First ride today on my 81 xs650 special 2


XS650 Addict
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Glen Allen, VA
2.5 miles around the subdivision.
I have been tinkering with this recently acquired bike for a little over a month now. Finally got to the point to take it on its initial test ride. Didn't want to go too far, as I haven't done the DMV stuff yet.
Engine ran well. Transmission shifted through all gears. (a little stiff and hard to find neutral). Instruments and lights worked as they should. Brakes worked, but I felt I had to squeeze the brake lever a little harder than should have to. Even checked speedometer accuracy with smart phone speedo app. 49 mph speedometer, 50 mph gps.
Overall I'm pleased. A good first outing with no major problems.
Work I've done on bike:
Adjusted starter gear spring tension was 2 lb, adjusted to 8 lb.
Disassembled, cleaned and adjusted carburetors.
Replaced fuse box with mini blade fuse holders. (original glass fuses were not making good connections)
For some reason, in the headlight bucket, the PO had cut the blue/yellow wire going to the head light switch and had the headlight switch jumpered to a brown signal wire. I reattached the blue/yellow wire as it should be and the headlight only comes on now when the engine is running. I assume that's how it work. The way it was, the headlight was on any time the ignition key was on.
Yes, you have the headlight wired now as it originally was. It's a pretty convoluted set-up. The headlight has it's own fuse. Power from that is fed into the safety relay under the right side cover. Once the motor is started, charging output from the alternator triggers the relay and allows headlight power to pass through. From there it is fed into the reserve lighting unit, and then finally sent up to the hi-lo switch on the bars. For the most part, the system works as designed, but it is possible to trigger the relay and turn the headlight on with just sustained engine cranking, before the engine has actually started. I don't like that aspect of the set-up. Now the headlight is on, robbing power that might be needed for the starter and/or ignition system. The only way to turn the headlight off is to re-cycle the key off then back on again.

There is one easy simplification you can do to the system and that is to eliminate the reserve lighting unit. It requires jumping a couple wires together is all. Details are here ..... & tricks.htm
Sounds great ckahleer - well done!

It may be that your clutch is not adjusted correctly. Here is what a lot of folks do:
  1. warm up the bike (everything is thermally "expanded" and well lubricated);
  2. increase the cable slack at the handlebar adjuster (i.e. screw it in all the way);
  3. go down to the clutch actuator (aka the "worm") adjuster and loosen the locknut;
  4. screw the adjuster screw in until it gently bottoms; DO NOT back it out 1/8 turn as suggested in the manuals.
  5. gently tighten <gently now> the adjuster locknut;
  6. NOW adjust the cable slack back up at the handlebar adjuster - you want about 1/8" or 3 mm of freeplay at the lever.
Anyhow - that seems to work pretty well for most people and key seems to be to omit the step of backing the adjuster screw off 1/8 of the turn.

Having said all of that, many XS650s do seem to have a difficult time with finding neutral when motionless. I normally snick it into neutral as I am rolling to a stop.