Concept : Yamaha Classic Turbocharger Reborn !

The factory turbo battle of the 1980s is a well-documented story where the main four Japanese factories thought they would give the world their take on a mid-capacity motorcycle with the (supposed) power of a litre bike. Yamaha were relatively early into the fray with the 1982 XJ650T Turbocharger – basically a starship-styled XJ650 with a Hitachi turbo fitted. Unlike the other offerings from Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki, the XJ used a bank of four Mikuni carbs instead of fuel injection. It wasn’t enough. Performance was so disappointing that Yamaha offered a ‘power-up kit’ free the following year. Where the XJ650T excelled though was covering fast miles in comfort, which is where our vision comes in...

Concept Bike : Yamaha Classic Turbocharger Reborn


While the Yamaha XJ650 Turbocharger struggled with its performance, it was a handsome beast to many with its futuristic styling which looked good and worked well to protect the rider so we’ve kept close to the original profile. We’ve made some modifications to add built-in crash protectors (the old bike was notorious for smashing fairings and indicators just falling off the sidestand), multiple ram air intakes feed the new motor and improved weather protection around the rider’s legs. Four headlights quadruple power over the original unit.


Take a 2014 crossplane crank R1 motor as your starting point, add a modified Garrett turbo charger and with less than 6psi boost we’d get 225bhp at the back wheel. Shaft drive combined with the typically useable crossplane power delivery, this would be a perfect engine for sports touring. Lazy and torquey when you’re enjoying the scenery of the Alps, mind-blowingly rapid when you need to catch that ferry. It could happen too: Japanese manufacturers are looking at superchargers and turbochargers to help solve their emissions challenges.


The old steel cradle frame from the 1982 bike is thankfully ditched in favour of a modified R1 beam frame. A single shock rear gives the illusion of twin shocks as tribute to the original bike but actually features a rising rate linkage. Thick 41mm USD forks are a far cry from the spindly tubes of old and feature radial monobloc calipers from Brembo. Handlebars and footrests are adjustable for height while pillions get the same comfortable grab handles as before but without the splitting seat cover.