Models [ edit ]
The XS Eleven made its debut in 1978 as the largest capacity Japanese superbike then currently in production. It featured dual front disc brakes. a rear disc brake, shaft drive and cast wheels. A factory custom styled XS Eleven Special was released alongside it in 1979.
Both models were superseded by the 1982 XJ1100 Maxim which used an engine based very closely on the XS1100 unit. The XJ1100 Maxim was only built for one year, before being phased out. In Europe, the XS Eleven differed from the North American model by having a larger gas tank (6.3 US gallons vs.
5.3 US gallons), a lower handlebar and longer exhaust pipes. The European market also featured the 1.1 Sport (based on the Special model) and Martini (based on the original XS1100) versions. Both of these additional models were faired.
History [ edit ]
The XS Eleven was the first four-cylinder four-stroke motorcycle from Yamaha. It exploited well-proven technology, first used by Yamaha in their previously released XS 750 four-stroke triple. When the XS Eleven was introduced, it earned a reputation as a heavy, powerful bike.
At the time of its release it was the most powerful production motorcycle money could buy. Nobody gets far riding the XS11 before they become acquainted with the fact that it’s strong; we had ridden ours over hundreds of open-road miles before going to the drag strip and knew it was a bullet. [ 2 ] The handling of the XS Eleven was not as well received. When this behemoth of a motorcycle actually hits a corner at anything approaching interesting speeds then it takes a good deal of muscle to lay it down. While the Yamaha doesn’t disgrace itself in corners (not as much as some Z1000s I have known, for example) it doesn’t commend itself either. [ 3 ]
In 1979, Yamaha followed the growing trend of offering a factory custom version of the bike, called a Special by Yamaha. Pullback handlebars, a stepped seat, a smaller, fatter rear wheel, a smaller capacity tear-drop gas tank, fully adjustable suspension, and altered frame created a factory custom, forerunner of the modern cruiser. The XS Eleven Special sold well despite complaints about the poor ergonomics.
What that translates to is a bike with an awkward riding position but generally excellent road manners. In fact, most of the things that irritated this staff in the way the bike rode and handled could be traced to the handlebar, which, although certainly as trendy as disco dancing, was not what the ergonomics doctor ordered for precise, comfortable control. [ 4 ]
XS Eleven Venturer [ edit ]
In 1981 a touring version of the XS Eleven was produced. [ 5 ] This model, dubbed the Venturer was equipped with a Windjammer like fairing similar to those made by the Vetter Fairing Company but branded by Yamaha. Venturers included matching trunk and hard bags. Additionally, the Venturer included a 6.3 gallon tank for increased range while touring.
British motorcycle journalist Roland Brown, in his book Superbikes of the Seventies . says The Yamaha’s lack of reputation gives it one advantage these days, though, in that a clean XS such as this one costs less than its more successful contemporary rivals – whose performance advantage, so crucial then, is far less important now. Two decades and more after its launch, maybe the XS1100’s time has finally come.
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