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An introduction and question

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Jake650, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. Jake650

    Jake650 XS650 Addict XS650.com Supporter

    Well, been around for awhile taking advantage of the knowledge here while putting an old 650 back on the road. I built this 12 years ago, rode it a couple of years and when life rearranged my priorities I parked it. Now that I made it retirement and have a "little" bit more control over life's inputs, it seemed a worthy project to put it back on the road. With the help of gggGary on some parts, the carbs were successfully rebuilt and it now runs. It felt good to ride again and a special thanks to gggGary for his help.


    I had such a good time with this one I started the search for a worthy candidate for restoration. Yeah.. it's like having a beer. One just doesn't cut it and but your tastes change and ya start looking for a better one. Well before getting the custom on the road I put a want ad on Craig's List and to my great surprise I got reply's. First one was for a 1980, whereas the price was good I really wanted an earlier model. Then came the second reply... A 1971 XS1B for a price I just could not pass up.


    It's all there with a lot of extra parts. There is no rush to get this one done because I want to do it right. I also have learned from getting the custom one done that being older presents other issues. The custom is kick only and I quickly learned that my right knee protests a "lot" with kick starting it. Even knowing the problem my knee would present I would not have been able to pass up the 71 though.

    What I am thinking and seeking input on is changing the 71 to have electric start. I do have extra motors; a later 256 and 447 series. However both are short a crank and cam. The 256 had heavily pitted bearing surfaces and the 447 had a section of piston sleeve come off which took out bearing surfaces and cam lobe surfaces. My thought is to get one of the extra motors back together and put it in the 71. The battery box on the 71 holds a much smaller battery so I would need to change it out to a later model box allowing a larger battery. Other things like starter button and relay will need to be worked in too.

    So the plan for a restoration needs to take a turn to a "close" to restoration, but one that will allow me to enjoy it much more. All thoughts, advice and input are welcomed and encouraged on this idea.
    Fawksey, MaxPete, Mailman and 4 others like this.
  2. A newer model parts bike, with or without title could be invaluable for a starter conversion.....without title would keep you focused on the ones you have, lol.
    Fawksey and MaxPete like this.
  3. Downeaster

    Downeaster Everything in XS Top Contributor

    First, WELCOME! As you no doubt have already discovered, this is THE place with the most knowledge and the nicest people on the planet when it comes to XS's.

    Second - the '71 in that color is the prettiest XS ever built. I was stationed in Japan when they came out and the local (to the base) Mom and Pop motorcycle place had one. I wanted that bike so bad I could taste it, but while I had the yen, I didn't have the ¥en if you take my meaning.
    thuban, Fawksey, TwoManyXS1Bs and 6 others like this.
  4. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I haven't tried it but not 100% certain a starter motor engine will fit in a 71 frame.
    there's a small issue with the front engine mount having changed
    There are modern batteries with plenty of power to spin an XS650 motor that will fit in the 71 space.
    Fawksey, MaxPete and Mailman like this.
  5. Jake650

    Jake650 XS650 Addict XS650.com Supporter

    Thanks and you are correct. In hopes I can find one, I've left the want ad on Craig's List.

    Thanks and you too are spot on with this being the place for XS knowledge. That is why I got mine running after all those years. Electrolysis to clean the tank, carb jetting, setting, and parts. I was in my first year of college and had the same fire burning in me for one.
    nj1639, MaxPete and Mailman like this.
  6. Jake650

    Jake650 XS650 Addict XS650.com Supporter

    I hadn't considered that a newer motor would not fit in the frame, thinking they were all had the same mounting. Guess first thing to do is pull the motor and see if the lower cases from a newer motor will fit. I'll put that on the to-do list this week and let you know.
  7. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I think the main concern is if there is room at the back for the starter to fit tween motor and frame. all the other mounts from the 71 frame will fit later motors the front mount engine bolt hole is like 1/2" different than later motors.
    Kind of a heads up; someone would likely trade you a running later model XS650 for that 71 as it sits.
    MaxPete likes this.
  8. Jake650

    Jake650 XS650 Addict XS650.com Supporter

    Trading it is an option and one that I will certainly keep in mind if an electric start engine cannot be fitted in the frame. I'll let you all know when I find out if it can be done
    MaxPete likes this.
  9. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty & Demi - I suggest but THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Welcome Jake - from Canada’s sunny southern coast in Windsor Ontario!

    It never ceases to amaze me how many nice old bikes are still out there in barns and sheds sprinkled around the countryside - and you’ve sure got a nice one!

    I completely sympathize about your knee issues (I had a total knee job in Jan/2019). A kick only bike could be an issue and there is no point in hurting yourself more.

    Anyhow - please send lots of photos and keep us posted on how it’s going.

    peanut likes this.
  10. kshansen

    kshansen XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

    Not sure if it would be of any use to you but I have a bare un-titled frame from a 1972, that one over to the left in the picture. No idea of how Missouri deals with titles or how much it would cost to get it to you.

