Yamaha XS-V1 Sakura for Tokyo Motor Show

Yamaha XS-V1 Sakura concept motorcycle

Yamaha keeps rolling out the concepts for the Tokyo Motor Show and the XS-V1 Sakura follows the same retro line as the Honda concepts revealed a short time ago.

The press release is long on philosophy and short on detail but the Sakura looks like a nice throwback to a standard motorcycle.

From the Yamaha press release:

We display the “XS-V1 Sakura” (special exhibition model / prototype) as a symbol of our long-nurtured corporate philosophy. This is a V-twin sport model with a look of “Japanese style” in the image of Yamaha’s first 4-stroke model, the XS-1 (650cc), released in 1970. Its design is full of XS-1 DNA, in its simplicity and functional beauty and finds new refinement in a retro-modern aesthetic. It is a model that proposes a very Yamaha and very Japanese vision of premium motorcycling life, bringing together the unique characteristics of a 1,000cc air-cooled, V-twin model with its strong pulse feeling and easy-going running performance in a finely crafted body that is lightweight and slim and defined by a low seat height.

Related: Yamaha Tesseract Yamaha Luxair


  1. taxman says

    there’s a little voice in the back of my head telling me to put some cafe racer styling into this. it looks like a very nice bike. stellar to look at but standard enough that you could style it in many different ways. i really like it.

  2. Tanshanomi says

    The peachy-pink-bronze color is a bit odd, but otherwise, way to go Yamaha! It reminded me immediately of a grown-up SRV250. A nice blend of retro with just enough edginess to keep it interesting.

    I think standard V-twins are an under-explored niche, in general, and Yamaha has dabbled in this area more than most, with the XV920R/TR1, MT-01 & BT1100 Bulldog.

    With ugliness like the Versys and Rune lately, I was beginning to lose all hope for motorcycle aesthetics. The XS-V1 and the new retro 1100 Hondas are a pleasant change.

  3. mobilus says

    Looks like I can finally afford that Vincent Black Shadow I’ve always wanted. I’d buy this in a heartbeat.

  4. kneeslider says

    If you notice these comments you see what’s so nice about a standard like this, everyone sees something a little different and Yamaha could offer all sorts of things to change it to your liking without having to re-engineer everything. A fairing, different pipes, different seat, make it whatever you want it to be or leave it alone and enjoy a great ride. The option is there to change it or not. Classic looks and a whole lot of fun.

  5. says

    This is well done. A bench seat bike for my sweetie to ride in comfort instead of her perched on a patch of a seat leaning on me.

    A v-twin to boot.

    I was considering a Victory cruiser for the 2-up days, but this is a great alternative.

  6. Benyen Soljax says

    triumph’s bikes turn me off quite a bit because they are so retro that the engine looks old, and i want some up to date performance out of a bike i buy. this bike has the old school look and an engine that looks state of the art. i cant wait to see some of these come back.

    on a sidenote, i probably wouldnt buy one because i dont like the aerodynamics of fairingless bikes. i rode a sportster last weekend with no windscreen and boy was that a workout. ill stick to bikes where i can escape the wind without a gigantic windshield.

  7. OMMAG says

    Got to say this bike is appealing.
    No frills nor gewgas. No apparent design gaffs just straight forward and clean.

    Now if the engine and drive train has the right stuff…….

  8. stacius says

    I want one!!

    I’d pretty much decided that my next bike was going to be a V-Twin or a triple…this would be a wonderful addition!

  9. Willie Schmitz says

    Wow! Yamaha hit the mark. Perfect combo of old and new.

    I’ve got some megaphones and a 1/4 fairing waiting for an undecided Cafe project. I’ve been thinking Thruxton until I saw this bike.

  10. Ry says

    I am glad they used the V-twin rather than the Triumph rip off that is was . I like it clean and simple. I could see street tracker and cafe modifications that would be simple on this platform. It reminds me of a Sportster with a V-Rod motor in it. Come to think of it that’s not bad either.

  11. todd says

    I think the XS650 that they referenced doesn’t look much at all like this bike. Sure it’s nice but it’s just another V-twin-ho-hum. I doubt many people would buy this over a Ducati Classic unless it was thousands cheaper.

    Yamaha would have done better to build a competitive 650. That is an extrememly hot market and the SV650 has taken a sizeable chunk out of it. The Ninja 650 is trying its best but the SV is still king. If yamaha built an XS650 standard with a vertical twin for $6k or so (but more updated than a W650 Kawasaki) I think they would sell a ton more than these.


