1983 XV500 Cafe Racer


Been Around the Block
Having bought a Canadian import Yamaha XV500 as a result of lookng at many threads on here and other site I'm now wondering what I have done. I have sourced a GSXR400 USD complete front end to fit.
As the XV500 wasn't offically imported into the UK it looks like I'm going to have fun sourcing parts, although a few bits are interchangable with the XV535.


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I've managed to get it to fire on the front cyclinder, although didn't run on it's own as such.


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I've been using Windows Paint which came with the lap top to draw up some basic frame ideas as the standard headstock is way too high, strange design!


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I put the GSXR front end up to the frame just to gauge the height of the headstock, definitely need to build a new frame as it's too awkward to modify the existing frame.

I've been using 'paint' again just to get a basic idea of what I'll need to do regarding making a new frame.


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Couldn't you just lower the front forks through the trees? I would think the bike naturally lower using the gsxr frontend.
By the way where did you get your hands on the gsxr front, and how much? Thanks Also I've seen some people change the swing arm to lower the bike also.
Couldn't you just lower the front forks through the trees? I would think the bike naturally lower using the gsxr frontend.
By the way where did you get your hands on the gsxr front, and how much? Thanks Also I've seen some people change the swing arm to lower the bike also

CB, I thought about lowering the forks, but the XV forks are about 7inches longer than any road bike I've seen, and I wanted a more modern looking front end.

I managed to get the complete GSXR front end, including calipers and master cyclinder for £150 from Gumtree website. It was a good price as the discs on their own would sell for about £150.
Thats about 230-240 in american dollars isnt it. Wouldn't the the gsxr frontend lower the bike a lot. This guy XVR on a viragotech used the gsxr swing arm on his virago. I can't remeber what was all involve. I'll this, this dudes bike has a lot of time and money in it. He convert the bike to chain, man the list goes on, and on. Yamaha could take lesson from this guy seriously.
Yes about $230 ish depends on exchange rate.

Yeah I saw the build, a bloke from Canada who designs automotive parts amazing build, unfortunately mine will be a lot lower budget however I'm adamant that the finished result will be quality.

What I noticed is that parts and materials in the US seem to be a lot cheaper than the UK and more suppliers and machine shops by the looks of it.
This pic shows the need for lowering the headstock, so no option than to build a new frame.


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Well, mine is deffently going to have that grarage built hotrod feel...What I really want.
Yep I think the single carb is definitely the way forward, just need to figure out what carb and find out if there are any manifolds out there to covert to single carb, any ideas or advice will be gratefully received.
I would imagine but maybe wrong, that the steering geometry on that bike is very relaxed and would benefit from lowering the front end. Lower the headstock onto the gsxr forks without it being on the main stand and checkout the trail.
Indeed the sterring is lazy and Yamaha used offset triple clamps to compensate for the large amount of trail, I thinking a new frame was the order of the day, however I'll have a look at it as you suggest, I might be able to modify the headstock as the GSXR has much larger bearings than the XV.
Putting it on the main stand and saying it needs lowering to suit the forks only ensures that both wheels would be on the floor when on the main stand, not ideal anyhow, kinda defeats the object of having a stand. you need to do it with the bike on its wheels only.
Sorry I didn't really explain myself.
By showing your intentions of making a frame as shown here

It will not keep the original geometry of the frame it will make it worse (relative term) or more relaxed than it was, the center stand is taking the weight off the rear shock so its not sitting correctly and thus unnaturally elevating the headstock. To replicate the original height of the headstock and geometry you need to let it rest on both its original wheels with the original forks in place. You can then measure the height of the headstock from the ground and the trail if need be. To replicate this on a new frame.

I dont think I'm taking a leap in the dark here but the original geometry of this frame could do with sharpening up to get quicker steering more suitable for a cafe racer than a cruiser.

By lowering the headstock, in your case allowing it to sit naturally on the gsxr forks steerer stem , this will achieve the desired improvement is sharpening up the steering.

I dont think you need any frame modifications in that area.

I'm sure someone will come along thats actually fitted different forks to an XV without major frame modification to offer their advise.
Yep I hear what you are saying and agree about having the engine in and off the centre stand, the basic drawings are only to get an idea of frame options. Before I stripped the bike I measured the XV forks and headstock height and compared these to the GSXR1000 and SpeedTriple I have and the XV forks are much longer and the headstock higher, I have no idea why Yamaha did this on the XV500 as the other XV models have a lower headstock, I have looked at the XV535 frame which has the same engine size etc. and the headstock is lower on the 535.

My I will take your advice and remount the engine and measure the headstock height and yes the standard steering on the XV is very lazy, I intend to reduce the rake to sharpen the steering.
Most of the forks on older bikes are a good bit longer than more modern ones. But quite a bit longer on the cruiser types of bikes. However looking at the photo I guess that the headstock would be a couple of inches lower when on its wheels and therefore would only have to drop a couple of inches onto those forks. Which may end up being ideal.

If the 535 is lower it maybe better to source one of those frames or go the whole new frame like this build
although its an xv1000 or TR1
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