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Picked up my first XS650

Discussion in 'Great Lakes U.S.' started by BSAKat, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. BSAKat

    BSAKat XS650 New Member

    Hey there! My name's Jason, I'm a gearhead and magazine editor out of Detroit, MI. I picked up my first XS650 today after riding an XS850 for twenty years and spending the past couple years fixing and flipping old Hondas. What I have is, I think, a '79 XS650SF in Carmine Red. I say "I think" because the serial number suggests that it's a standard F model but it's clearly kitted out as a Special. I know reading VINs can be an inexact science sometimes, but mine starts at 171 and the Special VINs start at 250. So, I don't know exactly what year or submodel it is, but I do know it rules.

    This bike here was last registered in 1987. It was abandoned in a pole barn about five years ago by a dude who bought out abandoned storage units, which is probably where this thing came from. That guy stiffed his landlord and fled, leaving behind the bike and a barn full of junk. The pole barn owner sold it to me, today, with no keys and no title, for the princely sum of $300. I have keys on the way already, but I haven't dug too far into the bike.

    It's clearly all-original, and it's in remarkably good shape for being a long-time orphan. It's rusty, crusty, the tires are from the 80s, and it's missing the right-hand side cover, but the engine is free and has good compression. Any damage is cosmetic (dents in the tank) but the pipes are rusted through on the bottom (no great loss). I'm pretty happy overall.

    What should I look for when digging into this bike? Getting old bikes running and riding is my thing, so I'm already well-versed in bringing them back to life in general, but are there any specific quirks or things to look out for on the XS650?

    2019-09-25 12.44.42.jpg 2019-09-25 12.54.10.jpg
    nj1639, Jim, MaxPete and 1 other person like this.
  2. Jim

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

    Welcome to the madhouse!! :D
    Nice find!! You can start by reading this.
  3. BSAKat

    BSAKat XS650 New Member

    Awesome, thanks!
    Jim likes this.
  4. Brassneck

    Brassneck XS650 Guru

    Welcome and great score! I would love to find something in that kind of shape for just a few hundred $.

    Sounds like you have tons of knowledge on bringing bikes back from the dead...so this shouldn't be all that different, but there are a few variations from Honda's. Still simple, but just a little different. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised...and would be curious to get your take on the differences as you find them.

    The bulk of my Honda knowledge is mostly in reference to late 60's/early 70's (Honda 160/175's)... so in that regard, XS650's are a bit more complicated. Ha ha.
    MaxPete and Jim like this.
  5. 59Tebo

    59Tebo 59Tebo Top Contributor

    Hi Jason! Welcome to the party! "...Picked up my first Xs650", eh? What, are you going to pick up more? Are there that many around the Motor City? :laugh: I made the following comment to another member, regarding a title:
    It's a big hassle, but it's worth it, especially for the pittance you paid for that beauty! Good luck, and best wishes!
    MaxPete likes this.
  6. BSAKat

    BSAKat XS650 New Member

    Weeeeeeeeeeell... I have a problem with collecting/restoring/flipping old Japanese bikes so this may be my first 650 but it's not gonna be my last. As for the title, I've already got a plan for that but thanks for the heads up!

    Well, I've had that XS850 for 20 years now and the 650 is one fewer cylinder, so it's gotta be simpler, right! The Hondas I've done recently have been a CB200, a CB450, and a CB500K (check out the videos below), plus I have a '76 Gold Wing in the shop I'm doing for a buddy. The XS650 is at least as complicated as the 450 and 500.

    - CB500
    - CB200
    - CB450
  7. Brassneck

    Brassneck XS650 Guru

    Awesome Hondas....They sound and look great.
    MaxPete and Jim like this.
  8. BSAKat

    BSAKat XS650 New Member

    Thanks! All three were barn finds and hadn't run in decades. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.
  9. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

  10. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Nice Honda’s! I’ve always had a soft spot for the 450’s. I also like that ignition, that looks like a really nice unit.

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