1. Dismiss Notice
  2. Hey Facebook people... We've created a group for XS650.com members to connect. Check it out!
    Dismiss Notice

Wordman's Build (with questions, answers, and suggestions)

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Wordman, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. Wordman

    Wordman XS650 Enthusiast

    Hello fellow XSers!

    First, a bit about me...

    I was born and raised in the Wheaton, Maryland area, and have been into cars and motorcycles since I was a child (longer ago than I like to think about).

    My first memories of childhood are of me, seated between my father and the tank of his 1969 Triumph Bonneville, being shuttled around the back yard, and of visiting him at Congressional Oldsmobile in Rockville.

    In 1979 or 1980, my father decided it was time to start looking for a car that we could fix up to be my first car. He ended up purchasing a 1961 Impala hardtop and restoring that to match his first new car (348, 3X2s, 3 on the tree, Roman Red and Ermine White), and thus I was exposed to everything from paint to upholstery.

    A 1961 Corvette followed, and then a 1966 Chevelle convertible. The Chevelle was my car, and we built it with a then new LS6 454 crate engine, a posi 12-bolt, and a few other "goodies" (including air conditioning). This was my first car, and I drove it to school daily, and to 75 & 80 Dragway quite frequently, where it ran a best E.T. of 12.01 at, if I remember correctly, 119mph. I later "traded" in my Chevelle to him on the '61 Impala, into which I stuffed a 409 (bored and stroked to 482) with 2X4s backed by a Muncie 4-speed).

    Around 18 or 19 years of age, I started getting the bug for a motorcycle. To this end, I left strategic "hints" around the house, in the form of motorcycle magazines. This got my uncle interested in bikes, and he and my father purchased a matching pair of Yamaha V-Max motorcycles. I took my test on one of these, then purchased my own first bike, a 1981 Honda CB750K.

    I had actually wanted a new Radian, but, being only 19, the wouldn't finance me. Instead, after taking a ride with a gentleman on a nice oil-in-frame Bonneville, caused me to build my first bike, a 1969 Triumph Bonneville.

    Since then, I have had a good number of interesting cars and bikes, including:

    -1979 Pontiac Trans Am
    -1986 Oldsmobile 442 (w/T-tops)
    -1979 Suzuki GS1000E
    -1991 Suzuki VX800
    -2001 Harley Davidson Dyna Glide T-Sport
    -2006 Honda Shadow 750 Spirit
    -1981 Yamaha 550 Seca

    Currently, I have a project car (a 1972 Olds "442" convertible "pro-grand touring style"), a 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer (LY5/4L60E swap), and a 1995 BMW 540i/6, plus the XS650 that will be the subject of this thread.

    My 1969 Bonneville

    I still have the Bonnie, though it is currently in "project" status.

    The XS
  2. Wordman

    Wordman XS650 Enthusiast

    Lists... I'm big on lists. First, they help me organize, but they also allow others to see my thoughts and ask questions and/or make suggestions.

    The plan thus far (in no particular order):

    • 1977 Yamaha XS650
    • Rephased 277°
    • 750cc kit
    • Rebuild engine/trans
    • VM34 Round slide carbs
    • Stock alternator w/VR115 & 3-phase rectifier
    • Race Tech Gold Valve Emulators (Done)
    • Dual front discs
    • Radian swingarm
    • Progressive rear shocks (Done)
    • Painted fenders
    • Larger than stock fuel tank
    • Low bars
    • Stainless spokes (done)
    • Motogadget wiring
    • Trucklite LED headlight
    • 520 X-Ring Chain & Sprockets
    • XS650 Shop hydraulic clutch kit
    • Heated grips
    • 1973 Bonneville mufflers
    • Rearsets
    • Les Williams' Triumph legend style seat cowl

    Any thoughts or suggestions concerning my choices are welcome and encouraged!
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
    TwoManyXS1Bs and Jim like this.
  3. GLJ

    GLJ Never go faster than your guardian angle can fly. Top Contributor

    Nice list. Keep posting pics.
    Bike doesn't look bad as is.
    gggGary and Jim like this.
  4. Jim

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

    Looks like a good project bike. Watching.
    We're close on some of the cars..... 76T/A.... 74 442..... 64 Impala.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
    gggGary and GLJ like this.
  5. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Welcome to the forum, it’s always nice to have another gearhead join the fold! You’ve had some interesting cars and bikes, I hope you enjoy your new Yamaha project.
    It looks like you’ve got a pretty clean bike to work with, have fun and see you around!
    gggGary and Jim like this.
  6. hotdog

    hotdog XS650 Guru

    Looking forward to seeing this one....you could do your own Hyd clutch for about a third of what they're asking.
    gggGary and Jim like this.
  7. Wordman

    Wordman XS650 Enthusiast

    While I do own a nice Southbend Lathe, I really don't know much about using it. I also don't have a mill.
    gggGary and Jim like this.
  8. Wordman

