Advice on purchase of 79' 650

Joe24

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Hey folks!

First post! :)

I am about to pull the trigger on a purchase. But, the bike is very far away and I am not well versed with bikes in general.
I'm linking a photo album and a video sent by the seller. Please have a look and give me advice on whether or not this is an acceptable purchase.
The bike was a barn find, which had been sitting for a few years.
I wanted my first bike to be something I could learn to ride and work on; something I could grow far too overly attached with sentiment. The xs650 seems to fit all the requirements my heart desires.
I've completed a lein and crash report.
The only thing is this bike is 2000+km away, and I need to be sure the bike is worth $1800 CND as the seller is delivering the bike.
I sent it to a mechanic friend, and he's says jump on it- good deal. I'd love some more input.
I think it's worth it, by my significant other is saying it's insane to purchase something with out physically inspecting it, which makes sense, but at the same time- I know what I'm getting into with an old bike, and xs650's are not that easy to come by in W Canada.
Let me know what you think! Thank you.

Photo album: https://goo.gl/photos/QE7xzQGdCuBJMx1k9

Video:

and rest assured, I'll fix that paint job up,
 

650Skull

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A seller should show pics and a video and of the bike as if he is a buyer, and would like to see important things not as a show piece for the owners benefit.

Video doesn't show indicators, brake/tail light working, that sort of thing. What has been done to the bike actually, motor any upgrades ect.

Not saying it isn't good just where i come from if i was a buyer.
 

Joe24

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Good points, I added a few more photos.

I know there will be and want to do the work on that said bike.

But I want a decent engine and bike for a decent price. With the available data, would you say it may be?

I might see if there is a mechanic who'll tske a look near the bike.

Cheers!
 

retiredgentleman

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Here's a few test questions for you:

Do you do your own oil changes/oil filter changes on your car/truck? Do you rotate your own tires on the car/truck? Do you do your own maintenance on the car/truck, such as air filters, spark plugs, coolant replacement etc. If you can answer yes to these questions, then you're a good candidate for an XS650. In other words, you like to get your hands dirty.

If you are the kind of guy that likes to use wrenches and a VOM with wiring diagrams to trouble shoot electrical wiring problems, then the bike may be suitable.

If you just want a bike to ride, and will be annoyed every time something is not working right, then this is not a bike for you. Better to buy a bike that is less than 10 years old.

Be aware that you will likely spend another $2000 or more in the first year or two, as you improve and modify the bike. Its good that it runs, but that does not mean it runs well. The compression could be low and it may be burning and/or leaking oil. A top end re-build may be needed. These are all unknowns.
 

fredintoon

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Hi Joe,
Cdn$1800 delivered and it runs? make sure you can register the bike in your name and then go for it!
There's things I'd change (rototiller bars because they are an ergonomic disaster, the paint because I hates them tacky flames.)
And things I'd check on (the aftermarket mufflers look to be attached to the outer header pipe rather than the inner)
 

lakeview

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That California Kid paint job would cost you huge on Harley tins, I like it.

You will have to decide whether you want to wrench or ride. If you are a brand new rider, get a used Honda 125 or 250 and learn to ride competently, you will drop it more than once.

The price is steep, in my view, I would want it to be licensed, delivered to your door and ready to roll for that much.

XS Leos post is worth reading more than once.
 

Brassneck

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$1800 CDN is about $1350 US... Not a bad price for a decent running XS with some cosmetic work done (or needed to be done, depending on what you felt about it as is)...

For me, it's higher than I would be willing to pay without having a way to visually inspect and test ride it--There are some things that you just can't tell from a video or pic...like low compression, crappy suspension, leaking or seizing brakes, cracked/twisted frame, wheels/bearings issues, electrical and/or charging issues, etc. Note: most of those things are not necessarily deal breakers, since they can all be fixed (And they aren't all that expensive either...assuming no real engine work is needed). But without seeing it in person, I'd be wanting some guarantee or option to reduce pricing if things weren't disclosed and you discovered them upon inspection (Like a compression check at min. upon delivery)...

For me, I'm comfortable at $500 sight unseen...I can swallow that and recoup the loss with parts sales, etc...

But at the end of the day, if this is the bike you see for yourself, and you know you want to do the work and learn on it...then go for it! (that's what money is for...you can always make more). And you will definitely remember it as a learning experience--you'll either love it or hate it.

The XS is a great bike, easy to work on, looks good stock or custom... and if treated well...will out last you.

Good luck!
 

Joe24

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I'd be wanting some guarantee or option to reduce pricing if things weren't disclosed and you discovered them upon inspection (Like a compression check at min. upon delivery)...

For me, I'm comfortable at $500 sight unseen...I can swallow that and recoup the loss with parts sales, etc...

But at the end of the day, if this is the bike you see for yourself, and you know you want to do the work and learn on it...then go for it! (that's what money is for...you can always make more). And you will definitely remember it as a learning experience--you'll either love it or hate it.

Thank you, compression and other critical engine aspects are really all I am concerned with. I will be redoing as much as possible on the bike. But the aspects I am concerned with are the most difficult to know from afar.

So, I will look into making some sort of guarantee.

Essentially, I want a good engine and frame. Fix it up enough to ride. Learn to ride and maintain my bike. Then next year, if I'm ready, I'll work on the aesthetics and make it my dream bike.

Which will be something classic and simple like this: https://www.instagram.com/p/_aZ0c_uvHq/

Hopefully.

Thanks again!
 

Joe24

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Delivered and Runs for 1800CDN, yes. But he says it's been sitting and needs TLC.

I need to have a mechanic look at the engine. If the engine is good, I feel its a good deal.

Learn on it while it looks like a piece of junk. Then in the next two years clean her up.

