In 1978 Honda had the GL1000 (and later that year the mighty six cylinder CBX1000), Kawasaki the Z1000 and Suzuki had launched the fine handling GS1000, yet Yamaha were nowhere to be seen at the litre class. They had the iconic XS650 twin and the XS750 triple. So, for the 1978 season they launched the behemoth XS1100 with 95bhp on tap.
At 258 kilos, it was no lightweight, but came with some great technological advances. It was the first inline four machine to boast 34mm Mikuni constant velocity carbs. It also featured a unique “polyspheric” combustion chamber, which produced the same volumetric efficiency as the hemispherical combustion chamber without any of the drawbacks. So Yamaha had achieved lighter weight pistons with greater heat dissipation, which allowed a higher compression ratio. The XS1100 wasn’t just an XS750 with an extra cylinder, it was a more free revving engine with enormous grunt. This monster produces 9.2 kgf-m which translates to 66.5 lb/ft of torque at 6500 rpm.
They became the long distance motorcycle couriers’ weapon of choice. Shaft drive, ultra reliable engines that would run for miles and more power than you could ever use in town. Many were ridden to destruction. Custom bike builders loved them and made insane choppers from them, Trike builders could not get enough of them due to the torque. All of this meant that we are left with very few unmolested examples today.
This fine and presentable example has undergone a thorough restoration, every fastener is stainless steel and every clip has been renewed. The frame was powder coated, brakes rebuilt, engine rebuilt and the machine rides like a new, it is supplied with a current MoT and UK V5. This is the monster missing in the Japanese motorcycle collector’s array. Riding and owning this machine will put a massive smile on any enthusiast’s face.