college kid with a dream (1977 xs400)

What should i do to the tank?

  • Bare metal with clear?

    Votes: 23 43.4%
  • Bare metal with gold or red stripe?

    Votes: 21 39.6%
  • or save myself some time and just paint it!

    Votes: 9 17.0%

  • Total voters


New Member
Thanks Honda53rider

I figured the brushed aluminum look is much easier to maintain. I created the look just by scrubbing everything with scotch brite pads. Easier to keep up and I like all my stuff to look a little dirty and vintage


77 XS400,73 SL350, 73 RD350
Well iv gotten some work done on the bike. Don't have any photos but I rebuilt the forks witch was an easy job and I also polished the fork lowers and the tipple tree clamp to a pretty good shine! The front end is much better now as far as handling goes but its pretty stiff and beats the heck out of me on bumpy roads. It needs fork clamps and new shocks in the rear because the front end is planted now that it is stiff but the back end bounces with the old worn out shocks.

I also got to do a bit of ridding. I did 100 miles and got 46 mpg ridding like I always do witch is not slow but not fast ether.

Well im 18 away from graduation so I wont get anything done from now till then but after that I hope to have a job witch im working on now so ill hive the funds to start doing things the right way and finishing up this build.

Also moving some other bikes around. Im going to sell my RD350 and my SL350 and get something newer from the 90's just something I can ride daily and take some long trips on.


77 XS400,73 SL350, 73 RD350
Well its been a while... 40 hour weeks and something going no every weekend means updates go on the back burner...

Well first thing is first is first the bike is running pretty good and iv been ridding to work when there is no chance of rain.

Iv done a few upgrades to the bike since last time.
First was swapping the front sprocket from the stock 16T to a 17T. Gears feel much better and cursing at 55-60 is much more enjoyable.


Next thing on the list was the headlight. I got stuck one night and had to ride home in the dark with the stock headlight and it was terrifying so my old idea to use the old car light went out the window for a much simpler and better light.



you can also see the polished fork tubes and stainless brake line.

I got a job at a fabrication shop and iv been learning a few things so that means new parts on the bike. Im welding up a rear rack to carry bags for when I take the bike on trips. Also looking into bending my own handle bar.

Also turning these out. But you will have to wait and see what they are going to be when they are done.

And last but not least my local shop that welded my pipes and a few other things posted my bike up on his page witch I thought was kinda neat.


77 XS400,73 SL350, 73 RD350
Thanks SpeedFreak! I am trying my hardest to build the best bike I know how to!

Iv been away from the bike for a week on vacation and cant wait to get back to it. Iv been thinking about version 2 of the bike soon to come in the winter of 2014.

Im thinking full tear down powder coat frame and wheels rebuild the top end along with getting rid of the "rat bike" look. cleaning up the motor and the electrical along with a short list of other things. The same look but more up to date and cleaner. Sorry but I hate when people say its a rat bike but it really is right now so they are right...


77 XS400,73 SL350, 73 RD350
Progress! iv got one of my projects at work finished as far as fab goes! I took the rack off the RD350 I had because it looked well bad on that bike...

So iv been thinking about taking my bike on some longer trips and wearing everything on my back was out of the question so this is my solution!
Modified the rack a little and built some brackets to mount to the rear spring mount (this is a removable rack) but haven't decided what to do with the front mounts... For now hose clamps hold it solid. Also don't know if its going to get powder coated black or try to polish it out...




New Member

The rack looks a bit to big for this bike IMHO :-\, maybe if you put it up and a few inches over the rear-end of your seat , it looks better.
But that's just my opinion.

Grtz Frank,


77 XS400,73 SL350, 73 RD350
Ya its way to long but its strictly for form not function. Its removable and will spend most of its time off the bike and I will only use it on trips. Seeing as its my only bike on the road now and I want to do some motorcycle trips it will do just fine!


New Member
Great build thread! And unique vision. I dig it.
How do you like those Shinko's? What sizes did you get, and are they both 'front' tires?


77 XS400,73 SL350, 73 RD350
Thanks jthiessen! I don't know what size the tires are I can look and see later if you would like (we are having our shop insulated and dry walled so all the motorcycles cars and tool boxes are piled in the center where I cant get to them) They are a front and a rear tire, the front have a tred down the center while the back does not. Iv put around 1300 miles on them and they seem to be wearing well. No complaints with them at all. I don't ride the bike hard very often but them seem to stick and get a little bit of heat built up in them but they are in no way a performance tire but a good all around tire.


77 XS400,73 SL350, 73 RD350
Well I hope to be adding some more to this build soon. Sry iv been out of the loop the bike has been sitting for a while now. took it out for a ride one night and broke down and had to hot wire the bike to get home. I also picked up another project a 1980 chevy luv.

But I have since replaced the bad electrical bits and have the bike up and running but It needed a oil change and new filter and my oil filter bolt was stuck and striped so tonight I tackled that and that was a job... So tomorrow fresh oil filter and oil and hope to have it running and ride able. Then do some work on some parts that wore out after 1400 miles of ridding. Hope to do some cool work with the sheet metal but that's all to come!


77 XS400,73 SL350, 73 RD350
Well I got the oil changed and the bike cleaned back up and running well again so its time for a progress update with Photos!

