Ever inherited a project? Yeah, me too. 75 XS650 Frankenbuild. Brat? Tracker? What?

Hi buzzword,
if you didn't fit new sprockets to go with your new chain the old sprockets will eat it up real quick.

Yep - well aware of this phenomenon, as the same thing exists in the bicycle world in which I worked for 15+ years. Luckily the previous builder installed new F/R sprockets, but the bike has been ridden less than 50 miles since it was first "completed" so it should be OK to install a new chain at this point.

And sealed chain keeps the lube IN. A chain needs it's roller/sprocket interface lubed too.
I installed a Scottoiler to do that chore mebbe 5 years back and haven't had to adjust the chain tension since. I reckon that chain will outlive me.

Indeed! That's why I got a DID x-ring chain. I'm meticulous about my own maintenance, so I'm certain it'll outlast me as well with regular external lubrication. I'll check out the Scottoiler, but realistically I'm not worried about forgetting to lube the chain on a reasonable interval.

When you get the seat re-done the color choice is up to you but I reckon the design keyword here is thicker

Yes, that is one keyword for sure. Plus, the way the last guy set up the rear fender and therefore the seat pan, it left a lot to be desired. Hence, the weird shape and lumpy appearance. Additionally, the material is really cheap and the pan was not well done. Again - it leaves lots to be desired. The first picture in my last post shows how wonky it is.

I have seen those - I am pretty sure I can do the same thing for cheaper, or at least similar price. They're definitely bookmarked though in case I change my mind.
Hi buzzword,
when you get to be my age you check whether you put your pants on this morning, never mind remembering if you've oiled your chain lately.
And who uses (or has even heard of, or knows where to get) LinkLyfe these days?
Nor would a sealed chain get it's innards lubed when immersed in molten Moly & graphite chain wax.
But hand oiling means the chain gets over-lubed to start with, then the extra lube flings off, then it's running unlubed again.
A ScottOiler (or other autolube system) keeps the chain lubed all the time.
So long as you remember to check it's little reservoir, eh?
Spent most of last night doing wiring stuff. Motogadget strongly suggests using bootlace ferrules on the end of each wire that terminates at the unit, so I got a terminal crimper and some ferrules - what a cool tool! Unfortunately, no pics of the actual crimped cable ends on my bike, but I'll try to take some tonight. For those of you who aren't familiar, these are the terminals:


This is the crimper, and it works like a dream:


Some of the Motogadget wiring is REALLY small, as are the three wires from the Pamco, so what I did was crimp a bootlace ferrule on the end of each wire, and THEN crimp on a regular bullet terminal over the business end of the bootlace ferrule. Seems like a good solution to increase the wiring diameter so the bullet terminals don't just slip off.

I picked up these amber universal mount LEDs from Revival Cycles to use as rear signals. I got them mounted, but I think I'm going to make some slightly longer mounts and flip them over so the bolt end of the LED points at the shock eye rather than hanging out in space like this:


Overall though, I'm really happy with them. And, for $15 each, they're cheaper than any of the other low drag turn signal solutions I've been excited by. I also picked up some Motogadget m-Blaze Pin signals for the front, but I'm contemplating returning them and getting two more of the ones I'm using in the back, as there seem to be more options for mounting them cleanly. These are the Motogadget units:


I was sorta beating my head against finding a low-drag way to mount the starter solenoid, and in the spirit of @Fox23, I think I have a solution...




Mind you, this is an EXTREMELY crude proof of concept that I whipped up at 1am with my cordless sawzall and some radius angled mild steel. I think it'll work though with some refinement. What this means is that the connections from battery + to the solenoid, and from the solenoid to the battery post on the starter will be super short.

When I first got this bike, and first started tracking down charging issues, one such problem was that the nut on the starter battery post was loose and the terminal was sparking. The guy used a car battery ground wire with a HUGE terminal, a fender washer, and didn't have a locking nut or so much as a lock washer on there to keep it tight. All of that said, this is a golden opportunity to replace this cable with something more appropriate and much, much shorter.

I think I'm going to mount the reg/rec underneath the swingarm. I figure if people mount batteries under there, a sealed electrical component should be fine, right? The wires will get shielded as appropriate, and probably double shielded just to protect against rock strikes and errant liquids. Locating it here will also allow for a super short connection from the stator.

More tomorrow, probably - braided nylon sleeving is supposed to be delivered today so I can make my harness presentable :shootme:
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So tired. Up until 3am working on this turd. Got a lot done, but no pix - gonna spend the full day on it tomorrow, so I'll see if I can rectify that.

