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Yamaha XV920RJ

My 1982 Yamaha XV920RJ. This was the only colour offerred in the ‘82 US Market. It was discontinued the next year, so these are very rare ducks. I was unable to convince the licence bureau of this, and they refused it classic plates - confusing it with the ubiquitous Virago models.

Brakes were very lack lustre, and it had a few issues in higher altitudes, but this was a very able canyon carver. I made a mistake getting piping on the seat seams when it was rebuilt, and these cut off circulation and left welts.


These photos are rendered from film prints. California, on a trip with brothers Larry and Bruce. Lar is the roadkill.

Bruce Hayton bought this bike, being an aficionado of the odd duck. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a damn good bike. Tank styling emulated the MotoGuzzi. In fact, as an owner I saw enough similarities to believe that’s just what they were going for, minus the transverse engine. The tank was a tad small for long range exploration, and I was always the first guy needing gas. I added basic vinyl soft bags, and a fairing from Rifle. It was the only one that would accept the enormous train headlamp the RJ boasted. Brakes were hydraulic all around, and the bike sounded quite good - good enough you had to take it easy coming home late at night, or risk waking the ‘hood.

Suspension offered only an air pre-load adjustment. It fought a bit in the corners, probably due to too much rake for a sporty bike. Never managed to touch a peg on this bike, which is more than I can say for any other. May have more to do with my absence from riding which was ended by the purchase of this motorcycle.