History of the Yamaha XS400

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So I've done a little digging and couldn't find much on the history of the XS400. I thought it would be nice to have a place for people to compile what they know about the XS400. Things like what years they were made, model designations, differences, VIN numbers for each year, colors, specifications etc...

Maybe someone will be able to use this thread in the future to create a comprehensive article on the history of the XS400. So let's hear what you know (or can find) about the XS400! :bike:
XS400 Geneology What I've found so far not sure of the differences between the alphabetical designations of models.
1976 XS360 C
1977 XS360D/400D
1978 XS400E/400-2E
1979 XS400F/2F
1980 XS400G/SG
1981 XS400H/SH
1982 XS400J/RJ/SJ
1983 XS400K/RK
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From what I can tell from looking at parts diagrams:
  • The 1981 and earlier models had regular swingarms with dual shocks in the rear.
  • The 1982 and 1983 models (except for the 1982 SJ) had mono shock swingarms.
  • The 1982 SJ had a regular swingarm with dual shocks.
As I understand it the 82, 83 Seca R models and the Maxim had the square tubed monoshock. All others had conventional swingarms with dual shocks
Model codes

1L9 XS360C '76
1M0 XS250C '76
1T6 XS360
1U4 XS360 '77 EUR.
1U5 XS250 '77 EUR.
2A2 XS400D '77
2G5 XS400SE '78
2J0 XS400 '78 EUR.
2L0 XS250F '79
2N1 XS400-2E '78
2V6 XS400-2F '79
2W2 XS400 '78
2Y2 XS250F '79
XS 400 history taken from a german xs400 website and translated through google

After some preliminary skirmishing with the XS 360 (1976), which instantly became a best seller has been on, and the XS 250 (1977), which in our friends was less, Yamaha introduced in 1978 XS 400 out (in the U.S., it was as early as October offered in 1976 as an XS 400 D). It was up to the radius of the cylinder bore with the XS 360 is identical, ie, single overhead camshaft and a perceived by many to be too small 11-liter tank equipped and is with us today as type "2A2" known. In general Yamaha followed in the XS-series a modular design to its machines in good quality to offer attractive prices to be able to. The XS 400 was Germany with 27 hp / 20 kW offered to new drivers license with leistungsbeschränktem to address. In other countries it was 38 hp / 28 kW offered. The reduction was mainly on the camshaft. 1978, the XS 400 at once the best-selling motorcycle in Germany.

End of 1979, the XS had a first facelift undergo 400th The often perceived as too small tank grew to 16 l, the swingarm was extended by 40 mm, the rider was 10 cm at the rear to the rear wheel and brake drum was now delayed by. In parallel, the growing popularity of tribute paid to soft choppers and XS 400 SE to the market brought. She drew a 16''-rim in the rear, a drop tank, a different exhaust system and other cosmetic changes made by. Just stopped, the XS 400 by the end of 1981 in the program, even the SE to 1982.

In other countries, the XS 400 per legislation and consumer tastes, some with different characteristics extradited to. There were, for example, models with spoke wheels, with duplex drum brake in front and without electric starter and main stand (XS 400 2E).

The sales figures for Germany are summarized in the following table.

Sales figures 1977 - 1987
Year Number Note
1977 6156 XS 360
1978 4842
1979 3813
1980 5695 incl SE
1981 4664 incl SE
1982-87 <6000 only XS400 dohc (12E)

For 1982 was then a completely new engine developed to date XS 400 is essentially the only name in common with and today was the XS-type friends as "12E" is known. Technically, this was the highlight of the XS 400 XS series. It came with dual overhead camshafts, 399 cc displacement, a cantilever arm (shock absorber) and an entirely new look, therefore, of the classic motorcycle style from the '80s and turned to. For example, here the pointed tail is called. The engine was now black, and does in the open version 45 hp / 33 kW, in Germany, but retain the camshaft throttled over 27 hp version available. In addition to the second camshaft Yamaha donated the engine with a balancer shaft and the so-called yics (Yamaha Induction Control System), the help should the machine to reduce consumption. The generator was installed over the transmission to the engine to make narrower.

Also from the new XS 400, there was a soft chopper version XS 400 Maxim This was. But not delivered in Germany and is with us accordingly rare. When customers came the new XS 400, presumably because of their unusual designs, not good and this failure in 1987 led to the withdrawal from the Yamaha XS series and the entire two-cylinder family.

Today, the machines between 20 and 30 years old and are due to their sound as simple technique of many DIY enthusiasts and classic car fans estimated to. Because of its then sales success they many other classics apart from are still plenty of motorcycles and spare parts on the market and an XS 400, accordingly, a relatively cheap classic cars.


Coinciding with the release of the XS 400 Yamaha said in Germany in 1978 the Yamaha XS 400 Cup to life.

3. 400 On the Origin of XS

Beginning of 1979 flew the motorcycle-author Robert Poensgen to Japan for the start of production of the '79 model, the XS 400, and the emergence of a XS 400 observe up close to. Below are in there a Zusammenfassug his experiences in the land of the rising sun. The full report is in the "motorcycle", issue 7 of 4 be read April 1979.

