Triple Threat: 1977 Yamaha XS750-2D

040816 Barn Finds - 1977 Yamaha XS750D - 1

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Another motorcycle?! I know, but I’ve heard that a lot of you are motorcycle fans and I wanted to get your thoughts on this one. This 1977 Yamaha XS750-2D is in Highland Park, Michigan and it’s in great, original shape. These bikes were early-adopters, as they say in 2016. They had shaft-drive and cast wheels, as opposed to chain-drive and spoke rims like most other motorcycles had at the time. They also had three-cylinders. Not two cylinders or four cylinders like normal motorcycles had; three. The “2D” model came out a few months after the “D” came out in response to some nagging troubles with the transmission popping out of 2nd gear into neutral; you can see where that would be a problem. It also has two mufflers instead of just one big one which made for better, lower cornering abilities, as opposed to the 1976 XS750C or early-’77 D with three-into-one exhaust.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have almost this exact same bike in a 1978 E-version. No, not E as in electric-powered, although that would be cool; it’s an XS750E. I even have that same crash bar on the front; or I did.. Hmm.. I’d better check the shed.

040816 Barn Finds - 1977 Yamaha XS750D - 3

Yamaha’s XS750 series was made from 1976 to 1979. The owner of this bike says “This motorcycle is in very good condition. Very dependable, and has never let me down.” The tuning on these motorcycles can be tricky with three-carbs but maybe not more so than any other multi-carburetor engine of this era. I love the black engine on these bikes. Back in the pre-internet days (yes, there was an actual world before the internet!) I learned how to keep the engine looking great with an odd trick using WD-40. I’m sure that there are better techniques for this today. The 64 hp triple was narrower so it could be mounted lower in the frame than its competitors’ engines typically were and that led to great cornering abilities.

040816 Barn Finds - 1977 Yamaha XS750D - 2

These bikes were generally liked by reviewers and by most owners who had a chance to experience them on a daily basis. Where they fell short was probably due to the fact that they had a shaft-drive, making them appear to be touring bikes instead of true sport bikes to the sport bike crowd. And, to the touring crowd, the 750cc engine was seen as not being big enough in the days of the 1000cc engines on touring bikes. Talk about a no-win situation! I love mine and I’m sure you would love this 1977 model, too. This bike would have been around $2,300 when it was new in 1977 and it is listed on eBay now with an opening bid of $2,000. I can’t imagine that it will go much higher than that. Are you a fan of these 1970s three-cylinder Yamahas or do you prefer either two or four cylinders?

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  1. geomechs geomechsMember

    I remember a friend of mine showing up on one of these things back then. It went like Jack, the bear but I wasn’t overimpressed. I guess it was because there were three more just like it in the next town ten miles down the road. This one seems to be in good shape. I’m sure it will take you down the road for many more miles before it gives up the ghost. For myself, I think I’ll just bide my time until a good Norton or Royal Enfield shows up…

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  2. jmacc

    I owned one of these (with lower bars) back in the early 90s, after my xs650 got stolen. It was a really good bike. Light, but shaft drive and good power. If you’re prepared to molest them them they make great cafe racers.

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  3. kman

    I’d love this bike and I’m a fan of Yamahas already. I had a 500 cafe racer and a 750 Virago. A light bike such as this might suit me cuz if another heavy cruiser lands on me and hammers my left shoulder into the pavement again I’m toast. That shoulder is all titanium ad the docs said I was grounded but at my age … what the hell.

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  4. bob

    I remember they had a big piece of rubber on the side of the case. I liked them when they came out, but my favourite bike of this era was the 650 Seca I owned. What a great all a rounder and quite pretty in my opinion. Always liked Yamahas.

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  5. HoA Howard AMember

    Well, the second I saw this, there was no question in my mind who submitted it. ( I’ve been “needling” Scotty to get his bikes going) Asians were great at copying others, and this is no exception. I always thought these were the updated Asian knockoff version of the Trident ( or Rocket 3), except highly refined. Personally, I feel shaft drive, aside from it’s odd handling quirks, is the way to go. ( put almost 80K miles on my Goldwing before a u joint went out) The biggest problem, I thought, like Scotty sez, these weren’t really road bikes, and not really city bikes, both jobs they did well, but a lot of power for a small bike ( think the “widow maker”) This is just a great example, but like I said before, it’s a lot easier to keep a classic bike nice, than a car. Great price too. About the only thing I’d ever consider buying something Asian is motorcycles, I say you can’t go wrong here. Love the bikes, keep ’em comin’.

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  6. wynkin

    The shaft was made by BMW. I had an XS850 put me off triples for life.