Here's what I got done:
  • Mounted reg/rec on the back side of the main frame member below the swingarm, and shortened/wrapped all of the wiring. Everything clears, and the wires stay pretty well hidden. Mounting it on the underside the swingarm was gonna be a bit of a fiddle, so this just made more sense.
  • Made a new solenoid mount to replace the ugly one from previous pictures. Will probably paint it tomorrow and install more permanently.
  • Made 3/4 of the larger gauge battery + starter solenoid cables I need, and wrapped them with braided nylon sleeve so they're stealthy.
  • Finished wiring up the switch relay that will send signal power to the Motogadget. This replaces an actual key switch, but I may actually end up using a key instead of a VERY hidden toggle. We'll see.
  • Re-wrapped the front harness with nylon braid and heat-shrunk the ends so it's super clean.
  • Re-wrapped the rear lighting harness, consolidated all grounds for that section, shortened + wrapped turn signal and tail light wiring, clipped everything neatly inside the fender.

Still waiting on a couple things:
  • 1/8" + 1/4" heat resistant braided sleeve
  • Brake rotors - this has been a huge debacle with a Chinese eBay seller that I am now convinced is taking me for the proverbial ride. Annoy - I has it!
  • Cognito Moto top triple tree/riser stuff. Risers are apparently still at the anodizer, and Devin offered to send the other stuff, but the triple does me no good without the risers.
  • Fuse holder for 4ga cable -- been waiting on this for a minute too, so I'll probably just go buy one today.
  • M10x1.25 bolts in the 75mm variety to mount the calipers.

Things I have to do still -- this list keeps growing somehow:
  • Wrap Pamco wiring with 1/8" sleeve when it shows up
  • Extend headlight wiring + re-wrap with braided sleeve
  • Re-wrap bar wiring. Again. This time with braided sleeve. Do you see a theme developing?
  • Install new fuel lines + filters
  • Make battery +/- wires
  • Re-make headlight mount. The first one is a bit rough.
  • Make front turn signal mounts - probably will use the lower triple clamp bolts as the mounting/securing solution.
  • Make slightly longer rear signal mounts so I can inboard the rear signals a bit
  • Install rotors if they ever show up - this also includes praying my math was right, and that the 10mm spacers will be correct.
  • Install brake hoses when they show up, then bleed brakes when rotors show up. IF they show up!
  • Steering stops - I have some ideas, just need to actually knock them out.

Lots of little piddly stuff, and lots of really important stuff. I'm actually taking Monday and Tuesday off to wrap this up (hopefully!!!) and then most likely I'll just twiddle my thumbs until those godforsaken rotors show up.
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Got a lot done today. My wife was gracious and let me spend a full day in the shop knocking out some really tedious but super necessary crap.

  • Made new rear turn signal brackets, painted them satin black, and installed them.
  • Made front turn signal brackets, painted them satin black, and installed them.
  • Decided to leave the pipes raw for a few weeks, then clear coat them.
  • Finalized wiring in the electronics tray, and got everything wrapped up in the frame brace by the steerer neck.
  • Installed new fuel lines and re-installed tank.
  • STARTED THE BIKE! It lit up on the first bump - its SO loud with these pipes, and I'll reserve judgment on how it runs until I re-install the Uni filters and mess with the timing and fuel/air a bit.

Still, no pics. Waiting on:

  • Brake hoses. In the mail.
  • Also still waiting on rotors from eBay China - starting to feel like a shell game, what with all the tracking number runarounds. Yes, plural. I finally filed a formal complaint with eBay today, so hopefully they put up or refund me.
  • Also still waiting on the custom top triple tree and risers from Cognito Moto, but Devin is awesome so he's sending the triple + some bare aluminum risers -- once he gets the last batch of stuff back from anodizing, he'll send the black ones and I'll send back the bare ones. THAT is customer service!

More later...
Update! This time, with pictures...

After weeks of frustration dealing with the eBay rotor debacle, I finally bit the bullet and spent a bit of time yesterday morning trying to find rotors here in the US. I finally found a place that had some that weren't $600+ for the pair. The problem here is that I'm stubbornly refusing to use more than 10mm worth of spacer from the hub to the rotor, which puts me into a weird zone where the only bikes that ever used rotors with the specs I need (6x80 bolt circle, 15mm offset, 320mm diameter) are 01-02 Ducati 748R, 02 998R, and 02 996R -- basically any of the R models with Öhlins forks from that timeframe. Turns out rotors for a 15 year old low production number Italian bike just aren't that common. EBC makes a couple, so I ordered a pair of MD636X from an outfit in Southern California. They look like this - hopefully the gold isn't super gaudy:


Literally minutes after completing that transaction, the sheisty eBay China seller sent what appears to be a somewhat valid DHL tracking number, though I am completely suspicious as the tracking says that the destination is Milwaukee, which is 2,184 miles from my house.


