xz550 vtwin cafe


Active Member
hey guys, i just got a bike that no one seams to like, lol, but i got it pretty much for free, i traded a 50cc for it.. i got it running in about a day but i still need to do some electrical work, im tryin to sell it on craigslist so i can get a smaller honda, but since no one likes them its been difficult.. plus finding stock parts is hard

as for the bike

1982 yamaha xz550rs

this is the v-twin water cooled yamaha with a weird 80's street bike look. also has a mono-shock like a virago.

the motor is 550cc dohc 8 valve, 2 mikuni down draft carbs, it has 1 exhaust header for each exhaust port so it pretty much has two 2 into 1 pipes, and sounds really good imo..

my plans, the basics for now, smaller mufflers(or maybe none), round headlight, aftermarket speedo, clip-ons, bar end mirrors, smaller seat and a cafe type rear fender, smaller blinkers etc etc.. rear tire on front mod like done on the virago's

any ideas on what i should do will be cool, and i dont mind criticism on the bike either lol

only a couple pics for now



Re: gunna be a weird one

Wow, that is an odd one. It's like Yamaha's answer to the CX500. I really like it. The tank is cool and the seat/tail is interesting.

Things I'd change:
Headlight, square ones are very 80's 90's
Mirrors, signals, obviously
Plasticky gauge housing

You'll have a very unique bike. Might be hard to find parts for. Are those clip ons?
Re: gunna be a weird one

ive never seen those before... i like em!

i get the feeling they have some potential to make some serious power if you work that engine enough... the basics are there... hmmm....
Re: gunna be a weird one

Hey that's a Yamaha VIsion. Very cool bikes IMO. I was looking for one when I ended up buy a CX500 the Honda oddball. Check out the front fork the axle is trailing the forks axis. It's looks as the the lower fork legs should be truned around but that's the way Yamaha made them. I've heard they handle quite well. I like them if I had money to spare I buy it.
Cheers, 50gary
Re: gunna be a weird one

yeah its a vision, yeah it has stock clip-ons but they suck lol i think i might just flip them upside down for now.

here is kinda what i wanna do, mix the seat and tail of the first one with the front of the second one


Re: gunna be a weird one

That would be awesome if you could pull that off. It looks like the XZ side cover was used in the picture above for the seat cowl....or it at least has the same shape.
Re: gunna be a weird one

That tank has such an exaggerated curve on the lower edge and such extreme narrowing at the rear, that I'd be tempted to do something outrageous to it. Try to continue the tank curve rear wards into the side cover area and then curve it back up to the lower seat/tail area. You could make that come to a point at its lower extremity.

That curve is a classic style element, but rarely is it so obvious. Positively funkadelic baby.

It could be quite stunning in a sort of homage to Glam Rock. Or not......

You could also change the shape of the tank slightly to soften that curve and make it look marginally less unusual. Try photoshopping some alternate shapes and see what emerges.
Re: gunna be a weird one

I had a buddy that rocked the socks off one of those. He didn't do much more than just strip it down as much as possible, low bars and some kind of exhaust...it's been years....
but he could hang with most of us in all but the straights.
Neat weirdo-bike man, you should keep it for the oddball appeal!
Re: gunna be a weird one

A few of these popped up on the local Craigslist and I did a little research. Looks like they definitely have a following and seem to be very solid performers, better then most of the true vintage stuff I'm sure...

Very cool and unique project, excited to see what becomes of it!
Re: gunna be a weird one

hey guys i think i might just keep it, the only bike around i have found that looks almost identical is the honda vf500, looks almost like its cousin...




i have decided im gunna ditch the tank and tail/seat all together, the tank on it has a pretty bad dent right on the curve and looks like it will be way too hard to ping out and make it look right, and the tail is way to 80's for me, im gunna make a custome fibre glass tail and find a smaller tank but hopefully just as long, that stock tank is huge!!


dont think i mentioned the fact it has that color change paint everyohne liked 5-6 years ago, green to purple lol
hey i got some aggravating news, started taking stuff off the bike today, well i think im gunna be stuck with this tank cuz the tunnel is HUGE!! dont think there will be another bike with the same size tunnel. and the "stock clip-ons" bolt to the top triple tree.

so im thinkin of swappin a virago tripple tree on, anyone have a pic of one???

the wires behind the headlight are a rats nest so im gunna have to clean it up real good! and i snapped a couple pics but i have a real sucky camera so im sorry for the quality






The tank is one of the coolest items on the bike, IMHO. The tank and the wheels give it that 80's style moderistic look. Yamaha was searching for a look no question.
Another cool tank shape it the Yamaha Radian both bikes were only manufactured a few years. I put an RD 400 tank on my custom XS650. It didn't fit no way I cut the tunnel out and made a new one then welded in the new tunnel.
Cheers, 50gary
I too think I'd work to keep the tank. As you state, it's got a wider tunnel and frankly that tank fits the frame really well. Call a 'paintless dent removal' guy to come take a look at that tank for you. Make sure it's drained and cleaned out....doubt he'll wanna work in the fumes but the tools used will be able to reach that ding and work most of it out. A little bondo or lead after that and you're dialed. With the bike stripped down, a more minimalistic seat, maybe some spokes (since it's chain drive it'll be a relatively simple swap) and maybe a frame mounted 1/2 fairing (I have 750ss fairings on the brain) and I think you're well on your way to a really neat machine.
unfortunately its a shaft drive, but i think some viragos might have come with the spoke wheels.

im gunna make it naked to all hell! lol took the cluster and rectangle headlight off already, i think im gunna get some small "fog lights" at autozone for my headlights, the small round ones.. would be sick
Yamaha and most of the major manufacturers for that matter are really pretty good about cross platform swaps. It makes good business sense to reuse tooling from previous models.
I'd bet that a Virago spoked hub would drop right on.
Can't wait to see how it shapes up for you!
hey guys stripped all the stock plastic stuff off, i seen a bike on here where the guy used a skate deck for a brat style seat lol so i figured id try it just cause, might be stupid but its gunna be a free project lol if it dont work out my bro can fiberglass me a seat.

gunna start cuttin metal tomorrow but my grinding and cutting discs are garbage, gotta hit schucks for some more.
well i got some spare time so i sprayed the engine down with de-greaser, and it ruined the side covers, it etched them out and made them look like sh*t... i guess im painting them.. ugh, at least the cylinders and heads still look fine.
Re: gunna be a weird one

I own one, actually it is my third. they rock. I have done some major mods and it kicks at 136 mph. !* over the factory estimate. Keep her and let her fun. If you need help let me know!!
Was re-reading...sorry, I thought at first that this one was a chain bike. I'd still bet that you could sling a virago spoked rear hub on there.
Another option would be to have your spline adapted to whatever spoked hub you want to run and build the wheel yourself.
Regardless...can't wait to see how this comes out. That frame has just a touch of Seeley flavor, you should build with it in mind as a visual element....
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