Watchlist Wednesday: Yamaha XS 1.1 Martini


Most of us of a certain age will know about Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood coming out of ‘retirement’ to ride the Isle of Man TT after 11 years away, winning the F1 TT on a Ducati. It was the comeback story of a lifetime: beautiful, legendary, iconic - the stuff of Hollywood (and is supposed to be turned into a film by Eric Bana…) and some would argue it saved the TT after being stripped of its FIM Grand Prix status after 1976.

Yamaha XS 1.1 Martini Mike Hailwood

But the Ducati win aside that year, Hailwood was also part of the Martini-sponsored Yamaha team, riding in the Lightweight, Unlimited and Senior classes. Although the results weren’t there on the Yamahas, he did capture the imagination of fans and motorcyclists by riding around on a very special edition XS1100 to familiarise himself with the Mountain Course again during the event. Pulling up at popular locations when the fans were to grab a picture.

The Yamaha 1.1 Martini was essentially an XS1100 with all its four-cylinder (Yamaha’s first such engine configuration) torquey goodness that was shaft driven to the rear wheel and wrapped up in a unique fairing designed by MCN illustrator/cartoonist (Sprocket) John Mockett and resplendent in ‘that’ livery.

Yamaha XS 1.1 Martini Mike Hailwood

Thanks to the returning Hailwood, arguably one of the coolest sponsors (at least the paintjob) of the seventies coming together and some great marketing by Yamaha Europe, it didn’t need a lot more effort to shift the 500 limited edition versions of this bike. And only 65 of the ‘Excess Eleven’ made it to UK shores…

Yamaha XS 1.1 Martini Mike Hailwood

So this week’s Watchlist Wednesday has Scottie Redmond stirred, if not a little shaken.

“Any time, any place, anywhere. When a classic phrase from a famous ad campaign and a classic bike mix, it isn’t always a cocktail for success. Yamaha built 500 of the Martini models that were basically an XS1100 with a barn door fairing. Even after a few sherberts the looks still make little sense.

“The XS1100 was a big old girl with extra weight thanks to a shaft drive. They rarely pop up for sale, but when they do they always carry a bold sticker price. This one - condition wise - at DC Motorcycles in Huddersfield looks to be a stunner, but at over £11,000 you have a world of other classics that you could dump your cash into. But still, it caught my eye on the rarity value alone and allowed a trip down Hailwood memory lane.”

See the Yamaha XS 1.1 Martini ebay advert here

Yamaha XS 1.1 Martini Mike Hailwood

Yamaha XS 1.1 Martini Technical Specification

  • Engine: 1102 cc /air-cooled/ DOHC, 8 valves
  • Bore & stroke: 71.5 mm x 68.6 mm
  • Compression Ratio: 9.2:1
  • Carburation: 4 – Mikuni BS34SS
  • Max Power: 95 bhp @ 8,500 rpm
  • Torque: 66.5 ft-lb @ 6500 rpm
  • Ignition: TCI
  • Transmission: five-speed, wet clutch
  • Suspension: Fr: telescopic fork 3 position preload
  • Rr: Twin shock/ adjustable 5 position preload
  • Tyres: Fr: 3.5 x 19, Rr: 4.5 x 17
  • Brakes: Fr: twin 298mm disc
  • Rr: Single 298mm disc
  • Fuel Consumption 35.5 mpg
  • Weight (full wet) 290kg
  • Fuel capacity: 24 litres
  • Top speed: 132 mph

Yamaha XS 1.1 Martini Mike Hailwood