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Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

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Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: Supercub » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:17 pm

I saw a 1982 Yamaha Vision 550 on craigslist. Looks alot like the Radian and the Virago too. The Vision cranks out 64 hp, 14 more than the XV750 and weighs about 60 lb lighter. Shaft drive, water cooled, dual downdraft carbs. Was Yamaha just putting out a more sporty variation of the Virago?
Last edited by Jake on Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Moved to General Motorcycle / Other than Virago

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Re: Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: Jake » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:06 pm

Aside from a V twin engine and shaft drive, they don’t have much in common. The Vision was water cooled , no parts ( that I’m aware of ) interchange with a VIrago.

The sport version of the VIrago in the US would be the XV920 RH and RJ, both of which are chain drive.
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Re: Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: Supercub » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:30 pm

I havent seen a spoked and chain driven Virago in the US. I thought they were non US versions.

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Re: Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: Hellgate » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:10 pm

No even close. The Vision was a much more developed motor and chassis, well pretty much everything.

I had one in the '80's for a few years. Quick bike.
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Re: Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: faffi » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:14 am

IIRC, the XV750 is supposed to make 61 hp - 50hp was for Germany. And as mentioned, the XZ550 Vision is a completely different bike. Also, wet weight for the original XV750 was 228 kg compared to, from memory, 221 for the Vision (Euro version with twin disc front brake, US version likely a bit less), so the difference in weight wasn't anywhere near 60 lbs, I believe.
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Re: Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: Hellgate » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:36 pm

212kg, 467lbs. Quicker than GPz550s at the time.
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Re: Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: faffi » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:54 pm

I have not seen a single test where the ZX550 out-performed the GPz550, be that in top speed or acceleration, although the Yamaha usually gave better roll-on performance. In real life, though, production tolerances could of course easily see this being reversed.

Regardless, I'd go for the Yamaha every day of the week if for nothing else but the V-twin engine (no fan of inline fours) and the looks. Although a nice looking bike in its own right, the ZX550 really hits it with me - I love its looks.
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Re: Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: Hellgate » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:22 pm

It was in Cycle World, or somewhere back 35 years ago.

The problem with Vision was the sand in the carbs left from the casting process. Once cleaned out it ran great. The Vision hick-up was gone.

The main issue I had was shaft jacking. Roll off mid corner and the bike settled about 2" inches. Then pegs and hard parts touched down.

The motor was a gem. If I didn't already have two Yamaha oddballs I'd get a clean Vision.

My bike had fork springs, stainless steel brake lines, Avon Venom tires, fork brace and a nice little quarter fairing.
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Re: Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: faffi » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:26 am

Ah, the Avon AM18 Super Venoms :rockon: :bg:

Cycle or Cycle world got a GPZ550 with a damaged engine in 1982, and it didn't get into the 12s. The ZX550 did a 12.94 IIRC. But after investigation and repair, the GPZ set a time of about 12.6, which was typical for the model. Doesn't matter, the ZX had a better powerband for the road.

As to the shaft, I remember the same thing from my Seca 750. In fact, I crashed when the rear tire let go around a 50+ mph corner when I was already scraping the peg, both stands and the exhaust collector. As the tire began to slide, I automatically - and wrongly - let off the gas, and that again pulled the rear tire clean off the tarmac. Metal offer very little grip, I learned :ops:

Never felt the Virago reacting that much, but then again I am a much smoother rider these days.
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Re: Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: Hellgate » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:31 pm

12.9s sounds about right.

My buddy had a Seca 750 and we rode the wheels off those bikes.

I paid $1,750 for mine. It was an '82. I bought it in 1984.

Too bad the recession hit. There were a lot of cool bikes that were killed off.

That said, the FJ600 was a much better bike that the Vision, Seca 550, and Seca 750 combined.
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Re: Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: faffi » Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:02 pm

Agree that the FJ600, or XJ600 as it was caller over here, was a superior bike. IIRC, it dominated club racing in 84 and 85, despite the Ninja 600 coming out in 85? And didn't the FZ600 win the 600 class for 86? Pity the engine had two cylinders too many :bg: And it also vibrated enough to be irritating. As did the Secas, for that matter.
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Re: Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: chrismalm » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:14 pm

I gotta throw in my :2cents:
If I had to choose, I prefer the XZ550 to the Virago. Lighter, more nimble and overall more fun. Not as torquey as the XV, and harder to work on, but it winds out to 10k and it will do 80 all day. The carbs are fiddly and need routine maintenance (or frequent Italian tune-ups) or they will gum up and quit on you. I now drain the carbs after each ride. The XZ550 has other "pattern failures" that must be addressed to make them reliable : The starter clutch bolts loosen in the first 10k miles. If caught early they can be replaced and Loctited, or preferably spot welded. The starter is below oil sump level and must be rebuilt if the seal fails. My bike has stranded me twice recently and I believe it is due to a weak fuel pump. It will run like a top until I shut it off, then I will run the little battery down trying to re-start it. Keeping the tank full and only shutting it off at gas stations seems to be the temporary fix. I have a couple spare carbs & pumps and I am in the process of rebuilding another set.

I don't have a pic of my current XZ550 on my laptop but here's a white one I bought as a non-runner in 2014 for $150 and after dumping $600 on parts and registration, plus labor, sold for $1,200. It had 6k miles on it.
2014-06-05_08-42-47_697.jpg
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Re: Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: faffi » Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:43 am

I can see why you prefer the 550; it has better handling, better acceleration, more top speed, offer greater comfort and sounds better than any stock XV. On the negative side, it need much more revs to move, is more complicated as you mentioned, and there are often issues with the stator, r/r, TCI and also instruments. There are good replacement part for the electrical bits, but instruments can be hard to find. Same with exhaust systems, although aftermarket items are available. The biggest hurdle for owners, especially for those planning to do big miles over years, is that they were only made for 3 years and did not sell well, so finding parts can be slightly challenging. Still wouldn't mind owning one.
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Re: Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: Supercub » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:42 pm

61 hp sounds alot better. I was using motorcyclespec.za to compare both bikes. The XZ is a hot bike as stock, If I brought one I wouldnt change anything on it. Yhe XV is a good looking cruiser, better than a Shadow or any other. What I like sbout the XV is that with a little modification, it can be transformed into cool cafe racer.
Looks like the XZ took a hit like the TX750 did, it took years for people to figure out the quirks.

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Re: Yamaha Vision XZ550- Virago Variant?

PostAuthor: faffi » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:11 am

Yamaha deserve praise for trying new stuff, even if not all went down too well with the buyers. The TX was the first mass-produced bike with balancers to quell vibrations, although the design was not ripe for production.
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