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1975 XS650

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by lownuff, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. lownuff

    lownuff XS650 Member

    Hello. My name is Alex. I'm in Mesa AZ and I don't know shit about Japanese bikes. Now that you know me, let me tell you about the bike.

    I found it while browsing OfferUp. I wasn't particularly looking to buy a bike as I've got a million projects going on right now, but the price was too good to pass up. So I jumped in my van and went to grab it.

    Here it is last night after loading it up.

    Here it is this morning before I unloaded it.


    I haven't really got into yet but I can see a lot of stuff is going to need cleaning up. Who knows how many previous owners this bike has gone through.

    So here's the gist;

    It's a 1975 xs650.
    I think a stock frame with a hardtail welded on?
    Someone's done some hacking.
    Foot clutch and hand shift.
    No front brake.
    Needs a ton of cleaning up with the wiring, paint and just general road grime.
    Has a pretty gnarly speed wobble or shake on decel at slow speeds so I'll have to figure that out.

    Other than that, it scoots pretty good!


    Once I start actually taking a real close look I'll post up pictures of the issues I find.

    Thanks for loooking.
  2. Bob Kelly III

    Bob Kelly III Ranch Kid from way back,.... that got Old !

    Ugh I don't like the sounds of the speed wobble or decell shake.....but it looks like it can clean up to be a really nice bike... I wish I had it !
    usually wobble at speed is caused by a bent rim or un true alignment.... it's possable the rear section wasn't welded up in perfect line with the front.......
    take a long string and go from the rear tire to in front of the front tire and see if the tires look like their pointing in the same direction ( alignment)
    the string just makes it easier to see.... the rear tire should be a bit wider than the front so there should be a small amount of gap when the string is straight on both front and back of the rear tire.... this will point you in the right direction if you can't get the string straight on one side of the tire try, the other side to see how far off it is....
    the twist of the rear tire is usually the problem and often changes for various reasons....
    however you can have the tires pointing perfectly straight and still not have the tires in line but that is frame twist forks that point/twist to the left and a rear wheel that points/twists to the right.... both not straight up and down..... but that is rare
    but it does happen.... straightening out a twisted frame is a can of worms but it can be done. and special jigs and setup need to be made
    .... more than likely the PO just tightened the chain and only did it on one side ! and didn't keep the tire straight !
    looks like a neat bike I hope you get her going and cleaned up soon I wann'a see it shiney ! LOL
    lownuff likes this.
  3. lownuff

    lownuff XS650 Member

    Hey Bob, thanks for the advice! I will go ahead and do your string idea and see if maybe that's my issue!
  4. Bob Kelly III

    Bob Kelly III Ranch Kid from way back,.... that got Old !

    if you've got a Keen eye you don't need the string at all.... just line up the edge of the tire tread front and back of the tire.... when you do that is straight.... now see where that is with your front it should be real close ..like 1/4" if the tire is 1/2" wider in the rear than the front.
    .....eyeballing it is good enough to see if it's out of alignment.... the same for frame twist !
    I knew a guy who had a bike that could park on the yellow line in a parking lot and although his front was in the center of the line the back was off to the left completely off the painted line... and I watched him drive up on it ! ....I started laughing and he didn't know what I was laughing about and I had him get down and look while I set on his bike and held it upright..... his face got real serious.... that don't look right !
    I said that's because it ain't right.... he said well I guess that fall did hurt something ! I said something sure did..he said can you fix it ?
    and I said Not me buddy ! try chaining it to a tree and get a long pipe ! .....
    about a month later he said Hay come look at my bike and see what ya think so I did ... and it was darn near perfect and I said How did you do that ? he said I did what you said and chained it to a tree and took a long pipe... bent the first on but got a 2 1/2" pipe and chained it to the front and then twisted it.... I said well it looks like your a tad shy of being perfect but dang man you did a great job ! he said yah I think I need to revisit that oak tree again ! ...LOL
    ..... the things you do when your growing up ! LOL
  5. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Check the steering head bearings. They may be bad or maybe just loose. Wheel bearings too. Really bad ones could cause problems. Looks like a newer set of carbs has been swapped on. That's not a bad thing, the later sets are better. Those pleated pod filters will cause carb tuning issues. Foam pods work best.
    jradvantage likes this.
  6. YamadudeXS650C

    YamadudeXS650C Central New York XS650 Top Contributor XS650.com Supporter

    Welcome to the site.
    I'm partial to any bike with a tall sissy bar.
    And the upswept pipes are cool retro.
  7. Bob Kelly III

    Bob Kelly III Ranch Kid from way back,.... that got Old !

    double check that sissy bar and fender attachments... a guy that just came on here a week or so ago was riding his and the sissy bar broke off and took the fender with it and he brought it back home like that ! .... the sissy bar looks fairly small for supporting a person on the fender so if that is the plan I'ed swap the bottom half out with some 1/2" solid steel on both sides going up to the fender then weld the sissy bar to that
    that way you've got some Heft for a load or person on the bike behind ya !
    I like the looks of that thing,... it needs allot of parts to make it useable though ..like the electric covers and all... foam filters and definitely a front brake !!! without a front brake you will plow into a car that slows down in front of you.... it takes both brakes to stop faster than a car does....so if they lock'em up your going to hit them no matter what you do because the bike will not stop in time ! your only hope is to dodge them .
    with a front brake you can stop almost 2 times as fast as a car..... which is fantastic unless your in heavy traffic and the guy behind you is in a car.... because he can't stop as fast as you can ! .....a case of dammed if ya do and dammed if ya don't ! LOL
    ..... 5 Twins suggestion on the steering bearings is a fantastic one!!!!..... check them first thing ! i bet their loose as a goose and a few balls missing !
    You could buy some Neon lime green and paint it with that ! it would help ya get noticed by cage drivers ! or Hot Pink !
    but I think deep army green would be really cool on that thing ! think tank driver !!!!! well, maybe not LOL
    I can't wait to see you fix it up it's bound to be a gorgeous machine when your done with it !
    myself I could live with the clutch and hand shifting ...but not the front brake missing ..though it wouldn't be easy to get used to again
    .....I bet gggGary would have those covers you need ! ask him...send him a PM he's a good feller!
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
  8. weekendrider

