1974 TX650A Restoration Project

Btw... you have excellent taste in meters. :laugh2:

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Might want to remove the socket before riding.
@GLJ I think that's a load-bearing socket? :laugh::laugh:

The tins look great and are really close to the stock cinnamon brown
@Team Junk Thanks!! Yes, I am really happy with how the color came out, it worked out really well.

One end is stepped so it fits into the worm and that should face out .....
Thanks @5twins, good eyes, I definitely overlooked that and will flip it.

@Mailman @Superjet Haha, yes, I meant to comment on that....the tailight shake is especially comical. The problem is where the actual tailight mounts to the bracket (the two bolts that go into the back of the circular lens assembly) there are two little dampers that sit in the bracket. Mine were toast and lost all structure. They're installed in those videos and as you can see, they've got a terrible amount of play in there. I for the life of me couldn't find replacements (they're not used anywhere else on the bike from what I could find), so I ended up taking one of the generic circular ones used on the side-cover latches, chain-guard mount, and some other places, and trimming it a bit to fit. Glad to say it seems to have fixed the issue up, I'll post new videos shortly. In the meantime, here are a couple more pics of everything buttoned up w/ the sidecovers on. :thumbsup:


As an update - since that video (which I took a couple weeks ago), very happy to say I've taken it out twice now. Last week I did 40 miles trying to keep things relatively close to home in case of any hiccups. Very glad to report, she felt strong, ran well, shifted well through the gears and was feeling pretty robust overall. I've read through a lot of the discussion here about engine break-in methods, so I opted to keep it under 3000 RPM as best I could with a lot of acceleration up to 3000, then release of the throttle. Seemed to be some consensus that is a good means of pulling oil up past the rings and helping them seat. It was a bit warm last Saturday, so I took breaks every 20-30 minutes to let it cool a bit. I have one of those IR spot thermometers arriving tomorrow, so I'll be interested to start collecting some temp data. Not having a tremendous amount of seat time OR any other experience w/ other motorcycles I'm trying to calibrate myself to 'normal hot' versus 'too hot'.

The one issue I discovered (and all things considered, I take this as a GIFT), is that I had a realllllly slow leak coming from the oil delivery pipe. I noticed a little oil on the base of the pipe at the ferrule fitting. Not enough to even drip. I assumed it was just the fitting not being torqued enough, and I wiped it off. After a bit more riding I realized it was dripping down the length of the pipe. It dawned on me then, that I may have actually damaged the pipe when I removed it. I didn't understand the ferrule fitting at the time, and tried to remove the pipe by removing the base fitting without loosening the ferrule-retaining nut. As you could imagine, this caused the pipe assembly to twist a bit, as the banjos were still attached up top. Was careless of me and a mistake I tried to avoid through the rest of the build. Even though I twisted it back into shape by hand, I suspected it may have split at one of the "Y" seams. It was a very slight leak luckily, so I felt pretty confident that the top end was getting oiled (and clearly the oil pump was doing it's job). After I got it home, I found one on Ebay for $25 and ordered it ASAP. The next day I figured I'd change my oil to get rid of anything that may have flushed out from the rebuild or trans/crank parts I didn't rebuild, and I pulled the oil feeder pipe. I brought it inside and plugged the outlet pipes and fed a bit of air into it in a bucket. Sure enough, I wasn't crazy.

So yesterday I received my new delivery pipe, and installed and everything seemed to be running smoothly. This morning I set my alarm for 6, and took a fantastic 72 mile ride around the western suburbs of Boston. Very happy to report, nothing to report so far. :laugh:
What a fantastic job. Been great to follow your restore, (only 7 pages.....The king of Memes took 107:whistle:..;))..........Can understand how you would think the exhausts look to be a step down on the rest of the bike,, but for me they look great, complement the bike and are in good enough condition, with a couple of dents, (not road rash, if so it would look shit), to show quality, but also that the bike is 46 years old .....Also the front guard helps to balance the exhaust.......

