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1980 XS650 Brat/ Bobber/ Chopper/ Who Knows? Build

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by B_Crabaugh, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. B_Crabaugh

    B_Crabaugh XS650 Addict


    I started another thread introducing myself and the bike, but will continue and document the build here.

    Previous post: http://www.xs650.com/threads/new-member-first-xs.53753/#post-576146

    Alright here it goes. I started riding last year and my motorcycle journey began with a 1972 Honda SL125 I bought from Cycle Heap in Portland, OR. It started as a non-runner and after a few weeks became my learner bike, which is now my daily rider.



    Pretty quick after getting confident in my riding and going on a 350 mile ride on this, I became apparent that I needed MOAR POWER. My buddy built a really killer XS chopper and suggested I get one of those. A month later and a few trips back to Cycle Heap I picked up this!


    Bike has good compression and a title, PO sold it because he couldn't get a spark, but that's all I really know. Got a great deal and brought it home. Started the tear down and found that it has a Boyer Bransden advance unit, a stock TCI computer, but no pickup, and an aftermarket coil which is dead. Got the seat, rear seat bracket, turn signals, tail light, rear fender, carbs, battery box, brake calipers, rear master cylinder, etc.

    Here is how the bike sits now:
    Carbs look surprisingly good, but got them apart and soaking in carb cleaner.

    Pulled the left engine cover and boy oh boy is it nasty!


    Lots o' crud and oil so new seals are in order! Drained the oil and there was a touch of metallic swirl but a decent amount of metal sludge in the drain cap.


    Pulled the pipes and they are nice on top but cruddy on the bottom. Going to wire wheel the rust off and see how usable they are. Would like to run them as I'd rather spend my cash on all the other things first.

    That catches us up pretty good. I don't currently have a theme or style for this build just jet. I'm not looking to build a beauty queen, but also not a complete rat bike. I may hardtail it and go full chopper, but I want to get riding this pretty quick so I will probably just put that on the back burner.

    Here are my phase 1 plans:
    -Figure out ignition: Probably going with the TCI with the MP08 coil. Delete starter, but run a battery, can't seem to find a conclusive answer on just what battery the TCI requires if going to kick only...
    -Grind all the tabs and whatnot
    -Remove rust from frame and rattle can with etching primer
    -New cheap seat (already ordered)
    -Replace oil seals
    -Clean and paint wheels
    -Shinko 270 tires (already ordered)
    -Rebuild brake calipers and run a 11mm master cylinder up front
    -New bars (probably reverse clubman) and stock switches removed
    -New cables all around
    -UNI pod filters
    -Open up exhaust if it's still usable
    -Canadian carb needles with a one or two steps up in jetting

    Phase 2:
    -New front and 32 rear sprocket
    -New chain
    -Solid riser bushings
    -brass swingarm bushings (if I'm not hardtailing it)
    -Rebel 250 shocks with 2" front fork lowering kit
    -Full engine rebuild
    -Probably a billion other little things

    That concludes our story for today! Thanks to everyone for all of the killer info on here and I look forward to your input! Roll on!
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
  2. B_Crabaugh

    B_Crabaugh XS650 Addict

    Pulled everything from the bike except for forks, motor, and gauges. Time to grind tabs and sand frame.


    Picked up my Shinko 270's from James at BAMF Moto in Portland, OR. I can't reccomend buying parts from James enough. Great guy, nice shop, one-day ordering, and he'll beat any price on the internet.

    Also got this cheap-o SS Brake line from eBay. $8 with free shipping. Really impressed with the quality so far. I'll report back when they are on the bike.

    WPGxs650_brat and Wulfbyte like this.
  3. Downeaster

    Downeaster Everything in XS Top Contributor

    Here's a tip on the Unipods: Don't throw away your stock air boxes.
  4. Superjet

    Superjet XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Don't praise that $8 brake line just yet. You haven't installed and bled it yet. Could be a leaker!
  5. B_Crabaugh

    B_Crabaugh XS650 Addict

    The bike didn't come with them. I'm doing the standard Uni PK-92 thing with the upped jetting.

