1981 Yamaha XS 400 Special II Cafe Racer build


Been Around the Block
Picked up my next project: 1981 Yamaha XS400 Special II. Stay tuned for poject build updates. Not much out there for xs400 cafe bikes so this one should be interesting. Thinking a Benjies Dolphin seat / tank combo that is for an xs 650. I have read that the xs650 tank should fit the xs400. If anyone has some quality xs400 cafe pics feel free to share.




Coast to Coast
Nice snag! Couldn't be any more difficult than turning an XJ650 Maxim into a cafe, like I did! yours is a very solid base to work with. Good luck and keep the pics coming!


Been Around the Block
Definitely was a decent deal picked that up for $400. Ordered up a benjies Dolphin Tank and Seat combo, Now i have to play the waiting game, they said they are about 7 weeks behind. Oh well i have plenty of other stuff to do :)


I reject your reality, and substitute my own!
Well, the drum front brake with spoked wheels helps with the looks... (I seriously hate Yamaha mags)... you just slap on some new bodywork, fit rearsets and clipons, and voila! Instant cafe racer.


Been Around the Block
Status update:

Detabbing complete, Installed fork boots and adjustable clipons. Waiting on tank/seat so i can fab up the U frame in the back and start mounting the electronics. In the meantime i think i am going to tackle delacing the spokes on my wheels. That looks like a pretty daunting task not so much taking them off but getting them back together... Going to powder coat the rims black and leave the spokes and drums polished.




Been Around the Block
Ryanh said:
Is it a one off?

It is the Dolphin Combo they make for the Honda CBs but setup for a Yamaha XS650. (they can make most of their tanks for the xs650 upon request and a little extra cash, the combo set with tank, fiberglass seat pan with upholstered seat, tail light, license plate bracket, 2 petcocks and fuel cap is going to cost me $950 + shipping) Supposedly an xs650 tank will mount up to my xs400 per some internet searching so I am hoping it wil be pretty much bolt on for the tank and the normal fabricating for the seat.


Been Around the Block
Wheels and springs are headed to the powder coater tomorrow for some black. Ordered some expensive tires today... saw these on a Honda CB and they looked amazing ! hope they look as good on the XS



Active Member
Those are the tires I plan to use as well, for my front anyway, undecided for the rear...

950 isnt too bad I looked at getting a replica rd400 tank made and it was going to cost 650 for just a tank...


Been Around the Block
Got my rims back from powder coating, between cleaning an polishing 72 spokes and relacing them I dont know if it was worth it, what a PITA !



The Impatient Perfectionist!
Go check out XS400.com. there are some nice cafe's over there. I'm envious of your spoked rims, I'd love to find a set. ;D
I hope your right about the xs650 tank fitting. I had read that the xs750 would be a straight fit but it is not. It seems Yamaha likes to change whch side has the rubber puck and which has the cup from model to model. Now my frame and xs750 tank booth have cups. I'll have to fab a puck mount to my frame. Also the xs400 tank has a wider tunnel than the xs750. I had to widen the XS750 tank with a hammer to make it fit over the frame. Hopefully this is not the case with the 650.
Your bike is looking good :) i'll have to follow this one.


Been Around the Block
Still waiting for tank and seat to really get going on fabbing the tail and electronics. Wheels are off getting balanced and getting the vintage firestone rubber put on. So how obnoxiously loud will it be if I have it run open header with a pipe on each side like in the pic below?




Been Around the Block
Still waiting on benjies parts... dont recommend ordering from there if you want your parts sooner than 3 months. Finally got the tires trued and mounted. Rear is way bigger than I anticipated. Ordered up some 14.5" shocks from Dime City hopefully that will give me enough clearance in the back.



Over 1,000 Posts
the bike looks great! Did you make the exhaust yourself? If so. would you consider making a pair for my xs400? How much? Thanks.


Been Around the Block
the bike looks great! Did you make the exhaust yourself? If so. would you consider making a pair for my xs400? How much? Thanks.

Just playing around with exhaust ideas right now. I am sure it will be insanely loud and obnoxious if i go with this short open design. This is my first stab at welding / exhaust making in general so you probably wouldnt want me to make you a set :)

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