Better with boost: 1982 YAMAHA XJ650LJ SECA TURBO


To my knowledge, we have not yet posted the likes of a Yamaha Seca Turbo on the pages of CSBFS (although we have posted this Honda CX500T and this Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo). That is a shame, as these are really great riding bikes that deserve some attention. The least-loved of all of the factory turbo bikes, the Seca is a fine sport touring bike with a little added torque, thanks to the turbo boost. The fairing design is 1980s futuristic, the base engine is 1970s air-cooled technology, and the overall package provided a workable, reliable motorcycle.

This particular gem is very clean. It sports nearly 23,000 miles on the clock, which is a testament to the reliability of these Yamahas. Part of the secret of the longevity of these Secas is the fact that boost is really set quite low by turbo standards. As such, the engine is not overly stressed and thus tends to last a long time. The downside, of course, is that perfomance is commensurate with boost: more boost equals more power and a shorter engine life. In the Seca Turbo, boost levels were kept relatively low, making this the least potent of all the factory turbo bikes. However it will also last. For a rider with this many miles, the bike certainly looks to be in great shape.

From the seller:
I just got back from a 35 mile ride on this great bike. It starts, runs, and drives very good with everything in working order. Low mileage two owner original that is in excellent condition, with less than 800 miles per year driven. New Battery & front tire last year.

Everything works, and the bike needs nothing, other than a new rear tire. There is some minor checking on the windscreen, but it is not bad enough to replace. A few minor scratches that are common for a 29 year old bike, but this bike is remarkably clean. Fantastic condition!

For those looking to get into the collectable bikes of the 1980s, the factory Turbo bikes represent a good starting place. They are all very rare – as no Turbo bike sold very well back in the day – and they are all very affordable. Parts are still available for some of the bikes (in this case, the Seca Turbo shares some pieces with other Seca models), and most dealership mechanics will find the basics familiar.

I found the image below on a website (see picture for attribution), which chronicles the importance of the Seca Turbo: This was the cover shot of Cycle magazine’s August 1982 edition, highlighting the significance of the model’s release, and the performance it offered.

This auction is on right now, and the price of entry is tiny for a rare, unique machine. The current bid at time of this post is only $510, and this is a no reserve auction. That’s right folks – somebody is going home with this beauty, and probably for a song!

For more information and pictures, . Good luck!


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4 Responses

  1. JoeDuc says:

    Contact the seller on this one. Two weeks ago the bike had a non-fuctioning turbo and some other issues, so best to get an update. Just sayin….

  2. Mike says:

    Hey thanks for the comments, JoeDuc. That is definitely good information. How do you know about this bike?

    CSBFS always recommends that users contact the seller and ask a LOT of questions – especially on rare models such as this one. Thanks for reinforcing that point!

  3. Mark Luebke says:

    Hey JoeDuck,

    You should have bought this bike!

    When we spoke, I NEVER stated that the turbo was non-functioning. What I did say, was that the bike was purchased as a poorly running bike, and that I had it running good. I was honest with you, and told you that I was still shaking it down. I told you that the bike may have a weak coil, or, something with the carbs. I told you it MIGHT be the turbo, but, I also stated that I could hear the familiar turbo wine and that I thought it was in the carbs. I agree with you, that anyone should ask a lot of questions, and you asked enough questions for you to determine that you were not interested. Too bad for you. On this bike, after doing a compression check (all cylinders checked out great) and and ignition check again, everything OK, we went into the carbs one more time, and found a plugged main jet, which was very unusual. First time in, we cleaned the idle circuit, and thought we had it. That fixed the hard-starting and idling, but, the bike lacked power through the range. Now that the mains are clean (and everything else internally in the carbs) the bike came alive and runs perfect, like it should. Bike has been completely brought up to standards with maintenance required, runs, and drives perfect, like it should.

    You missed a great opportunity!

    Best Regards,


  4. Mike says:

    Hi Mark – thanks for the comments. Congratulations on the sale – that was one pretty bike!