Kickstart return and bad idle


XS650 New Member
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Hello all!

I'm trying to get my bike ready for the Born Free ride this year but I'm not trusting it too much at the moment. I'm new to carbs, non-harleys, and sketchy chopper stuff.

Bike's background:
New to me, '71 XS650 (Supposedly bored to 750), chopper. Harley Ironhead (35mm) front end and 1" bars. Clutch lever wont clamp down all the way since it's for 7/8. Previous owner says that this is the reason for a tough pull on the clutch. I have NOT opened up the clutch side of the bike yet, but it is a tough pull. Previous owner says he retarded the timing (whatever that means!) This leads me to believe there MAY be a timing issue.

Kickstarted first try, rode it home with a few issues (died at idle/redlight a few times). Kickstarted first try the next day and the same issues persisted.
I went out of town for 1 week and returned to a bike that wouldn't stay on at ALL, kicked back constantly, with the force of Zeus (Bruised my foot for 3 weeks), and then my kicker not wanting to return.

1. The kickstarter doesn't want to return but will return to place with a nudge. Kickstarter still functions, turns the bike over, and starts the bike. I pulled the case off and the assembly practically came with it. I didn't see any wear/breaking in my kicker spring or pin. Not sure if a 43 year old spring should just be replaced anyways, but I'm ordering one just in case. I have NOT checked the clutch side.

2. The bike will not stay on during idle. I hold the throttle at about 2500-3000 (I think) for a minute or so, with the chokes on, but roughly 40 seconds after I let go, the bike dies. I haven't adjusted the idle screws.

Let me know your thoughts!