New Chapter for the Yamaha 650 Societyall three

Photo ©Legacy Cycles LLC.

When I was asked to take over the Society reins last September, I was thankful for the opportunity and honored for being trusted with the leadership of an organization that was found on passion and enthusiasm over 33 years ago. I have big shoes to fill! Don Lawson has done a fantastic job in managing the club for over 15 years years so I have my work cut out for me. 

From my end, here’s what I have in mind for the Society in the future. First, we need a bigger online presence to expand our lines of communication. I have already started that with this new website, a simple design that will allow visitors to stay informed of the Society’s activity and interact with other members and with our ever growing Facebook page that generates a great deal of traffic with 650 owners from all over the world posting photos and sharing technical tips. The Facebook Society page is a closed group, meaning it requires my approval before you can have access to it. This is necessary to keep the true to the Society’s spirit avoiding diluting it into a general motorcycle space. I get about 5-8 requests a day, mostly people with legitimate interest in the XS lineage but there are always a few questionable people with questionable motives for joining in.

Second, I would like to grow our membership base in a national level by promoting the Society and introducing it to a new group of people. The newfound general interest for café racers, bobbers and anything out of ordinary, sprung a whole new generation of artists – mostly youngsters – that are building all kinds of bikes using the XS650 engine, some breathtakingly beautiful, others a bit on the weird side. Regardless, they are carving these noisy sculptures with TIG, MIG and that twin engine that we never get tired of listening and they are showing them off at the many rallies and gatherings that have been popping all over the US. Fall/Winter is Florida’s riding season and we already had 3 major classic-café shows with 4 more scheduled for January and February.  Bringing this new generation into the Society will further diversify our roster and bring some color (and interesting motorcycles!) to our rides and rallies.

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With life becoming more online, we need to continue to move on the same direction or face extinction. In a few weeks, the members-only area will be ready allowing visitors to read the newsletter online or download and print at home. This will not only allow us more flexibility in assembling and publishing the newsletter but also giving readers the choice of only printing what they want (cam timing tips!). For now, a hard copy of the newsletter will continue to be mailed to members but it that will optional in the future.

There are many ways you can reach me, via the Society’s Facebook page, email (, or by simply commenting any posting here. Looking forward to 2014 and many more miles!

14 thoughts on “New Chapter for the Yamaha 650 Society

  1. Hank Eastburn

    Hi John.

    My name is Hank Eastburn. Jim Griner was in my class in HS, and in my fraternity in college. I’m almost a Charter member of the Society. Long time friend of Don. I have an 83 XS650 Heritage Special. Please allow my access to our new WebPage.

    Also you can friend me on Facebook

    See you in Grand River, Ky in May


    1. jchaves Post author


      For now, the website is open to all as I am still working on the “members only” area. Stay tuned for upcoming updates. Is there something specific that your are looking for?
      There’s no need to friend anybody on Facebook to join the Society page. Just bring it up and ask to join so I can approve your access.
      Thanks for being a member! Looking forward to LBL.

  2. Gary Schonack

    Welcome aboard, John! Looking forward to many more years ahead! (That is, if I can still swing my old leg over the seat!)

    Best regards,

    Gary Schonack #3651

  3. Tom Hampton

    Glad you are on board to relieve Don Lawson who has manned up way beyond the expected. I look forward to many more years of great things from the marque.

  4. Bob Reed

    I really miss all the tech talk, tips ideas and pics on XS650’s on the Society webpage.
    I would like to see it continue. Will rejoin this W.E.

    Keep on Bikin!

    Bob Reed
    1977 XS650 D

  5. Tom Nelson

    I paid my annual dues in January 2014. We use to get a monthly newsletter. Is the newsletter still alive and well? I’ve yet to receive any.

    1. jchaves Post author


      The newsletters are bi-monthly and the March/April issue is on the way. I will send you a copy of the Jan/Feb issue today. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do. John.

  6. Richard Smith

    I have a couple of questions.
    Can I receive my newsletter electronically?
    I cannot find the society on Facebook. What is the address?
    Under “meta” there is a login but not a place to join. Why not?

    1. jchaves Post author

      Yes, you can receive the newsletter electronically and take advantage of better photos and graphics. I am still working on the website and it’s supporting subscription system so I am hoping to implement the “login” feature soon, giving members access to ALL past newsletters and articles. The Facebook page address is or simply search for “Yamaha 650 Society”. Please send me your member number via email – – and I will set it up.

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