1980 Yamaha XS 1100 Special (SG)
I had already owned the XS 650 for a couple of years before I started thinking about buying another bike. Even at the time it was only a passing thought, not something I would actually act on; that is until I saw the XS 1100. This time around I already had a bike to ride so I had plenty of time to be picky, to make sure the bike was right for me and that I was getting the best deal possible.
I decided early on that I needed a bigger bike. While the 650 is comfortable around town, a bike that small can be very tiring on longer trips. I needed something with some weight behind, something that would not feel like a feather in the wind every time a semi passed in the other lane.
I also wanted a 4-cylinder. The 650's vertical twin design is a classic, but like all classics, is a classic (and not a current design) for a reason, it vibrates like crazy. While each piston fires at different times, both travel up or down in unison. This creates a noticable vibration that is loveable and annoying at the same time. My next bike would have to be a balanced 4-cylinder, with a premium put on a smooth ride.
The last, and possibly most important requirement was that it be affordable. That is always the tricky part.
After looking around for about 2 weeks, I again found myself in the same bracket as I had when buying the 650; older non-harley bikes. One of my fears when buying an old bike is that it will be too much work for me to handle maintaining it. That was one of the reasons I stared looking at the XS 1100. I had already passed the learning curve on it's smaller brother, the XS 650. Some of the parts are interchangable between the bikes and I had already found some great resources for parts for the 650.
That stats on the 1100 were impressive to say the least. The one that was most notable for me was the shaft drive. From what I had read, shaft drives were supposed to be the ultimate in smoothness. Then again, I am not one to take some one elses opinion as my own. With that in mind, I took a road trip to the first (and most promising) of 3 XS1100's for sale within driving distance.
I arrived at the owner's home after dark. He was outside working on a motorcycle in his garage, a Norton Commando. It was one of about 6 bikes crammed in the two car garage. He told me he was selling the 1100 to make room for more bikes. He had purchesed it from his brother-in-law who bought it brand new in 1980. The brother-in-law had done some extensive road trips with it had been sworn off motorcycles when he put the bike down and suffered some injuries. The current owner had purchased the bike the year before and had fixed it up.
Initially I was worried about buying a bike that had been sitting dormant for over 15 years. I don't claim to know everything about bikes but I know that can't be good for a bike. That is why is was very please when the owner said, "Did you bring your helmet?". After that all my concerns melted away. The bike ran great. The owner is apparently a magician with bikes. He had replaced the battery, tires, petcocks (dual), spark plugs, spark plug lines, all the brake pads, balanced the carbs, and rebuilt the front break assembly. Over all the bike was in fanstastic condition despite it's age. I had to buy it, there was no way around it.
About a week later I had a friend drive me out there so I could drive the bike home. On the hour long highway trip I was delighted at how perfectly smooth the bike is at nearly all speeds. The only problem is the bike is faster than I was looking for. Most people would not call that a problem. When on the 1100 I have to exercise restraint to not speed, on the 650 it comes natural as I can't speed :)
*This information is taken directly from Cycle Road Test. I am worried the page will dissapear so I have copied it here:
Make and model Yamaha XS Eleven
Price, suggested retail - $2989
Standing start 1/4-mile - 11.82 sec @ 115.38 mph
Engine rpm @ 60 mph, top gear - 3790
Average fuel consumption rate - 44.7 mpg
Cruising range, main/reserve - 188/44
Load capacity (GVWR less curb weight) - 221.8 kg (488 lbs)
Maximum speed in gears @ engine redline - (1) 53.2, (2) 73.2, (3) 92.6, (4) 115.1, (5) 1 @4.7
Type - Four-stroke in-line four, air-cooled, twin camshaft cylinder head with roller-chain timing drive
Bore and stroke - 71.5 x 68.6mm (2.82 x 70 in.)
Piston displacement - 1102cc (67.2 cu. in.)
Compression ratio - 9.2:1 (full-stroke)
Carburetion (4) - 34mm CV butterfly-throttle Mikuni
Exhaust system - Four-into-two
Ignition - Inductive, magnetically switched, battery powered
Air filtration - Foam element, washable
Oil filtration - Paper element, disposable
Oil capacity - 4.0 liters (4.3 qts)
Type - Five-speed constant-mesh, wet-plate clutch, shaft final drive
Primary drive - Hy-Vo chain and spur gear, 25/25 x 58/35, 1.66:1
Final drive - Shaft, with spur and two-stage bevel gears, 44/47 x 19/18 x 33/10, 3.26:1
Gear ratios, overall - (1) 12.08, (2) 8.78, (3) 6.94, (4) 5.58, (5) 4.77
Type - Tubular full-cradle frame, telescopic center-axle fork, dual-shock, swing-arm rear suspension
Wheelbase - 1545mm (60.8 in.)
Rake/trail - 29.50/130mm (5.12 in.)
Brake, front - Hydraulic, two 298mm (i 1.73 in.) discs with single-piston calipers
Brake rear - Hydraulic, one 298mm (1 1.73 in.) disc with single-piston caliper
Wheel, front - One-piece cast, seven-spoke, 19 x 1.85 in.
Wheel rear - One-piece cast, seven-spoke, 17 x 2.50 in.
Tire, front - 3.5OH19 Bridgestone
Tire rear - 4.5OH17 Bridgestone
Seat height - 808mm (31.8 in.)
Ground clearance - 150mm (5.9 in.)
Fuel capacity, main/reserve - 4.2/1.0 =5.2 gal.
Curb weight, full tank - 273.6 kg (602 lbs')
Test weight - 348.2 kg (766 lbs)
Power source - Alternator, controlled field Charge control
Alternator output regulation
Headlight beams, high/low - 65W/50W
Tail/stop lights - 8W/27W x 2
Battery - 12V 20AH
Includes 160 mph speedometer, 10,000 rpm tachometer, odometer, tripmeter, fuel gauge, turn indicator lights, high beam light, oil pressure light, headlight failure light
Speedometer error - 30 mph indicated, actual 29.41
Speedometer error - 60 mph indicated, actual 58.10
Odometer error - plus 0.6%