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    • Stan Wiggins

      I took mine almost 50K, a lot of long trips over almost 20 years. Superb and reliable. The early ones had CV joints instead of cheaper auto type U-joints and they lasted forever; had a chance conversation with another rider who went 80K without problems. The three-cylinder layout runs much cooler than four-cylinders (two buried cylinders). I did find that a fork brace distinctly improved handling. Kick starter is great to prime the engine with a bit of lubrication on cold mornings; thus primed, the battery will start her right off. Fuse blocks fatigue and need replacement after 25K. This was follow-up to Yamaha’s disastrous effort to bore out 650 twin; bottom end bearings are huge. Rave review in Cycle when released, FYI.

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  7. Clif3rdMember

    If I’m not mistaken , the engine and shaft drive were designed by Porsche.

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  8. Alex

    I’ve never been into the Yamaha four stroke triples either. Had a tx500 (twin) for a while, it was meh. I always see these for sale with bad motors… That has made me stay away from them. I saw an xs850 carcass the other day while trolling through someone’s (junk) yard. It was offered for free and I just kept walking.

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  9. sdwarf36

    “Wretched excess.” Nothing wrong with them-thats just what we always called them at the Yamaha dealer I worked at. I still have the the little plastic dip stick tools to check the rear gear oil. (Different between the 750+ 850.)

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  10. mtshootist1

    I have a Yamaha triple in the garage that was given to me. I think it is an XS750. The center cylinder has low compression probably due to being overheated by the adjacent outside cylinders. If I remember correctly it was a 78 Never got around to getting it running, this particular bike had the old glass fuse box right on top of the fender where the seat comes down on them. Would be happy to sell it.

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  11. jim s

    hard to beleive this design came from the same company to made the RD/RZ/TZ. they did sound good. this one looks like it would make a daily rider. nice find.

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  12. Tim

    I owned one of these about 10 years ago. Very nice, well-balanced bike. Plenty fast enough; a great tourer. Trouble-free. Sold it for $1500, and I’d buy it back at that price (in that condition), today.
    Not spectacular in any dimension, but extremely competent in all.

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    • Roger emmons

      I have a 1977 Yamaha vs 750 3 cylinder with 20000 miles nice bike will sale for 1500 good title French lick indiana

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      • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

        Hi Roger, please consider listing it on the site as a classified:

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  13. JD

    I love seeing motorcycles on here. I’d even love to see a whole Barnfinds side project just devoted to barn find motorcycles? Ever consider it?

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  14. cyclemikey

    I have one of these in my stable as well, one year newer than Scotty’s, it’s a ’79 XS750F. It’s a pretty darn good bike for short tours, moreso than for city riding or long-distance touring. Although I know people who did use them for long-range tours back in the day, and swore by them. It’s not as smooth as my T160 Trident from the same era, but the vibes go away at road speeds. There weren’t any particular issues with these motors; any stories to the contrary are anecdotal. The transmissions had a few issues with 2nd when they were abused, so if that’s your habit, it may not be your bike. Good feature bike.

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  15. Rotag999

    I had the first series 1977 750 Triple pretty bike but was hard to start if you did not ride it everyday motor shook a lot and too much driveline snatch. Traded mine in on a 79 Yamaha XS1100 smartest thing i ever did way better smoother bike.Don’t believe Bmw had anything to do with Yamaha Shaft Drives as i owned 2 of them later on a 93 1100 Brick and a 2004 1150RT.

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  16. Rotag999
  17. PRA4SNW

    Now we’re talking. I had a ’79 XS750F in the mid 80’s as my 2nd (first was a DT400), and last bike. It was fun, and my friends who had other jap bikes remarked that they thought it had a great ride and felt quicker than theirs.

    Got away from riding because of too many idiots on the road, and the Vette convertible I had just bought was taking up most of my free driving time. But I wouldn’t mind having another one of these to get back into riding. But not at $2200.

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  18. Greg A Yancey

    Just checked ebay…the bike has sold for 2125.00. The new owner got a sweet ride.

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  19. Todd

    Nice bike. I had a ‘77 XS750 2D that I bought new ands ‘77 XS750D that I bought used in the ‘90s. Both were great bikes, but there’s no way in hell that I would pay that kind of money for one now. I don’t think I paid much over $2K for the2D brand new.

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  20. Mark Puckett

    I bought the 1977 model brand new in May 1977. My brother and I rode our machines to Yellowstone park, the Tetons and all over Colorado that summer. Great bike. Only complaint was the old ignition points could get wet when sitting out overnight in the rain and it wouldn’t fire up until I pulled the cover off and dried them out. Wish I still had this bike.

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  21. Joseph Young

    I owned a Yamaha 750. It was big and heavy, but it went like stink. Comfortable on a long ride, I went to Cape Breton Nova Scotia and to northern Quebec on the big triple. Best cruising bike I’ve ever owned. Never had problems with it.

    Like 0

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