Quick make over.......or so I thought.....The ubiquitous XS650 - UK

lchris21

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Hello fellow DTT forum members, thought Id start a build thread on a XS650 I've been meaning to get on the road. Not been around on here for a while since having to abandon my last project. Anyway, this one is plodding along, and I'm hopefully going to get it on the road in 2020 ::)
Kicked it off in early 2018, with the intention of giving it a quick make over and getting on the road that year................
Even though the thread is today November, 2019, we'll have to go back in my time machine to Spring 2018..............we should get up to date in a few pages, and I'll try and keep it posted through the winter....
Nothing earth shattering or rare, as we know the XS650 has been done many, many times......so here it is ;D

I decided towards the end of last Spring to put it on hold for a bit, and get a "runner" just to have a bit of fun on, in the long but forgotten Summer of 2018.

Always fancied a "tracker" style project so back in Feb last year, up popped a reasonably priced 1976 Yamaha XS650, from that not forgotten Summer of '76. It was a runner................back in 2015, the last time it was on the road. So after convincing her indoors of the virtues of acquiring another "appreciating" classic..............well I appreciate it anyway. Off I went with the trailer to collect another.

I've been working on it for a few months since the end of spring last year, so I'll post some pics up just to start things off and pop in now and again with some the progress.................dumping a few hundred pics on the forum in one go will take more time than building the damn thing.....anyway on with the build.

As you can see it wasn't in too bad a condition, someone had made a decent job of a tracker custom job a few years back so unlike my previous builds I had a decent starting point. Quick look over, quick service and Id have the summer to ride it..........so I thought !!
 

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lchris21

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First job was to get it running.....................errmm. It was two years previous according to the previous owner, but I could not start it!!! Quick investigation revealed a weak spark and lack of fuel. As i wanted something fairly reliable I invested in a contactless points system and set about fitting that, along with a quick look in the carbs

And no...........that is not a colour problem with the camera, they were literally green inside
 

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lchris21

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As I dug deeper and deeper under the skin It dawned on me this wasn't going to be a "quick" makeover

The wiring was atrocious and when I pulled off the clock mounting and saw it was made from an old road sign I knew this was about to get messy and..............expensive !!!
 

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lchris21

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Finally got it running.......bit rough but it was running ;D

As Id already decided to get a little bit more involved than getting it running I did some research and started the usual Ebay trawl for bits and bobs.........first up was a rare hard to get hold of (in the UK) "how much!" DT400 tank. So threw that on along with GRP seat unit I fancied the look of.

The tank had seen some action in its previous life and looked like it had been run over by a bus
 

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lchris21

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Right, time to get the grinder fired up......as soon as this tool showed up I knew it was the point of no return:D.

The replacement seat GRP moulding did not quite sit on the frame where I like to off with the existing rear hoop

Next up for the "treatment" was the battery box, once Id fished out all the cables randomly taped and cable tied here and there...

Seat and tank now sitting at better positions on the frame
 

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lchris21

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Next up was a quick mock-up of the exhaust. Id decided to get an off the shelf set of headers from Delkevic and then use a random silencer I had lying around. The price of the headers was a fraction of the cost of buying mandrel bends, collectors etc, so went with with it. Only thing I don't like is the pressed collector. I'll probably tidy it up later by grinding off the seams and welding it flush.
 

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lchris21

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Needed to work out how to secure the seat unit to the frame and minimize the amount of fasteners required to hold it in place. Bit of angle with some slots cut out along with a pair of aluminium bobbins through the seat sorted it. The front is going to be secured with a thumb screw under the tank mounting bracket.
 

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lchris21

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Back to the rear hoop Id cut off......

I needed somewhere to store all of the electrical bits and bobs along with trying to tie both sides of the rear frame together. Coupled with the fact I didn't want any bits of frame showing, so ordered some tube and managed to get a decent bend with my old Hilmor manual bender. Welded in place it gave me something to try and build a rear tray out of, whilst keeping things tucked away.

Made a nice little cardboard battery and set about trying to hide this. There are smaller batteries available but I had one there off a previous bike and decided to use that originally....but stumbled across another battery I had lying around so ended up making a Mk2 cardboard version at a later date....when the bike is on the ground it is hardly noticeable.

The year the bike was made it comes with both an electric and kick starter. So to save my skinny legs I decided to use the power of electrickery !!!
 

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lchris21

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Back to the rear again, and hoop #2 :D

Thinking further ahead and wanting to lose the rear mudguard I knocked up another hoop, and again trying to hide it from side view managed to squeeze it in under the GRP seat moulding

All that work just for the starter solenoid and igniter :whistle:...........................which later ended up somewhere else

At least I had somewhere to hang the tail light
 

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lchris21

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Back to the tank.................

As it was just sitting loosely on the frame I need to fix it in position whilst maintaining the lines I wanted, this meant sitting it as low as possible to the engine. Unfortunately the tunnel in the tank is a lot narrower than the original XS set up so I had to get creative.......

Cut the tank and give myself a lot of headaches welding it back up or just trim the engine mounting bosses a tad?

There was plenty of meat on the head casting so knocked up my own spot facing tool from a bit of HSS and length of steel rod to machine the head in-situ...
 

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lchris21

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Next up the exhaust........................

Decided on using a silencer I had lying around from a previous project. First job was to trim a bit off then split a bit of tube to sleeve it to the correct size.

Rigged up my cordless drill and small rotary table and just melted the bits together
 

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lchris21

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Speedo and headlight next for mounting......both would fall by the wayside later on. Wasn't really happy with the position of the bracket holding it all on

Good thing about these project.....chop and change..........as long as the bank balance allows
 

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lchris21

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Front brake next........

the original caliper was a bit tired so decided a little upgrade was in order. Brake disc of a Ducati 916, and the front caliper off a Honda VFR somat???..............Just needed to fabricate a spacer to marry them all together..

Bit of jiggery pokery with the X and Y axis of the mill at the same time, or as I like to call it......manual CNC and a bit of filing...... sorted
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lchris21

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Next up was the tank...................or as I renamed it due to its colour and shape............ "the banana"
:D


The banana had unfortunately had a hard life and was full of dents and creases. I spoke to my painter who assured me that he could sort it, as long as I removed some of the damage!!! These tanks were fitted to 70's off road bikes and its rare to find one, let alone one without any dents
:whistle:


Rather than cut off the bottom completely, after a I could reach what I could through the various openings I decide to seal it up, pressurize it and apply some local heat with my blow torch. A nice localised oxy/acetylene would have been nice but I only got a Rothernberger plumbing lamp, so that had to do...

After a bit of heating, banging and prodding, plus welding up a few pinholes I got most of it out.............even though cosmetically it looked worse

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lchris21

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Before removing the engine and trying to plan ahead I set about marking up which brackets and misc ironwork would not make the final cut. If it ended up with orange marker......it was time to say goodbye
:flame:

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lchris21

Active Member
DTT BOTM WINNER
The bike was getting lighter and lighter but the scrap bin was getting heavier and heavier......next up was the particularly nasty swing arm with its "add on" brace.

The welding was pretty poor on the home made brace and the design meant the chain was rubbing on it at certain parts of the suspension movement.........this was done by a "pro" :oops:

A rethink was required....
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