5 years ago I bought my first xs650

JSellito

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I will start out by saying Hello to you all. I am not much of a poster, more of a lurker. 5 years ago this week I brought home a 1981 xs650 special with the intent of building a street tracker. This was my first bike build. I read a lot of posts on here and other xs650 sites. I read about PMA's, rephases, and all sorts of other tech info. I went to looked at this bike in about 23* weather. i gave it a quick spin around the block and made a deal on it. It had a little engine noise. What i thought to be the cam chain guild from reading up on common issues with the xs's. more on that later. A friend of mine was just starting a street tracker build of and sr500 at the same time. I get the bike home and change the handle bars out with a set my buddy had. The next day the weather was warmer and i thought lets take this thing for a spin. about 3 blocks in the clutch cable breaks. i was able to make a few more blocks to my buddy's house with out stopping. we load it up and take it back to my garage, and thats when it started. I had ridden the xs all of about 2 miles. i started taking a few things off of it. The reflectors some tabs from the frame ect.... all with the intent of putting a cable on it and giving it a good shake down. well that didn't happen. i kept removing more and more parts and soon is was to deep into it to ride it. we hit up a local salvage yard and i happened on a gas tank in excellent condition with a cool paint scheme. i had no idea what is was from at the time. i just liked the shape of it and it seemed to fit the frame ok with a little help. after some research i figured out it was from a 1975 RD250. in my research if had convinced my self i needed and RD. i wasn't even half way through my xs build. i ordered up a knight tail section. cut the rear loop off made my own to fit the new tail. i also knew that i wasn't going to use the 16" rear wheel. i found and XS400 18" rear with disc. i made some new spacers to center everything up had to order a custom built sprocket. i spent hours searching the web for a rear brake caliper that would work and had the look i wanted. i found a brembo that if ran upside down it would fit perfectly. i also found a brembo set up for the front from a ducati multistrada and paired it with a 320mm rotor. i made my own rotor spacer and caliper bracket for the forks. i shaved the unused bosses from the other leg and polished them to a shine. i removed all the unwanted tabs from the frame. i wanted simple so with help from this forum i pieced a pma together and deleted the starter. i gutted the wiring harness of anything extra. a friend of mine worked at a exhaust shop so i talked him into helping me with the exhaust. i bought 4 1.5" stainless 90* mandrel bends, and 2 concentric stainless sanitation drain pipe reducer cones. yes i said "sanitation drain pipe" lol whatever gets the job done. i load it up and take it to his shop and we make a couple flairs for the cones and he tig welded everything together for me. i pulled the trail tech from my dirt bike that hadn't worked in years because of a broken wire. i made a bracket and mounted it to the upper triple. i found some led lights to use for a headlight and a taillight. another buddy had a set of 1 1/8 fat bars that had a bark buster mount broke off in and were unusable for him. after finding the tank i had decided that i wanted a blue frame with the white and red rd250 paint scheme. as i got closer to painting the frame i decided i couldn't leave the 40 year old paint on the tank. it was in good shape but had flaws so i found reproduction graphics. i took the parts to work and picked out a blue color that was close to what i was looking for. after leaving out 3 and a half of the color toners out i had the color i had pictured in my head. i painted everything up installed the graphics on the tank and re cleared it. it was the end of june 2014 by now and i found a post about the "Dodge City 300" 100 year centennial motorcycle rally. my wife and i grew up in dodge city and were heading back that week anyway to visit family so what better deadline to get the bike done. i had custom brake lines made up finished wiring and installed a points set. i knew in the future there would most likely be a rephase so points were cheap for now. i made an aluminum pan and shaped some foam for the seat. the bike was running and stopping. it started easy with one kick. i had saved a leather seat back cover from a volvo car that had blown an airbag out of it. so the day before we were heading to Dodge City i tried upholstering the seat cover an my wife sewing machine. i had made a pattern off the foam i had shaped. her sewing machine pretty much refused to sew the leather. we headed for Dodge the bike still didn't have a seat on it. when we got to town i used my mother in laws machine to finish up the seat cover. her machine work, not well but enough to sew the cover together. i rode the bike around dodge for a day then entered it into the vintage bike show they had going at the dodge city 300 rally. it got lots of attention and complements.

I will do a photo dump then continue the story of the bike.
 

JSellito

XS650 Member
Messages
11
Reaction score
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Points
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Location
Colorado
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JSellito

XS650 Member
Messages
11
Reaction score
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Location
Colorado
I rode the bike for the rest of the summer. the motor had a noise in it. i thought it was the cam chain guide so when the weather got cold i pulled the motor and ordered up parts. i pulled the head and was ready to change the guide out, but it was intact. so i scratched my head and wondered what the noise i was hearing was. i turned the crank to pull the pistons down in the cylinders and there it was. 4 perfectly spaced scares in the right cylinder. it had had a four corner seizure. i couldn't leave it like that so i tore it the rest of the way down. ordered a eBay 706 big bore kit and had the cylinders bored. also spit the crank and replaced a bad rod. i rephased the crank. there was definitely a learning curve on truing it up. after 3 evenings of messing with it it finally clicked in my head on what needed to be done had how to do it. i sent the cam to gggGary for him to rephase. i also did a 7 disc clutch kit at the same time. when i got the motor all back together i ordered up a pamco ignition for it. i also bought a set of ex500 cvk carbs and rejected and changed the needles. the bike ran great. i then decided the the tail was to plain so i sanded it down and played out some stripes to tie into the tank and painted them on. i have just enjoyed riding this bike for years now. the most recent thing i have changed is i found a set of restored vintage fox shox a couple weeks ago that i am convinced were meant for my bike. i don't know if you could have pick a close powder coat color match if you were trying.
 

