Members bike owned by Paul Watts


1978 YAMAHA XS650D

I clearly recall a friend of the family coming around to visit in 1976 when I was 16 and riding at the time a Suzuki AP50 sports moped. He asked me what my ultimate bike was. I had to ponder for a while, as I had never really thought about it. After a while, I decided that it would have to be two bikes, the mighty New York Steak Kawasaki's Z1 and the big twin Yamaha XS650.

Four years later and Lyn and I postponed our wedding by six months to enable me to fulfill part of this dream. May 1980 saw me being the proud owner of a Yamaha XS650D.

18 months old and 9,500 miles on the clock, I spied it at Mottingham Mopeds in South London, the same place that I bought my new Suzuki AP50 sports moped from.

£1,200 on the never never and it was mine. They were available for £1,400 new at the time but I couldn't stretch to the extra £200.

A year or two later and there were some XS650's being sold for just £1,000, but they were grey imports and Maroon.

It had to be black for me, easily the best looking XS650 that was ever made.

Paul & Lyn Watts marriage at Woolwich  Regisrty Office with Yamaha XS650D

The first year in my possession was quite eventful, I covered about 10,000 miles.

During one trip to Swansea for a Motorcycle Action Group demo with a bunch of mates, we trucked on down the M4 making good time. On the way back I realised that it was making a loud whine from deep inside the engine.

A trip to the bike doctor saw a transplant of the main bearings and pistons. I handed the doctor £287 in return.

Add to this new battery, tyres and chain and spocket set and costs started to mount.

The 'Japanese Triumph' as it was called was Yamaha's first real effort to meet the might of the British bike industry head on. It was first introduced in the USA in 1970 as the XS1.

Despite the costs in such a short time, I still believe that the abuse that I gave it meant that a Bonneville would have suffered much more had I gone that route.


1978 Yamaha XS650 with dead bower ignition in Cornwall

Back to home page