2021 and the XS650

lukeXS

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The day is January 1, 2021 and it's raining ice in NW Ohio right now. I snuck out to the garage to tinker on the bike just a moment ago and thought it'd be a good time to post it to the forum. I'm a newbie here and this is my first post.

About two weeks ago, my dad gave me his 1979 XS650 Special II that he had sitting around his garage for many years (previously in a barn). He was going to fix it up himself but recently came across a fairly clean '74-'75 CB350 and decided to fix that up instead, and the XS was taking up space. So, what the heck - he gifted it to me and said see if I can get it running. I'm 26, never built a bike myself, but I would say my own technical know-how is about 6.8/10. Before some of the old timers think I'm about to rip into this and chop it up, rest assured. I do not plan on modifying the chassis or departing too far from its original form, although I would like to change the seat, handlebars, possibly suspension, and knobbier tires and lean to a more adv flavor. A rear rack would be cool too. But to not get too far ahead - my first goal is to get it running.

I've started the disassembly, a general cleaning, and taking an inventory of the condition of the parts. I didn't want to get too far ahead of myself before taking some pictures.

PXL_20210101_160358103.jpg

I put the seat and tank on for a photo mock-up. Carbs are on the workbench. I forgot to put the exhaust pipes on for the mock up.
PXL_20210101_160654379.jpg

I've cleaned the carbs, and they weren't too bad (on the surface). Tomorrow I will do a quick soda-blast to remove any excess fuel grime and clean a last time.
PXL_20210101_160243980.jpg

Carb rebuild kit is on the way, along with a replacement float. I read that a solder job could repair them, which I do have experience with but this looks more like a patch job. Not really wanting to polish a turd. Also ordered a new set of diaphragms from JBMindustries - these original ones held up to the light reveal many holes.

PXL_20210101_160458576.jpg

Engine is overall in good condition (appearance-wise).

PXL_20210101_161714917.jpg

Interior of tank looks great.

PXL_20210101_161801621.jpg

Exterior of tank, less so.
PXL_20210101_161921597.jpg

Points will need to be set.


My dad also gave me a complimentary Yamaha catalogue from 1978, which is the icing on the cake for a nerd like myself. I didn't know if it's a good idea to scan and upload (unsure of copyright), but I may if its OK at some point. See some snap shots below:
PXL_20210101_162924127.jpg
PXL_20210101_162948897-1.jpg
PXL_20210101_163003194-1.jpg


Happy New Year!
 
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jetmechmarty

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Welcome aboard. I was 24 when I got my XS650SK. It was a new bike and the year was 1983. I still have that same bike. I remember, back then that seat and bar were very popular. My local dealer in Daytona Beach had that seat on the only XS650 they had in stock. They would not sell me the bike with the stock seat. So, I purchased my bike at Beach Yamaha in New Smyrna Beach and saved about $500 for making the trip. Other than wheels, I haven’t really changed anything.

The ‘79 Special II is one of my favorites. I have one of those, too! Yours has better bones than mine. Best wishes.
 

Jim

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Welcome to the forum Luke!! I see that you understand the "newbies must post pics" rule.:sneaky:
Following your build with interest.
Oh... and Luke... may the force be with you. :D *



*Awwww 'cmon... someone had to say it...
 

lukeXS

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Welcome aboard. I was 24 when I got my XS650SK. It was a new bike and the year was 1983. I still have that same bike. I remember, back then that seat and bar were very popular. My local dealer in Daytona Beach had that seat on the only XS650 they had in stock. They would not sell me the bike with the stock seat. So, I purchased my bike at Beach Yamaha in New Smyrna Beach and saved about $500 for making the trip. Other than wheels, I haven’t really changed anything.

The ‘79 Special II is one of my favorites. I have one of those, too! Yours has better bones than mine. Best wishes.
Thanks jetmechmarty! Cheers!

Welcome to the forum Luke!! I see that you understand the "newbies must post pics" rule.:sneaky:
Following your build with interest.
Oh... and Luke... may the force be with you. :D *
*Awwww 'cmon... someone had to say it...
Thanks Jim! Cheers!
 

lukeXS

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Happy New Year yourself. Do not worry about your technical know-how of 6.8/10. We will take care of you, since our technical know-how is 15/10, if not more ;)
Ha! If I happen to post something with questionable assembly, feel free to hollar. Cheers xjwmx!
 

