Here’s another Yamaha Seca Turbo, looking like something straight out of a old Battlestar Galactica episode… You know, the one of the 1980’s, where they actually [spoiler alert!] get to Earth, and ride around on transforming motorcycles?
In any event, the futuristic bodywork hid some exotic, futuristic performance technology as well: a TURBO. Turbos were sort of the the SBC of the 1980’s, with people sticking them onto just about everything as a way to boost performance in an era of rapidly tightening emissions laws. And because they became a byword for “performance”, even motorcycle manufacturers got into the act.
The Yamaha Seca Turbo was powered by a heavily revised 650cc four-cylinder motor from the regular Seca with a turbocharger and all its related plumbing added and hidden behind the huge, angular fairing. Interestingly, the turbocharged bike did not have a significant advantage over the normally-aspirated machine on paper. But the boosted midrange torque of the turbocharged machine made it a whole different proposition on the road. Unfortunately, as with many turbocharged machines of this era, lag made using that power efficiently challenging at best, and the turbocharger added weight and complexity when a simple displacement boost would have made more sense.
The machine did not sell well, and the machines are more interesting for their novelty and entertaining power delivery rather than outright performance. A few of these classic Turbo machines have come up for sale recently, but I’ve still got my eyes peeled for one of the Honda CX Turbos…
From the original eBay listing: 1982 Yamaha Seca 650 Turbo for Sale
FOR SALE 1982 YAMAHA SECA 650 TURBO SPORT BIKE- THE PRICE OF A SCOOTER!!-MODEL YEARS BUILT 1982-1983. VERY RARE TURBO BIKES FROM ALL MANUFACTURERS WERE BUILT FROM 1982-1986. BE THE CONVERSATION AT BIKE SHOWS AND STOP LIGHTS, RARE COLLECTOR. OWN A COLLECTOR TURBO BIKE THAT IS AFFORDABLE BEFORE PRICES GO CRAZY LIKE ON THE HONDA CX AND KAWASAKI GPZ MODELS.
ONLY 15996 LOW MILES ONLY 516 MILES PER YEAR. EXCELLENT CONDITION NEVER LAID DOWN OR DROPPED. CLEAN TITLE IN MY NAME (NOT SELLING FOR OTHER PARTY OR FLIPPING BIKE NO TITLE ISSUES OR LIENS NO STORIES.CLEAN, NO RUST IN TANK BEAUTIFUL SILVER FACTORY PAINT-NOT A REPAINT.NOT STRETCHED OR MODIFIED. FACTORY ADJUSTABLE SUSPENSION. TURBO CHARGED 4 CYL.DOHC 650 CC OIL-AIR COOLED 90hp SHAFT DRIVE 5 SPEED.
ITEMS UPGRADES FOR SAFETY/ LOOKS & MAINTENANCE
-REPLACED PAPER AIR-FILTER WITH LIFETIME CLEANABLE FOAM FILTER
-GAS TANK PROFESSIONALLY SEALED WITH LIFETIME WARRANTY
-INSTALLED INLINE FUEL FILTER
-NEW SUPERBIKE GRIPS TO REPLACE WORN OUT ONES-LOOK STOCK
-NEW AFTERMARKET BAR END BALANCE WEIGHTS-LOOK STOCK
-STOCK REPLACEMENT LEFT FRONT BLINKER LENSE FOR CRACKED ONE
-STOCK REPLACEMENT HEADLIGHT TRIM
-NEW FACTORY PIN STRIPE STICKER KIT
-REPLACED TORN SEAT WITH FACTORY STOCK SEAT
-REPLACED REAR VIEW MIRRORS AND TORN TRIM BOOTS WITH BETTER VIEW AFTER MARKET MIRRORS THAT LOOK STOCK.
-REPLACED STOCK WEAK HORNS WITH AIRHORNS, LIGHTER, LOUDER
“Turbo sport bike- the price of a scooter!!” Damn straight. Now that the pressure is off these turbo bikes to perform against their normally-aspirated competition, you can enjoy them for the quirky machines they are. Considering the low prices these things seem to change hands at, now might be a great time to pick one up, get your Members Only jacket out of the closet, and cruise around.