The Yamaha XS1100 Special or the 'non-chopper chopper' as it was also called, the XS1100 Special came about from Yamaha's own research that showed a growing market for a 'mild lean-back' riding position. The result was Yamaha's '79 'Custom' version of the '78 XS1100 street motorcycle, with stepped seat, pullback handlebars and smaller rear tire compensated for power-robbing environmental exhaust regulation for motorcycles, keeping the Yamaha XS1100 Special's standing 0 to 100 similar to the regular Yamaha XS1100 version, capable of accelerating in 12 seconds to 215km/h.
The XS1100 was derived from the Yamaha 850 triple, and shared its 71.5mm x 68.6mm cylinder dimensions, the Yamaha XS1100 engine was neoprene mounted in a double downtube frame. The crank drove its 5-speed gearbox by Hy-Vo chain to a jackshaft, with spur and bevel gear shaft final drive.
The 4-cylinder, 8-valve head breathed through four 34mm Mikuni CV carburetors, produced a 95 horsepower and fired by an unusual inductive ignition system with both mechanical and vacuum advance/retard. Testers at the time praised the big Yamaha XS1100 engine's instant power. And while they disliked the custom styling and 'ridiculous' handlebar, most enjoyed the lazier riding position. Which we still find today a relaxing riding position when you get used to it.
The early '80s style suspension was lacking and the Yamaha XS1100 Special tracked uncertainly on uneven surfaces, but our tested oldy has relative modern aftermarket rear shocks mounted, and the owner ensured us that they refurbished the front forks only a year ago.
Even today the 34-years old Yamaha XS1100 Special is still an acceptable motorcycle, the engine of the XS1100 Special we tested was serviced and maintained regularly and was in perfect condition...