    Wordman XS650 Enthusiast

    I should mention that I am in the information gathering/ideas stage. On 11 July I had my prostate removed due to prostate cancer. Recovery is going very well, but it will still be a bit before I can really get out and do any work. In the meantime, stuck inside and taking it easy, I have been doing research into the things i want to do on this build.
  9. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    With a 750cc kit, any provisions for head work?
    Sticking with points, on a modded 277 plate? Advancer ok?
    gggGary likes this.
  10. Wordman

    Wordman XS650 Enthusiast

    Probably just the stock ports. As for ignition, it will most definitely be electronic, but I haven't chosen the manufacturer yet.
    gggGary and TwoManyXS1Bs like this.
  11. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    You might try running the bike as is for a bit just to get the feel of it. Who knows, you just may like it. 750 kits and re-phasing are popular but the bike really doesn't need that stuff. It's a very fine machine as is. And you've acquired one of the nicest models out there, the '77 Standard. I have a '78 Standard and love the thing. It's been modded of course, but not drastically. Just the basics to make it run and ride better. I'm currently fixing up a Special but so far, it doesn't hold a candle to my Standard. Don't get me wrong, it's nice, just not as nice. Not sure if it ever will be.
    lakeview, gggGary, MaxPete and 2 others like this.
  12. Wordman

    Wordman XS650 Enthusiast

    First, thanks for the input! This is exactly the sort of thing I want. It makes me think back through my choices and ideas. Sometimes that only serves to strengthen my choices, but it can also lead me to changing my mind on something.

    The 750 kit is a bit of a no-brainer to me as I want to rebuild the engine anyway (including an overbore and new pistons). I've ridden several standards, and while they're nice, they're little different than my Triumph as it comes to vibration, thus the rephase. Besides, I've been wanting to do a rephase since I had the chance to sample a rephased Triumph many years ago. I already have a crank and cam done by Hugh's, though I need to choose an ignition system.
    gggGary, Mailman and timbeck like this.
  13. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    OK, let's change the topic to the handling mods. Another alternative swingarm is the one from the Yamaha TX750 twin. The Radian arm is nice but requires some welding and mods. This 750 arm is a dead ringer for the 650 arm with one important difference - the tubes are about 1/4" bigger in diameter. Best part is it basically drops right in. It has the same shock mounts and uses the same axle, chain adjusters, bushings, and pivot bolt. The 650 chain guard won't bolt on but might be able to be adapted, or you can just use the matching 750 chain guard .....

    gggGary, Bewarethemoon and MaxPete like this.
  14. Wordman

    Wordman XS650 Enthusiast

    Hmmmm.... that's a definite possibility of a firm maybe. I already have a couple Radian arms, so I'll probably fit one up and look it over before deciding, but you make a good point.
    gggGary likes this.
  15. Wordman

    Wordman XS650 Enthusiast

    So what am I building? To understand what I want to build, we have to look at my inspiration. First, I have always loved traditionally styled Café Racers. None were more quintessential than the Triton:

    I also have a great fondness for what I call "Traditional Blends," traditionally styled Café Racers built around non-traditional motorcycles. Here's a beautiful XS650 based bike:

    To that mix, we can add the factory racers like the Triumph Thruxton:

    But while I love the style of these bikes (not to mention their enhanced performance), they usually aren't a lot of fun to ride (at least for more than a half hour). Thus, I am designing more of what I call a "GT" or "European style Grand Touring Motorcycle." A few in that mold that come to mind are the Laverda Jota, Ducati 900SS, or even the Honda 750F and 900F. None, I think, have looked better than Les Williams's Triumph Legend and Buccaneer:

    Les Williams Buccaneer:

    Les Williams Legend:

    gggGary, MaxPete, Mailman and 2 others like this.
  16. Wordman

    Wordman XS650 Enthusiast

    Got my electronic ignition. I went with a Newtronics unit as it is made to be configured for a rephased engine. Cool thing is, I ordered it on the 24th, and it arrived on the 26th!
    MaxPete, gggGary, Jim and 1 other person like this.
  17. MaxPete

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

    Just catching up Wordman - nice looking prototypes for your build. I really like the Buccaneer and Legend.

    Post lots of pictures and ask questions - we love ‘em!

    Best wishes on your recovery too - not easy I’m sure.


    PS your stock tank and exhaust are in demand on this Forum so please don’t scrap them...
    gggGary, Mailman and Jim like this.
  18. Wordman

    Wordman XS650 Enthusiast

    The stock mufflers are rotted out near the back ends, unfortunately. Tank is in good shape, and I'll likely be putting that up for sale at some point.

    gggGary, Mailman, Jim and 1 other person like this.
  19. MaxPete

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

    Yup - I’ve got two exhaust systems with rotten RH mufflers. Oddly, the left sides usually are solid which is surprising given that I would expect the LH side to accumulate more moisture sitting on the side stand.

    Too bad....
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
    gggGary, Mailman and Jim like this.
  20. Wordman

    Wordman XS650 Enthusiast

    While I've been healing (who knew healing could be so damned tiring?), I've also been shopping!

    Got my new tank (XV920R)

    Front fender (Also XV920R)

    And ordered the seat/tail (LP Williams Legend)

Share This Page