prove it, Mine is all XS850 SH except for the barrels and pistons a bit of a rarity these days but when ever on a ride I get interested people wanting to admire her. Mine has been named the "Red Baron". I love these bikes so much I have just bought another older one cafe` racer style trying to find out its lineage at the moment the guy I bought it of has lost it all, yes they can give you a bit of a thrill in the corners

bob bergerson_2
2/17/2010 8:59:07 PM

after several years with out a bike my cb 750 being the last i pulled a xs 750 out of a junk pile and put it back on the road .the speedo says 29+k all i did was clean the carbs fresh oil and fork seals and i was good my dad a long time time honda man disowned me but i wanted something different and i found it this year i will put in a new clutch but it still pull a stump and do a 100 easy i love that three banger the corners still give me a little thrill with the shaft jacking i forget now and then but what a bike

The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

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