Bobber Vs. Standard/Modified XS650

Track: No
Spirited driving on twisties: Yes
I gotta hardtail bobber and cafe style bikes too, for twisties is definitely the domain of the cafe style. A lot of bobbers have longer wheelbase and extra rake on the front; good for straight-line stability, not so good for quick turns.....
 
Well, I’m bigger by a few pounds than you , I run stiffer springs and slightly heavy oil on the front, all good

I’ve run hard tail ( ‘42 WLC) and triumph TRW and it was smooth , but keep in mind its a well sprung seat , not-sprung ( I’ve had a ridged XL1000 like that) is hard on you , running a low rear tire pressure is one of the only
Ways to mitigate

Cafe is fun, did that for years , but I’ve gone to a more relaxed “scrambler / desert sled “ set up on the one I’m running now ( bonus points ….apparently this style is popular…FWIW..)
 

Attachments

  • 4497407E-BC45-4C9C-A84B-3A08BD1E1971.jpeg
    4497407E-BC45-4C9C-A84B-3A08BD1E1971.jpeg
    347.9 KB · Views: 67
  • 4BB44277-B186-4FE1-BF08-7796094FAEE5.jpeg
    4BB44277-B186-4FE1-BF08-7796094FAEE5.jpeg
    429.7 KB · Views: 68
  • C7DE382C-0864-4113-BBE7-1A2B18D21A37.jpeg
    C7DE382C-0864-4113-BBE7-1A2B18D21A37.jpeg
    367.7 KB · Views: 71
Thanks for all the great input. I think the resto-mod approach evolving to match my driving style and preferences as they develop is a great approach. Heavier springs and oil sound likely. A bobber without hardtailing may be the path for me. Lots to think about Really appreciate all your guidance!
 
The bike you first looked at is exactly what your description is, of the sprung bobber, at a price 1/2, or morethan that, than it will cost to build one to that standard
 
Hardtail and springer fork will make for poor handling and comfort, i.e be a lot less rideable than a stocker.
On the other hand upgraded (stock) forks and better shocks improves handling, stability and comfort, especially for a heavier rider. I am pretty sure the stock suspension was set up with a 150-160 lbs rider in mind, if not even lighter (wonder what the Japanese test riders weighed in the 70s.....)
Go to the RaceTech website, and use their fork spring rate calculator. That will show how ridiculously soft the oem springs are
I would even recommend longer shocks, with longer travel. Of course also set up for your weight. 4" of shock travel gives close to 5" of rear wheel travel, which is similar to many modern bikes.
Even with these purely functional upgrades, a different tank/ seat/ handlebar/ exhaust/ tasteful accessories can give the desired "bobber look"
I particularly like the look of moderately upswept "cocktail shaker" mufflers, even when they may be a bit too loud for my taste. With a high "Z" handlebar, a nice seat, a smaller tank (or a oem Special tank), and a moderate sissy bar, you may have the look you want, and the comfort/ handling you need 😁
 
Last edited:
I just ran the RT spring rate calculator, 81 XS650 Special, for a 230 lbs rider, street riding, standard setting:
Recommend spring rate: 0.91 kg/mm
Stock spring rate: 0.58 kg/mm.
Used a Special since it seems closer to the "bobber" style as stock.
 

Attachments

  • Screenshot_20230827-121741.png
    Screenshot_20230827-121741.png
    382.3 KB · Views: 39
Just found this thread. @notdoer you haven't said anything about your history with motorcycles - new to bikes, or perhaps you have a long history of modifying and riding customs? Unless you have experience, or patience, or a healthy bank balance I would say that a stocker is a better way to go. As soon as you move away from standard, you're on your own and have to think whether parts for sale will fit and work on your bike. But if you want a custom look, maybe fit a single saddle, different bars, modified tank or go to a sprung bobber like the one @Jim posted?

If you have no experience or very limited then buying or building a hard tail bobber would probably prove to be a lot of work and money and end up with a toy you might never use?
 
