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Cycle World - October 1979 Print E-mail

Cycle World

October, 1979

Touring: XS11F

Defining a touring bike is getting tougher all the time as more sophisticated shaft drive machines are produced, but when it comes time to hit the open road in search of miles, nothing beats Yamaha's XS1100. It's big, it's brutish, it's fast and it's comfortable. It's almost a superbike: it's the best touring bike made.

What makes the Eleven something more than the average touring bike is the motor. The 95 tire-shredding, eyeball-flattening horses make the XS an acceleration match for anything on two wheels. The torque is enormous. It requires a different technique at the dragstrip, it's so strong. None of this eight thou and dump it stuff for the Yamaha. No, it works best at lower speed than any other bike where its enormous 66.5 ft./lb. of torque seems to pull the dragstrip back past the motorcycle when the clutch is gently released.

Ordinarily a motor as muscular as the Eleven's powerplant would eliminate it from consideration as a touring bike. Only the soft suspension and total comfort of the whole bike make it perfectly clear that the XS Eleven is a touring machine.

Little bumps or big potholes are just swallowed up by the plush front forks and rear shocks. The Eleven's ride should be compared not with other motorcycles but with plush cars. And the controls, the clutch that takes less effort than the clutch on Yamaha's own 750 or 650 or 400, and a throttle that is easy to turn, and brakes that halt the mighty Eleven with little fuss or trauma, all contribute to the feeling of elegance.

Okay, so the handling isn't going to please the cafe racer set. There are other motorcycles designed for going around corners. The Eleven is designed to go fast and smooth. Lord, is it smooth. Not even the most sophisticated six cylinder motorcycles are any smoother. Big Fours are supposed to have torsional vibrations that buzz the handlebars. But the Eleven doesn't.

Touring bikes are distinguished by the mountain of accessories their owners pile on them. Like a good touring bike, the Yamaha is readily adaptable to most of the accessories available and it handles them masterfully. Yamaha even sells its own collection of touring accessories so a customer can buy a full dress Eleven ready to roll from his dealer's showroom floor.

Yamaha's XS Eleven has more of everything you need to go far than any other bike made.


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