Tracker rebuild


XS650 Junkie
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North GA
Originally purchased this bike in 1974, wreck salvage bid, it had been owned by the brother of a guy I worked with at the time.
I had read an article in, I believe Motorcyclist magazine, about building "Cafe Racers" using Trackmaster frames. The original article featured a Triumph twin but I had contacted Walt Mahony, then owner and verified that they could also equip a Yam XS engine.
Needless to say in that day, Metro DC making sub $7.50 an hour, it only took 5 years to save my pennies to place an order.
I sent Phil Haskell, then proprietor, my gas tank, triple tree and rear hub/brake assembly for him to fit to the new chassis. He did an excellent job and I only encountered one problem. With the stock tank and engine fitted, the tank ended up sitting on the acorn head nuts and short of surgery or liberal use of a ball peen hammer wouldn't work.
Took me about another year to finish it out and I rode it for a couple years and read the 1981 Joe Minton Article "Building a better twin" and had the urge to 750 the engine. It got pulled out, disassembled and then I moved to Georgia, met a woman, got married and never got around to making the mods.
A young English lad from work that my late wife and I took under our wing was keen to have it and I sold it to him around 1993. He reassembled the engine stock rode it a few months and of course repainted it British Racing green. His mother made a visit and prodded him into returning home so without telling me he sold it.
Needless to say I was ill.

Ugh, work calls, more later.


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In 2011 I made a 3 week trip to England and Europe, rented a bike out of Bournemouth and used my friends home as a base to store my luggage. During the trip we went to Isle of Man for the TT races. It was a great time. At the time he had an XS street tracker in his garage which he had made some nice pieces and mods to. He's owned several since the time he returned home, one of which he took out to 840 cc and rephased the crank. His current one is stock displacement but has Mikuni Flat Slide carbs for which he has jetting info which will come in handy later.
Some months after the trip he emailed me that he had located "our" old tracker in north Georgia and asked if I would see if the guy would sell it then ship it over to him. I replied that if I could get it back that I was going to keep it.
I contacted the guy and he told me that it wasn't for sale, his son was keen to have it, but every couple of years I would send him an email and ask if he had changed his mind.
Finally last fall he said that if I was still interested he would sell it to me if I was still interested and went through the trials he went through when he set about sending the frame out to have it replated. Not sure when that was actually, the frame ended up spending a weekend in the caustic tank, did not end up getting replated and it cost him about $500 to get it back. Then it sat in his barn for a few years.
Between occurrences in both our lives it has taken me from last October till this past weekend to organize the trip over to collect things and make the deal.
As for the current condition, the engine has been kept pretty clean and secure. He tossed the original CV carbs and gave me a pair of Mikuni Flat Slide in I think 34mm to replace them.
The complete front end/wheel assembly looks like it has sit outside for years, fork tubes are rusted pitted trash, wheel was difficult to turn, brake pistons probably rusted in place, no front brake caliper. He gave me an early Yam R6 conventional fork assembly to replace it, tubes are same length though axle is much larger.
Rear wheel which the hub has been painted is corroding, paint peeling off.
First order of business is get the frame right again. There's no serious wastage of material, I've been researching platers.
I had always wanted to do Kennedy or other real flat track type spool wheels with lighter weight disc brake assemblies so now is the time.Not sure about the fork as yet. The S&W gas shocks I fitted in the 80's are still in good condition and probably only have 2000 miles on them so I'll keep them.
I would like to do new pipes to replace the old Shell half milers with Super Traps I had on it. Either a new set of half mile down pipes or some high routed side pipes if I can find them.
I have some money now which I didn't have 40 years ago so would like to do all the things I couldn't do then.
Technology has improved in the 40 years since i first finished the bike. Most notably are available ignition and charging systems.
What is the opinion here of the Mike XS Charge system, either the complete package or just the ignition components
I have a Powerdynamo (Now VAPE ) PMA / CDI setup on my RD350, and it has worked perfectly for many years now. They also have systems for the XS. Made in the Czech Republic, not China or Taiwan......
A question for anyone that might have some knowledge of differences between years.
When I originally had the frame built I sent them the stock 1973 tank and they fitted front mounting cups and a rear bolt attachment point to fit it.
However once the engine was installed I discovered that the lower surface of the tank would contact the acorn head nuts before the rear tab would sit on the frame.
I've been trying to scan images, specifically side views of various year models to look for different year tanks that may have more clearance there.
I "appears" that some of the later tanks do have more room there. I am hoping that some knowledgeable source here might verify this.
I'm willing to buy a used tank and try it but want to do so before I send the frame out for replating. If there is still an issue then I'll remove the front mounts and stay with a glass tank but would prefer to run a steel tank with more fuel capacity.