    I do have the crankcases from that same bike too on the chance they would be of use. No crank, cylinders or top end however.
    YamadudeXS650C and MaxPete like this.
  11. Yes, keep us informed on the progress......just when you think all intermodal frankenbike exchanges have been made......
    gggGary likes this.
  12. Jake650

    Jake650 XS650 Addict XS650.com Supporter

    Thanks Pete, Last time I saw the doc about my knee he said keep active and loose weight before he would consider surgery. Being a real woos about having someone take a knife to me I followed his advice and have been doing great until I got the 650 done. And yes sir, one scheduled winter project is to put a starter on the orange one. I plan on pulling the engine on the 71 this Friday and seeing if electric start cases with starter will fit. I'll be sure to take some pics and post them.

    Kshansen, That is a very generous offer which is greatly appreciated. However, here in Missouri getting a title for a non-titled vehicle almost requires Divine intervention. As for the case offer I have two 256 series and one 447. Both need cranks and cams, but I still have my Craig's List ad in hopes I get a response for a parts bike.
    madmax-im, gggGary and kshansen like this.
  13. kshansen

    kshansen XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

    I can understand most of the reasoning about the strict titles laws, but... would be nice if there was some kind of statue of limitations applied along with a fair market value aspect. Say 20 years old and Kelly book value of under $500. and include a requirement that a basic search for stolen vehicle report in the last 10 years.

    But hey that would make too much sense for any group of politicians to understand and agree on!
    thuban, Gator xs2, madmax-im and 2 others like this.
  14. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Wisconsin finally did this, but a friend was still having a hassle getting his bonded title.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
    MaxPete likes this.
  15. 59Tebo

    59Tebo 59Tebo Top Contributor

    If the front motor mounts are different on a '71 from later models, what if (always the start of a good story! :wink2: ) you had a later model donor frame, and transplanted the down tubes, so the '71 could accept a later motor? Hmmmmm... :umm: might be better to do the trade for a later bike (like a '75 maybe?) with an electric start, then chop up what appears to be an unmolested motorcycle. Like somebody on here said "...it's only original once." Let us know (we're nosy!). :laugh:
    MaxPete likes this.
  16. Jake650

    Jake650 XS650 Addict XS650.com Supporter

    69Tebo. You have hit the nail on the head about being original only once. I have a pretty well equipped machine shop in the garage and a very good friend has a real shop I can use anytime. I can fab up new front mounts if needed and if a starter motor will fit, any mods needed to make it work will be absolutely minimal: no additional holes, wiring needed will be separate from the original loom, etc. And if it can be done without drilling, welding, etc, the 71 motor will remain it in its original state using a donor one. Interesting you mentioned a 75 as that was what I was hoping to find in my Craig's List search. A 75 to me is the best looking 650's ever made and they have special memories for me.
    Mailman, MaxPete and gggGary like this.
  17. 59Tebo

    59Tebo 59Tebo Top Contributor

    I agree. The '75 had the coolest graphics of them all. I have one, but it was a "Basketcase" (that's what I call it!) when I got it. It had already been repainted :yikes: turn signals removed (why do people always do that?), the electrical system botched, and was left to hold up the side of a shed for years. Since it needs all new everything, it's going to go back together as a "resto-mod". The trick is finding a specimen in restorable condition. Unfortunately, that's becoming increasingly difficult (and expensive!). If you have to have one, and you have the wherewithal, see "Mailman's XS2 a full on restoration". It's worth reading the whole thing (we distract him over the course of 159 pages), but it's a virtual how-to on an essentially nut-and-bolt restoration. It won't help you with your electric start modification :offtopic: , but it will cover the rest. Good luck, and lots of pictures!
  18. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    Jake, your XS1B is an early version, as noted by the gussets behind the left cylinder.
    Early_XS1B_EngineGussets.jpg EarlyCaseGussets.jpg

    As such, you've got the shorter front engine mounts.


    Aside from the front engine mounts, your frame is identical to an XS2 frame, which included an electric starter.

    One catch is the alternator's stator, and the starter's safety system. On the electric starter bikes, there's an additional yellow wire coming off the stator, to power the starter safety relay. The 70-71 XS1s don't have this stator, but easily swapped out.

    Something else to consider is that the XS1s have a taller 1st gear, which makes kickstarting easier, due to the fact that the kickstart goes thru 1st gear.

    Edit: Final note. The changes you're considering will greatly devalue the bike...
    Mailman, GLJ, MaxPete and 2 others like this.
  19. madmax-im

    madmax-im Yamaha...Go your own way... XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I agree with 2M..If you are concerned about "getting this right" and "restoration"..then you should be true to the original design intentions. If you want an early bike with E start ...seems to me an XS2 would be early enough...
    BTW Welcome to this fine forum...
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  20. Jake650

    Jake650 XS650 Addict XS650.com Supporter

    2M, I am in a state of awe at the depth of XS knowledge on this forum. With the engine swap question answered you saved my weekend swap test and now freed me up to chip away at the little ladies to-do-list. :(

    I confess to being conflicted about this project and is it the right thing to do since I came up with the idea of swapping engines. 59Tebo recommended I read Mailmans XS2 full on restoration thread and as I work my my through it, my waffling has only intensified. I believe the bike's overall condition makes it a candidate for a proper restoration but it does have issues. How about this idea.. I'll take and post more detailed pics of what I see as problem areas and will post pics of things suggested by fellow members.

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