Hi All: Well, it is time to begin my first build thread. My goal is to convert an '81 XS650 Special into a nice practical cafe bike. The parameters are: - create a bike that is as safe, reliable, functional and comfortable as possible; - no cutting of the stock Yamaha frame; - use the stock engine and mainly stock electrical system (with reliability improvements such as modern reg-rec unit); - keep conversion costs to a minimum (to leave more money available for BEvERages - I AM Canadian afterall); - use a stock or possibly slightly modified seat pan so that the seat is lockable on the bike, easily removable without tools and the bike has a usable helmet lock on it; - have some fun with my friends!. While I really like to see the beautifully done restorations by folks, I ride my bikes and so I plan to do a good job on it, but I won't be stripping it right down initially. I will get it running and make it safe and reliable and I will install the new components - and ride it. Then I'll work away on it over the coming years to make it prettier. I guess I am simply too much of a Type-A person to wait till all the powder-coating and polishing is done, before actually getting to ride it. I bought the donor bike last month from forum member Lakeview and it is complete and in solid shape - and I will be keeping all of the stock parts in case the next owner wishes to return the bike to stock when my widow sells it to him / her (... - just kidding about the widow part...). The bike came with two seats - a really nice one, which I will keep intact, and a rougher one, from which I will harvest the steel seat pan/base. The bike isn't a runner - quite yet - but the electrical system components all seem to work fine (yay!!) and it turns over well and has good compression. As soon as it warms up enough to work in the garage, I'll get it running. I will certainly need to do the brakes, fore and aft, before riding it and getting it safety checked. I have chosen to model my bike on the beautifully done cafe racer built by forum member Brassneck (check out his album) and the 1989-91 Honda GB500. Essentially, I want to a bike that is a view of what Yamaha might have built in response to the GB500, but using my XS650. To do that, I have collected the following parts in addition to the donor bike: - XS750 fuel tank from a salvage yard in London, ON - it is pretty good, not dented and not too bad inside; - new petcocks, fibre washers & screws, and a new fuel filler cap from XSDirect (MikesXS in Canada); - a set of really nice steel '76-79 sidecovers from forum member Satch39; - a set of beautiful XS650 emblems for the side covers - cast in pewter by forum member Resto; - a snazzy Yamaha tank decal in the British style from Brassneck (to be printed on the vinyl cutter at our local public library, which also did the side cover decals on my 1976 XS650C); - a set of clubman bars with a fairly small drop (from a local chap who has a huge hoard of parts); - rear-sets (from VintageRider58 - extremely nicely made with folding pegs so the stock kicker will work); I still need a cafe seat - but I've got a line on a couple of them locally, so that is underway. We'll have to see how I do with the bars: I may have to go to a set of flat "drag" bars if the drop on the clubmans is too much and I can't get comfortable with the rear-sets. Getting older sucks, but its better than the alternative I guess... Since its too cold outside, I have started doing some preliminary work on some of the components. This morning, I delivered the XS750 tank to a friend who owns a machine shop. He's a fellow member of the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group (www.cvmg.ca) and has restored a spectacular Norton Commando – but he also likes XS650s (its good to be "ecumenical"). When doing the Norton, he built a tank-tumbler to remove interior rust from the fuel tank. Its sort of like a light-duty portable cement mixer: consisting of a frame which is clamped to a workbench and an electric motor and gear/pulley drivetrain that rolls the tank over and over in all three axes. It is a very clever machine - this chap has talent. You should see his welding. He puts in a few litres of water and a handful of large sized aquarium gravel, seals the filler neck and petcock holes, switches on the drive motor and....wah-la....one to three days later – you have a nice clean shiny (inside) fuel tank...and its all done with no harmful chemicals or nasty paint strippers. Very cool and much easier on the arms than the POR15 treatment that I did on my '76 tank. Don't get me wrong, POR15 is great stuff and much superior to the Kreme product which most shops around here still use (because it is impervious to ethanol) and I would certainly use it again if I needed to - but rolling a gas tank around for several hours with the various cleaners, etchents and the sealer compound, is pretty tough on the arms. Anyhow, I should have the tank back sometime next week and I will see if I can post a video of the tumbler in action. In the meantime, I will start on a rebuild of the front master cylinder and brake caliper plus do a bit of a survey on the rest of the bike to see what else it might need. I'd like to really thank the forum members who have helped me thus far with parts, advice, encouragement and of course, the donor bike: Lakeview, Brassneck, Resto, Satch39, VintageRider58 and his son JRod10, GeorgeOC, Mailman, DanielBlack, LittleBill, RetiredGentleman, Fredintoon, Funky, YamadudeXS650C, 650Skull, Michaelo, nwwa, MrTwoWheel, NewAgeRocker, TimeMachine,, DADDYGCYCLES, 5Twins gggGary, and Grizld1 (and sincere apologies if I have left anyone out). Thanks in advance for your encouragement and helpful advice.... Oh - one more thing: that snazzy MAC Performance system that I scored in December will be going on this bike and thanks to GeorgeOC, my '76 will have a nice shiny (and UNdented) stock system on it this summer, in addition to a beautiful shiny fender and set of stays. Cheers, Pete PS - I have not yet figured out how to insert photographs in sequence in a post, nor how to insert a video. Any advice or tips would be welcome.