Hello XS650.com, first build.

JCthrills

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Hello all, I'm new here & wanted to post up an intro as I think I'll be coming to you guys often for advice & critique throughout my project.

I somehow just now stumbled across this wonderfull forum. I'm currently building a street tracker from a 78 XS650SE. I picked up the bike on ebay back in the summer of 07 outside of Chicago by chance when my buddy sold his GSXR & was being paid to deliver it an hour south of Chicago (we live in mid-Michigan.) He was restoring a RZ350 for his son & I was tired of rebuilding my 95 YZF600 everytime I wrecked it. Looked in to CB's for a Cafe or XS's for a street tracker. I raced flat track while growing up so I decided a street tracker was it for me.

Back to the bike, purchased it from another would be first time bike builder that got in a little over his head. The bike came in boxes with a bonus part. He had a trackmaster frame w/ the XS wheels/forks on it. Problem was that the TM frame was probably for a 250 as there was no way to get the XS650 motor in w/o a lot of modification. so I sold the TM on Craigslist for a little more than I paid for the whole package.

Stripped 15lbs of metal off the 78 Special frame & powdercoated it gray. Bought a pile of parts including a sweet set of custom pipes that had many hours of research into even finding who made them (all from a picture of a tracker that was tagged w/ the owners name) got a pile of parts from MikesXS and 650Central, Glass from Omars after a bad experience with eBay glass... mocked up the rolling chassis w/ motor & then got a new job out of state.

Fast forward three years to now, I'm back in MI, married w/ 2 young children. My free time is limited but I spend many late nights in the garage. I'm dedicating this winter to "finishing" the tracker project. The quotes are because I have a few different stages of finished in mind. First stage is simply rideable/street legalish. I splurged on parts back in 07 but am on very limited funds now w/ the wife & kids of course. I'm not real decided on what order the next stages of "finished" will be, or if I'll ever really be done. After all this is my first bike built from the ground up. I've rode since I was 4 & am quickly approaching my 30's. I also spent some time working in a machine shop & a harley shop & am not afraid of any project.

Here's how the bike sits tonight; on a wood coated cinder block after my dad repo'd his jack & due to a very ugly weld there is currently no kickstand... Rolling chassis plus controls, motor, Boyer Brandsen elec ignition, authentic flat track bars & rear shocks from my dads old flat trackin days (bummer he got rid of a sick front end about 10 years ago) Front brakes are dual discs from my 95 YZF600R after I found a conversion kit. Mikuni carbs w/ aluminum spigots & uni pods are bolted up & throttle/controls are on.
Pictures of in progress can be found on my member page. more coming soon.

Things on my build checklist:
  • My tank/fender/seat are not quite mounted as the tank mounts need to be relocated slightly. Paint will come in time, still debating between throwback yw/blk or blue/white w/ throwback graphics, or even red/blk/white.
  • Front forks will get a race valve or damper w/ new springs
  • I'm hoping the rear shocks salvaged from the old mans pole barn will work, if not progressive I think.
  • Weld on kickstand & 5 3/4" round headlight should be here by next week
  • I was debating the 19" rear conversion but ended up getting a RD400 18" rear on the cheap so that will go on eventually. very low on the priority list with good rubber on the factory wheels
  • Thanks to the info I found on here I now want to update the charging system & have started tracking down parts. I like the idea of simplifying things & making it more reliable.
  • Many years down the road I'll get a basket case & build a high performance engine for it, probably once my son can help me. he's currently 6 months old.

Idea's, comment's, criticism, etc. all welcome. Glad I found you guys.

~Jesse
 

Travis

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Welcome to the site! Glad you found us. Looks like you have a good start on your project. Shouldn't take too much to finish now. Keep us posted!

full
 

jefft

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Hope you have better luck with Omars tank then me. I originally bought it when Phil Little owned the company. It now is owned by a guy in Calif. named Robert. I live in Phoenix. My tracker project has been a hellish nightmare because of that tank. It has been back to them 3 times and each time I have ended up with sticky tank contents in my carbs. Each time they try to fix it instead of replacing it. The gas goes in the tank a nice amberish color and comes out a blue color. There is no telling what this has done to my engine. I have currently sent it back to Robert once again and am supposed to be recieving a brand new tank. I am not very convinced it is going to be any better though. We have ethanol laced fuel here some times of the year and I don't believe his sealing process will hold up to this gasoline. I have had to pay for shipping each time and I will now need new paint and he wouldn't offer to pay for the graphics which have will have to be bought by me again. He says he hasn't had problems with these tanks but I remain skectical that it was just mine. At this point I am not a fan of fiberglass tanks. I am thinking of dismantling my whole tracker and building a chop with a good ole solid steel sportster tank at this point. IMHO a tracker just don't have "the look" with a stock XS tank.
Jefft
 

