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Yamaha XV750

Yamaha XV750

It seems only yesterday that the American-style cruiser trend hit Europe, but in reality Yamaha paved the way for this category as early as 1981 when they first unveiled a cult classic that became the defining bike of this class: the XV750 Virago.

Mounting a specially developed 75-degree V-twin engine on a pressed backbone type frame with Monocross rear suspension, the XV750 Virago was a pure American style cruiser in every aspect. From the planning stage of the development project, customer surveys were conducted in the U.S. And, when those surveys revealed that users considered the 'V' engine to be the power unit of choice for cruisers, the project would remain true to that preference. The fact that Yamaha's engineers made the development of the company's first side-positioned V-twin power unit the centerpiece of this project is further proof of their desire to make this model the real thing.

At the same time they were fully aware that there would be no meaning in building a bike that was merely a duplication of American makers like Harley Davidson. The aim was to fully grasp the tastes of the American riders and then create a bike with a distinctively Yamaha character and attention to detail. Only that kind of attitude could produce a cruiser that was the real thing.

The appeal of the V-twin engines of American-style cruisers was the kind of hard-biting torque that bites into the road and an exhaust sound with powerful pulse. On the other hand, Yamaha's strengths lay in the high level of its race-bred engine performance, an obsession with form and the beauty of the lines of the cooling fins. So the development objective became a well-balanced marriage of these two contrasting engine characters. The most difficult decision was the "V" angle. After analyzing the full range of different angled V-engines from Harley, Ducati, Vincent, Moto Morini from the standpoint of pulse strength, quality of performance, effect on chassis design and the beauty of the V itself, the Yamaha team decided on the 75-degree V.

Then, in order to build a chassis with the impressive low and long styling of the traditional cruiser with a typically Yamaha light weight and slim lines, a new monocoque structure steel pressed backbone type frame was developed. This frame, which used the engine as a stressed member, was designed to embrace the engine with all its front-rear, top-bottom protrusions of the head assembly in a way that showed off the beauty of the air-cooled 75-degree V-twin as much as possible.

At the same time, numerous innovative measures were taken to make optimum use of the limited space around the engine, such as using the space inside the frame as an air passage to supply air to the carburetors positioned in the V-bank so that the air cleaner box could be positioned under the seat. All this enabled a design with a low seat height of just 750 mm and slim body lines.

Furthermore, taking into consideration the preference of American riders for sturdy, durable design and the convenience of maintenance-free components, a Yamaha-exclusive shaft drive system was adopted. And, to ensure comfortable, enjoyable riding, our latest Monocross rear suspension was adopted and equipped with a remote-control 6-level adjustable air cushion set.

The resulting model was a true flagship for Yamaha as a maker, aggressively pioneering new possibilities in the American cruiser category.

Yamaha XV750 General specifications:

  • Dry weight: 294kg
  • Overall length mm: 2320
  • Wheelbase mm: 1520
  • Cylinder arrangement: V-twin
  • Bore & stroke: 83 x 69.2
  • Displacement: 748cc
  • Compression ratio: 1:8.7
  • Maximum horsepower: 65.5 CV/7250rpm
  • Transmission: 5 speed
  • Front suspension: Hydraulic fork
  • Rear suspension: Monocross single shock
  • Front tyre: 3.50H19-4PR
  • Rear tyre: 130/90-16 67H