So, we'll see if anything shows up tomorrow by end of day. If so, it's highly likely that they're gonna make a rapid U-turn back from whence they came.

The brake hoses I ordered showed up yesterday, no pics - black stainless brake hoses all look the same. Both side covers I won on eBay have also showed up as of now, so those are good to go. I bought a full engine gasket kit, so I'm all set with that stuff! My brother-in-law also texted me today to let me know that my stainless electronics tray is all done, and he's dropping it in the mail tomorrow. Should see it Friday.

I also got a TON done today, some of which was really nitpicky stuff that I would have normally saved until the end perhaps.

  • Re-installed the tank to figure out where to put steering stops on the lower triple, then drilled/tapped them for the stops. Just going to use an M6 bolt and a 1/2" long steel spacer with a 1/4" ID. I'll get pics next time - it'll all make sense, I promise!
  • Shaved all of the casting flash and stock steering stops off of the lower triple tree, then painted it satin black.
  • Sanded and painted all of the parts of the frame where I cut off extra tabs, drilled/tapped holes, and so forth. Did a half-decent job of blending, if I do say so myself. Someday, I'll do a full teardown and have it powdercoated - this works for now.
  • Sanded down the tank to get rid of the numbers the previous builder painted on there.
  • Re-made a headlight bracket, the prototype of which was pretty kloodgy to begin with, then painted it.
  • Finalized all the wiring by sleeving up all the exposed wires - sans spark plug leads - with braided heat-resistant sleeve. Seriously, what a tedious pain in the butt. There's gotta be an easier way to do that!
  • Made a front wheel bearing inner spacer/sleeve out of .120 wall 1.25" chromo.
  • Painted the solenoid mount I made, and the battery mount that @Fox23 made for me, then installed them once the paint was cured on the frame.
  • Bought a dozen 25mm M8x1.25 bolts to mount the rotors. I'm going to cross-drill the heads so that I can safety wire them. Just for fun.

And now, some pictures - in no particular order:













That's all for now, but here's what's next:
  • Re-install lower triple tree + fork legs.
  • Re-install headlight.
  • Install bearing spacer in the front hub.
  • Install rotors if and when they show up!
  • I ordered an identical pair of new bars - mine got all scratched and banged up when I was mocking everything up in a careless way at 2am the other night. Stupid mistake. This means I'll have to re-do all the internal wiring from the motogadget stuff in the new bars. Ugh.
  • Mount bars in new triple tree, if and when it shows up. Then run a couple wires on the frame -- (1) signal wire from the motogadget m-button to the m-unit, and (2) the grounds from the bar switch wiring and the m-button.
  • Install brake hoses, add fluid, and bleed calipers/lines.
  • Remove side covers from engine, so that I can...
  • Install the new DID X-ring chain.
  • Lube and install clutch worm + cable in new left side cover, route clutch cable, install cover, adjust clutch.
  • Install new right engine side cover. Any tips/tricks to be aware of? One thing I read is that the kickstarter shaft likes to try and pop out, so I'll be mindful of that.
  • Lube and install new throttle cable.
  • Change the engine oil - bought a gallon of Rotella T5 15w40. Should work great in the temperature band we have here in SF. It's seriously 50-70F year round, with occasional forays above and below.
  • Go shred? Fingers crossed for a weekend shakedown run...
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Oh yeah, and I also got the bill for the ER visit...

$1,200 after my medical insurance covered their bit. Call it an idiot tax, I suppose - but I am still going to call and beg to lower it, as is my duty.
*Whew*, you're really cranking it out.

I've had China shipments routed to strange out-of-the-way places.
Eventually finds its way here, though.
Figured it was a 'customs' thing, looking for contraband fireworks or whatever.

On your right case cover and kickstarter, a common thing appears to be excess in/out play of the kickstart shaft. Usually caused by a missing or incorrect spacing washer that gets stuck to the backside of the shaft bushing in the cover, then mysteriously disappears.

Edit: Second thing is to avoid jamming/bending the oilpump gear as it slips into engagement with the outside primary drive gear. Wiggle the cover a little while fitting so that those gears mesh...
*Whew*, you're really cranking it out.

