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Xs650 highway worthiness

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Daveyd, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. Daveyd

    Daveyd XS650 New Member

    Hi everyone. I'm new to the forum, but have read it frequently for the past six months. Let me start by saying you are a wise lot. I'm very impressed by the love you guys show your bikes. So here my spiel; and yes I know it's been covered before, but, well whatever the peace of mind would be nice. Well I'm flying to Tahoe, I live in orange county, ca. Anyways I flying out there buying a really nice 77 xs. I plan on riding it back(about 500mi). It is in very nice condition with stock sprockets. The owner said it would make the trip no problem, but here's what threw me: he said u sure you want to though? These 650s only do about 55 to 60 on the freeway. Uh what? So I'm guessing he's of the school of thought that once the bike starts vibrating a lot damage is being done? So here's the question. What do you all think about the highway worthiness of the 650, and sustain speed of 70- 80? Since I'm bringing a good amount of tools, should I bring a rear sprocket just to be safe? And the other thing is for the people around here, coming back to l.a. Should I take the 5, 395, or just go all out and take the 1/pch, I only have about 9 hours before it need to be back. Thanks for listening. -dave
  2. hotrdd

    hotrdd XS650 Junkie

    I drive my 76 on the HWY all the time but I have it tuned and it doesn't vibrate that much anymore. I'd give myself an hour or two to look at the bike before I took off and take care of the following.

    1) Throw in a fresh set of plugs.
    2) Check the air filters & oil (Maybe check the oil filter)
    3) Set the chain tension.
    4) Set the Cam chain tension.
    5) Check valve lash.
    6) If possible double check the timing.
    7) Check that the battery is charging.

    Drive home :)
  3. It's the stock gearing... The sweet cruising zone is 50-60ish. The bike can tolerate higher speeds and so can you for spurts but when sustained, it gets wearying. A long run will be good for cleaning out the carbs and combustion chambers. Ride at varying speeds and when you encounter a slow cluster of traffic, join them for awhile and enjoy the slow cruise.

    Lube and adust the chain.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  4. jd750ace

    jd750ace Front Toward Enemy

    I would probably spend a DAY working on it before taking off that far on an unknown bike. If you do it before you leave, maybe you will get to fix a problem on your time and your terms, instead of when it decides to shit the bed on you, going down the highway.
  5. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Lets start by saying welcome to the board.
    I did a trip from upstate New York, about half way between Binghamton and Syracuse, to just outside Baltimore Maryland. I took the scenic route on the way down, averaging around 45 mph and spent about 11 hours on the bike. On the way home I tried to stay ahead of the rain and the trip was just over 5 hours at 80-85 mph. The bike handled it well. Me not so much. My butt and hands got a bit tired. More from fighting the wind as the vibes of the bike.
    A well tuned bike with well balanced carbs vibrates very little.
    On your "new" bike a trip like that might be a real learning experience.
    hotrrd's list is a good start. I would change the oil, clean both filters. Carry along a few quarts of oil, just in case.
    I might also replace the points or at least carry a new set along.
    Make sure the tires are fairly new, not just look good but are not over 4 or 5 years old. Old tires won't hold up. Age is easy to figure out. On the tire is a DOT number. The last three or four are in an oval and tell the week and year they were made. If there are just three numbers in the oval they were made before 2000. if four nubers, the vfirst two are the week the last two the year. As in 2203 is the 22nd week of 2003.
    Good luck and happy riding.
  6. I ride an 2 hours down i80 for work on my hard-tailed chopper. Every few days something is broken or falling off. I now check every bolt and nut each night.
  7. Splexin

    Splexin XS650 Addict

    On my last bike trip I drove about 300 miles each way, and probably 100 miles of the stretch both ways the speed limit was 75mph. Even with stock gearing I was fine at that speed (I have since upgraded my sprocket for better highway usage).

