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2001 Yamaha XVS650 Dragstar Classic in black
1,314 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The only reason the 650 Classic ended up in my possession is because it was the only offer I got when offering my CB400SF cafe up for sale. The Classic was in a sorry state, with more rust than paint on the frame and fenders. But it had only done 20,300km (12,600 miles), and would be of more use to me than the Honda ornament that just sat there, unused.

Initially, I was enjoying the bike's calming effect. The first couple of trips was with the original tires and suspension that had zero damping left together with way too soft springs. It was not confidence-inspiring, making slow riding not only natural, but the only sensible option. But I enjoyed it enough that I wanted to keep it.

I went over the Classic and
  • painted the frame and fenders, plus engine and various brackets
  • plated some bolts and parts
  • changed oil and filter
  • lubed all splines in the final drive and changed final drive oil
  • trued the wheels
  • fitted new tires and tubes to replace the original ones from year 2000 (!)
  • fitted new brake pistons and seals to the brake caliper
  • fitted a secondhand, little used rear shock off an FZ6R
  • fitted new Marzocchi fork springs made for the Sachs 805 along with thicker fork oil
  • fitted saddlebag stay on the left
  • fitted a new TPS when the original failed later
  • removed passenger pegs and seat, sizzy bar and luggage rack, plus some wind screen mounts since there was no screen

When the TPS went, the bike sat unused since July/August 2020 until May this year. The first ride this season was after jumping off my Honda CBF1000A. And I hated it. Compared to the CBF, the Classic is worse at everything. I had already decided to sell the CBF, as it tempted me into riding irresponsibly fast, but after the initial ride on the 650 I planned to get rid of them both. Then I went on a second ride on the Yamaha, and things fell into place. I have now about 600 miles on it during the past weeks, and despite a painful seat and less than stellar performance in every way, the bike is growing on me more for every ride. It makes me smile, even when my butt is screaming in agony.

Basically, I ride it as a classic, no pun intended. Like a bike out of the 60s. Compared to that era, the upgraded suspension is bliss, the engine deliver comparative power while running smoother, handling and stability is great, brakes are really good. Only the riding position and cornering clearance are below par. Other than that, the bike looks great (to me), is frugal, has fenders that actually fend off dirt and water, the speedo is completely analogue and the engine is very flexible, if not especially quick.

Yes, I have fallen in love with it. Despite more than 40 years riding experience on all sorts of bikes, I find that this big little bike brings a level of pleasure I have rarely experienced. Nice!

2009 650 classic white
361 Posts
You don't have to call me Darling, Darling, but you never even called me by my name.
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