Yeah... my self-imposed, aggressive timeline has resulted in many late nights and long days. At least part of that is because I keep making stuff, then re-making it because I think I can make it better.

I have to say that I'm pretty proud of myself for building this thing - minus the help I've gotten on the electronics tray and battery mount - with hand tools, a 12v cordless drill, a cordless sawzall, an angle grinder with a flap disc and cutoff wheel, and spray paint! See kids? You don't need a machine shop to build a nicely sorted bike! It would certainly make it easier.

I've had China shipments routed to strange out-of-the-way places.
Eventually finds its way here, though.
Figured it was a 'customs' thing, looking for contraband fireworks or whatever.

At this point, I wish they were sending me fireworks. Good fireworks are hard to come by anymore. The first time I went to Mexico on a missions trip when I was in high school, I came back across the border with an unbelievable amount of ridiculously overpowered fireworks. That would never happen anymore, but 20+ years ago...

On your right case cover and kickstarter, a common thing appears to be excess in/out play of the kickstart shaft. Usually caused by a missing or incorrect spacing washer that gets stuck to the backside of the shaft bushing in the cover, then mysteriously disappears.

Good lookin' out! I'll keep an eye out and disassemble carefully.

Edit: Second thing is to avoid jamming/bending the oilpump gear as it slips into engagement with the outside primary drive gear. Wiggle the cover a little while fitting so that those gears mesh...

Would it be worth installing the tach cable and rotating it slightly to move the oil pump gear while putting the cover back on? Are we talking about the same gear?
I've had China shipments routed to strange out-of-the-way places.
Eventually finds its way here, though.

Welp, I wish that were the case here. They very clearly sent another incorrect tracking number. At best, they're the most disorganized seller ever, and at worst, they're trying to hoodwink me until such a time as I can't file an eBay or PayPal dispute. Too late - that's now in process. They had their chance(s).


I don't live in Milwaukee, and my name isn't J. McDonell.
Slow goin' this week, and I continue to be cursed by shipping debacles. SUPPOSEDLY my top triple setup was delivered here in the building where I work, but it never made it to my office. Plus, the security folks are being less than helpful about trying to track it down.

So, in the interest of moving forward, and mocking things up that need mocking, I just drilled the stock GSXR triple, which is NOT a good long-term solution.

The EBC rotors I ordered on Monday showed up yesterday, which was a really nice surprise as I wasn't expecting them until next week. I am really impressed with the fit and finish, and thought that perhaps the matte gold-ish coppery color would be weird, but I actually like it quite a bit!


Here's my buddy Josh smugly examining the fruits of my labor after I installed the rotors on the front wheel and stuck the calipers on.


New battery showed up too, so I stuck it in its new home and took a terrible picture of it


Still lots to do, and still plagued by the Chinese eBay sorcerers. They're the worst.

  • Re-do all the internal bar wiring from the motogadget stuff in the new bars.
  • Mount bars in new triple tree, if and when it shows up.
  • Install brake hoses, add fluid, and bleed calipers/lines.
  • Install the new DID X-ring chain.
  • Lube and install clutch worm + cable in new left side cover, route clutch cable, install cover, adjust clutch.
  • Install new right engine side cover.
  • Lube and install new throttle cable.
  • Change the engine oil.

Pretty sure I'm never going to ride this thing.
...Here's my buddy Josh smugly examining the fruits of my labor ...

Aren't you supposed to display the beer bottle label in shots like that?

...still plagued by the Chinese eBay sorcerers. They're the worst.

Pretty sure I'm never going to ride this thing.

Well, hang in there.

Your "eyeball" pic still freaks me out...
Woooo! Triple just showed up. The company I work for is headquartered in the same building as Uber, and they had it. Color me unsurprised! More pix later.
Got lots of small things done in the last couple of days. It's all really straightforward, so I haven't taken a lot of detailed pics.

  • Installed the Cognito Moto upper triple tree and riser mounts. This is a very well thought out and clean piece of machining. No complaints!
  • Installed new chain - DID X-ring
  • Lubed the ever loving crap out of the new clutch worm and installed the left side cover.
  • Was GOING to install the new Mike Morse super flexy strong clutch cable, but it appears the free cable portion is too long by about 3/4" so there's not enough adjustment in the lever to make it work. The one that was on the bike isn't in bad shape, just a bit longer than I'd like, so its on there until I can shorten the new one's inner cable.
  • Re-confirmed TDC on the #1 piston, stuck on the handy HHB sticker, and made a new timing mark on the HHB PMA rotor.
  • Installed brake lines and bled the front brakes. They're dragging a bit more than I'd like so I'm going to pull the pads and lube the caliper pistons. I'll probably slightly re-route the lines as well, but that's easy.
  • Installed the the throttle cable I got with my Motion Pro throttle. It's also too long in terms of the free inner cable length, but for mockup's sake, it'll do until I can shorten it.

