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Miss November XS2 tribute

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Raymond, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. Raymond

    Raymond XS650 rider & fettler XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Have just bought an XS650, the purchase being quite a long story in itself. But before I can ride, there are a few issues that need to be sorted. Which kind of leads to, uhm, changes. So I have found this forum to be a very useful fund of information.

    And having visited a few times, thought might as well join.

    Will be very interested to read people's experiences with their XSs, what they have done to and with them, technical issues such as what can/should be improved and perhaps get a feel for the people who live here.

    Cheers, Raymond

    (Couldn't use Raymond as username - there must be another one here somewhere . . .)
    MaxPete, gggGary and Jim like this.
  2. member28833

    member28833 Race the wind Top Contributor

    Great , Welcome here !
    As you can see there is so much information here !
    Can you tell us which year or model you have found ?
    Have fun here
    Raymond, gggGary and Jim like this.
  3. Raymond

    Raymond XS650 rider & fettler XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Well, the frame and engine numbers don't match, which I guess makes it a bitsa? Frame looks to be a Canada model 1977-78 XS-SE and the engine a 1977-78 Canada model XS-E. She seems to have come to UK in 1995 and I imagine the frame and engine were mated before then. I have effectively no history at all with the bike.
    peanut, MaxPete, Jim and 1 other person like this.
  4. Brassneck

    Brassneck XS650 Guru

    MaxPete and Jim like this.
  5. member28833

    member28833 Race the wind Top Contributor

    D313F638-2384-403F-BEE1-997A681C7740.jpeg 77, 78 E like ?
    Sounds like a good find.
    Wulfbyte, peanut, MaxPete and 2 others like this.
  6. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Welcome to our little slice of the XS life.
    There are very many things you can do to an XS650. Keep it stock to whatever you can imagine.
    On your numbers not matching, not a problem. Just keep the numbers in mind when swapping parts from different models and years.
    The way you list your years isn't really correct. Your build date as on the white sticker on the neck is for a model year. The model year starts in August and ends in July. This allows Yamaha to build enough bikes so they can get them on the showroom floor by September or thereabouts.
    So depending on the month of the year it was made is how you determine the Model year. So if your date is after August 1 of 77 it's a 78. It's a 78 until July 31 of 78. August 78 makes it a 79.
    Being as your engine and frame are both 78's both the E and SE used the same engine.
    The E is a standard, the SE is the Special. The main difference is in a few of the styling and some electrical features. Mechanically they are the same.
    I enjoy all my XS650's. The 83 is mostly stock, bar change was the biggie. Nice comfy ride. The 75 with the mods to the suspension is a bit less plush, but handles the twisty roads better.
    The 81 needs work but will be fairly close to stock.
    All have a version of the Pamco Ignition system. The 83 has the newest, the 81 has the external E-advance box. The 75 it has a basic with the E-advance4 box added.
    The 75 is the most modified. I have tried a lot of the things mentioned on here. Mostly to see how I like the changes.
    Some were well work it, others not as much.
    Once you get it running well which will require you spend a lot of time on the wiring. Mostly checking connections for corrosion and tightness. I as well as others recommend starting at one end of the bike, working to the other, fixing anything you find. This requires cleaning, tightening and a dab of dialectic grease to prevent corrosion. Sometimes you may have to replace some things, so knowing how to solder is handy.
    The first things I would suggest are easy to do and don't require much in tools or know how.
    Brakes. Mostly a tear down and good cleaning, with replacing the 40 year old rubber lines with new braided stainless steel lines. On a drum rear, tear down and cleaning with a bit of fresh grease on the actuator shaft.
    Next require a bit more work. Which are handling upgrades. Steering neck bearing conversion to tapered bearings. Swing arm bushings. Good aftermarket rear shocks. Front fork tuning.
    These all make the ride more enjoyable. They help the bike feel more planted to the road.
    Most of these things can done a step at a time as money and time allow. None of these things are terribly expensive by themselves but to do them all at once can get up there.
    Spending some time up in the TECH section is a good way to spend some time. Answers to a lot of questions can be found there.
    I hope you enjoy the labor of love you are starting on. It will lead you to many pleasurable hours spent with the bike.
    Niels B, Fawksey, Raymond and 6 others like this.
  7. 650Skull

    650Skull SSSSSSSSSlither Top Contributor

    Have to disagree on the month of manufacture is the base line for the model........Aug one year to July the next........not set in stone

    have found there can be a leeway of a month either side ...........Use the ID no and match it with the Model is the Way to tell for sure, (stolen bikes with altered no's an exception), i have confirmation of bikes with this discrepancy.

    These were confirmed with pics of the bike and Vin plate
    83K Heritage Special, US.
    7-82 5V4- 1007**. Confirmed

    US custom XS650. Estland
    7-79. 3L1 0403** Confirmed.

    79SF. Australia
    7- 78. 79SF. 447-910324. Confirmed.
    Raymond, MaxPete and GLJ like this.
  8. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Welcome to the forum! You’re from Scottish Borders. I was not familiar with that , so I looked it up, you sir live in a beautiful part of the world! So rich in history and green as far as the eye can see. It could not possibly be more different than where I live. ( the low deserts of Arizona) When you get your bike going I do hope you will take some photos of your bike with the local scenery.....and maybe a castle? :)
    I hope you enjoy your new bike and I hope to see you around the forum.
    TwinLewi, Raymond, Wulfbyte and 4 others like this.
  9. Raymond

    Raymond XS650 rider & fettler XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Gentlemen,thank you all for your very kind welcome. XSLeo, I will follow your wise words of advice. These are very much the kind of things I would intend to get to grips with but I fully take your point on a good look at the electrics as an early priority.