5twins

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You have a unique model there, about my favorite of the Specials. The spoke wheels on the '79 Special II had alloy rims. Many other Special models had spoke wheels too but the rims were chromed steel. The '78-'79 carb set is also very good, about the best of the BS38 sets in my opinion. Take care with those rebuild kits. Check the jet sizes because many times they don't match what's supposed to be in there. I think I see the factory airboxes in one of your pics but you don't show the exhaust system (or mention it). If it's been changed from stock, the jetting may need to be tweaked slightly for best running so stock jet sizes would be no good to you anyway. Many of us prefer to use genuine Mikuni jets instead of the knock-offs that come in the rebuild kits.
 

GLJ

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Welcome to the forum!
Bike looks to have good bones. Before going to much further I would co a dry/wet compression test.
Also take a good look at the front wheel. Could be camera angle, looks like 3 bent spokes at 6 o'clock. Rim looks a little wonkey at 5:30. Could just be the camera.
upload_2021-1-1_14-26-3.png
 

lukeXS

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Welcome to the forum!
Bike looks to have good bones. Before going to much further I would co a dry/wet compression test.
Also take a good look at the front wheel. Could be camera angle, looks like 3 bent spokes at 6 o'clock. Rim looks a little wonkey at 5:30. Could just be the camera.
View attachment 181860

Good eye with the front wheel. Definitely going to need fixed. Two bent on the rear as well.
 

lukeXS

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You have a unique model there, about my favorite of the Specials. The spoke wheels on the '79 Special II had alloy rims. Many other Special models had spoke wheels too but the rims were chromed steel. The '78-'79 carb set is also very good, about the best of the BS38 sets in my opinion. Take care with those rebuild kits. Check the jet sizes because many times they don't match what's supposed to be in there. I think I see the factory airboxes in one of your pics but you don't show the exhaust system (or mention it). If it's been changed from stock, the jetting may need to be tweaked slightly for best running so stock jet sizes would be no good to you anyway. Many of us prefer to use genuine Mikuni jets instead of the knock-offs that come in the rebuild kits.

Thanks for the info regarding the wheels - I'm going to be repairing the wheels (somehow). You are correct - I do have the original airboxes as well as exhausts. Not in bad shape either. Thanks for the info 5twins!
 

5twins

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Yes, and get the stainless spokes from XS650Direct. Their 16" rear stainless set is an amazing bargain at only about $35. MikesXS charges that for their cad plated ones, lol. The front stainless set is a bit more @ about $46, but that still beats Mike's price by nearly $30. I don't know how they do it because these are the exact same spoke sets.

https://www.xs650direct.com/products?show_all=true&category=135

They also offer free shipping on $125+ orders. Add a few other items and you'll easily top that mark. I recommend some gaskets for the oil filter covers and some drain plug sealing washers.

Before you tear the wheels apart, take lots of pics so you can re-lace them correctly and the same. Now, while the 19" fronts and 18" rears use the same spoke pattern the 16" rear has a different one. So, get pics of both wheels.
 

lukeXS

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Yes, and get the stainless spokes from XS650Direct. Their 16" rear stainless set is an amazing bargain at only about $35. MikesXS charges that for their cad plated ones, lol. The front stainless set is a bit more @ about $46, but that still beats Mike's price by nearly $30. I don't know how they do it because these are the exact same spoke sets.

https://www.xs650direct.com/products?show_all=true&category=135

They also offer free shipping on $125+ orders. Add a few other items and you'll easily top that mark. I recommend some gaskets for the oil filter covers and some drain plug sealing washers.

Before you tear the wheels apart, take lots of pics so you can re-lace them correctly and the same. Now, while the 19" fronts and 18" rears use the same spoke pattern the 16" rear has a different one. So, get pics of both wheels.

Heck yeah - Thanks for the links and recommendation. I'll be posting pics along the way.
 

650Skull

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The day is January 1, 2021 and it's raining ice in NW Ohio right now. I snuck out to the garage to tinker on the bike just a moment ago and thought it'd be a good time to post it to the forum. I'm a newbie here and this is my first post.

