New Owner, and Clueless

k1n3k

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So I inherited a 1972 XS2 from my Grandfather. I literally just got back from setting eyes on the bike for the first time in 10 years. Its in remarkable condition all things considered, its been stored inside since parked, but it looks like it spent the first 10 years of its life outside. I know almost nothing about the bike, what to look for, or what common problems it has. I can say for sure the rear shocks are NOT original as they have a reservoir, the forks are not stock as they are WAY longer than stock, and the kick stand has been extended. The mufflers are gone, and the tank looks like the skin has been cut off an welded back on as the seams are far from factory. So Its not a survivor, nor a particularly good candidate for a total factory restoration. Not ruling it out but I've seen cleaner bikes in the area to start with. Oh, its also not been on the road since 1984 and has 25k miles on it. 39 years its been sitting. This bike was parked several years before I was born.

SO. What bit of knowledge about this bike should I know? Common failures, cool mods, parts sources (other than this site, I've been lurking a bit) or any other info.
I'm also considering building a cafe racer out of this one. Then again I have no idea if the bike is anything exciting or if its a dime a dozen. Any good reason not to mod it to hell? I was the lead fabricator at a custom car shop for a while, just not super big into bikes so I know nearly nothing about these. I have no heartburn chopping up common bikes, but it wouldn't be hard to convince me to restore something collectable.
 
So I inherited a 1972 XS2 from my Grandfather. I literally just got back from setting eyes on the bike for the first time in 10 years. Its in remarkable condition all things considered, its been stored inside since parked, but it looks like it spent the first 10 years of its life outside. I know almost nothing about the bike, what to look for, or what common problems it has. I can say for sure the rear shocks are NOT original as they have a reservoir, the forks are not stock as they are WAY longer than stock, and the kick stand has been extended. The mufflers are gone, and the tank looks like the skin has been cut off an welded back on as the seams are far from factory. So Its not a survivor, nor a particularly good candidate for a total factory restoration. Not ruling it out but I've seen cleaner bikes in the area to start with. Oh, its also not been on the road since 1984 and has 25k miles on it. 39 years its been sitting. This bike was parked several years before I was born.

SO. What bit of knowledge about this bike should I know? Common failures, cool mods, parts sources (other than this site, I've been lurking a bit) or any other info.
I'm also considering building a cafe racer out of this one. Then again I have no idea if the bike is anything exciting or if its a dime a dozen. Any good reason not to mod it to hell? I was the lead fabricator at a custom car shop for a while, just not super big into bikes so I know nearly nothing about these. I have no heartburn chopping up common bikes, but it wouldn't be hard to convince me to restore something collectable.
Any pictures mate.
 
First, welcome to the madhouse!!

The XS2 is one of the more desirable models. Money-wise, restoring it would fetch the best value. Put some pics up here and let's see what ya got.
 
Its going to be a bit light on pics for a min, its still at my grandpa's place. Though I did grab a single pic.

344782470_1299936550905906_2798026951289297813_n.jpg
 
:twocents: I've started restorations on XS's that looked a lot worse...
Yup. Looks like a good candidate from here. Most of the big pieces are still there.
Judging by the... um... clutter in the background, I'd give odds the pipes and front forks are still there somewhere. Looks like your grandpaw didn't throw much away. :sneaky:
 
Judging by the... um... clutter in the background, I'd give odds the pipes and front forks are still there somewhere. Looks like your grandpaw didn't throw much away. :sneaky:

Oh man, you don't know the half of it! He was a hoarder of industrial equipment and random junk. Would you believe me if I said that was the cleanest I've seen that garage in my entire life? There is a horizontal jig boring machine in the carport we have no idea how to get rid of. 7 tons of scrap iron in that alone. Not to mention the literal dozens of vehicles (nothing cool, think heavily abused dodge neon or completely destroyed mid 90's ford pickup), 10 or so completely destroyed chevy small blocks, a field full of industrial equipment and scrap iron, and several houses full of a combination of valuable hand drawn drawings related to his business, and absolute random documents from aircraft magazines to his fortune teller's letters. Its been an adventure. Not a good one.

I tried getting this bike from him 10 years ago when I was in my early 20s and while he wouldn't let me buy it then, he did tell me that he bought the bike that way and "it needs some mufflers. Damn thing is too loud to hear anything. Someone also put longer forks on it, the damn things ruined the bike. First time I rode it I just fell over riding down the street."

Knowing that old bastard, he was very much a 'stock is best' type, so I'd be shocked if he did the mods. Likely doesn't have the parts anywhere otherwise he would have put them on... More than likely someone owed him money and offered the bike instead. Thinking a motorcycle gets great gas mileage, he probably grabbed it for the fuel savings.