    weekendrider Iron Horse cowboy Top Contributor

    S.W. MO
    Say who?
  9. Bob Kelly III

    Bob Kelly III Ranch Kid from way back,.... that got Old !

    Oh sorry it was 5Twins ! .... my mistake ! their both so darn sharp I have to run to keep up ! LOL
    I edited it and changed it .....

  10. NastyBeads

    NastyBeads XS650 Enthusiast

    Lownuff, nice pick up. I Just sent that CL add to my buddy a couple days ago and told him to go grab it! Your pics do it a little more justice than the CL add did, as I didn't see the missing left side covers. Cant help you on the wobble.....but sounds scary! Id get some springs on that seat too, I didn't see any but could have been the angle.
  11. lownuff

    lownuff XS650 Member

    It looks to be pretty straight. Tried eyeballing it first but used a string just to double check myself. Looks to be pretty spot on!

    Will check those today. Did not know about the carbs. Thanks for the tip on foam pods.

    Thanks a lot! Yeah I like them too.

    Oh I definitely will be redoing a lot of the welding work. Some of it is sketchy at best.

    Sweet man! Yeah I saw it on there for a few days before I pulled the trigger. You local?
  12. lownuff

    lownuff XS650 Member

    I took some pictures, maybe you guys can point out anything that may need attention that I've missed.

    Here's the spring obviously missing. And the "oil tank" housing the electrical stuff. Nice and rusty. Going to pop that off and give it some paint.


    Here you can see where the sissy bar attaches to the fender. Sketchy. Will be redoing this of course.


    Here's the battery and the wiring. Anyone know what the plug above the exhaust is for?


    Here's a better Pic of the plug, looks almost like a spark plug boot.


    Here's a shot of one of the missing covers.




    Someone cut the tube here. Also looks like I'm missing some bolts.


    Check out the awesome tank mounting here.


    And finally the paintjob. Looks good from afar but far from good. Going to strip it down and give it a new paintjob.

  13. figure8

    figure8 XS650 Guru

    Good thing you can weld, better than the PO lol. For sure missing some motor mount hardware. The "boot" above the pipes looks to be the terminal that goes to the starter. Rear tire looks pretty rough to. Best of luck man.
  14. lownuff

    lownuff XS650 Member

    Haha definitely way better than the PO.

    i had no idea these had an electric starter. Now I wonder why it's disconnected...

    Yeah fresh tires are up soon. Fronts equally as bad.
  15. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    On your wobble, I agree with most of the probable causes already suggested I want to add to the list, old tires can act that way. I picked up an 82 that had old tires on it. test rode it a few times to check others things.
    Get it up to speedo and let go of the bars and costing down at about 45 mph it started to wobble, at about 40 it would about throw you off the bike. At 35 it smoothed right out.
    Swapped out that wheel/tire for the one of the 75 with good tire and no wobble. I put on a new set of tires pronto.
    Do you know how to read the date of a tire? If not find the DOT number. At the end of the number is an oval with the last few digits in it. If three digits that tire was made before 2000. In 2000 they went with a four digit code. If three digits, throw that tire out. If four digits the first two are the week it was made, the last two are the year it was made. As with the Shinko 712 I just put on the back of the 75, it reads 1516. This is the 15th week of 2016.
    If you don't find a date code or even a DOT number throw it out twice as fast, no telling how old that tire is.
    Check the code on the rear tire, it maybe old too.
    I don't like running tires more than around 5 or 6 years old. The belts and tread start to separate, this can lead to tragic events.
  16. weekendrider

    weekendrider Iron Horse cowboy Top Contributor

    S.W. MO
    +1 on the solinoid to starter cable.
    Wire ties 22nd century balin wire.
    What is the deal with hacking that brace out??? Some of the chopper shops have backbone to down tube pre-fabbed gussets to help there.
    It will be interesting to see how they went from cable pull to direct connection on the clutch when you get round to that part.
  17. 650Skull

    650Skull Dinosaur Lives Top Contributor

    Fork bottoms are definatly 34mm and the crown is from a 78-84 Special 35mm forks
  18. figure8

    figure8 XS650 Guru

    A lot of guys that chop these bikes eliminate the starter, there easy bikes to kick. It's keep it simple as far as wiring.
  19. lownuff

    lownuff XS650 Member

    Right on man. Appreciate the advice. I'll check them right now. I ended up following the suggestions on here and got the front end off the ground. It slipped over to the side really quick. I removed the front forks and boom. The bearings pretty much just fell out.

    I'll weld in a gusset there. It was there originally for a reason right?

    Any idea why?

    Yeah this things super easy to kick.
  20. lownuff

    lownuff XS650 Member

    I followed the suggestions on here and got the weight off the front end. It slopped over pretty good.

    I started taking it apart and...

    The bearings basically fell out.

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017

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