About two weeks ago, my dad gave me his 1979 XS650 Special II that he had sitting around his garage for many years (previously in a barn). He was going to fix it up himself but recently came across a fairly clean '74-'75 CB350 and decided to fix that up instead, and the XS was taking up space. So, what the heck - he gifted it to me and said see if I can get it running. A little background: he used to race sport bikes in the 90s and now we just are into more vintage bikes. I'm 26, never built a bike myself, but I would say my own technical know-how is about 6.8/10. Before some of the old timers think I'm about to rip into this and chop it up, rest assured. I do not plan on modifying the chassis or departing too far from its original form, although I would like to change the seat, handlebars, possibly suspension, and knobbier tires and lean to a more adv flavor. A rear rack would be cool too. But to not get too far ahead - my first goal is to get it running.

I've started the disassembly, a general cleaning, and taking an inventory of the condition of the parts. I didn't want to get too far ahead of myself before taking some pictures.

View attachment 181837
I put the seat and tank on for a photo mock-up. Carbs are on the workbench. I forgot to put the exhaust pipes on for the mock up.
View attachment 181838
I've cleaned the carbs, and they weren't too bad (on the surface). Tomorrow I will do a quick soda-blast to remove any excess fuel grime and clean a last time.View attachment 181839
Carb rebuild kit is on the way, along with a replacement float. I read that a solder job could repair them, which I do have experience with but this looks more like a patch job. Not really wanting to polish a turd. Also ordered a new set of diaphragms from JBMindustries - these original ones held up to the light reveal many holes.

View attachment 181840
Engine is overall in good condition (appearance-wise).

View attachment 181841
Interior of tank looks great.

View attachment 181843
Exterior of tank, less so.
View attachment 181842
Points will need to be set.


My dad also gave me a complimentary Yamaha catalogue from 1978, which is the icing on the cake for a nerd like myself. I didn't know if it's a good idea to scan and upload (unsure of copyright), but I may if its OK at some point. See some snap shots below:
View attachment 181844 View attachment 181845 View attachment 181846

Happy New Year!

welcome Luke,

Great bike, 78/79Specials are my favorite, still have the standard uncluttered look and all steal tins before the plastic 80's and disco.

Well with your fathers experience and 8/10th of mechanical knowledge you are 11/10ths better off than a lot of guys who started on here, they had never worked on an engine before.........now they can strip and rebuild engines, carbs, caliper,s master-cylinders, re-spoke wheels, all on their own.............all the learning is with the help from members on here.

bit odd how the front and back wheels have 2 or 3 bent spokes........almost like it was dropped or some one landed on both wheels at the same time after doing an Evil keneval

Well on your way and good luck.................make sure you ask about any parts before buying........all the best places for quality of the parts are already known and there are a lot of dealers/sellers who will sell you anything because they will advertise a part for your model when they don't have a clue as there are a lot of small to medium changes between years and every 2 years there was a major change to carbs. 77 35mm forks are different to the 78-83 35mm forks......Just ask first
 

lukeXS

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welcome Luke,

Great bike, 78/79Specials are my favorite, still have the standard uncluttered look and all steal tins before the plastic 80's and disco.

Well with your fathers experience and 8/10th of mechanical knowledge you are 11/10ths better off than a lot of guys who started on here, they had never worked on an engine before.........now they can strip and rebuild engines, carbs, caliper,s master-cylinders, re-spoke wheels, all on their own.............all the learning is with the help from members on here.

bit odd how the front and back wheels have 2 or 3 bent spokes........almost like it was dropped or some one landed on both wheels at the same time after doing an Evil keneval

Well on your way and good luck.................make sure you ask about any parts before buying........all the best places for quality of the parts are already known and there are a lot of dealers/sellers who will sell you anything because they will advertise a part for your model when they don't have a clue as there are a lot of small to medium changes between years and every 2 years there was a major change to carbs. 77 35mm forks are different to the 78-83 35mm forks......Just ask first
Thanks for the words 650skull! Ha, not sure regarding the spokes - it is a bit odd. And will do regarding the parts!
 

GLJ

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not sure regarding the spokes - it is a bit odd.
Not really. Someone went into a corner or a tee intersection a bit too hot. Decided it would be better to hit the curb straight on rather than leaned over. Might want to check the fork tubes for straightness. Also look over the frame real close. It is possible to crack or break them. Don't ask how I know.
 

willis

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Welcome Luke! I must not be too far away from you as I too had the ice storm all day just outside of Ft Wayne. Where abouts are you located in NW Ohio? There are a handful of members in the area. Sounds like you are already on the right track and approach. Welcome and keep those pics coming. This forum is a tremendous resource of knowledge for these old bikes. I think it’s more of a community than a forum though. Not like most other forums out there on the interwebs.
 
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