JCthrills

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Thanks for the heads up. Did you kream the tank before use? I had been debating but will surely go get a kit & kream it now. I also bought the tank from Phil Little, The mounts were not even close to being in the right spot so I was a bit upset about the price for it bolting right up. Another con to the Omar's tank are the permanently installed petcocks, I mean wtf why not just put a pipe fitting there & let me choose what petcock I want. I'm not real thrilled with the screw on style that was used. Much rather have a little red lever to move instead of cranking down a screw valve.
 

jefft

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Wow, does that ever sound familiar. When I first recieved my Omars tank I thought I would just set the tank on the bike and see how it would look. The first thing I noticed is I couldn't fit the tank on to the stock mounts. It was for the exact reason you had. The two tits that stick out on his tank were misaligned. That was when I sent the thing back the first time before I had the gas problems. He told me straight up that he had never had this problem. He got that fixed and again, not by giving me a new tank but by cutting the tank apart and fixing it. Then came the gas problems and I sent it back again and he cut it apart and put some new liner in it he said would surely fix it. It happened again. One thing for sure I have became real good at tearing carbs apart and degunking them. My final attempt this last week after talking to Robert was to try some Caswells in the tank. I don't know if I applied it too thick or what but toward the front of the tank in one spot it began to get hot. Yes hot. It literally burnt a hole through my tank and paint. I like Caswell and have used it on my Harley fat bob tanks and it worked great but had never tried it on fiberglass. Thats when I sent him the tank back. I noticed when the tank came back from Omar that as I looked inside the tank it looks to me like he only lines the bottom of the tank but whatever he does THOSE TANKS SUCK. I think I may try to sell the new one he gives me. It may work for someone in a rual area that don't have ethanol in their fuel. Jefft
 

jefft

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I just done this last week so I can tell you in advance. When you go to remove those petcocks they are glassed in and I could here some cracking sounds when I removed them. I needed to remove them to line the tank or else they will get filled with the liner. I would steer clear of Kreem. Someone had Kreemed my harley tanks and it did last for years but when it comes loose, and it eventually will, it will cause you problems.
I would like to see someone come up with a nice looking tracker tank made of metal that was fashioned after say the Champion 750 tank. I think Mule uses old 1974-75 DT 400 tanks on some of his builds and they look pretty good. Omar had me almost convinced that I was the only one out there that had encountered problems. It has been an expensive lesson. I would imagine with the price of the tank, shipping 3 times, graphics and a can of Caswells I probably had about $600 in that tank and still couldn't ride my bike. Misery loves company. Good luck.
Jefft
 

XSLeo

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It seems like he could build a steel or aluminum tank and wrap it with glass to make it look good and still be able to put gas in it.
 

dale96970

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You will enjoy the Tracker!!! They are a build item and not production by no means....Everyone wants to know "What is IT".....included are a few pics of my build........any questions are welcome!!
 

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2slow

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Very nice did you line your tank? also what is the rear swing arm off of?
 

mikethedruid

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As for rusty tanks, my 650's tank is OK, but the tank on my Indian had a bad rust problem years ago. I used a sealing system that was 3 part. It may have been Kreem. First you had to clean the inside of the tank by rattling around rough stones to loosen all the rust you could. I did that, using successively smaller stones. Then you used a rust remover with water. You completely filled the tank and let it sit overnight if possible. The next day you emptied the tank and refilled it with a neutralizer solution, and let it sit for a prescribed time. Finally. After that had dried, you poured in a white rubber type compound, and swirled it around the inside of the tank until it was all covered. It has been about 10 years since I did that job. I followed the instructions very closely, and gave the chemicals plenty of time to work. So far my tank has been OK, despite the fact that we have ethanol in our gas here. Maybe I'm just lucky, or maybe following instructions carefully makes the differrence.
 
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jefft

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Is the tank your referring to that you sealed metal or fiberglass? I have had no problem sealing metal tanks either.
jefft
 

JCthrills

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You will enjoy the Tracker!!! They are a build item and not production by no means....Everyone wants to know "What is IT".....included are a few pics of my build........any questions are welcome!!


I like the looks of your gauges, what's in between them?
 

dale96970

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2slow...it is a radian swingarm............exact fit for ALMOST all Yamaha's (had to machine the axle adjusters to accept the 650 axle)...including the older dirt bikes. I buy everyone I can at a reasonable price!!!! JCthrills....that is my ignition switch on a thin piece of aluminum that I made to fit under the bar clamps......A gsxr caliper off of a Suzuki that works great.......got the 19" rear tire using a stock 650 front hub with machined adapters ..........original bars and grips from 1975...didn't have the heart to cut them off!!!!!
 
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