Barn find


XS650 New Member
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Easton, Pennsylvania
well hello there xs650

I've been lurking around here for the past weekend and joined up the other night.

Two years ago my brother found a '77 XS650 in a barn with a title and no keys along with a R60/5 which is getting some different kinds of attention

The poor XS sat in his garage for that entire two year period before finding its way to mine 3 days ago.

I have minimal mechanical experience both bikes and cars. I'll follow YouTube and forums and change out parts and such, but for the most part I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing :]

So anyway... I've been pouring over these forums and even read through some carb guides, wiring diagrams guides, ignition guides (looks like pamco is the way) and loads of other stuff.
Here's the condition and story and this weekends progress.

Bike last inspected '96 and assume it sat since then without being prepped to store.

Not running, has compression both sides, turns over, carbs completely locked and gunked up, not sparking.

So far we've: (2 other brothers and my dad)
•got another battery and tested electric everything but turn signals work (also no engine start button)
•bought some ngk spark plugs in 5/8 as mentioned somewhere here along with some basic cables (thinking the coils are bad, but will need to test it a bit more) around $25
•ripped off the fuel tank and shook out chunks and chunks of rust then filled tank with 3 gallons of apple cider vinegar which has kicked ass where it sits $8
•cleaned out the petcocks
•had a locksmith make us keys $30 which worked in the ignition immediately
•ripped out the carbs and found the slides stuck, the throttle stuck, the choke stuck, the floats stuck. (Now all of those are UNSTUCK after cans of PB blaster, carb cleaner and brake cleaner) The diaphrams are good the floats are so thinned and covered with pinholes (big holes were soldered) that I'm afraid they may need to be replaced.
•the brake plunger in the handle is invisible and probably needs a new master cylinder

The carb has taken priority and waiting on some kits from mikesxs. I know there are mixed feelings about the kits ;)

So just felt like saying hello and sharing the fun.

PS you guys are awesome the wealth of information here is fantastic

Edit: found the original pic when it was found


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Welcome! Keys are easy! It's the titles that are hard to come by. At least here in the Republik of New York State. The locks will have a number code (on the ignition, the tank, the steering lock, and under the seat where you lock up your helmet). These numbers should all be the same. I see you're missing a front fender, get one. (They're easy to come by, since everybody that does the "chopper thing" takes it off and sells it) Even if you chop it (the fender, that is...), it makes for a great, easy, light weight fork brace (you need one). I started writing before reading your narrative in detail. Do whatever you want with the handle bars. Whatever fits YOU. That $30.00 key would've probably cost you less than half of that on Flea-bay, sorry, been there, done that. Along with overhauling the carbs, replacing all the mechanical cables, battery, plugs, coils, etc., you'll probably wind up replacing the front brake system, end-to-end. My master cylinder was full of mud when I opened it for the first time. Isn't it worth your life, the few extra bucks, to replace everything, and know for sure it is going to work when that deer jumps out in front of you? That's a when, not an ' if '. Good luck, keep us posted when you make progress, and again, welcome!
Hi Smiley:

I think what you’ve got there is a 1979-82 Heritage Special (shorty mufflers with welded-on exhaust headers, “zillion” spoke wheels, drum rear brake and I think I can see hinges for the seat) and those are nice. In fact, I’d guess it is a ‘79 from the hinged seat and BS38 carbs (the later bikes have BS34s which had chromed rather than cast top caps and they also had lift-off seats rather than hinged) and so you’ve got the best year of that model, IMO.

I’d strongly recommend that you get it running and working well - BEFORE considering any sort of chop / hack / f@cking-up of a very nice old motorcycle. With a decent set of handlebars and a reasonable seat, that will be a damned nice bike to ride - in pretty much stock trim. It won’t be the fastest or sharpest handling bike on the road - but it sure will be noticed and anyhow - if you want a wheelie-popping screamer - buy a modern sport bike. It will run better and likely be cheaper in the long run.

If you want to see what your bike it COULD look like - check out Brassneck’s beautiful 1979 Heritage Special-to-Cafe bike (which I am emulating with my own ‘81 Heritage Special build).

I see that someone has already ditched the uncomfortable stock Harley-esque rotor-tiller bars for something little more anotomically correct - good swap there.

Anyhow - all the knowledge you need is right here on the Forum. Ask lots of questions and enjoy that nice old bike!

Looks like you’ve got yourself a ball game there Smiley!!

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Thanks for the ID!!

Brassneck's build is goregeous I would be proud riding that thing! That's actually the look we are aiming for and weren't planning on chopping it up or making a bobber.

We were going off '77 from the title and VIN Lookup which plugged it at 76-77 but yeah it's all there!

Looking forward to following your build!
I enjoy wrenching on mine almost(keyword ) as much as riding. Enjoy yours. The best is yet to come! We've all seen worse become great rides. Keep at it!
Got excited... put some stuff back on it

The seats probably not gonna last long my brother got it with the grips and clips 2 years ago. Love the brassneck look


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Welcome smiley---You have a great bike to start with and I love the wheels.
We were going off '77 from the title
I would agree. The placement of the rear shocks(standard), the keyed seat lock (pre 80), the piss catcher rims, but mainly the grab handle on the rear of the frame (77 was the last year). Someone has added the special exhaust.