  12. says

    This isn’t another ho-hum v-twin.

    It is’t a “standard” in the sense of a SV standard either. This appears to have a lower seat height and more style.

    As cool as the W650 was/is, I like this more due to the v-twin.

    A 2-up, toolin-around bike with style.

  13. says

    hit submit button too soon…

    The Ducati Classic doesn’t have the bench seat like its early prototypes revealed. Ducati missed the execution of that prototype IMO, in that regard.

    The Yamaha bike above fits a market segment nicely….the rider/passenger that do not want a tall sport tourer & definitely don’t want a long, heavy cruiser. We want to be able to motor around on a day trip in style, both of us together. And as people mentioned above, the rocker can modify this in various ways.

  14. kneeslider says

    Todd I have to disagree with you, this is no v-twin ho hum. This bike really looks good to me. A 1000cc engine has the power to cruise 2 up with ease, it has the seat to carry a passenger comfortably but still looks good if you’re solo. It has a big V2 without any Harley looks to it, like mobilus said above, almost a Vincent look overall. A less than 90 degree exhaust note, this bike really has that “c’mon, let’s go for a ride” look. The lines are classic enough not to get lost. And you don’t have to strike a pose on this, no hard guy chopper look, no ricky racer, just a nice ride. You may be able to tell, … I like this.

  15. PigIron says

    Well it is certainly a step in the right direction but it has some creepy “stylistic” touches. The cylinder heads matching color with the tank and fenders is downright fruity, and those bolt hole recesses in the leading edge of the side cover are a bit dubious too. Looks like they are trying to match and color coordinate with the crankcase cover. Puke ugly muffler to boot and they needn’t chrome the spokes and rims either.

    This bike reminds me why I hate the styling of the V-ROD too: shiny cosmetic over-finishing of the parts.

  16. RD350 says

    Ummm … isnt that Pinky Tuscadero’s old bike.

    Seriously, this bike would be killer with a different paint job and exhaust.

  17. mobilus says

    Vincents Motors (who now seem defunct before getting a bike to market) had this prototype a few years ago:


    If they had built it, I would have bought it. To me it’s a 9/10 on the beauty scale, with the engine itself being a 10/10. Vincent then moved to a aesthetic monstrosity prototype with an RC51 engine, then they went quiet. Now I’m picturing the above Yamaha in all black, with a custom tank that’s a little fatter towards the back, like the Vincent on in the link I’ve posted.

    Like Knee said, one or two up, it looks good. For me, it’s not too big for town (Goldwing, FJR1300) or too weak for the highway, even if two up. Like Honda’s recent CB1100F, this bike has all the bases covered with enough engine, sane seat layout and a comfortable riding position. With a removeable windscreen and a couple of leather bags, this bike could do anything and look fantastic while doing it.

  18. Sid says

    oh man, I like the shape of the muffler.

    If they put a parallel twin in this bike, it would be a ho-hum, parallel twin, British-copy. But, the Japanese v-twin makes this bike stand out.

    The bike has room for stylish, roomy saddlebags for two. The acce$$ory catalog can go the rocker route or the touring route.

  19. sfan says

    I agree with most here, very nice job… except for the Barbie paint scheme. There are some hi res images floating out there that make some design elements more visible to my aging eyes:
    – oil cooler tucked way up & hidden by the gas tank
    – engine is a structural member
    – not sure but the exhaust looks like a 2-in-1 and the exhaust escapes through a side hole
    – the headlight is very retro modern
    – the instrumentation appears to be mounted on a tiny chrome cowl over the headlight
    – not sure where the forward turn signals are
    – pegs are moderately back & high compared to a Sportster
    – curious crotch padding at the front of the seat (perhaps only on the pink model)
    – many tasteful & subtle flourishes
    – very much looks production ready!

    Overall, I like it very much. Again like others, I would like different paint scheme, low-rise lean into the wind bars and a nice subtle fork mount cafe fairing, and given the chrome elsewhere perhaps some polished engine surfaces.

  20. Reader says

    To everyone that disses the paint job (not disagreeing with you necessarily) it’s just to go along with the name. Sakura means cherry blossom in Japanese.

    I think it looks pretty good, but if that’s the only paint job I wouldn’t drive it.

  21. kneeslider says

    If the worst thing about the bike is the color, and I’m no fan of this color myself, I think the designers did a pretty good job. Last I checked, there was this thing called “paint” that could fix it.

