First post/introduction/'74 semi-resto thread

Pat D

XS650 Addict
Reaction score
Joppa, MD
So I had a few bikes back in the day, streetwise started out with a '83 500 Shadow, then did a quickie cleanup/restoration on an '81 GS550, then had a kid, and shortly after fell off the GS. So, in the interest of responsibility and maturity, sold the bikes but promised I'd get another when my son turned 18 and was established in college. So here we are, 18 years later, and I'd been looking for a project for about a year(I was looking for something "different", looked at old HD, BMW, repro Royal Enfields, Trumpys, etc.) Criteria was pretty simple- 650cc or better, spokes, and a kick starter. A very good friend had an early '80's Special when I had my Shadow, and I always liked that bike, so when one popped up, I grabbed it. Picked up a '74 XT, running but tired and semi adulterated(hack job on wiring, why, I have no idea.) Got the bike home in mid-March of this year with all intentions of having it done and rolling by mid summer. But- my '70 AMC AMX must have been jealous b/c about a week later it decided to suck a bunch of rock hard valve stem seal fragments into the oil pump and destroy the timing cover, distributor drive gears, and oil pump drive shaft. So April and May were lost while I dealt with that issue. But- it's fixed and happy so back to the bike. I've basically finished the back half, sanded and painted the frame, polished up the drum and back rim, etc. The tank had about 9 layers of paint on it(some must have been latex, would not sand w/o gumming up the paper), so I stripped it down to bare metal and found several spots of Bondo- so now I'm working on filling and sanding to get it happy again. Eventually the tank and side covers will be shot by me with 99 cent/can Wal-Mart lacquer(I'm a cheap s.o.b., and I like to show folks what can be done through effort and skill vs. a fat checkbook). Currently getting ready to dive into the front end, forks need polishing and rebuilding, steering head may need bearings, and the electrical rats nest needs to be sorted out. I hope to get the bike on the road by late summer, do some proofing, and pull the motor over the winter for detailing and/or any internal work that needs to be done. Also hope to re-spoke both wheels over the winter. I gotta say, this forum is fantastic for technical material, as well as the fact that there seems to be a minimum of drama here. I've scored a few parts from the classifieds, and everyone has been fantastic to deal with. What I will be asking for at some point are some detail photos of the seat mounting set up, mine was only held on with one pin, a few of the hinge points are gone, no helmet lock, it's been hacked up, and I have no good reference at hand to see what it is supposed to look like. This will not be a "stock" restoration, but I won't be deviating from the basic platform other than some small details. So that's the deal, glad to be here, and updates will follow as they occur.
Pat D.


  • 881984_4204671769720_1885808949_o.jpg
    243.1 KB · Views: 126
  • IMG_9697.jpg
    224.3 KB · Views: 140
  • IMG_9873.jpg
    313.4 KB · Views: 141
  • IMG_9705.jpg
    293.2 KB · Views: 155
Moving along, got the tripletree and front forks off today, fork rebuild is pending, gonna sand blast the triple tree and fork clamps and repaint. Also going to smooth up as much of the frame as I can get masked off and paint that. Had to order a used harness, this one is just too hacked up to try to figure out. Gettin' there, slow but steady. Hey- anybody know how to get the reflectors off the down tubes below the tank? I thought they might have threaded studs on 'em, but they sure don't want to come off. I hate to take a hacksaw to 'em, but I'm not thrilled about masking around them. Til' next time ...


  • IMG_0042.jpg
    213.6 KB · Views: 113
  • IMG_0001.jpg
    155.3 KB · Views: 110
Hey- anybody know how to get the reflectors off the down tubes below the tank? I thought they might have threaded studs on 'em, but they sure don't want to come off.

As I recall, on my '74 frame, the posts themselves were welded to the frame, internally threaded at their ends, with the reflectors themselves having male threaded posts.

I'll dig around and see if I still have my original reflectors... y'know, just in case you mangle yours during removal :doh:
Welcome in!
The reflectors have studs threaded into bungs welded to the frame.
Look up head stud re-torque. It often stops "weeping" of both the oil and cash variety.
Build update- as you may have noticed in my other thread, I'm working on getting the wiring straightened out, which means things are going together rather than coming apart. The front portion of the frame has been painted, forks done, brake disc detailed, steering head cleaned and re-greased, new ears painted and installed, headlight bucket repainted.

Work continues prepping the tank and side covers for paint, the master cyl. and clutch lever mount have been painted, as well as the brake light switch housing. Clutch and brake levers have been polished. Front wheel spokes were painted black to hide rust until I can re-spoke both wheels this winter. Hubs will be polished then as well. Forks have been rebuilt and polished. Bars have been cleaned up as well. Front caliper has been painted, along with foot peg mounting hardware.

Tach and speedo buckets have been painted, along with the aluminum mounting bezel. Lots of stainless hardware has been purchased, and is working its way back on. Horn has been painted and the mounting tab polished.

In the process of cleaning the engine as much as possible while in the frame, I made the mistake of grabbing a dangling thread of silicone on the right side cover and pulling, now I have a serious oil leak on that side- gotta get a gasket before initial startup(drained oil to stop drip).

Hoping to hear it run again by the end of August, and in test and tune shortly after, Updates will continue!


  • IMG_0048.jpg
    190 KB · Views: 127
  • IMG_0053.jpg
    303.1 KB · Views: 131
  • IMG_0055.jpg
    269.5 KB · Views: 129