While technically the 1979 Kawasaki Z1R TC was the first factory turbocharged motorcycle, that was more of a partnership and sales tool to move Z1R units – not a full production motorcycle. It was Honda who fired the first real salvo when it came to fully integrated factory turbos, with the intent that turbo power would become the future of motorcycling. The remainder of the Big Four jumped into the technology cauldron immediately, anxious not to be left behind. In the case of Yamaha, this reeked of a “me too” effort; the XJ650LJ had the necessary elements of a turbocharger and zoomy futuristic styling, but little else was new or noteworthy. Like all the factory turbos of the 1980s, the Seca quickly fell by the wayside as an expensive novelty. The world did not vote with their wallets, and all the manufacturers discovered that they already had better bikes of the normally aspirated variety on the showroom floor. The cost and complexities of turbo power did not immediately add up to the promise of a better future. Three decades later, bike such as this 1982 Yamaha Seca 650 Turbo remain rare and relatively unloved.
When it comes to approaches, Yamaha took no real risk in designing the Turbo variant of the Seca. Utilizing the existing Seca platform (four cylinder, air cooled, two valves, carbs), Yamaha engineers fitted a tiny 39mm Mitsubishi turbo behind the engine and below the tranny, just ahead of the rear wheel. This was nice from an overall packaging stance, but the long exhaust primaries to feed the turbine create some degree of dreaded turbo lag. The interesting exhaust piping doesn’t end there; while the Seca has two mufflers, only the left pipe is normally in operation. The sole function of the right muffler is to vent gasses once the wastegate fully opens. And unlike Honda, which stuffed their turbo bikes full of computers and electronic hardware to manage the fuel injection and engine functions, Yamaha utilized blow-through carburetors and eliminated much of the computerized complexity. Air cooling maintains simplicity and helps to keep weight down, although The Seca Turbo weighs in some 65 pounds more than the normally aspirated XJ650 on which it is based. Air-assisted suspension provides a nice level of adjustability, but the rest of the package (including the brakes – and yes, that is a drum on the rear) is pure XJ650 Seca. With only about 7 PSI of boost available before the wastegate shuts the party down, the Seca remains one of the more mild factory Turbo bikes to ride.
From the seller:
1982 Yamaha Seca 650 TURBO
This motorcycle has been in a climate controlled museum for the last 10+ Years. There is no sun fading – It’s a time capsule.
Comes with both Keys.
My Master Mechanic & I Un-Mothballed recently, Installed a new battery, Changed the Engine Oil & Filter, Flushed the Carbs & Fuel System (Which had been Drained and Oil Fogged) and 1/2 filled the gas tank with NON-Ethanol Premium Fuel. After a little cranking it came to life – but in checking everything out from sitting in a display mode for so long we noticed the turbo waste gate was partially stuck open – so – we removed the turbo. Instead of just cleaning everything up and putting it back together – we sent the turbo unit to G-Pop (see picture of the receipt) and had the Turbo totally Rebuilt – Cleaned – Balanced & Blue Printed before reinstalling it. I do not sell motorcycles out of my museum that do not operate mechanically correct for the new owners. The reserve will reflect this upgrade to the unit but is worth it for the service it will provide to the new owner.
More from the seller:
There are no fuel leaks. It idles with the choke off. It Revs & Restarts fine. If the plan of the new owner is to ride the bike – I’d recommend a general check over due to the time the bike has been idle. We haven’t driven it other than around the parking lot due to the age of the tires. If it goes back into another collection the tires won’t matter. It the new owner wants to drive it on the street etc. he’ll get to pick the tires of his choice. The bike is titled & licensed in Oregon.
Here is a You-Tube Link from the seller showing a walk around of the motorcycle and starting and running the unit:
This particular Seca 650 Turbo is coming out of a private museum. It has a few more miles on it that what would be expected from a museum example, but then again we should just be happy some of these odd bikes have been preserved. Overall this bike looks great for its age. The Alpinestars sticker and newer Yamaha logo on the right side of the lower chin fairing are flagrant non-stock items, but providing that these are not hiding some damage then no harm, no foul. The sticking wastegate is a normal issue for any turbo bike – regular usage alleviates these types of recurring problems. And regular riding is exactly what these bikes were designed for, turbo lag and all. Riders will find that the performance is not quite up to the hype, but even today these bikes offer a fun rush once the boost builds to its max. Heavier than contemporary 1100cc machines with performance nipping at the heels of the 750s of the day, the promise of a boosted future was put on hold after the 1983 model year (all 1984 examples are hold over units from ’83). This bike appears to be in decent condition, is clean and presents well. Located in Oregon, check it out here. You don’t see too many of these Seca Turbos any longer, so act quickly if you are interested. Good Luck!!