Encyclopedia Hoonatica TWT Bonus Edition: Freaky Motorcycle Carbs

This past weekend, a sorta-bike-literate friend mentioned he’d just seen his first KZ1300, Kawasaski’s liquid-cooled, six-cylinder roadster. He was more than a little impressed, and shared some of the information the owner had shared with him, including one erroneous “fact”: that the KZ1300 was the only motorcycle equipped with two-barrel carbs. I (being the arrogant know-it-all I am) corrected him and told him of two other bikes that used the same type of double-barrel carb. Then as we continued talking, I told him about a particular single-cylinder motorcycle that was not only equipped with two carbs, but had one CV carb and one slide carb.
I decided (being the arrogant know-it-all I am) that the question of freaky motorcycle carb setups would be a great Encyclopedia Hoonatica question. Now, E-H normally covers car topics on Monday, but Hooniverse is not a hard-core “biker guy” site. Since many of you might not be answering a motorcycle question (and a rather obscure one at that), slipping one into the normal E-H weekly slot wouldn’t really be cricket, would it?
So, here’s the first (and perhaps only) Encyclopedia Hoonatica/Two-Wheel-Tuesday crossover edition. I expect the responses will be as fascinating and well-thought as the usual Monday EH comments. Both of them.

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  1. Moto Madness Avatar
    Moto Madness

    Yamaha Vision. My dad had one, and the carbs were totally weird down=draft carbs that didn’t work worth a crap. And nothing else could fit. Da bastards.

  2. FastPatrick Avatar

    The weirdo split-personality carb is the one from a Yamaha SRX-6, right?
    I think Ducati used two-barrel Webers for a while. They never worked that well, and the shift to Mikunis was part of what put them on the road to the success they had in the ’90s.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      Yes, the SRX, along with the XT550, XT600, and maybe one or two others that used that same engine. It was called YDIS (Yamaha Dual Intake System). Quite goofy, and a bit of a Rube Goldberg arrangement, but it helped keep the big single from stumbling with the super-lean jetting the EPA required.

      1. roguetoaster Avatar

        Ooh, one I actually knew. The first street bike I really got to ride was a converted SRX-600 (actual first ride was an Ascot). It, like the majority of those old thumpers had been converted to a Mikuni setup, and it had a NO FZR sticker on the tank courtesy of Dad’s riding years.
        One day it will be out of his shed and back on the open road!

  3. Batshitbox Avatar

    Eight Cris-Crossed single barrel side drafts. Moto Gzzi Otto Cilindri

  4. Batshitbox Avatar

    Yamaha Fazer. Downdrafts.
    Yamaha is definitely winning the freak carb game

  5. johnnyro Avatar

    SRX250 as well so that’s two. Commonly (well not commonly) replaced with ex250 carbs as Taikei?? went out of business a long time ago. I am not so sure its a bad idea, those two stage SRX dual barrel carbs. Easier to drop a couple $0.04 number 4 washers under each needle clip and back out idle screws 2.5 turns on conventional carbs but not legal at the factory for US bikes.

  6. CSM Avatar

    So sad to realize that future generations of Motorheads won’t have that special love / hate relationship with carburetors that we have enjoyed/hated.

  7. ptschett Avatar

    Tangentially related: there was a time, many years ago, that I decided my KLR650 that I was riding at the time needed a new diaphragm/slide assembly for its Keihin CVK40 carburetor. I inquired with the local Kawasaki dealer for how expensive the part might be, and the quote was something like $140. There happened to be some model years of Harley-Davidson Sportster that used the same carburetor, so I also checked what the local H-D dealer’s price might be. I ended up buying the part from the H-D dealer for about $90 less than the Kawasaki dealer was asking…

  8. Batshitbox Avatar

    There’s an abundance of cheap GL1000s even in San Francisco. Evidently, they all need a carb rebuild, so get to it!