D B

XS650 New Member
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Canada
I will start out by saying Hello to you all. I am not much of a poster, more of a lurker. 5 years ago this week I brought home a 1981 xs650 special with the intent of building a street tracker. This was my first bike build. I read a lot of posts on here and other xs650 sites. I read about PMA's, rephases, and all sorts of other tech info. I went to looked at this bike in about 23* weather. i gave it a quick spin around the block and made a deal on it. It had a little engine noise. What i thought to be the cam chain guild from reading up on common issues with the xs's. more on that later. A friend of mine was just starting a street tracker build of and sr500 at the same time. I get the bike home and change the handle bars out with a set my buddy had. The next day the weather was warmer and i thought lets take this thing for a spin. about 3 blocks in the clutch cable breaks. i was able to make a few more blocks to my buddy's house with out stopping. we load it up and take it back to my garage, and thats when it started. I had ridden the xs all of about 2 miles. i started taking a few things off of it. The reflectors some tabs from the frame ect.... all with the intent of putting a cable on it and giving it a good shake down. well that didn't happen. i kept removing more and more parts and soon is was to deep into it to ride it. we hit up a local salvage yard and i happened on a gas tank in excellent condition with a cool paint scheme. i had no idea what is was from at the time. i just liked the shape of it and it seemed to fit the frame ok with a little help. after some research i figured out it was from a 1975 RD250. in my research if had convinced my self i needed and RD. i wasn't even half way through my xs build. i ordered up a knight tail section. cut the rear loop off made my own to fit the new tail. i also knew that i wasn't going to use the 16" rear wheel. i found and XS400 18" rear with disc. i made some new spacers to center everything up had to order a custom built sprocket. i spent hours searching the web for a rear brake caliper that would work and had the look i wanted. i found a brembo that if ran upside down it would fit perfectly. i also found a brembo set up for the front from a ducati multistrada and paired it with a 320mm rotor. i made my own rotor spacer and caliper bracket for the forks. i shaved the unused bosses from the other leg and polished them to a shine. i removed all the unwanted tabs from the frame. i wanted simple so with help from this forum i pieced a pma together and deleted the starter. i gutted the wiring harness of anything extra. a friend of mine worked at a exhaust shop so i talked him into helping me with the exhaust. i bought 4 1.5" stainless 90* mandrel bends, and 2 concentric stainless sanitation drain pipe reducer cones. yes i said "sanitation drain pipe" lol whatever gets the job done. i load it up and take it to his shop and we make a couple flairs for the cones and he tig welded everything together for me. i pulled the trail tech from my dirt bike that hadn't worked in years because of a broken wire. i made a bracket and mounted it to the upper triple. i found some led lights to use for a headlight and a taillight. another buddy had a set of 1 1/8 fat bars that had a bark buster mount broke off in and were unusable for him. after finding the tank i had decided that i wanted a blue frame with the white and red rd250 paint scheme. as i got closer to painting the frame i decided i couldn't leave the 40 year old paint on the tank. it was in good shape but had flaws so i found reproduction graphics. i took the parts to work and picked out a blue color that was close to what i was looking for. after leaving out 3 and a half of the color toners out i had the color i had pictured in my head. i painted everything up installed the graphics on the tank and re cleared it. it was the end of june 2014 by now and i found a post about the "Dodge City 300" 100 year centennial motorcycle rally. my wife and i grew up in dodge city and were heading back that week anyway to visit family so what better deadline to get the bike done. i had custom brake lines made up finished wiring and installed a points set. i knew in the future there would most likely be a rephase so points were cheap for now. i made an aluminum pan and shaped some foam for the seat. the bike was running and stopping. it started easy with one kick. i had saved a leather seat back cover from a volvo car that had blown an airbag out of it. so the day before we were heading to Dodge City i tried upholstering the seat cover an my wife sewing machine. i had made a pattern off the foam i had shaped. her sewing machine pretty much refused to sew the leather. we headed for Dodge the bike still didn't have a seat on it. when we got to town i used my mother in laws machine to finish up the seat cover. her machine work, not well but enough to sew the cover together. i rode the bike around dodge for a day then entered it into the vintage bike show they had going at the dodge city 300 rally. it got lots of attention and complements.

I will do a photo dump then continue the story of the bike.
I bought an 1978 XS650 4 years ago in beautiful condition with it's history from about 1984 up until I got it from an estate sale. They also gave me another motor minus carbs and wiring for the bike. I would like to know how to identify that the motor is for a XS 650.
 

gggGary

Simplest truths meet the sternest resistance F D
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I bought an 1978 XS650 4 years ago in beautiful condition with it's history from about 1984 up until I got it from an estate sale. They also gave me another motor minus carbs and wiring for the bike. I would like to know how to identify that the motor is for a XS 650.
????
only an XS650 motor looks like an XS650 motor
 

gggGary

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The Serial number, front below tach drive, will ID what year it was from.
 

rsor

Wanna do this again!
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DB, why don't you look up the serial number off the motor and check it on a serial number/model chart?
 
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