Last edited:
Hardtail and springer fork will make for poor handling and comfort, i.e be a lot less rideable than a stocker.
On the other hand upgraded (stock) forks and better shocks improves handling, stability and comfort, especially for a heavier rider. I am pretty sure the stock suspension was set up with a 150-160 lbs rider in mind, if not even lighter (wonder what the Japanese test riders weighed in the 70s.....)
Go to the RaceTech website, and use their fork spring rate calculator. That will show how ridiculously soft the oem springs are
I would even recommend longer shocks, with longer travel. Of course also set up for your weight. 4" of shock travel gives close to 5" of rear wheel travel, which is similar to many modern bikes.
Even with these purely functional upgrades, a different tank/ seat/ handlebar/ exhaust/ tasteful accessories can give the desired "bobber look"
I particularly like the look of moderately upswept "cocktail shaker" mufflers, even when they may be a bit too loud for my taste. With a high "Z" handlebar, a nice seat, a smaller tank (or a oem Special tank), and a moderate sissy bar, you may have the look you want, and the comfort/ handling you need 😁

Thanks for the advice.
-I've decided against hardtail and springer fork for reasons you mention.
-Understood on springs, shocks, heavier fork oil, etc. I was 9lbs 14oz at birth as my mom often reminds. I continued to grow...
-Shock travel; copy that.
-Seats, tanks, and handle bars. Still percolating on those :)
 
I just ran the RT spring rate calculator, 81 XS650 Special, for a 230 lbs rider, street riding, standard setting:
Recommend spring rate: 0.91 kg/mm
Stock spring rate: 0.58 kg/mm.
Used a Special since it seems closer to the "bobber" style as stock.

Well that was danged nice of you! I think your finding clearly indicate an increase in spring rates is advisable in my case. Thanks again!
 
Just found this thread. @notdoer you haven't said anything about your history with motorcycles - new to bikes, or perhaps you have along history of modifying and riding customs? Unless you have experience, or patience, or a healthy bank balance I would say that a stocker is a better way to go. As soon as you move away from standard, you're on your own and have to think whether parts for sale will fit and work on your bike. But if you want a custom look, maybe fit a single saddle, different bars, modified tank or go to a sprung bobber like the one @Jim posted?

If you have no experience or very limited then buying or building a hard tail bobber would probably prove to be a lot of work and money and end up with a toy you might never use?

Hehe...the stuff I left out. I presently own a Yamaha dirt bike. My parents were afraid I might hurt my big head. My brother on the other hand got to have bikes before he had a DL. So unfair! My friends all had 2-stroke Yamadingers, Suzuki's, and Kawi's. Not me:-( Then later my friends all had Japanese Superbikes. Not me:-( Then it was HD Sportsters and Big Twins, friends and family... I was in engineering school, so I got to read every addition of Buzz Buzzelli's Sportster books. Other family members had Triumphs. So I was living and breathing bikes without owning one. It makes me sad:)

But life ain't over! My bank accounts are in the black. I've been reading about XS650 for years. I guess it seems like a reasonably good place to start. Maybe buying a new or slightly used Triumph Bobber wouldn't a bad way to start either.

One thing that is clear. The XS650 seems to attract some pretty smart and very nice guys! Thanks again!
 
Talking to this guy there might be a back story here. Will do some more research. He quoted $150 delivered USA for the "kit".

Gary, I haven't been able to find the Brat style seat kit thread. I may need to reset my session. Search is giving a server error. Or maybe I'm just not experienced enough with the forum ops. But it looks really interesting! I have a shiny and new top of the line Hobart MIG welder sitting right next to my cobbled together TIG setup. Might be a nice project! Thank you!
 
One thing to consider, with regards to spring rates: Handlebar height/ pullback and the height of the rider will have some influence on weight distribution and spring rates.

Yes. I should note that my inseam is 24". I make up for it in torso. So I'm a lowrider by necessity. I think I have to be careful about spring rates. I really like solo saddles that put my feet on the ground at stop lights. I'm thinking wait and see on handlebar height and pullback, but one of you guys with experience may be able to predict what sort of handlebar will be likely?

Weight distribution. Guess that influences spring rates and lengths, loading, and ride height front to back. The plot thickens...

Thanks!
 
Back
Top