    The only issue I had was speedo cable came loose about 30 miles from destination. Other than that and bruised hands (vibrations, take frequent stop breaks), everything was peachy.
  8. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    You are one brave soul, hopping on a new-to-you 650 and then running it for 5+ hours @ 70-80. You certainly are going to test the P.O.'s claims that the bike is in excellent shape. But here's the thing about P.O.s - you usually can't believe much of what they tell you. The fact that he told you the bike will only do 55-60 on the freeway should be sending up a red flag, a fucking big one.
  9. Ironsled77

    Ironsled77 XS650 GRAND HACK

    One bike i bought from a harley mechanic in the city, everything "rebuilt" top to bottom ride it anywhere. brought the trailer instead of the 35 trip on a new to me bike. Axle nut backed off the rear and wedged itself in the swingarm first trip around the block. Could only imagne what would of happened had it not. Clutch had wrong bearings in it and broke the hub off the mainshaft. It was clear they where wrong it was a square peg in a round hole type deal! Good Luck
  10. DLD1

    DLD1 Mechanical Stuff Nut

    Unfortunately I have to agree with 5twins. Although it may be a fine bike in the end, the PO saying it will only do 55-60 on the highway would scare me big time.

  11. blue900

    blue900 XS650 Addict

    I would take the safe route (for you and the Bike) drive over and truck or Trailer it home. that way a friend or tow truck wont need to save you. After you have checked it out and rode it while and touched it and learned all about it and made it yours, a 500 mile trip will be fun!
  12. ReycleBill

    ReycleBill Part Time Tyrannicide

    Seriously, haul it home. When they're right these bikes are tougher than we are and even bone stock have no trouble with an 80 MPH cruise all day long. If the current owner is saying 55-60 then there's problems. He might not know enough about the bike to even know it and just assumes that to be true because whoever is selling him the Hog says it's true. (I see that all the time then send them home in tears.) It's probably a simple low budget fix and it wouldn't scare most of us away from buying the bike but other than spark plugs, motor oil and light bulbs there's not a lot of parts available for these bikes along the side of lonely stretches of Interstate Highways. Take a friend and lots of ropes and tie down straps with you.

    PS. Depending on how far, a tow truck could cost you more than you'll be paying for the bike. Seriously.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  13. Good advice being givin' but you wouldn't be the first to buy a bike far from home and then ride it home. If you do opt for this adventure maybe have a rescue plan... Or perhaps... if you have a car, rent a uhaul trailer and go pick up that sucker :) but back to the rescue plan do you have a credit card and a cell phone and a good friend who could rescue you?

    When you first see the bike, be prepared with a checklist. Give it a thorough inspection. Give it a long test ride.

    I took a Greyhound bus and bought a used Honda twin in San Francisco and rode it 140 miles home, it ran flawlessly... As soon as I got home I took my wife for a victory ride on it. I bought a Yamaha SR500 30 miles from home and it blew up half way home.

    Be prepared to walk away from the deal or renegotiate after the inspection.
  14. Purplezinger

    Purplezinger XS650 Addict

    The Owners claim of 55-60 mph on the freeway is a huge red flag. A bone stock 650 should cruise all day at 75/80 mph. I wouldn't hesitate to do a trip like that on my bike, but you have no history with this one. Maybe a trailer is in your future.
  15. ReycleBill

    ReycleBill Part Time Tyrannicide

    I once bought a 500 BSA and didn't make it across town before it threw a rod.
  16. MTcycle

    MTcycle MTcycle

    I thought that's about all the farther BSAs last??? :laugh:

    It sounds nice. Fly up there jump on and cruise down 395.

    I'd chance it. Did you see the story about the kid from Socal on a Honda 70?

    You Can Do It!
  17. I think I would look into the uship route just because you have to be back in such a short time. One hickup and your window for time could shut. I would bet its no more expensive to have it shipped than the air fare another benefit not getting molested at the airport when they discover that you are carrying tools!
  18. Tron

    Tron Bearded Sheep Whisperer

    You guys are all such prunes.

    Ride it. Bring some tools, and have fun.

    Definitely take it for a good rip around town first, but as long as it all checks out, go for it.

    Whats there to lose? Experiences and stories make life worth living.
  19. hotrdd

    hotrdd XS650 Junkie

    Tron - very true, I don't have a lot of good stories from uneventful trips.

    MTCycle – what’s the story with the kid and the Honda 70?
  20. What Tron said. Gas and go. You can Ride it for a mile or two and see what the bike will give you. Just because the owner drove 60 you can see how fast it will go and how long. Buy it ride it the adventure begins. :D

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