So reading a bit about the bike, I think a restomod would be more along what I want to do. Keep the factory parts that are there, not mod anything in a permanent way, but just changing stuff that can be bolted on and off with no damage that's already missing anyway. I don't personally have a huge desire to try to hunt down the factory original stuff and spend hours painstakingly restoring it back to factory spec, but an original tank and some shorter forks, a bit of paint and polishing, different handlebars and a custom exhaust seem reasonable. Resale value isn't a driver, I am looking for a cool bike to cruise through the desert highways on. That leaves the door open to a full restoration should that be chosen in the future. I'll also hang on to any factory stuff that I might pull off like the current pipes.

With that said, what should I be wary of on these? Every bike has its weak spots that are prone to failure, what are the weak spots on this XS2?
 
Oh man, you don't know the half of it! He was a hoarder of industrial equipment and random junk. Would you believe me if I said that was the cleanest I've seen that garage in my entire life? There is a horizontal jig boring machine in the carport we have no idea how to get rid of. 7 tons of scrap iron in that alone. Not to mention the literal dozens of vehicles (nothing cool, think heavily abused dodge neon or completely destroyed mid 90's ford pickup), 10 or so completely destroyed chevy small blocks, a field full of industrial equipment and scrap iron, and several houses full of a combination of valuable hand drawn drawings related to his business, and absolute random documents from aircraft magazines to his fortune teller's letters. Its been an adventure. Not a good one.

I tried getting this bike from him 10 years ago when I was in my early 20s and while he wouldn't let me buy it then, he did tell me that he bought the bike that way and "it needs some mufflers. Damn thing is too loud to hear anything. Someone also put longer forks on it, the damn things ruined the bike. First time I rode it I just fell over riding down the street."

Knowing that old bastard, he was very much a 'stock is best' type, so I'd be shocked if he did the mods. Likely doesn't have the parts anywhere otherwise he would have put them on... More than likely someone owed him money and offered the bike instead. Thinking a motorcycle gets great gas mileage, he probably grabbed it for the fuel savings.

So reading a bit about the bike, I think a restomod would be more along what I want to do. Keep the factory parts that are there, not mod anything in a permanent way, but just changing stuff that can be bolted on and off with no damage that's already missing anyway. I don't personally have a huge desire to try to hunt down the factory original stuff and spend hours painstakingly restoring it back to factory spec, but an original tank and some shorter forks, a bit of paint and polishing, different handlebars and a custom exhaust seem reasonable. Resale value isn't a driver, I am looking for a cool bike to cruise through the desert highways on. That leaves the door open to a full restoration should that be chosen in the future. I'll also hang on to any factory stuff that I might pull off like the current pipes.

With that said, what should I be wary of on these? Every bike has its weak spots that are prone to failure, what are the weak spots on this XS2?
@Mailman did a fantastic resoration on an XS2. And used it to.... wait for it.... "cruise through the desert highways." His thread is pretty much the bible on XS2's. I'll let Bob chime in here and point you to his thread.

Here's his bike.... pointed down a desert highway. :smoke:


1685245731112.png
 
Oh man, you don't know the half of it! He was a hoarder of industrial equipment and random junk. Would you believe me if I said that was the cleanest I've seen that garage in my entire life? There is a horizontal jig boring machine in the carport we have no idea how to get rid of. 7 tons of scrap iron in that alone. Not to mention the literal dozens of vehicles (nothing cool, think heavily abused dodge neon or completely destroyed mid 90's ford pickup), 10 or so completely destroyed chevy small blocks, a field full of industrial equipment and scrap iron, and several houses full of a combination of valuable hand drawn drawings related to his business, and absolute random documents from aircraft magazines to his fortune teller's letters. Its been an adventure. Not a good one.

I tried getting this bike from him 10 years ago when I was in my early 20s and while he wouldn't let me buy it then, he did tell me that he bought the bike that way and "it needs some mufflers. Damn thing is too loud to hear anything. Someone also put longer forks on it, the damn things ruined the bike. First time I rode it I just fell over riding down the street."

Knowing that old bastard, he was very much a 'stock is best' type, so I'd be shocked if he did the mods. Likely doesn't have the parts anywhere otherwise he would have put them on... More than likely someone owed him money and offered the bike instead. Thinking a motorcycle gets great gas mileage, he probably grabbed it for the fuel savings.

So reading a bit about the bike, I think a restomod would be more along what I want to do. Keep the factory parts that are there, not mod anything in a permanent way, but just changing stuff that can be bolted on and off with no damage that's already missing anyway. I don't personally have a huge desire to try to hunt down the factory original stuff and spend hours painstakingly restoring it back to factory spec, but an original tank and some shorter forks, a bit of paint and polishing, different handlebars and a custom exhaust seem reasonable. Resale value isn't a driver, I am looking for a cool bike to cruise through the desert highways on. That leaves the door open to a full restoration should that be chosen in the future. I'll also hang on to any factory stuff that I might pull off like the current pipes.

With that said, what should I be wary of on these? Every bike has its weak spots that are prone to failure, what are the weak spots on this XS2?

Based on that pic it all looks to be stock (minus the seat, forks, shocks and missing mufflers) and in pretty good shape.