    Seriously, this is a new concept or prototype or whatever Yamaha is calling it and several of you are upset about the color. Focus on the big picture here, color on a concept introduced at a show may have no relationship to any eventual production bike if that is the intent of this model.

    And if Sakura means cherry blossom which explains this color, then we could have an XS-V1 Dark or XS-V1 something else for whatever color you want.

    I think the exhaust fits the design very well. But, it would be an ideal option for changing the look, too.

  22. Sean says

    That would make one hell of a cafe. Move over 750 Four… The paint scheme is a little odd, but as Paul said, there’s a thing called paint that fixes things like that. The exhaust makes it look almost Vincent, and if it were ever to make it to production I can see a fair few Vincent lookalikes being made up. This is the sort of bike we need, a true standard that doesn’t make you look like you’re on the couch watching Coro St, or one that breaks your wrists after more than a few hours. Good on you Yamaha, for putting this concept out there.

  23. Bryce says

    Todd said:

    “Sure it’s nice but it’s just another V-twin-ho-hum. I doubt many people would buy this over a Ducati Classic unless it was thousands cheaper.”

    I don’t know in what part of the country you live, but here in the Midwest it would likely outsell the Ducati by a large margin, even if the price difference was only a grand. Living in the greater KC area I’ve got roughly half a dozen Yamaha dealers nearby. I’ve got one Ducati dealer I could go to. I love European vehicles, but I don’t like what the “exclusivity” does to your options for sales, parts, and service.

    As for this bike, it’s the bike I’ve been imagining when people on here discuss standard bikes. It seems a lot of people despise the color, but I don’t. I’m not sure I’d buy it, but it’s interesting to me. I do like the tank color extending onto certain engine parts. I think that looks slick. I’m also a fan of the two tone seat. A change from cherry blossom pink to cherry red would fix anything that’s wrong with this concept.

    If Yamaha reads this, then they need to build it and sell it in the USA.

  24. Clive M-Sanders says

    I think its got a gigantic crank case, i think the exhaust should come out of one side, and i think there should be some big chrome guages on it. But id definately buy it for my girlfriend.

    I think its obviously marketed towards women, which is cool. Im tired of the scooter chicks, the harley “chicks”, and the boy racer chicks…. lets get some cafe racer chicks out there! woo.

  25. Tinker says

    I like it, I might have to trade in my 1978 CB400A.

    Nothing too gaudy, just what it needs to be functional. Of course. it needs a three cylinder 750 though, to make it get up and fly.

  26. S_design says

    I agree it is a nice design and with only few modifications can become even nicer. I would modify it into something like this, check it out.


    Looks a lot more like 50’s Vincent, compared to what the new Vincent has done with the water cooled ugly looking honda engine, which I think unfortunately destroys the brand and the legend.
    What you guys think?

  27. aaron says

    yummy. I don’t even have a problem with the paint…( but I’d prefer a seafoam green or teal)

    …but then again, I’m secure enough in my sweaty, smelly, hetro manliness that I could happily drive a miata to a redneck convention.


  28. sfan says

    Hey s-design, exactly! Very nice photoshoping.

    This bike would be a good way to expand the Yamaha’s Star brand.

  29. seattle says

    What’s the point of critiquing this bike? I’m sick of manufacturers displaying concept bikes that never make production.

  30. todd says

    Sorry to strike a sore spot. To me, Yamaha does not have much to do with V-twins. Even they know that and that is why they shot-off the “Star” brand.

    Why a V? To me it shouts “me too” and has positively no benefits other than being slightly less wide than a parallel twin. The motor design with separate heads and cylinders only adds to the cost and weight and vibration and takes up valuable space that could other wise be filled with: A. nothing, or B. a more efficient intake system. Just look at how the rear cylinder head looks smashed against the side cover. Things like that is what keeps the original design from making it to reality.

    A 1000cc motor is not a “tool-around” motor. The last I checked that much engine adds 100 pounds and at least $2000 to a bike. Since when does it take 1000cc to ride two up on the highway at 80+ mph? That can be done with as little as 20 hp. Surely (and in reality) a 650 has more than enough power for every situation that can be thrown its way. Have any of you actually ridden a 650 or even an old 350? I’m afraid too many of you are only familiar with 40 or 50 HP Harleys and the thought that a 650 twin would somehow have only half the power of your 1200. Guess again.