Cheers
 

Joe24

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The price is steep, in my view, I would want it to be licensed, delivered to your door and ready to roll for that much.

XS Leos post is worth reading more than once.

Thanks, bud, I look into that post. And the vehicle is ready for license and delivery. The only thing is how well it's running. So, I am hoping the seller will meet me in the middle with a guarantee.
 

Joe24

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If you just want a bike to ride, and will be annoyed every time something is not working right, then this is not a bike for you. Better to buy a bike that is less than 10 years old.

Be aware that you will likely spend another $2000 or more in the first year or two, as you improve and modify the bike. Its good that it runs, but that does not mean it runs well. The compression could be low and it may be burning and/or leaking oil. A top end re-build may be needed. These are all unknowns.

I am handy with tools and work in a professional trade, but I am no mechanic.

I read these bikes are reliable and simple, so I thought it would be a good bike to learn how to work on it. What would you say on that point?

I'd say I am damn good at troubleshooting. I dont have specialized mechanic tools, though.

The compression and engine integrity are the only part that are making me nervous.
 

Brassneck

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Just about the easiest thing to work on... next to a classic VW engine that is. :) and they are as reliable as any 37yr old machine can be...given someone's interest in upkeep and maintenance, the are solid. Things get old/worn/used/dried out/broken... but this bike has enough of a following that there are parts, there's info and there's a passion and interest in keeping them on the road...that alone is worth something.
 

fredintoon

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- - - For me, I'm comfortable at $500 sight unseen...

Hi Brassneck,
the price included a 2,000 KM delivery.
You could perhaps get a bike shipped 2,000 KM for $500 or it'd cost $500 in gas and motel bills just to ride it that far.
So the actual bike cost is $1,300.
And that's in our 70 cent Canadian dollars.
In US money, that's $910.
 

650Skull

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I love it when words are found from the end of the garden and made into statement meant to convey a meaning the op didn't make for the sake of an observation about something that has no bearing on the facts presented.

I guess a better saving would be to say that a bike bought in the States and shipped to Canada would cost in the vicinity of $2500. Seeing as how the present bike is going to cost $1800 the op has now got a bike and has $700 in his hand Can't get a better deal than that.
 

Brassneck

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Hi Brassneck,
the price included a 2,000 KM delivery.
You could perhaps get a bike shipped 2,000 KM for $500 or it'd cost $500 in gas and motel bills just to ride it that far.
So the actual bike cost is $1,300.
And that's in our 70 cent Canadian dollars.
In US money, that's $910.

Hey Fred,

Good point... the delivery fee is something I didn't consider in my summary...so perhaps it's a better deal for sight unseen. :)
 

kevski

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That looks pretty reasonable, a few bit's to do like get shot of those awful bars, the headlight looks like it only has a candle in it, upgrade to a halogen unit, the chances are it will need a cam chain guide a decent after market oil filter, there is also the possibility it will need a new generator, look at spending maybe another 1000 dollars on it to get it going really sweet, you would not get one in that condition in the UK that cheap, i would snap that one up.
 

CoconutPete

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Besides the "flame job" that's almost the exact bike I just bought. 1979 Special.

Be warned.... if you like working on stuff - things will get out of hand. My bike started and ran when I got it home. Next thing you know I had discovered MikesXS.com and TCbroschoppers.com and things got really out of hand....

Posted via Mobile
 

5twins

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Yes, these are a good bike to learn on. As mentioned, pretty simple and easy to work on. When choosing an old bike, one with a big following and lots of support is best. The 650 has all that. It will need some work, they all do. You can make these into quite nice, reliable bikes over the course of a couple riding seasons. With it up and running, you can do what we refer to as "ride and wrench". Ride it while fixing and improving this little thing and that little thing. I like to do the fixes and mods one at a time so I can really judge the result they have. You will most likely want to upgrade and improve things like the suspension, steering head bearings, swingarm bushings, charging system components ..... the list goes on and on. Yes, you may end up spending another $1000 or so, but spread over a couple years, that's not too tough on the wallet.
 

Joe24

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Yes, these are a good bike to learn on. As mentioned, pretty simple and easy to work on. When choosing an old bike, one with a big following and lots of support is best. The 650 has all that. It will need some work, they all do. You can make these into quite nice, reliable bikes over the course of a couple riding seasons. With it up and running, you can do what we refer to as "ride and wrench". Ride it while fixing and improving this little thing and that little thing. I like to do the fixes and mods one at a time so I can really judge the result they have. You will most likely want to upgrade and improve things like the suspension, steering head bearings, swingarm bushings, charging system components ..... the list goes on and on. Yes, you may end up spending another $1000 or so, but spread over a couple years, that's not too tough on the wallet.

Yes, this exactly is what I hope to do. I want to wrench it to my own perfection. Then, I'll work on shining up the aesthetics. I want learn and know there will be more money.

That's what I want.

What I don't want is to buy an engine that is no good, and I hoped coming to a community like this someone might be able to tell via pictures and the video if the engine was sound.

I'm getting mixed reviews on the bike. It seems it is difficult to tell without physically inspecting.

But I think I might take the leap, get the bike, start working on it and I'll come after your guy's help when I can't figure something out!

Thank you for your advice. I'm getting excited.

-Joe from Victoria BC
 

weekendrider

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Hello Joe,
My take is it is a running used bike. It will have some things to be done now, some that can wait.
The seller would have to have pretty big balls to show up with a bike with major problems. Chances are you wouldn't pay for it when it arrived.
I heard no uh-ohs with it running. I saw no red flags.
I think you will find it is ride-able and generally in working condition.
Oh and the bars aren't the dreaded OEM. Those are ape hangers.
Good luck and carry on.
 
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