    Sometime, I might tell the story of buying the bike but for now will say that despite what I was told it was not in running condition when it came to me. Problems included a rubbish old battery which had become discharged and would not hold enough charge to give the starter much chance. And the petrol tank was full of rust. But I have dismantled and cleaned the carbs, reassembled them with some new parts, fitted a brand new battery and run the engine using fuel in a bottle hung from a garage rafter. The petrol tank has been sent to a restorer who will cut the bottom out, blast the rust off, repair holes and other damage he finds to the metalwork, apply an ethanol-proof epoxy and weld back together.

    I only ran the engine for 5-10 minutes then drained the oil - not too bad - and have now sent the sump to Smedspeed for an exchange cover with external screw-on filter.

    When the tank comes back, it will be bare metal on the outside so instead of staying with PO's choice of a Thunderbird finish of pale blue and horizontal silver stripes (think Marlon Brando's Triumph in the Wild One) I will go for something more appropriate. To my mind. Quite possibly mimic the finish on the early XS2. Not original but, as the man says, a bike only gets to be original once.

    Then will be in a position to start fettling.

    I bought the bike to ride, not for a project. Of course I am disappointed that it is going to need work and money but hey. And I still believe there is a good bike in there which will eventually reward my efforts. I have that to look forward to.

    Cheers, Raymond
    Niels B, peanut, MaxPete and 4 others like this.
  10. Gator xs2

    Gator xs2 XS650 Addict

    Welcome Raymond. I did the same thing. Visited a bunch of times. On the fence about joining. Then joined. One of the best decisions I ever made.
    Wulfbyte, peanut and MaxPete like this.
  11. Bushyeyed1

    Bushyeyed1 Cafe Racer Top Contributor

    Welcome to the fold Raymond. Plenty of information on the site and I’m sure you will be spending some time in the tech section. Parts can be found cheap in the community too via the classified section. Not sure how much it is to restore the gas tank but there is always people selling used tanks and also after market venders. I saw a whole used Omar Manx body kit with tank for sale for $350 on Facebook. I will kick myself in the butt later for not getting it. If your intentions are just restoring the bike and not modifying it you can get it up and running cheap just find used parts. Good luck on your bike and hope to see some pics soon.
    Mailman likes this.
  12. Raymond

    Raymond XS650 rider & fettler XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Well, you asked for pictures, so here goes:


    That's how the bike looked the day it arrived. You will see the Triumph Thunderbird theme?

    But here's how she looks now, two weeks on:


    As said, the tank has gone to a specialist. So today, I pulled the forks out, changed the fork oil while I was at it, and used paint stripper to take the pale blue paint off the fork lowers. Couple of hours with steel wool and Solvol Autosol (other metal polishes are available) and I'm quite pleased with the result.

    There are a few scars on the alloy but that's just fine with me - this is a 41 year-old bike, after all.
  13. member28833

    member28833 Race the wind Top Contributor

    Right on Raymondo !
    Been waiting to see your XS
    peanut, MaxPete and Jim like this.
  14. Gator xs2

    Gator xs2 XS650 Addict

    97C74C15-9E44-413B-B316-48356631F824.jpeg I agree with the Machine. All I got was a rock.
  15. Bushyeyed1

    Bushyeyed1 Cafe Racer Top Contributor

    Very nice bike! I wasn’t expecting it to look that good.
    Raymond and peanut like this.
  16. kshansen

    kshansen XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Yes same here, guess I'm just used to the bikes that have come my way. They are what could only be described as "barn finds" and not from a good barn at that. Look more like some poor abused dog they show on TV as they are hauling away the criminal that abused it!
  17. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    I like the peashooter exhaust too. Do you plan on keeping It?
    Raymond and peanut like this.
  18. Superjet

    Superjet XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Nice bike Raymond welcome to the forum. JC
    Raymond, peanut and MaxPete like this.
  19. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty, Demi & Gretel: I ask, THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Welcome Raymond, from Canada’s <normally> sunny southern coast in Windsor, Ontario!

    That bike certainly appears to be a 1978 Yamaha XS650SE Special and I’d say that you’ve got yourself a ballgame!

  20. Raymond

    Raymond XS650 rider & fettler XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Well, thank you one and all for the interest you've shown in my bike and those encouraging remarks.

    Gator - if that's all you got, you've got a bit more to do than I have. Good luck!

    As said earlier, I think I have a good bike in there but some unexpected issues. I could probably have lived with the Triumph Thunderbird 'mild customisation' if it had been well done. After all, I bought the bike! But it didn't bear close scrutiny. When I took the filler cap off, the tank had more rust than I've ever seen - there were signs of the paint bubbling up under the tank where rust is coming right through. And the paint comes off on your fingers if you get petrol on it. The pin stripes on the mudguards (fenders to our American cousins?) were sticky tape.

    But on the plus side, I think the bike has been generally well looked after. The engine screws have all been replaced with Allen heads, probably stainless. All fasteners I've looked at so far are in good condition and not over-tightened. The front wheel spindle has a good castellated nut, an 'R' clip which I much prefer to an abused split pin and the spindle has been kept greased. Electronic ignition has been fitted - still to check what make.

    Mailman - the silencers are Triumph type and I don't know how whether I'll keep them. For the brief minutes I ran the bike, they seemed far too loud but that was in the garage. We' ll see what they are like out on the road - not a top priority to change them.

    When the tank comes back I will get it painted and here is my colour scheme of choice:


    That's just a picture I found on the web so apologies if it's your picture . . .

    Some licence will be needed interpreting the scheme as I think my bike's tank is a different shape? I would like to be true to the bike and I will keep as much as possible of what is there but absolute originality is far from my intention. I just want a nice bike I can hop on and enjoy.

    Ah well, at least cleaning up the forks has been A Start.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019

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