    Oh, I definitely have my doubts! Going to install and compare to my buddies spendy brake line. If it sucks, then it goes in the trash!
  6. Superjet

    Superjet XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Yup did the same to the Canadian version of Mike's xs brake line. I commented by experience lol.
    B_Crabaugh likes this.
  7. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I have installed about 10 cheap brake lines (NOT from mikesXS) so far without a single issue..........most have been from Banggood the one pictured looks like an eBay seller George* line those have been good also.
    Mailman likes this.
  8. Superjet

    Superjet XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    I have shinko 270s installed. Front is 4.00-19 and I had to raise the front fender. Just wanted to re-use it to brace up the front end. The front tire is quite tall and it also affected the lean angle when using the side stand. You will either have to add a piece to the stand, raise forks in the trees or simply use center stand.
  9. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    That left side chain area and the drain plug sludge both look normal. Never hurts to replace clutch pushrod seal but normal chain grunge is what I'm seeing.
  10. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Got a link to the Ebay brake line?
  11. B_Crabaugh

    B_Crabaugh XS650 Addict

    That’s good to hear! Other than the quality of the banjo, I don’t see how there would be THAT much difference in the quality of a rubber hose in a braided steel sleeve. Time will tell.
    Thanks for the tip! Looks like I will be extending the front fender mounts. As far as lean angle, I am probably lowering the forks 1-2". Hopefully that will correct it. Center stand is in the junk bucket haha.

    Good to hear. I will be replacing that seal and adding the one piece rod.
  12. B_Crabaugh

    B_Crabaugh XS650 Addict

    Jim likes this.
  13. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Thanks :)
    B_Crabaugh likes this.
  14. 650Skull

    650Skull SSSSSSSSSlither Top Contributor

    366-YO needle jet is the companion to the, (so called), Canadian needle....... Running the 5IX11 needle and 366-YO Jet doesn't require any change from Factory Jet settings.......In fact the Main jet can be a 130.

    Need to change the jets to compensate for the Uni filter and if the mufflers are opened up.
  15. B_Crabaugh

    B_Crabaugh XS650 Addict

    So no need to up my pilot jet with that setup if running stock filters or pipes? I was planning on doing the 5Ix11 needle with 366-YO jet and upping the pilots to 45, with unit pods and an opened rear of stock pipes.
  16. 650Skull

    650Skull SSSSSSSSSlither Top Contributor

    The rest if the world got a 5IX11 Needle and 336-YO needle jet and the jet set up was about the same as the US non adjustable EPA jet and needle set up. Stock running set up on the bike
  17. 59Tebo

    59Tebo 59Tebo Top Contributor

    That's a great start, B. And so was that little "chicken wing" you picked up as a starter bike. A lot of people just jump right in, and think they are going to be able to ride, 'cuz it looks cool, without any regard to the aptitude required to integrate themselves with traffic, that could care less about their existence. You sound like a man with a plan. Keep up the good work, and keep us updated (we're nosy) and include lots of pictures! :rock:
    TwoManyXS1Bs and Jim like this.
  18. B_Crabaugh

    B_Crabaugh XS650 Addict

    Hahaha chicken wing! That's great! It's a ripper of a bike. I love how easy it is to throw around. Thanks for the kind words. I'll do my best to document everything!
    TwoManyXS1Bs likes this.
  19. B_Crabaugh

    B_Crabaugh XS650 Addict

    Cleaned the rotor and stator. Rotor tests 5.s OHMS. Petty sure my reg/rec is dead. I cleaned these my fav cleaning tool, and it worked great. It is even worn down the perfect amount to fit right in the stator and polish all of the metal in about 10 seconds.


    Aaaaaaand the engine is OUT! That is one heavy sucker right there.

    Everything under the clutch cover is surprisingly clean...

    Pulled the sump and sure enough it is blown out in the famous spot. I'll either replace it or do one of the popular replacement mods.

    I noticed this metal thing and a ton of gunk on the magnet. It appears to be part of a piston ring, but no evidence of that on the pistons. There are also plastic bits from the cam chain guide. Looks like I'll be needing one of those. On the fence of whether to try one from Mike's or do the SR500 mod.

    Another bit of BS, check out this link on the cam chain. Debating on replacing the whole chain or adding a new link. Bike has 10k on it.

    Pulled the other oil filter and it seems this bike was a bit more neglected than I assumed.

    Ordered a Vesrah gasket kit from eBay and oil gasket kit from Mike's. I'm in deep!
    TwoManyXS1Bs and Jim like this.
  20. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    PM me if you do. I'll give ya the hi-loks and nuts for shipping cost.

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