Another consideration is the sound......for me the 74/75, (excepting maybe the earlier ones), is better than the 76-79 Standards and 78-83 specials. Has a growl that is subdued later.....

Love what you've done........:thumbsup:
Thanks everyone, really appreciate the feedback, even though I've been reading through this forum daily for a long time now, this whole process has felt a little like it's in a vacuum so it's awesome to hear from so many folks whose opinions I really respect! :thumbsup::thumbsup:

The workmanship, photos and the write up are second to none. You have a lot more confidence than me to go for a 40 then 70 mile run on a newly rebuilt machine
Thanks @timbeck , that's a really awesome complement. It was fun to write it up, so I'm glad people enjoyed following along (albeit very abbreviated ha). In full disclosure, I did put some miles on these first couple rides, but I was sort of just looping around. I never really made it much further than Lexington/Concord, so I was probably never more than 7-8 miles from home (and maybe 1-2 from my office), so I was half expecting to get stranded and call a buddy. I lucked out a little. I'd love to see ya around the neighborhood sometime, can take a look in person!

I think the brake light mounting gasket you need is available through HVC Cycle.
Thanks @willis I didn't see it on there. I also didn't even see any in the Speed and Sport surplus inventory. It's a random one I've found to be especially elusive. I'm wondering if it's because the brackets/lights are sold as a unit typically? It's the part #9 in the pic below. And what I did was bisect one of the #17 dampers shown below. Had to shave it a little to fit, but seems a pretty good approximation.

@650Skull Hey, thanks so much, that's very kind! Appreciate the note on the exhaust....I think you've got a good point, and it's something I've struggled with, figuring out where do draw the line and keep some semblance of a 46 year old bike. At this point I'm so happy it's running, the idea of throwing a wrench in the gears by changing the exhaust and possibly rejetting is making me exhausted just thinking about it. I'm probably just going to take the summer and enjoy it and get to know the bike better. Ha, I don't know if I understand your note on the front guard?

people are now going to think a restore can be done in a couple of weeks.......
I also took a year and a half in real time.
HAHAHA Oh man I was not looking to stir anything up with Bob's seminal XS2 thread :laugh::laugh::laugh:. That thing is epic and has the blood sweat tears and drama that comes with a real build thread.

To that point.....Yes, I've tried to be as transparent as possible about the reality of this build. A couple weeks ago when I started this forum thread I had just put the motor back in the frame, and I was hoping to have the thread caught up to 'real time' as I was (hopefully) getting it road worthy. And while I tried to recollect the chronology of things as they happened, and my mistakes as well as successes, of course the story is more easily told after the fact. As I was writing this I actually kept asking myself 'would I find this thread annoying?... This dude comes out of nowhere on this forum and posts all these before/after pics and in like 10 posts he's restored a bike". I think I would find that annoying! So I thank you guys for bearing with me ha. What I'll say is that what you see here is clearly the stuff that went right (for the most part)....what you don't see, mostly because I don't remember the ups and downs of all of it, is the hundreds of hours I spent scouring this forum, my giant Excel spreadsheet and notepad with forum posts/pictures/printouts and data compiled for the job, things I had to repeat or got stalled because I needed to consult another resource, or make ANOTHER goddamned Mike's order because I forgot to add a $2 part to the order I got the day before. :doh::doh: Or the patience of my lovely wife who didn't bust my balls too hard about another weekend where I was down in the basement for 2 x 12 hour days. My advice to anyone considering a project like this (and I'm thinking of someone like myself, reading this last fall) is PREPARATION. To pull this off over the winter I had to schedule things from the start. Milestones for the motor, powder coat, reassembly, etc. Have sub-projects happening in parallel. It took a lot of coordination. If anything that is probably the thing I did best in this whole thing and why it worked. I looked at the timestamps on my photos....I broke the bike down on October 14th, 2019, and I took it our for the first ride on May 30th 2020. While I know better than to think these bikes are ever "done", if I consider that the rebuild period, that sounds like 7.5 months by my math.