    I’m sorry that I keep ranting on in nearly every one of my posts about small displacement bikes. It just seems to me that we are losing the very kind of bike that everyone keeps asking for (simple, light, inexpensive) when manufacturers keep upping the CC ante. How many times have you read a test ride of a DRZ400SM or Ninja 250R and the author waxes on elatedly how much fun he forgot a bike could be. Manufacturers no longer offer the types of bikes that attract new riders.

    Even if this bike was pink (I’m pretty good with a can of flat black) I would buy a 400 or 650 long before I would consider a 1000 for the reasons stated above and a V-twin has no business being in a Yamaha.


  31. Phoebe says

    “Im tired of the scooter chicks, the harley “chicks”, and the boy racer chicks…. lets get some cafe racer chicks out there! woo.”

    *raises hand* I resemble that remark!

    And Todd, I agree with you about the size & weight of bikes. Not everyone needs 1200cc, 800cc or even 600cc to push them around at highway speeds. My bike has…count ’em…a whopping 12hp, and it goes fast enough for me to take on the highway, so long as there aren’t steep hills. Yes, I’m pushing it on the highway, but I think even a bike with 20 or 30 hp would be sufficient for me if the weight was kept low.

    Anyway, more on topic, if they downsized this bike to a 600cc v-twin, I would definitely be very interested in it.

  32. says

    “I’m afraid too many of you are only familiar with 40 or 50 HP Harleys and the thought that a 650 twin would somehow have only half the power of your 1200.”

    wrong ’em boyo – never owned a Harley. I bet many of the readers of this site haven’t either.

    And I learned on a CB 350, just as thousands of riders.

    Why can’t a 1000cc motor be a tool around motor?

    I want a 2-up bike that I can cruise around town and also ride across the state for the weekend, without being a cruiser, sport tourer, or luxury tourer. And I don’t want the same parallel twin look of Triumphs.

    This bike could be built with 2 different sizes.

  33. Jeff says

    The more I look at this the more I like it . It’s neat . S_design your rendition is really neat . I’ve owned V-twins , Inline fours , Parallel twins and horizontal twins . I love to ride them all . It’s all about the fun .

  34. todd says

    Because; 1000cc bikes are motorcycle industry suicide. The more liter bikes the manufacturers sell the less small capacity bikes they make. Witness the decline of the industry and the raising of the average age of the average rider.

    Sure there seems to be a recent upswing but that is only due to more and more middle age males who are using ready cash to buy instead of investing in a down-turned stock market. OK, there are rising numbers of women riders too but those (excluding Phoebe) are the wives of the aforementioned man who uses his wife as an excuse to buy another bike.

    When was the greatest age of motorcycle industry growth? About the same time the average motorcycle was 400cc and just as many (if not more) smaller bikes were available as/than larger bikes. People were younger with less disposable income and chose sensible bikes that weren’t intimidating. Something along the line of a 350 Honda twin or Ducati 250 single or even a 125 Yamaha or Bridgestone that did 80 mph and returned 100 mpg. The average bike was around 350 lbs or less except for the big 750 world touring BMW’s that scaled in at a massive 450 lbs. A guy or gal could pick up decent, stylish transportation for the sum of one month’s wages and buy a stylish jump suit with matching Bell helmet…

    Yes, the Yamaha XS-V1 harks back to those better days when the current crop of riders first entered the sport but, are we so numb that what was once a 50 hp 650 yamaha is now a 100hp (est.) 1000? Are highways that much faster and bikes that much slower (and people that much fatter) that it now takes 600 more cc’s to cruise two-up than it did 30 years ago?


  35. mobilus says

    The greatest age of motorcycle growth happened when Japanese manufacturers upped the quality yardstick over perennial market leaders Harley, Triumph and Norton. It wasn’t a golden age for non-Japanese manufacturers. Triumph and Norton went out of business for reasons that had nothing to do with displacement, and Harley came oh so close to following the British. The added aspect to growth then was that Japan’s timing also coincided with the front wave of Baby Boomers hitting adulthood.

    Yes, a 400cc standard is light and easy to handle, and I’d like to see more 400-650cc standards hit the market today. But there’s room for everything. Honda’s claim to fame was the ’69 CB750. Kawasaki replied with the ’72 Z1…. at 903cc. It didn’t take long for the Big 4 (Japan) to push into the liter bracket.

    To discount a 1000cc bike simply because it’s unnecessary, pretty much defines the entire business of motorcycles. I don’t need a motorcycle, but I love having one. Isn’t love enough of a reason to have whatever kind of bike one desires?

  36. Stan says

    Maybe it’s the drooping front fender or the broad tank, but the rake looks a little steep to my eye.