The XS 400 was in Iwata in Hamamatsu, the center of Japan's motorcycle production, produced. In addition to Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki were sitting here. The Yamaha factory was in the late 70s, about 5,000 workers in an area of almost 400.000 square.
From the order of the distributor in Germany to shipping it took 3 months. So much time was necessary and reasonable supplier to coordinate the production. Normally sent Yamaha / Mitsui one ship per month to Europe, if necessary, for example at the beginning of the season, also 2 Production XS managed 150-200400 per day, the total production was estimated at about 100,000, depending on sales .

In the final production was produced from about 1000 parts of an XS. Not included here are various preparatory work by suppliers, such as the production of wiring harnesses, alternators, carburetors and fittings and delivered built were completed. The manufacture of parts, such as the manufacture of the frame, the pre-assembly of forks, the casting of engine parts and the production of crankshafts and gears at the time of installation also completed already.

In a first assembly line, first the engine was assembled. The engine assembly line was for the XS 400 has a length of 125 meters. 59 Workers were working on this volume. Every 40 seconds, the tape went a step further. This resulted in a production time of just over 56 minutes. To the production engine was followed by a test on a dynamometer also a band going on. The test lasted 5 to 10 minutes. If the engine had been found to be good by the test engineer, he was released for final assembly into a motorcycle.


Final assembly took place on another assembly line to a length of 140 meters instead. 87 employees sat here in exactly 53 minutes and 1 second to complete together XS 400th The first area was the engine on an engine number of the proposed smashed. Then the installation was carried out in the frame and the assembly of other parts. Were not mounted the front fender, turn signals and license plate holder.


After mounting the motorcycle was almost finished a further test for light, brakes and wheels. After a successful test, the XS 400 partially disassembled and shipped in a crate for packing. The removal band (108 meters) minutes took 60 workers 20 at the machine to make ships. Then machine the parts were disassembled and packaged examined by customs, freight forwarding company over to a port and taken to the. The subsequent shipping to Hamburg then took about 29 days.

All XS400s before 1982 had a full cradle (downtube frame). The 82 and later dohc 400s had a stressed member (no downtube) frame. The letter suffix denotes the year and model. The letter "S" indicates the model as a Special, and the numeral "II" identifies the bike as the less expensive entry level (less chrome, wire wheels and a drum front brake) Special 2. The 78 and 79 models had an 18" rear wheel with a disc brake, while the 80 and 81 models had a 16" rear wheel and drum brake. 1978 is an E, 78 Special is an SE, 79 Special is an SF, 79 2F is a Special II, 80 Special is an SG, and so on.
Didn't see it in the information above. So my VIN starts with a 3F9 and is what I believe to be a 1980 special. It has the cast wheels.
I take this from a Haynes Yamaha XS 250/360/400 SOHC twins manual
I thought it would come in handy

UK Models;
MODEL Code introduced discontinued
XS250P 1U5 1/77 6/79
XS250 3N6 1/78 1980
XS250 4A2 1980 1981
XS250SE 4G6 5/80 1984
XS250C 5H8 2/81 7/82
XS400 2J0 9/77 1979
XS400 3N7 1979 4/80
XS400SE 4G5 3/80 10/83

US Models;
Model Code introduced Model year
XS360C 1L9 9/75 1976
XS3602D 1T6 10/76 1977
XS400D 2A2 10/76 1977
XS400E 2L0 9/77 1978
XS4002E 2G5 9/77 1978
XS400F 2L0 9/78 1979
XS4002F 2V6 9/78 1979
special 2 3F8 12/79 1980
special 3F9 11/79 1980
special 2 4R5 9/80 1981
heritage 4R4 9/80 1981
heritage 14V 10/81 1982
So I've done a little digging and couldn't find much on the history of the XS400. I thought it would be nice to have a place for people to compile what they know about the XS400. Things like what years they were made, model designations, differences, VIN numbers for each year, colors, specifications etc...

Maybe someone will be able to use this thread in the future to create a comprehensive article on the history of the XS400. So let's hear what you know (or can find) about the XS400! :bike:
anyone trained in the art of IDing bikes? the difference between the normal 400's and the 400F and 400-2F? parts wiring engine frames all of it.

OK, well, if you are talking about an XS400F or 2F (in the U.S.) you are talking about a 1979 XS400. There was no "XS400" (no letter)- that year, they were either an F or 2F. The "F" was the "standard" version and to quote from the 1979 ad hanging on my office wall:

"There's even an economy model, the XS400-2F, for those of you on a tighter budget. It has wire wheels instead of cast alloy, slightly less chrome, a kick starter, drum brakes. And it comes in one color instead of two. In all other respects, it's identical to our regular model."

You can infer that the "regular" XS400 (F) had alloy wheels with disk brakes, more chrome, 2 colors (in reality, that means one base color and a pinstripe) and an electric starter.
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