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No Excess: A supremely elegant XS650 from Portugal

No Excess: A supremely elegant XS650 from Maria Motorcycles in Portugal
Can you believe
the Yamaha XS650 is half a century old this year? The air-cooled parallel twin has always had a strong fan base, and Maria Motorcycles of Lisbon, Portugal love it as much as anyone. Their first build was an XS, and they’ve been smitten ever since.

So it’s not surprising that the Maria guys hoarded a low mileage 1980 XS650, waiting for the right project. And inevitably, a client came along and convinced them to customize it for him.

No Excess: A supremely elegant XS650 from Maria Motorcycles in Portugal
“We wanted a simple and elegant bike,” Maria’s Luis Correia tells us, “without too many overdone parts or extras. Our job was simply to restore it, and make it as-new and unique.”

The donor was mechanically in tiptop shape—so the crew didn’t need to crack the engine open. It was running perfectly smooth, so they cleaned it up and repainted the covers black.

No Excess: A supremely elegant XS650 from Maria Motorcycles in Portugal
The rest of the bike was stripped right down and rebuilt with new bearings, seals and stainless steel fasteners throughout. Maria kept the original suspension and brakes (even the original discs, which have plenty of wear left on them), but refurbished and serviced them.

They also powder coated the frame, wheels and any other parts that needed a refresh. The frame’s been shortened and looped at the rear, and the tail light and plate relocated to the left side.

No Excess: A supremely elegant XS650 from Maria Motorcycles in Portugal
There’s a custom-made leather saddle up top, and a one-off aluminum electrical box underneath. Maria repackaged all the wiring to fit in there, along with a small Lithium-ion battery. The airbox is gone, replaced by a pair of K&N cone filters.

Moving to the cockpit, the team switched the bars out for a laid-back set from LSL, and ditched all the stock switches. The bars now wear mini-switches, classic Posh grips and new levers with a Magura master brake cylinder.

No Excess: A supremely elegant XS650 from Maria Motorcycles in Portugal
Just in front is a simple analog speedo and a small round light. And the guys have taken the time to fit smaller bits like upgraded plug leads and HEL performance brake lines.

Then there’s the exhaust; a high-riding twin muffler system, hand-made by Maria. “We know that the muffler position is something controversial,” says Luis, “as some of the comments we received. But of course we tested it and it’s pretty far from the rider! This bike is made for one single person, as requested by the new owner.”

No Excess: A supremely elegant XS650 from Maria Motorcycles in Portugal
That exhaust’s earned the XS650 the nickname ‘Zagalote.’ “It’s a Portuguese word for a very powerful bullet used in shotguns,” explains Luis. “We choose that name inspired by the pipes pointed in the air like cannons!”

We’ve always known Maria Motorcycles to be masters of good taste, and Zagalote is a perfect example. There’s nothing out of place here, and nothing that’s not needed, to the point that the Firestone Deluxe Champion tires fit right in. And as we’ve come to expect from this crew, the paint job is sublime; a simple green with white accents, repeated on the headlight.

No Excess: A supremely elegant XS650 from Maria Motorcycles in Portugal
It’s a bittersweet result for the guys though, since they don’t get to keep this one. “We’re jealous of the new owner,” says Luis. “The Yamaha XS650 is one of the best bikes to work with, and it has lots of character.”

“A XS650 was the first bike we built, so this one brought back some old memories from the beginning.”

No Excess: A supremely elegant XS650 from Maria Motorcycles in Portugal
“The bike is lovely to ride, so smooth and perfect. It starts first time and the engine works like a new one. The pipes make a beautiful bass sound. It’s not a exhibition bike at all—we would ride it everywhere.”

So would we. Here’s to another 50 years of XS650.

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No Excess: A supremely elegant XS650 from Maria Motorcycles in Portugal

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