    A v-twin configuration necesitates a longer chassis, so perhaps this was done to quicken steering geometry.

    Overall though – me-likey!

  37. hoyt says


    none of us are suggesting the moto industry does not make smaller bikes (I wrote above this bike could come in 2 sizes). It should (italicized) come in 2 sizes.

    There aren’t many stylish entry-level bikes. (hello Harley!?)

    There also aren’t many bikes styled along the lines of this bike for the experienced rider. This bike has leaped to the front of my list over a Victory or HD for our 2-up riding days because it is not a cruiser and it is not sport tourer, etc. but it will have better performance to keep the experienced rider satisfied.

    It’s not suicide at all, especially where this bike will sell the most, outside the US. Choppers are dead. Cruisers next? No, but if this bike is built, it would definitely take at least one cruiser sale away.

  38. says

    I sense a trend. One that is not coming from “Yamaha DNA” as the press agents want us to believe, but from the small custom builders like Brat Style and others.

    The yearning for simple basic “bikes”.

    Street fashion informing corporate marketing.

    Yay for standard bikes. Something other than rice rockets and Cruisers.

    I really REALLY want this bike. It looks like it could have been made in 1972, except this would likely be super-reliable with all the modern manufacturing processes in place.

    Yeah. Yamaha needs to bring these to the U.S… like sooner than later.

  39. Martin says

    I used to own a TR1 1000 cc Yamaha VTwin, and I really loved that motor. Just the right amount of push for comfortable cruising at 80 mph or thereabouts, with AMPLE torque for overtaking, a lovely, smooth, natural feeling bike.

    The XS-V1 looks miles better, I love that early 70’s Bonnie feel, a touch of flat track in the details. I could well be in the market, either this or a Ducati GT1000.

    As for small bikes, yes I currently ride a 165cc Indian made Kinetic, 14 raging HP. Super light weight and great handling, but for the open road the XS-V1 would be far superior. I wouldn’t get 120 mpg, though!

    BTW, is hetro a cross between hetero and retro? A rhetorical question! Dammit, I’m on the couch watching Coro St. Bugger.

    Yes, Stan, the fork rake is actually how real bikes (not customs or choppers) that handle properly look.

    I think Yamaha have finally designed a bike just for me. It resembles all my scrawled drawings of an ideal bike. I’ll start saving…

  40. DanS says

    I would trade my sportster for this. It has a
    Jules Vern / art deco look that is beautifull. Yamaha has a hit with this one I hope they produce it. If they send it here to the U.S. I will buy it.

  41. Denis M says

    A little backround: I’m 51, been riding since I was 16, owned a number of Japenese brands in the 70’s and 80’s, am currently riding an old Harley FLHTC. I’ve been passionate about motorcycling since I can remember

    I never thought I’d buy another Japenese bike, but for some reason, I can’t stop looking at this bike. Lately I’ve been thinking about owning a second machine just to scoot around on for fun. A V-Rod maybe? No. Just a bit too far out there.

    But this machine just grabs you. No frills, yet sleek. Reminds me of the British iron I saw so much of when I was a little kid. The motor looks like a work of art without being over-done. It’s a motor, a frame, a gas tank, and wheels. It says Triumph, BSA, Norton, old Ducati single, Vincent. In other words, handsome.

    Get rid of the chain drive and add a belt. Take that pinkish color and make it more copper. Have a line of easy-on-and-off accessories.


  42. bob m says

    WOW!!!! was looking at the Triumph America for my next bike … but I think I’ll wait for the XS-V1 Actually I do like the color….different!!! Maybe a set of Dunstall style pipes tho…. Bob

  43. Nik BEBIC says

    The style/ stance of this bike is great. The colour is irrelevant because this can all be changed (make mine black ALL BLACK). As can the exhaust, seat, tank and bars to suit what ever you want it to be . Aftermarket parts suppliers should help to make this bike a top seller. Stinky are you listening to me. If Yamaha was smart they would get a range of after market accessories ready to display with the bike.

  44. ronsfi says

    This is true retro. I LOVE this bike. I own 2 XS650 and I would buy this bike in a heartbeat. PLEASE Yamaha. Build this bike. I’m begging you. This is what the market needs. Pure motorcycle aesthetic. The only V twin I can imagine riding.

  45. gunner says

    I’m 60 years old and have had some real oddball bikes,(R350BMW, 750 enfield, wr harley, etc) but this one is the first modern one I’ve wanted in YEARS!