Bobber Vs. Standard/Modified XS650

notdoer

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This my first post. For a long time I've been interested in the XS650. I have never owned one. Some years ago, I became very interested in building a bobber. I think they look really cool, I like the solo seat, the stretched hardtail frame, springer forks, etc. My GF thinks I'm a bad boy, hehe...hardtail motif.

But...

My research indicates that hardtails, are very hard on the rider, especially for longer distance riding, poor road surfaces, etc. My board of advisors say, "Don't do it!"

I'm beginning to gravitate toward modifying the stock configuration. For purposes of discussion, improving the forks, rear coilovers, and the swing arm. I have read a bit about each of these areas.

What I'm looking for here is guidance from experienced riders on whether my thoughts make sense regarding sticking with a conventional configuration, or whether I'm selling the bobber short.

I'm always seeking guidance as to best practices as well. For example, what modifications have worked the best in your experience.

This is my first thread. If this is of little interest, just tell me and I can remove the thread. I'm just trying to engage the forum on something I find interesting and see where it leads. In otherwords, having fun! TIA.
 

Jim

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Fwiw... you can build a nice bobber without hardtailing it.


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Jim

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I believe that many bikes benefit from a stronger swing arm. Is the XS650 such a bike?
Some say yes, some say no. For a bobber, I'm in the no camp. Bobbers are made to cruise the bar scene with occasional longer rides. What it's not good for is canyon carving. For that, yeah, a beefier swingarm is handy. For a bobber... not so much.
 

40north

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My limited XS650 experience is that the swingarms are too flexible and the bushing that hold it is (in stock form) plastic, eg also flexible. My XS has bronze bush and girder structure. Also cone type front "steering neck" bearings. Also hydraulic damper. No high speed wobble no more. It was in original form, 30 + years ago, really hairy to do a ton on that gal, all over the place white knuckle time. Now just noisy, and frankly, I'm too old to pull a ton very often on alight scooter. And then there are bird strikes, deer, bear, lions...and caged animals, and piggies too.

I agree about hardtails. Cool, but you really can't ride 'em fast. I think some fellas have built softtail versions, plunger would be very cool too. I have a half built hardtail. I'll probably never finish it. If I did one I'd do a plunger style...
Best o' luck, and welcome aboard.
 

Frank47

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This my first post. For a long time I've been interested in the XS650. I have never owned one. Some years ago, I became very interested in building a bobber. I think they look really cool, I like the solo seat, the stretched hardtail frame, springer forks, etc. My GF thinks I'm a bad boy, hehe...hardtail motif.

But...

My research indicates that hardtails, are very hard on the rider, especially for longer distance riding, poor road surfaces, etc. My board of advisors say, "Don't do it!"

I'm beginning to gravitate toward modifying the stock configuration. For purposes of discussion, improving the forks, rear coilovers, and the swing arm. I have read a bit about each of these areas.

What I'm looking for here is guidance from experienced riders on whether my thoughts make sense regarding sticking with a conventional configuration, or whether I'm selling the bobber short.

I'm always seeking guidance as to best practices as well. For example, what modifications have worked the best in your experience.

This is my first thread. If this is of little interest, just tell me and I can remove the thread. I'm just trying to engage the forum on something I find interesting and see where it leads. In otherwords, having fun! TIA.
I agree with most replies. Used Midwest Bobbers 10-11 years ago to change this Shadow 750 & still kept a good ride. Sad to say totaled it when I hit a deer.
 

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jetmechmarty

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I believe that many bikes benefit from a stronger swing arm. Is the XS650 such a bike?
Are you going to use this bike on the track? Over the years. I've been admonished a few times (by observers, not pillion riders) for driving stupid fast on extremely crooked roads, even two-up. The swingarm never bothered me. Before I replaced the swingarm I'd have cartridge forks and some quality shocks. I collected all the parts for a Radian conversion, then gave it away. I decided the payback for me wouldn't be worthwhile. YMMV
 

46th Georgia

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This my first post. For a long time I've been interested in the XS650. I have never owned one. Some years ago, I became very interested in building a bobber. I think they look really cool, I like the solo seat, the stretched hardtail frame, springer forks, etc. My GF thinks I'm a bad boy, hehe...hardtail motif.

But...

My research indicates that hardtails, are very hard on the rider, especially for longer distance riding, poor road surfaces, etc. My board of advisors say, "Don't do it!"

I'm beginning to gravitate toward modifying the stock configuration. For purposes of discussion, improving the forks, rear coilovers, and the swing arm. I have read a bit about each of these areas.

What I'm looking for here is guidance from experienced riders on whether my thoughts make sense regarding sticking with a conventional configuration, or whether I'm selling the bobber short. aid!

I'm always seeking guidance as to best practices as well. For example, what modifications have worked the best in your experience.

This is my first thread. If this is of little interest, just tell me and I can remove the thread. I'm just trying to engage the forum on something I find interesting and see where it leads. In otherwords, having fun! TIA.
What Jim said.
 

jetmechmarty

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Track: No
Spirited driving on twisties: Yes
My recommendation might be to assemble your machine with a stock suspension and see how you like it. On the front, emulators, straight rate springs, and a fork brace are easy after the fact upgrades. If the swingarm is loosey goosey, you'll need to address that and put decent shocks on it. You might find it works more that well enough. OTOH, if you really want a Radian or aftermarket swingarm, by all means do it.
 
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