XS2 front end suggestions


XS650 New Member
Reaction score
Houma, Louisiana
Hi everyone, looking for guidance to get an XS2back on the road.

Bought a pretty decent XS2 last month (paid $800) and have been going thru the stuff just for it to be safe on the road (maybe the Mailman level restoration will happen later in life).

It was a cool buy because its a one owner bike, and was last registered in 1984 (came with the original Texas plate and two 1978 inspection stickers still looking good on the tail).

Tanks is an issue, carbs were tarred up, but the biggest issue is the jammed up front end. I'm pretty sure the guy ran it into the back of something because both forks bind up and when disassembled show maybe 1/32" of runout (just guessing from rolling and checking on top of the tablesaw). So my question is, whats the best option to get it back on the road. Original 72 equipment is obviously the most desirable option, but also unfeasible unless something comes up.

I thought about trying to see if the fork tubes from MikesXS would at least be able to travel the full range in the lowers, but I'm going to guess the lowers are out of true to some degree. And my dampers are the 28mm diameter and those tubes are 26.5 mm bore, though I'm sure somewhere local could mill them for more than the tubes cost.

Another option is swapping in a newer/more available front end. I see @DogBunny has some 35mm fork sets plus some triple trees. What are the thoughts on going that route and what else would be involved to make it work on the 72 frame? I'm pretty sure i'd have to use that era brake caliper as well and don't really want to do dual disc front.

Any opinions/criticisms/rants are super welcome.

(pics are from before it started getting taken apart)


  • IMG_0512.jpg
    366.2 KB · Views: 131
  • IMG_0511.jpg
    376.4 KB · Views: 131
  • IMG_0510.jpg
    369.5 KB · Views: 123
  • IMG_0509.jpg
    381.2 KB · Views: 132
That's a great find. Were it me, I'd try to straighten the original upper tubes if the surface finish is good and rebuild them as original with new seals etc.. The original factory Service Manual is available online and pushes 200pages (more complete than most). Do you have pics and measurements of the disassembled forks? Second choice would be to find good used original tubes and rebuild/reassemble.
1/32" doesn't seem like a lot of run out to be causing that problem. mailman had the same problem then found out the PO had clamped the Lower in a vice, or something, at some time, and it was slightly out of round causing the binding of the inner tube.

A 73TX front end will bolt straight in with the look of a 72 to the untrained eye. Would need to have a 73 guard as well. The 72 guard stays, (as is the front hub/rotor), are a one year/model only setup.

And welcome.
I’m with JP on this one.

Straighten em.

If you can’t do it yourself, start calling around your local machine shops to see if they can do it. Also, motorbike shops might have a lead on someone who does it as well.

I’ve ridden a dozen or so XS but mailman’s XS2 was my first early bike. Much more raw of a feeling that the later bikes, and that’s something about it I would not want to change. It really makes it a special ride.
Don't get me wrong. Its not about sides, its a warning that 1/32" isn't a lot and to check the lower tubes to make sure there isn't another reason for the binding as well....................By all means get them/it straightened

My 80SG front forks have a twist in them where one of the tubes has a way bigger bend than 1/32", Hell its more like 1/4" or more, and that doesn't bind.

On these bikes the forks do tent to bend over time. It may be due uneven pressure on one fork, due to the single rotor, causing them to twist when braking
Someone (can't remember who, I'm on the verge of senility) recently told me they paid £180 to have their bent tubes straightened, ground down, then hard chromed.
The finish is what you would expect to find on a good quality hydraulic ram, much better than Yamaha's original offering.
If you know your fork legs are straight, but you're still getting binding, it is possible for the fork bottoms to be bent - I had this on a GS750 40 years ago - one fork lower was scrap
mailman had the same problem then found out the PO had clamped the Lower in a vice, or something, at some time, and it was slightly out of round causing the binding of the inner tube.

Yes , exactly. Before I got the bike, someone had clamped the lower legs in a vise, presumably to change the seals, and the flattened the sides enough that the fork tubes were binding. I tried looking for just a set of lower legs, but couldn’t find any. I wound up buying a completed set of forks from a seller on eBay. Just as well, my original forks were missing a lot of internal parts.
Good luck with your bike! They’re a lot of fun!
Very nice find. I would disassemble and check runout on those legs. If the runout is minimal your outer legs are probably ok. You could have them straightened but would be expensive unless you know a friend. I ended up with new tubes from mikes about 12 years ago and they have worked out great.
From the pics...
The upper tubes look good (not rusty)
I just straightened tubes for the first time and was surprised, it's not that hard (with the right shop tools)
I'll venture to say 90% plus of the time the issue is the upper tubes, and lowers are fine. have you cleaned flushed out the crud of ages yet?
Is the action still stiff with the tubes out of the triples?
I'll take a look at trying to straighten them out then, seems to be somewhat of a consensus. My intuition is that there is runout in both the tubes and the lowers, but more investigation will be necessary. After y'alls recommendations, I found a video from a guy actually straightening an xs650 fork tube (Team Miyagi on youtube, not sure if he's on the forum) and his was wayyyyyyy worse than mine, so surely i'm in the realm of the possible.

gggGary, there is minimal pitting and that is mostly outside of the stroke range so the seals won't suffer for it anyways. The binding is still existent after disassembly/cleaning, largely to the same extent as just after pulling the retainer and springs before cleaning, so the issue is definitely structural distortion.

Thanks for everyone's help already
Also, @gggGary, I passed thru your town on a trip to Devil's Lake a few years ago, it was a lovely little old school American town. I was stationed in Peoria, IL at the time, just a lucky encounter.
The XS2, as original, is actually on my "lusted after" list. This bike appears to be such a candidate.

The right muffler has a small patch of "road rash", but not rusted; what are the options available to remedy that?