2001 Yamaha Vino, Modified

A large sheep in small sheep's clothing.

Torrance, California, March 12, 2001 -- More than likely, you've read our first ride report of the Yamaha Vino. As such, the main points derived from that report are: 1) the Vino is a very practical machine and 2) its not very fast. We like the first point, though we're not too keen on the second point.

When we informed a local Yamaha dealer of our findings, he informed us that the Vino could be easily modified to become a much more "vigorous" machine. A week later, when we took delivery of a different Vino with some of Yamaha's numerous accessories bolted on, we decided to go ahead and pursue this Vino-plus, as it had been related to us.

At first glance, you'll notice the different color paint as well as the windscreen and basket. The windscreen proved to be useful and functioned extremely well. For stylistic purposes, we would like to have the screen raked back approximately five degrees. Below the headlight, a basket constructed of brown vinyl-coated metal wire can be found. A spring-loaded lid keeps contents from flying out. We would have preferred to have the basket chromed, though. Nevertheless, the basket performed admirably, faithfully carrying various foodstuffs and beverages from nearby vendors. We found the lack of a solid latch on the basket to be a problem, albeit a small one.

  However, upon starting the machine and embarking on a voyage around the surrounding neighborhood, the power modifications became readily apparent.

But first, a brief summary of the modifications completed. Remember that these modifications are not condoned by Yamaha Motor Corporation and are likely to void any warranty. Motorcycle Online, on the other hand, only moderately condones these changes. Heh, heh.

First, remove the restrictive choke pipe from the exhaust header. If you remove the header and exhaust assembly from the engine you should be able to see it tack-welded inside the tube. Reasonable applications of force should remove the piece from the assembly. Our consultant recommends a large screwdriver to accomplish the task. When you reattach the exhaust assembly, we recommend loosely threading the two bolts that hold the pipe to the exhaust hanger. Then, after making sure the exhaust gasket is in place, snug down the two bolts that hold the muffler to the engine. Finish the job by tightening all four bolts that hold the exhaust system in place.

Our modified Vino looks quiet enough.

Second, you can increase the top speed by removing a washer from the primary drive clutch assembly. This can be accomplished by removing the kick-starter and the plastic transmission guard. After that, you will be able to remove the snap ring on the kick-starter shaft and the bolts that hold the clutch cover in place. Be advised, you may want to drain the transmission oil first. Finally finish the disassembly by removing the clutch assembly from the shaft. You'll see a washer that limits the pulley's lateral range of motion. Remove this washer and then bolt everything back together. Don't forget to use a new gasket for the clutch cover and to refill the transmission oil. After this modification, your primary drive will be able to achieve a higher range of gear ratios.

The cute basket up front belies the monster motor out back.   With these two simple modifications (estimated completion time for both modifications is approximately one hour), your Vino will be transformed from a sedate scooter, to a vigorous vehicle capable of keeping up with faster traffic. Noticeable increases in mid-range power are prevalent as power wheelies are now possible with correct weight placement and a little tug on the bars. Slightly more low-end power allows for quicker launches off the line as well. However, the transition from low- to mid-level power ranges is abrupt and could startle a novice rider. As "professionals," though, we like this and refer to it as giving the bike a bit of "character."

The windshield provided good protection, even for 6'2" tall Minime. Thanks to the revised clutch, top speed is significantly increased. While the stock Vino could only muster an indicated 29 mph, our new machine can reach speeds of approximately 45 mph. Not surprisingly, with the increased speeds you begin to realize that the high speed handling characteristics are somewhat lacking. But you must realize, that the Vino is still just a scooter after all and, as such, proved stable enough.

  Overall, the engine modifications were extremely cost effective (free, if you don't count the transmission oil and gasket) and combined with the windscreen and basket, increase the effectiveness of the Vino as a close-quarters urban assault vehicle.

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