1978 Yamaha XS1100E (1,101 cc transverse four)
95 bhp, 564 lbs, 130 mph
Yamaha was the last Japanese manufacturer to join the one litre engine club with the XS 1100 launched in the 1978 model year. It was aimed principally at the US touring market (where it targeted the 900cc BMW) and built on the experience from the XS 750 triple, with both bikes having shaft drive. Being the last to the party, Yamaha upped the bar by going for 1100cc - in other words more than just an extra cylinder added to the triple. The 1100 package had a lot to commend it: twin discs on the front and a single on the rear, oil cooling, double overhead cams, transistorised ignition with vacuum advance, four 34mm Mikuni constant velocity carburettors and "polyspheric" (improved gas flow) combustion chambers. This added up to excellent performance - including a sub-12 second quarter mile - despite the size and weight; and clearly outshone the BMW in most respects, apart from brand!
The size, smoothness, good rider position and comfortable saddle made this a great tourer - in particular on the relatively long and straight roads in the USA. However, in the European market the weight (well over 600 lbs wet) was felt to compromise the handling and so it was never popular. It was made only till 1981 and a reasonable condition example is relatively rare today - this small population inevitably makes the finding of spares a real challenge.
This bike was acquired in the UK in 2013 and restored by 2WheelsMiklos with the paint being done by Cycle Sprays. It has matching numbers and is faithful to the original apart from modernised front brakes, the colour scheme, Sachse electronic ignition and Dynojet coils and spark plug leads. The ignition, coils and completely redone carburettors have eventually ensured a smooth, powerful and very comfortable ride.
1978 Yamaha XS1100E