2019 Shannons Sydney Winter Classic Auction

1970 Yamaha XS-1 650cc Motorcycle




Engine Parallel Twin-cylinder, 653cc
Gearbox 5-Speed Manual
Colour Candy Green Metallic
Trim Black


This lot is no longer available

A relative latecomer to the motorcycle market, Yamaha’s first model – the YA-1 – was launched in 1955 and the company quickly established itself through competition success, both at home and abroad.  Yamaha’s first four-stroke, the XS-1, arrived in 1970, elevating the brand into the big league.  One of the most advanced engine designs of the day, the overhead camshaft air cooled parallel twin was rated at a healthy 53 horsepower at 7200 rpm, affording excellent performance.  Using unit construction for the engine and five-speed gearbox housed in a lightweight double cradle tubular frame, braking was via drums front and rear and telescopic front forks combined with twin shock absorbers at the rear for a smooth, comfortable ride.  The original 1970 XS1 and XS1-B of 1971 were both kick start, with electric start available from 1972 onwards and the model ultimately remained in production until 1985.  Yamaha’s marketing proclaimed “XS1 – It’s a better machine” and proved its worth both in sales terms and on the track, with Kenny Roberts crowned ANA GNC in both 1973 and 1974 on an XS 650-powered dirt tracker built by the late Shel Thuett.  Always popular with customizers, there are relatively few original examples left on the road the XS-series is becoming increasingly collectible, with a strong following around the world.