Tell The Difference Between A Yamaha 650 & A 650a

Purchasing a secondhand vehicle is a great way to save money on your transportation costs, and a motorcycle is even cheaper to operate than a car. However, when it comes time to perform maintenance on your vehicle, if you can’t figure out the specific model you own, then it will be very difficult to perform maintenance properly and order the correct parts. The Yamaha XVS twin line of motorcycles is one example of two very similar bikes that could be easily mistaken. The changes are subtle, but with a little focus and research, you can tell the two apart.


1. Look at the front tire. The Yamaha XVS 650A, or Classic, has a metal tire shield which covers about half of the front tire, whereas the tire shield on the XVS 650, or Custom, covers about a quarter of the tire.

2. Look at the handlebars and rear-view mirror attachments. The XVS Classic has a rounder, sleeker look to its handlebars; the XVS Custom’s handlebars are more angled, and the rear-view mirror attachments are rectangular in shape.

3. Sit on the motorcycle and note how easy it is for your feet to touch the ground. The 650A Classic has a seat height of 711 millimeters (mm), or just about 28 inches. At 695 mm, the 650 Custom has a seat height which is about three-quarters of an inch lower than the Classic.

4. Find images of both the XVS Classic and Custom models (see References), and compare them with your Yamaha motorcycle. Print off a copy of each image. You’ll want a copy of the picture that you can compare close to your motorcycle.