Not sure if of interest or people care, but (as you might guess) I have detailed breakdowns of costs for the whole thing as well. I know that can be a question that people have sometimes with a project like this. Can go into as much detail as people like, but long and short it I bought the bike for $1400. After all is said and done, with the parts for the resto (including all powder coating) well as everything I put into it previously (HHB CDI/PMA, tires, clutch rebuild, starter rebuild etc), I have $6300 into the bike, which includes the original purchase price. I'm not sure if that's good, or bad. I wasn't super budget focused doing this project, as this is my main hobby..I wanted to do it right, and I figured I had enough of a challenge in front of me that I didn't need to try to comparison shop to save a few bucks here or there. Not sure how much folks talk about that sort of thing, but I'd be curious to hear people's feedback or own first-hand experiences. I have no idea if it's "worth" that much, but as everyone here knows....that's not really the point.

Anyways....I don't want anyone to see this and think it's any less (or more!) than it is. It was a lot of work, but I think these machines are super accessible and if you put the time in, you will be rewarded :thumbsup:. I think the biggest testament to this build is this forum. You never heard from me these last 7.5 months because I swear, EVERY time I had a question or needed to find something it was HERE. It's absolutely unbelievable. You guys rock. :cheers:
That’s a great summary there! I think your write up was extremely well done, easy to follow with nice clear photos and explanations. You didn’t stir anything up with me, Skull and I were just having some fun. Your write up will be Way easier for someone else to reference in the future than one like I wrote. Mine is still ongoing and filled with tons of cross talk and banter, and at 167 pages and counting, it’s getting hard even for me to find what I’m looking for in there! :laugh2:
As far as your investment being worth it, when you try and do a really nice restoration, you’re almost always gonna have more money in it than it’s worth. But did you enjoy the process? We’re you completely absorbed and entertained for the last 8 months? What’s that worth, and now you have something that you’ve built and know inside and out , and trust me.....you’re not done with it yet. :) There’s tuning and ongoing maintenance. It’s a hobby!
I really enjoyed your build, well done. :cheers:
So it's been about 6 weeks since my last post so thought I'd give an update. Happy to report that the machine has been running like a champ. I just crossed over 600 miles on the rebuild. At ~40 miles and ~550 miles I changed the oil. At the last oil change I swapped out the oil filter and plugs. I haven't pulled the sump yet, but should probably do that at some point to give a once over. At about 400 miles or so, after 6-8 rides I pulled the tank and top motor mount and re-torqued the 8 head bolts. Even though I was expecting it, I was actually still a bit surprised as to how much they turned to re-torque. I got one of those IR thermometers and have been trying to collect some temp data, to just get a feel for 'normal'. Based on other posts I've read here I think the motor seems to be running relatively normally. I'm seeing temps of 310-320F at the heads behind the plugs on hot days after getting home (which normally means getting back into some more congested areas with stoplights, traffic etc). Outside of the RH cover seeing up to 140F. I dunno, seems like this is what others have reported on a stock system without any sort of oil cooler, etc. Feedback here welcome.

In terms of other updates, probably no surprise to some of you, but I went ahead and swapped out the Monza shocks with a set of Progressive 12 series from MMM at 650 Central. It only took a couple of rides to realize those Monza shocks were NOT going to work. Ride feel was noticeably improved with the Progressives, so I've been enjoying those. I just bought a 33T sprocket that I think I'm gonna swap in the next couple weeks after seeing some really positive feedback over on Raymondo's build thread. Only other thing I'm probably contemplating at some point is replacement headers and mufflers, but no rush there. The nice headers from Mike's are out of stock, and I've been eagerly following the thread (ISO Not Mike's Commando Exhaust) to see when 650trader posts some of his newly re-manufactured Heiden/Mike Lalonde dyno-tuned mufflers. So will either do that later this year, or maybe before next season. No rush though, I've just been really enjoying getting to know this bike.

I've been having some really nice rides in the greater Boston area and a few down on Cape Cod that have been awesome. A few pics from a beautiful night last week down in Falmouth Mass.