1980 XS650 Brat/ Bobber/ Chopper/ Who Knows? Build

Aways back you were inquiring about needle jet assembly order since you have adjustable needles you don't need the 2 washers upper left.

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Got the silver on. I used Dupli Color Stainless Steel. It was on clearance at autozone for $2! Looks really nice and was very forgiving.


Masked off the silver after letting it dry overnight. I used VHT black Wheel Paint next. NOT very forgiving and a long dry time. I didn’t wipe the wheels down with degreaser, only a cloth. Not crazy about the results. Will lightly sand a few problem areas and see what happens. I do like the look however. Sort of an oily black.


Small update. I used a green scotch brite pad to lightly sand The problem areas. Bought another can of VHT black wheel paint and changed my spray distance. I was about 5” away on the first go around, which led to the runs in the paint. This time I was about 10” away and the paint went on much better. I also read the dang directions (DUH) and they said to only wait 10 mins between coats. The wheels look GREAT now. I DO reccomend! Also, they say this type of paint dries in 24hrs but fully cures in 7 days and doesn’t require a clear coat. Pro tip: plan on using a can of each (primer, color, clear if using) for ONE wheel. Pulling the silver masking off tomorrow for the big reveal.


Been busy lately but got a few things done. Ordered some stuff from Mikes, including this oil filter. It is TERRIBLE quality. Rough, sharp edges everywhere. Sent it back.

Cleaned up the sump filter and patched the gaping hole with two part steel epoxy and part of an aluminum can. Worked great!

Ordered a 3 1/4” 240 grit flex hone and got to work on the cylinders. One of them looks really good, but the other has two DEEP scratches/pits. Since I don’t want to do a bore out, I’m going to pick up a new head at Cycle Heap. The flex hone is really easy to use and glad I bought it.




All I have left to do is paint the motor before assembly. Hopefully it all goes back together this week!
Minor update! Carbs cleaned and reassembled. Had to get new bodies (thanks gggGary!) since I killed the air mix screw holes in the ones that came with the bike. This is a direct fit replacement if yours are messed up or missing


I also replaced all of the seals (thanks again gggGary!). The butterfly screws came out very easy after filing the backs down with a jewelry file from HF. I reused the screws with a little added blue locktite. Replaced all the screw with stainless Allen bolts. Also replaced both leaky brass floats with plastic ones. Knocked the rust off the caps with windex and tin foil. I painted the top and bottom brakets with some engine paint.


Lapped the valves, did some minor cleaning up of the exhaust ports with the Dremel and installed the new valve stem seals today. I used these Viton ones. https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.com/ulk/itm/302227052076


Was having a hell of a time getting the rocker plug thingamajigs out. Turns out an 8mm nut driver socket fits PERFECT in there and was able to pound them out with the help of a BFH and a drift once the nut driver was seated in the hole.


Hoping to paint the motor tomorrow after I figure out why the hell my battery is dead in my SL125!
SL125 back up and running! The ignition switch is being a bit finicky, but works for now. Ok back to the XS! Got the motor all cleaned, degreased and taped up. Cutting around all those weird tiny shapes with an X-acto was a pain in the butt. Forgot to mention that I picked up some new jugs from Cycle Heap and honed the cylinder walls. Bam!

Plugged up the holes in the head with earplugs and some wine corks that I whittled down. Worked great.

Hung up and ready for primer

I used duplicolor engine primer. Used one can for all three pieces.

Laid down the black. I used duplicolor semi-gloss black engine paint. Went through a can and a half.



It’s about 36 degrees and snowing here right now so that paint did not wanna cure. I went over everything with a heat gun in between each coat. Worked pretty dang well. I got a few paint runs on the fins but that’s no problemo since they are getting sanded. Starting to get the rhythm of good rattle can application!
So I took the dremmel and some sanding drums and went after the fins. Didn’t work too well so I switched to some sanding sponges and they worked pretty well. After a LOT of work the motor paint and whatnot is done!

Here is a mock-up.


I gotta say I definitely want to do this again anytime soon! It ain’t perfect but it looks pretty dang good.

Using a DID master link chain. Could not get the old one of with the POS Harbor Freight chain breaker, so I used a dremmel cut off wheel.
I used the Acura Integra .020 over rings and gapped them appropriately. Lubed up the jugs (hehehe) with oil and a bit of Permatex Ultra Slick and used the ol’ popsicle stick trick to get the rings in. Sorry for the lack of pics!


Aaaaaaand the jugs are in!

Couldn’t get the stock piston pin clips locally, so I went with 20mm retaining snap rings. Worked just fine.


Leaving it like this tonight as it’s getting a bit chilly in the garage. The rest of the top end will get buttoned up tomorrow.
Head is on! I decided to disassemble the head and redo the valve seats. I just wasn’t happy with my previous efforts and it accumulated some dust and whatnot. Much better second time around. Installed the am chain guide and used some stainless allen screws. Any foreseeable issues with that?


Set the pistons at TDC and coated the head gasket with a thin layer of copper spray gasket. Got everything fitted up and realized that one of my valve springs was on upside down! Gah! Sonuva.....

Please excuse the dirty bottom end. It’s being cleaned!

During this whole process, I managed to drop the cam chain in the case... TWICE!!! Gah!!! Managed to remedy the situation by attaching some safety wire to the chain end and slipping it back through. It was very stressful and many curse words were said.

Lubed up the cam bearings, surfaces, and cam and set it in there. Getting the chain on really wasn’t so bad. Managed to get everything lined up after a couple attempts.


The rest of the top end gets done tomorrow!
Nice work B_C! Did you center the cam chain guide? When I got my bike, I changed the oil and found some plastic and aluminum bits. Opened her up and the guide wasn't centered between the cylinders and wore from one side to the other.

Nice work B_C! Did you center the cam chain guide? When I got my bike, I changed the oil and found some plastic and aluminum bits. Opened her up and the guide wasn't centered between the cylinders and wore from one side to the other.

View attachment 135292

I can't figure out how to center it. There is no side play at all even just finger tight. I was concerned but not sure what to do. Enlighten me!

Also, in reference to using Allen bolts on the cam chain guide, it will work, but contacts the oil feed tube. I opted to reuse the stock bolts.
Here's a discussion on how to center it.
And here's a discussion on top end buildup.

Thanks, Jim. I have been following your top end thread throughout this build. It’s perfect for me since I am a visual learner, so THANK YOU! I did eyeball the guide, but really couldn’t see any movement when tightening the bolts. I was very aware of the guide centering after much reading, but the dang thing wasn’t going anywhere. I am using the original threaded boss nuts. I suppose I could take it all apart and double check, but I’d rather not I tells ya’!

Btw, I’ve been annealing copper washers like a madman hahaha