All the missing stock parts are fairly easy to get and probably wouldn’t cost more than anything you could use to replace with instead of stock.

Not sure why you’re convinced the tank isn’t stock but it sure looks stock. And clean (at least outside).
 
@Mailman did a fantastic resoration on an XS2. And used it to.... wait for it.... "cruise through the desert highways." His thread is pretty much the bible on XS2's. I'll let Bob chime in here and point you to his thread.

Here's his bike.... pointed down a desert highway. :smoke:


View attachment 243983

And to the coast!

FD68BFCC-F077-4329-8D67-5CB8391CF297.jpeg
 
So I inherited a 1972 XS2 from my Grandfather. I literally just got back from setting eyes on the bike for the first time in 10 years. Its in remarkable condition all things considered, its been stored inside since parked, but it looks like it spent the first 10 years of its life outside. I know almost nothing about the bike, what to look for, or what common problems it has. I can say for sure the rear shocks are NOT original as they have a reservoir, the forks are not stock as they are WAY longer than stock, and the kick stand has been extended. The mufflers are gone, and the tank looks like the skin has been cut off an welded back on as the seams are far from factory. So Its not a survivor, nor a particularly good candidate for a total factory restoration. Not ruling it out but I've seen cleaner bikes in the area to start with. Oh, its also not been on the road since 1984 and has 25k miles on it. 39 years its been sitting. This bike was parked several years before I was born.

SO. What bit of knowledge about this bike should I know? Common failures, cool mods, parts sources (other than this site, I've been lurking a bit) or any other info.
I'm also considering building a cafe racer out of this one. Then again I have no idea if the bike is anything exciting or if its a dime a dozen. Any good reason not to mod it to hell? I was the lead fabricator at a custom car shop for a while, just not super big into bikes so I know nearly nothing about these. I have no heartburn chopping up common bikes, but it wouldn't be hard to convince me to restore something collectable.
It's the most handsome year of the series. To restore... figure $8-10,000.oo Candy paint $1500-1800.oo... powder coat... $400-500.oo... chrome bits..without mufflers... $1800-2000.oo...these are items the owner usually can't do in house.... engine work... basic top end, seals..gaskets, clutch service.... most owners can address.... Mike's Xs has most of what you'll need....buffer.... the talent.. help.. encouragement can be found on this forum. Reach out to your local biker community find like minded folks... shops that can help.... even if it's a day drive for service..... I help out at a one-man shop... and we've had people ship engines (Xs650) from the east coast.... for rebuild.... I find it hard to believe that the owner couldn't find a shop at least a day drive away. We do a few shipped in paint jobs.... stock colors... he doesn't do skulls or boobs. So.... now the hard decision.... if you bob.. chop.. cafe' .... the value.... appeal of the machine will be diminished .... if you do most of the work yourself... and restore it correctly... would you make money.... you'd be lucky to break even.... but that's not the point.. it's a sense of accomplishment... pride if you well.. Find a long term work space.... buy sandwich bags... tag everything with notes in the bag for,,,, how did that come off and where does it go ... notes.... photos.... You'll enjoy the fun... frustration .... :)
 

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:twocents: If you want to go custom offer it up for trade on a later bike.
you'll get an easier lump to find parts for, and might even end up financially ahead on the trade.
Cuz the 72 is a sweet spot of vintage with a couple of modern bumps mainly the E-start.
That side cover is fershur a bondo magnet, mebby like you say the tank had the contour edges "sharpened" with bondo also?

old guy trick; a heat gun makes peeling off wads of bondo easy.
 
I think after looking over the bike again, its going to be just made ridable for now. Let me be clear, NO cutting, NO welding, NO drilling. I'm really digging the stock look a lot. Its growing on me the more I look at these pics but the cost and time factor is beyond what I can reasonably sink into the project at the moment. I've got a few other irons in the fire that take priority. I'm talking about getting the bike cleaned up, running, riding, and then building the missing stuff that the bike needs to be rideable. little things like custom turn signals because the factory ones are gone. I'll probably sand down the tank and side covers and see what lies under that terrible looking paint (looks like it was rattle canned in a wind storm) and see what needs to be done. Just basically get the bike looking decent and ridable. That way I can enjoy it while collecting parts. There are a bunch of little things missing.

You guys convinced me, it will get restored, just not yet. I want to ride it in the mean time while collecting parts.

unless someone has a newer bike that is already running, has the correct forks, spoke wheels, and is a good candidate for a cafe build. I might be easily persuaded to trade.
 
There's other routes that don't cost near as much a mentioned above.
You can do a sympathetic restoration/survivor which involves just getting it reliable and looking respectable... not a showroom bike. It'll look just like the original, but also shows some of it's age. That'd make it a respectable desert highway cruiser.
 
I'll probably sand down the tank and side covers and see what lies under that terrible looking paint (looks like it was rattle canned in a wind storm) and see what needs to be done.
You might want to try some lacquer thinner on a rag. Sometimes a rattle can job will rub right off and leave the original finish. Worth a shot.
 
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