Best way to kill an xs?

1980 Special Twin

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I'm sure there will be some who would say "chop it" but i think those of us who went that route know what we were getting into. Mine is chopped and just about at the phase where I'm planning to take it on longer rides out of town.

So what are the bonehead mechanical mistakes that are easy to make that will put an xs in the grave? I've seen many of them written about.

Too rich will wash the pistons?
Reverse battery installation or other high voltage short?
Something about a too-low idle speed?
Incorrect advance?
 

jetmechmarty

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Million Dollar Bogan (Danny Hayes) toured the UK on a rented 883 Sportster chopper. No rear suspension, no front fender, no clocks, no fuel gauge, no indicators, and no mirrors. Did it ever break? Below is the link to the playlist. I watched all of them with my wife. The production quality is good.

 
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Jim

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Damn near impossible to put one in the grave... they can always be patched up.
A worn/faulty mechanical advance and straight pipes without rejetting can make holes in the pistons. Worn chain and sprockets have been known to take large chunks outta the cases.
Both near fatal, but fixable.
 

Raymond

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Put a parachute on and ride it off Beachy Head. The parachute is of course optional - either way the bike will be totalled.

0_East-Sussex-Coast-Beachy-Head.jpg


I might have misunderstood why you asked the question.
 

1980 Special Twin

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Haha, that would indeed be a more spectacular end than simple poor maintenance. I just want to make sure i'm not missing a major item on my checklist before I roll out of town on my xs.
 

jetmechmarty

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@1980 Special Twin,
The best you can do to keep the bike up is ride it. Do the general maintenance and don't forget to replace the brake fluid and fork oil periodically. I have a short list of things that will have you walking, assuming these parts of your bike are stock.
1) A weak or dead battery.
2) Alternator brushes worn to failure.
3) A shorted charging rotor.

As far as the rotor goes, that is due to the technology of the wire insulation when the rotor was made. If @Jim rewound your rotor, or Custom Rewind in Alabama, the rotor is unlikely to ever again be an issue. If your rotor is original, carry a spare on a long trip. I have first hand experience in this regard. With a few exceptions, the XS650 is forgiving and will get you home. Keep oil in it!
 

kshansen

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Well I sometimes wonder if in fact it is possible, I mean you can get them to be very bad looking and have some problems but other than draining oil then run down the road at redline it might take some doing.

I should know I ran one for over 15 years back and forth to work year round an under two mile run one way. Changed oil maybe a half dozen times over the years and even managed to get tee-boned by an Isuzu Trouper, then again the sidecar took the worst of that one!

Now I have to admit the charging system stopped long time ago but I had an old car battery in sidecar so I just put it on the charger every few weeks. I won't claim I would have trusted that bike to ride on a 200mile one day trip but it got me to and from work all those years up to last week I worked. Then again the only reason it stopped then was the rear chain was worn so loose it jumped a sprocket and got jammed between the crank case and front sprocket!
 

gggGary

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Start a motor that has set for years without getting the valves nicely lubed and moving freely.
piston.jpg


Keep running a worn out chain and sprockets til it skips on the front sprocket.
70 case cracked from chain.jpg
 
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