Here was the oil filter mess from last night. I tried welding a new nut to the end of it but I could never get a good weld so the nuts just fell right off. So then I ground a slit in the nut and tried to spin it with a screw driver and a hammer...


After that didn't work I pretty much destroyed the bolt but got it off in the end.


As you saw a few months back I was working on the lath turning out some parts. I want to get some more lights on the back of the bike so this was a little idea that I had. I still have open frame tubes from where I cut the rear hump off so a made a plug to fill the pipe and drilled a hole in the center to fit a LED light.


I put a angle on the edge to dress it up a little and ran to radio shack and got some red LED's and the required resistors. (don't forget when wiring you own LED's the bike runs off 14V not 12V you will burn out the lights if you only resist for 12V) They will get powder coated black once they get wired up.


So here is the bike as she sits now.


Not much new except for the 1400 miles on it since iv had it. Not much for one summer but I have been working with another project that has been stealing time. So here are the plans for now.

Build a new rear fender, longer rear springs, dirt bike bars, move front breaded brake hose to the rear and get new front brake line, do some rewiring.

Not to much but just getting the bike ready for a "frame off" restoration. I want to do all of the modifications before I paint the frame and rebuilt the top end of the motor.


House Smells Like Gas.....
Cool idea with the lights. I had the same idea with my KZ but ended up plugging the tubes because I didn't like anything. Bike's looking awesome, keep it up.


77 XS400,73 SL350, 73 RD350
My brother was in town this weekend and got me pumped about the bike so I got to welding and replaced the rear cross-member.

The new cross-member is stronger and sits lower witch helps with the gap under the seat.


not to bad for some of my first welds.

Here is with the seat on it. It sits much lower now and has a better gap.


77 XS400,73 SL350, 73 RD350
Well Its time for a new fender and iv had an idea in the back of my head for a while so here we go.

Got a piece of scrap aluminum from work that was the right size for the rear fender just needed some holes and a design.

Like I had before I am going with a rising sun but this time it will stay bare metal like the rest of the bike.

So here we go I thought I would do the outline by sand blasting the design on the metal this way its all bare metal.

And here is the finished product. I think it looks pretty good its just waiting on the rest of the bike to be put back together now.


77 XS400,73 SL350, 73 RD350
Well I do have one big update but first why I haven't been working on the bike other than the fact that its freezing outside!

This was my chevy LUV I picked up and got kinda running, but mainly lowered new tires and made it look cool. But in the back of my mind I really wanted to have a fun kinda fast but mainly something to build.


So I put the truck on CL and for sale and for trade and ended up finding someone with a RX7 that was a prime candidate for a v8 swap. He had a good amount of work on it already and some spare parts.


So I picked it up and turned out the owner was really cool and into bikes as well as cars. He was building a really nice XS650. After talking he told me he had a spare xs400 motor. so I begged to buy it!! But after talking about it he was going to throw it in with the trade! So I have a spare motor with only 5,000 miles! So when ever I get done with the mazda the new motor will go into the bike.


It spins well and is dirty from sitting on the floor in the back of a shop for a while but its free so im happy!


77 XS400,73 SL350, 73 RD350
Spring= riding weather! Still have lots to do the bike but the RX7 project is in the way for now. So I got the bike running so I can take short blast when I get off work.

Also the bugs are out in full force!


77 XS400,73 SL350, 73 RD350
Well the bike has been sitting due to some electrical issues and my RX7 project. But with the long weekend I thought I would take a brake from that and get the yamaha ready for summer. First was getting the electrical issue worked out. It would start up fine the first time but when It died (while letting it worm up) I would loose electrical power to the whole bike. So I tracked it down to the starter solenoid. I then ran a new hot wire from the battery to the main power on the bike to bypass solenoid complacently. For some reason this did not fix the issue?!?!? So I then complacently removed the solenoid and left my power wire I had run and the bike now works... So now its kick only witch doesn't seem to be a issue. Two kicks to get it going from a cold start and a few more then that if its really hot. So it is good to go from the summer!

Next I thought I would work on a rear rack so I can take this thing for weekend trips. I ran to the hardware store and picked up some metal rod and went at it.

Started by making a gig that I could make good clean bends on and keep the bends on the same angle.



this worked well and got me my two main hoops that will sit against the sides of my ammo can panniers.



Now I had to get them onto the main rack that I got off the RD. The biggest issue was making it all square. So I put the bike on its center stand and used a shim to get it to sit level.


Followed that up with a board beside the bike and made it sit level. This way the hoop will sit right next to the panniers and keep them square with the bike and not leaning in or out.


Next the easy part of aligning them and tacking them in.



Next a cross brace to keep it all strong.



Not to bad for a few hours worth of work. I need to go to work to bend some steel for the mounts for the ammo cans. Not 100% on how I will mount them but I have a idea. As for the rest of the bike I need to order new handle bars and longer brake line if I plan of ridding this thing any kind of distance! A two hour ride yesterday with one 5 min brake showed me that the rack didn't shatter from the vibrations but I did...



77 XS400,73 SL350, 73 RD350
So I have not been on the bike much because of my RX7 build. I did put a few miles on it but now with the time change I leave home in the dark and get home well after dark so ridding is a no go...

So here is what iv been up to! Here is the v8 RX7 FC

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