So, after I fix some cables, I've still got to install the new right cover, change the oil, install the new electronics tray, ponder the Oxford comma, and fiddle with a few small electrical connections. Should be pretty close to ready for an around the block spin soon!

Here are a few pics just for fun:






More later. After I clean the floor.
I just googled the Oxford comma. The things one learns on this site!

Actually recall from the dim non-digital past being taught that a comma goes before the and in a list and wondered about all those that scoff at grammar.
Capitalization is also important. For example:

I helped my uncle Jack off his horse.

Is not the same as:

I helped my uncle jack off his horse.

And, is much more dangerous...
Hi 2Many,
and don't forget the problem of over-using the lowly but all-important space.
As in:- I learned a lot in Paris said Jack, in differently
Now that my thread has spiraled into a treatise on the intricacies of the English language, I suppose I should get it back on track. Or something.

Got a few things done last night, but no pictures - again.

  • Hooked up the rear brake switch - contemplating whether I want to run a front switch. Maybe I'll do that when I switch the bars. Yeccchhhh - that's gonna suck!
  • Finished sleeving all the remaining wiring (handlebar stuff, rear signals, rear brake switch, fused power to Motogadget) and then connected everything back to the electrical box, tucking wires neatly like a boss.
  • Installed fuel lines and safety wired them to the petcocks and carbs.
  • Ran out of 4mm bullet connectors. Dangit! Just ordered more.
  • Put the pegs, brake lever, and shift lever back on and measured for new shocks. Decided I am going to run 350mm, as any longer will result in some undesirable chain/swingarm interaction. Going to order from Dave Quinn today.

The taillight wiring is painfully simple using the Motogadget. It has built-in capability for a single wire taillight, meaning only one signal wire goes into the unit from the brake switch(es), and one goes back under the fender and merges with both the brake and running light wires. So slick! Another neat feature is that if you hold down both turn signals, it serves as emergency flashers. Finally, the signals have an adjustable signal cancelling timer. I set mine for 30 seconds based on light cycles here in SF, and the fact that even after riding on the street for 20+ of my 37 years, I forget to cancel signals sometimes.

Tangentially, I bought some gloves I really like. Rev'it makes really nice stuff, and having skinned up my hands in various bicycle crashes through the years, I don't really want to deal with that particular healing process - so I bought some good ones.


Initially, I wasn't wild about the quilted look, but because the gloves are so much more subtle than similarly-featured ones, and the styling is certainly more subtle than the Held superbike gloves I have, they'll do great. They've got all the features without being flashy. I'm by no means an All The Gear, All The Time kind of rider, but gloves and helmet seem to be of the utmost importance. I'm pondering some sort of low-key boots at some point soon, but for now, I'll stick with leather hi-top Vans. At least they have some ankle support.

I invite some criticism as to my logic here: the way I figure it, I've crashed at 40 MPH on a bicycle essentially wearing spandex underwear. As such, wearing a good full-face helmet, heavy duty (24 oz.) denim, hi-top leather sneakers, quality gloves, and a suitably heavy jacket seems like enough for me when considering I can go just as fast - or faster - on public roads, with cars around, on a bicycle while wearing MUCH less clothing. I'm extremely unlikely to ever buy full leathers, or even one of those goofy snowmobile suits that the adventure guys seem to love. Flawed logic? Help me understand!

More later, and maybe pics too! Who knows.
Those gloves have built-in brass knuckles? Cool.

Most of my riding attire challenges have involved 'road rash', and the Texas assortment of large/hard/poisionous bugs, gravel (don't tailgate gravel trucks), cold, rain, and one experience with hail.

Those are pretty much the 'guaranteed' experiences, and suiting-up would address those.

Beyond that, the potential serious stuff, falls under what I would call 'risk management'.
That arena is your call...
Buzz, loving your work on this bike. I'm interested in your braided nylon tubing you used for your wiring. I have been eyeing some materials like this for my upcoming re-wire. Can you post any pics of your wiring or product review where you got it from? I know you mentioned it was a real pain to install. Any tips to make this easier?