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Yamaha Is Working on Turbo Motorcycle Engines

Yamaha XJ650 turbo

Spool Up!

Turbocharging has been a method for car companies to reach emissions standards for a while now. That technique seems to now be making its way into motorcycles. According to a report from Motorcycle News, Yamaha is looking to turbocharger its range of motorcycles in the future. Meeting emissions seems to be the reason why. 

The publication points to a turbocharger patent filed three years ago by Yamaha. That patent in conjunction with ever-tightening emissions standards seem to point to a possibly turbocharged future for Yamaha motorcycles. Motorcycle News seems to think that the Euro 5 emissions standard will force Yamaha’s hand on forced induction. 

To be clear, this shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a bad thing. Turbocharging an engine can add between 30 and 40 percent more power when done right. That means your MT-10 could make 200 hp instead of 155 hp. Still, there are some downsides to turbocharging, especially depending on the tune. Some turbocharged engines experience a significant lag in power delivery. Because the turbo has to spool up, the power often hits later in the rev range. Turbochargers are powered by an exhaust-driven turbine, so you often have to get some revs before it really kicks in.

Yamaha has built turbocharged engines before. In the 80s, the company had the XJ650 Turbo (pictured above). It was only made for a couple of years. I’d suspect that if Yamaha goes the Turbo route this time, it will stick with it for more than a couple of years.

  1. Please, please stop thinking like a motojournalist. Nobody needs

    “[That means] your MT-10 could make 200 hp instead of 155 hp.”

    we WANT a much lighter, better handling, more enjoyable *750* or *900 triple* that runs like a 1200cc monster. The world doesn’t need (yet another) 1000, but one that runs like a 1600; nobody would be able to afford the insurance coverage anyway.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    1. Hi Snake!

      I like the way you think. I’m actually of the opinion that I’d like to see both smaller and larger bikes boosted and not just one or the other.

      I currently ride an H2SX SE. A 200 hp 560lb sport touring bike that is an absolute pleasure to ride anywhere thanks to the supercharger and the technology in it to harness that many horses.
      It’s also very fuel efficient thanks to that boosted intake air. I want Kawasaki to supercharge a 650cc twin engine and put it in an adventure bike frame and try to get it under 400lbs. That would be the most incredible bike!

  2. I have a 1973 XJ540LK turbo Yamaha. Wonderful bike wxcept the 5 speed tops out well before the power does. The shaft drive is nice, but the 5 speed and fixed gear ratio means the bike runs out of revs long before potential top speed may be reached.

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