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1978 Xs650SE Barn Find

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by ElCamMan515, Jun 25, 2020.

  1. Good evening everyone,

    This is going to be the thread of my 1978 Xs650SE that I found in a barn last month. I paid $250 for it knowing it did not run or have an ignition. Fast forward a month and after installing an ignition, coils, rebuilding carbs and battery. It fired right up. Last inspection sticker on the fork is 2009, so ithas been sitting a while.

    I am undecided on what way to go with the build, but first order of business is to get it road worthy to ride hopefully before end of summer. Below is a picture of the day I picked it up and a link of it running.


    Attached Files:

    Raymond, Boog and Machine like this.
  2. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Greetings Tim,
    I’d say you got yourself a real find! An excellent deal. The bike sounds good, nice steady idle, I’d say you’re well on your way. Those mufflers look to me to be the ones made by Mac, I’ve never heard them running, they sound good. I look forward to following your progress, let the good times roll! :thumbsup:
    Raymond, Boog and ElCamMan515 like this.
  3. Mailman,

    I am not sure what exhaust is on bike. There are no markings anywhere on mufflers. I searched the internet and YouTube for weeks trying to find a video or picture of exhaust with no luck. It is loud when you rev it up.

    What do these bikes idle at? This is my first bike so lot to learn.

    Raymond and Boog like this.
  4. Boog

    Boog Traveling Stroyteller Top Contributor

    Great find and great work so far Tim. Keep it up. I have not started my rebuild yet of "Rusty" which is in far worse shape than yours here.
  5. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    My bikes seem happiest right around 1200 rpm.
  6. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    1200 RPM is the idle speed spec and it's best you stick to it. Much lower and it will randomly stall at stops. Any higher and the ignition may begin advancing. If that happens, the RPMs will increase, which will cause more ignition advance and more RPM increase. The RPMs may go up to like 2500 with the bike just sitting there and you not even touching the throttle.

    Also, set the idle speed hot. These bikes naturally idle at a lower speed cold so if you set the idle at 1200 then, it will be too high once the bike warms up. Setting the idle speed much lower than 1200, like at 900 to 1000, will have the bike idling too low and stalling when cold.
  7. I started the process of swapping different bars onto the bike. Ran into a hiccup with the trottle cable. Metal bracket that goes into the handlebar control is to big to fit into the used handlebar control I picked up from a forum member. Guess I'll have to hunt down a handlebar control that has the lights on/off feature.


    Attached Files:

    Boog and Mailman like this.
  8. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Take a look inside the hole on your "new" switch assembly that the throttle cable elbow fits into. Sometimes there's a plastic "shim" sleeve stuck in there. Some newer cables require it for a snug fit, some older cables don't need it. But even on the cables that do, it can be difficult to insert the elbow into the control if the sleeve is already in there. Best to remove it, place it on the elbow, then stick the elbow in.
    ElCamMan515 likes this.
  9. Machine

    Machine Race the wind Top Contributor

    Also, when switching to lower bars your long clutch cable can now be better routed to in front of the head light bucket "ears" and then a nice loop to the right side of the steering stem.
    No longer have to have it in the gauge / handlebar mount area.
    That is a nice mod.
    Raymond likes this.
  10. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Yes, originally the throttle cable routed down alongside the right side of the steering neck, the clutch cable along the left side. With lower bars, to help "absorb" some of the extra cable length generated, you'll want to flip-flop them - route the throttle along the left side, clutch cable along the right .....

    ElCamMan515 and gggGary like this.
  11. Good day everyone,

    Just a small update to thread.

    Due to my crazy work schedule I have not made any progress on the bike in the last 3 weeks. I did how ever take the MSF Basic Rider Course this past weekend. Its an excellent class and I recommend it. I learned a lot that I plan on implementing once riding. Due to Covid have to wait until middle of Aug to go to the DMV to take my permit test and hopefully walk out licensed. If I do not get bike done for this riding season in NY, I'll be spending the winter months ensuring it is ready to ride come spring 2021.


    Boog and Raymond like this.
  12. Good day everyone,

    Yesterday evening I took bike out of my buddys garage for its maiden voyage. After about 5 laps bike came to a slow stop and I had no power to rear wheel. Looked down and behind me and there sat the drive chain. I guess this bike doesn't want to hit the road this year.

    Here is a short video before chain broke:

    On a side note, I got all electrical figured out. All turn signals, brake lights, headlight and gauge cluster light up.

    Time to start saving for a chain and tires.

  13. Good day everyone,

    Been slowly working on the XS. Here's a list of what I've done since last post.

    Fixed front brake light switch
    Replaced turn signal flasher relay
    New tires and tubes
    Ordered a new replacement peacock

    Still a little more to do before it is ready to ride.

    Here are some updated pictures. Enjoy and have a great day.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
    Jim and Raymond like this.
  14. RustiePyles

    RustiePyles Semper Fortis

    Dang, that was a steal at $250, congrats. Pretty good shape for a bike that's been sitting for 11 years too. Nice score!
    azman857 and ElCamMan515 like this.

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