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

Got the motor all torqued down today. Going to polish up the tappet covers next. Still need to clean the bottom end and give it a bit of fresh paint.

Question: Is it necessary to use gaskets on the tappet covers if I’m already using o-rings?

Decided to move to the frame today. Had a break in the rain, so why not?! Got to cutting, grinding, and hitting some areas with a polycarbide disc on the grinder. Those things are GREAT!

Seat area cut

Mock-up of what shall be

And one with the tank I’ll be using

Miiiight be lowering the rear seat section. I’ll know for sure once the swingarm is extended 2” and the wheels are on!
Took the frame and swingarm over to @kungfutoast house to get the welding going. Picked up some new steel and we got cuttin’.

Keeping the stock lower shock mounts as is for now. Might need to move them forward a tad after the mock-up.

Cut the tubing for the frame and got it in place.

Welding it in after making sure everything was perfectly level.

All done on the seat section! Very happy with it!

Probably going to extend the rear seat an inch or two. We’ll see after the mock-up with wheels and suspension on. Had to put the swingarm on hold due to the wall thickness of the new tubing being too large to accept the solid plugs that we are using. Once that’s sorted, it shall be done!
Pulled she starter seal today and installed the dorman freeze plug. Used a 32mm socket, a wooden dowel and a BFH to get it out.

Cleaned up the area a bit and added a thin smear of rtv before installing the plug

Used the dowel and hammer to git the plug in. Worked great!

Btw, what the heck is this bolt/ passage for? Cannot find it in the manual or parts diagrams.

And with it removed...
Been very busy with life lately, so not too much has been done to the bike. I did however start the bondo work on the tank.

I also got my case covers cleaned and polished. I used aircraft stripper, 220 grit on a random orbital sander, 320 blue roloc disk, 500 wet, 1000 wet, black then brown compound on a drill buffer, then blue magic.

I probably wouldn’t use the brown compound next time. Just didn’t do much. Also, I really wish I had a bench buffer! Hard to wrangle the covers and the drill at the same time. Hoping to have all of the frame welding done this week and get this project moving!
Well frame isn’t done, but the swingarm is halfway there. I’ll do a thorough write up on that when it’s finished! I did finally manage to clean/rebuild the clutch. The friction and pressure plates were within spec so I just deglazed the pressure plates on some 220 wet dry with wd40 and a finish with green scotch brite. Sprayed the friction plates with brake clean and scrubbed them with a mylon brush. Soakek then in motor oil overnight. Sprayed everything else with brake clean and put it all together. A little tedious, but not difficult at all.


Kickstart shaft and oil pump were pulled and cleaned. Everything was in good shape. Replaced the kickstart seal. Cleaned the gasket surfaces with a roloc and coated the cover gasket with wd40 and buttoned it all up with new stainless hardware. Don’t forget the 2 small copper washers, people!

Kind of all over the place at the moment so I decided freshen up the paint on the triple tree and related parts.


I used this stuff I found on clearance at the hardware store. Big ol’ can for $2! Turns out, it’s very good! May just need to buy some more!

Went back to @kungfutoast ’s garage where he welded up the new extended passenger seat. It’s now 2” longer, which is the same amount of stretch as the swingarm.

Started off by chopping the rear hoop off and adding a 6” rod.

Then we took some metal from the factory seat braces and cut them down to 2” for the outer sleeve and welded it all back together.

Now we gotta clean it up and add some plate over the open tubing.

We planned on getting all the welding done today, but ran out of gas! Resuming the welding this week!
So other than some tabs, battery box and swingarm, the frame welding is done, courtesy of @kungfutoast !

The steering stop was broken off when I got the bike so a big ol’ mangled nut should do the trick!

Oh that’s a hot one right there I tell you what.

Started to prime the front of the frame to test out the primer. It works well enough.

These baby’s arrived in the mail. Got a smokin deal on them. I’ve replaced every other spring (3 total) on the clutch. Hoping for a good middle ground with clamping force as the friction discs are only slightly worn.

A slight hiccup with the kick lever. I took it apart, cleaned and greased it, now it won’t stay folded back. It just flops around. What am I missing?Suggestions?
Turns out the kickstart lever spring was still in there! I couldn't find the ball so I used one of the old ball bearings from the neck. Works great!

Needed to tackle the tank mount so @kungfutoast and I measured things and drilled the hole to accept the bung.

Bung in.

You can see the bung all welded here. We also made some mounting tabs for the coil. Used some square bar, cut the bottom off and drilled a hole in each piece and welded to the frame. The primer was removed on the areas to be welded.