'83 XS650 Build by padge


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Hey everyone,

I'm padge, located in the Canadian prairies.

I've been working on my bike more lately and figured I'd start a build thread. I bought the bike about 6 years ago as a fairly clean stock '83 heritage special, and have chipped away at turning it into a cafe/brat type build. I've added shorter bars, exhaust, 2-1 intake + carb, seat, etc so far as you can see in the photo.

Years ago I cleaned up the rear of the bike, bobbing the fender and adding new tail light + signals, and now I'm tackling the front end. I removed the gauge cluster, headlight, etc. and that progressed into me ripping the entire harness out lol. So to start with there will be a lot of re-wiring going on in this thread. As for front-end components, I have a new brake lever + master cylinder, stainless brake line, brake pads and mini gauges to install. I still need to decide on a headlight and signals for the front. Thinking maybe a 5-3/4" bottom-mount bates with some small round signals attached to the bottom triple clamp. I'll be bobbing the front fender as well.

The plan for the wiring is to start with a minimal DIY "chopper harness" for the charging and ignition systems. Once I get the bike running with that configuration, I'll add in the following: headlight, tail light, horn, signals, speedo lights, and maybe starter. I'll be building an electrical tray to mount under the seat.

So yeah, stay tuned for some newbie / budget-minded bike building!

Attached is a pic of the bike right before I ripped off all the front-end electrics (excuse the dirt).

EDIT: Added a before pic.


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Thanks fellas!

I found some side-mount headlight brackets I had bought a while ago, and did a quick mockup with the stock headlight. I think I'll go with this setup for now! More room to hide wires in the 7" housing and less shit to spend money on, as the cost of all the wiring supplies is adding up quickly... Although these Emgo brackets don't seem to allow tilting the light at all... oh well. I'll probably move them up on the forks a tad to remove some of the gap between the light and the speedo, so the top of the housing is inline with the top of the gas tank.


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Black BS 34s as well? Someone might be interested in those.
Yup! I plan on keeping them for now, just in case I end up not liking the single carb for whatever reason. The other parts I'm sure I'll be listing for sale eventually - they're starting to pile up!


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I've been chipping away at building an electrical tray. I got it cut out of 22 gauge sheet metal ready to weld. I'm going to use the stock rubber mounts, so I'll need to make 4 L-brackets to screw to the bottom of the tray, and slide over the rubber mounts on top. Now I just hope I can make these welds look half decent with flux 😬🙏 (I can grind away any mess, and I'll be painting it black so should be OK). I'm still not sure if I want the tray so tall (2-3/4"), but I wanted to be sure I had enough room – mostly to fit an AG801 in case I want to keep electric start.

Oh I've also been working on my front brake a bit. Took the factory master cylinder and lines off, and yikes 😱! Good thing I haven't been driving this thing the past 6 years with it like this 😆 (it's just been sitting mostly, have only ridden it a handful of times). I've got an 11mm brembo mc to put on, along with a stainless line and new pads. We'll see if I'll be rebuilding the caliper or not.


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You may not need to replace any parts in the caliper but you definitely want to take it all apart and clean it. I've renovated a few and none needed any new parts, just a good cleaning. In particular, you'll need to clean out all the dried crusty brake fluid from the seal groove. This builds up over time and eventually presses the seal ring onto the piston tighter. Brake drag and piston sticking is the result.