View Full Version : Slightly different take on a build thread...

02-07-2015, 1:23 PM
So I've been a long time lurker, but this is my first post. I've found a lot of inspiration, and found answers to many a question... so thank you to all of you asking questions, answering questions, and building rad stuff in your shops/garages/backyards!!!

Now that that's out of the way, a little bit about myself and this project. Well, I'm a photographer by profession and was looking to build myself a bike as well as shoot a personal project that would give me a nice collection of images for a gallery show and possibly a coffee table book... whatever, I just needed a release, something to build with my hands, a way to stay out of trouble in my free time. Needless to say it has completely consumed me for the past year and a half.

Soooo, here is a lil iPhone snap of where I started, '81 xs650, non running, non titled, just an engine, a frame, and a box of mostly useless rusty and crusty crap...


02-07-2015, 6:35 PM
first obstacle... get title. did an online records search on the vin, not stolen. called out the local sherifs to take a look and run the vin again, still not stolen, last time it was registered was in early 90's. tracked down the original owner, sent a letter... nothing. super frustrating!!! after extensive research, i found a very nice gentleman in orlando that handles this sort of situation, and for next to nothing on top of the standard title and transfer fees, dude handled all the legal bs in dealing with mvd and got the thing titled in my name. if you find yourself in the same situation, shoot me a message and i will gladly share his contact info with you.

02-07-2015, 7:46 PM
sooooo... i figured i'd tear apart the engine next and see what was hidden inside. now for the "fancy" pics, and where my lil photo project begins.


















02-07-2015, 9:20 PM
I guess your 650 came with the pussy magnet.. VEry nicee. But seriously, awesome pictures, keep it up Bruh

02-07-2015, 10:53 PM
I guess your 650 came with the pussy magnet.. VEry nicee. But seriously, awesome pictures, keep it up Bruh

Yea, came with the oem pussy magnet in place... Had to ditch it though, only attracted the harry variety. Gotta swap it out for a custom magnet that draws a smoother variety more frequently!

Thanx man, more pics on the way for sure.

02-09-2015, 4:52 AM
nice pics

02-09-2015, 6:57 AM
Beautiful pictures. I would say even sexy.

02-09-2015, 8:23 AM
thanx guys!

02-09-2015, 10:09 AM
Beautiful pics, dude. That's gonna make a helluva gallery show or coffee table book or whatever you do with it. What's next?

02-09-2015, 10:22 AM
as you can see from the pics above, shitload of oxidation on the outside of the cases. You can really see how nasty is was on the pic of the head cover. From what I found digging up info on the bike, she spent her previous life in Titusville, Florida... probably forgotten, chillin outside. I removed all of the oxidation on the lower cases and side covers myself. after going through way to many brushes and scotch brite pads, and exhausting my expletive vocabulary, I decided to send the jugs, head, and head cover out to get blasted. I could not for the life of me get all of the oxidation out from between the fins. Once clean, I laid down a matte black ceramic paint, and went back over the edges of the fins on the head with acetone to give the shaved fin look on the head.

02-09-2015, 10:38 AM
Beautiful pics, dude. That's gonna make a helluva gallery show or coffee table book or whatever you do with it. What's next?

Thanx dude! The bike was actually all built an coated in primer as of last week. Took it out to the Dania Beach vintage bike show with 200 miles on the rebuilt engine. She's currently back to a pile of parts awaiting final paint. I'm just now getting my lazy ass to going through all my pics and figuring out what I'm going to do with them, and share with everybody here in the process. I will probably be uploading more of my pics today.

02-09-2015, 11:29 AM
as for the internals of the engine, everything seemed to be in pretty good shape. Jugs were stock bore, no pitting or scoring, Pistons looked fine other than the carbon buildup. Tranny gears looked good, as did the dogs. The cam chain tensioner was worn but not broken like I hear about all the time. All the bearings were in good condition. Valves were straight and cleaned up very well. So now for putting shit back together, here's what I dropped in...

-Hugh's hand built rephrased stock crank and cam
-needle bearing & thrust washer for the clutch
-one piece clutch rod
-new clutch springs and retainer screws
-new clutch friction plates
-freeze plug for starter motor block off, and removed all internal electric start gears
-replaced all gaskets and oil seals
-new oil sight glass
-reused stock Pistons with new rings
-new cam chain tensioner
-new cam chain
-sump filter
-oil filter
-tach plug
-cleaned up the heads casting flaws in intake and exhaust
-lapped the valves
-replaced all copper sealing washers
-and all new stainless nuts and bolts
-pamco 277 ignition
-Hugh's hand built pma kit
-NGK iridium plugs
-mini dyna single coils

02-09-2015, 12:42 PM
Art and engineering. My 2 favorite things.

02-09-2015, 12:57 PM
I like there this thread is going! Looking forward to future posts.

02-09-2015, 12:58 PM
and now, the rebuild pics...
















02-10-2015, 6:58 AM
and now, on to building the bike...


the dude i got this from was planing on building himself something, but decided to ditch it and work on an hd platform instead... perfect, cause this was exactly what i was looking for. he had started to cut out the neck gusset, and clean up the top of the trees but still left me with some work to do on it.


dude had also shaved the forks... not quite what i wanted, as i wanted to keep at least one brake up front and maybe run a front fender.


stock tail section, yea, thats going in the junk pile too...


i cut that bitch in half and tacked on a david bird looped hardtail from lowbrow, 2" stretch & 2" drop. i also tossed on some euro bars i had lying around.


i couldn't bear to look at those mags any more and knew from the start that if this bitch was gonna wear shoes, she sure as shit was gonna have some shiny laces. i scored front and rear spoke wheels off of ebay, cleaned the hubs up and ditched the old spokes and rims. i purchased new rims and stainless spokes, 19" front and 18" rear. painted the hubs and the inner portion of the rims with a satin black urethane, leaving the shoulder of the rim polished aluminum. i laced the rims up myself (took me a couple tries), and took em to a local shop for tires and to have them balanced and trued. the whole wheel swap process cost me a couple more pennies than i was planning on, but whatever... super happy with how it was looking at that point. i also ditched the shaved forks and swapped em out with a stock set off of ebay. i shaved the brake mounts off the left fork leaving brake mounts on the right as well as the fender mounts on both sides.


02-10-2015, 7:22 AM
Best thread going right now, love the number and quality of pictures. Keep it up man!

02-10-2015, 7:29 AM
good stuff man!

02-10-2015, 8:38 AM
Thanx for the kind words gentlemen

02-10-2015, 9:01 AM
love this thread.. nice photos and nice rebuild.. this should be made into a coffee table book.

02-10-2015, 4:05 PM
love this thread.. nice photos and nice rebuild.. this should be made into a coffee table book.

thanx man, thats the plan... hopefully, if i get my shit together.

02-10-2015, 4:31 PM
so next at bat was a seat, grabbed a biltwell seat and weld on mounts from lowbrow. i had originally planned on running the bee hive style springs, but after mocking everything up, that just was not going to work with this frame and seat. grabbed some la rosa 3" hairpins and put it together. i eventually cut the posts off of the mounts and drilled and tapped to hold the bottom of the springs down with a screw and finishing washers.


after that... mounted the tank. now i knew i wanted a mid tunnel wassell style tank but just couldn't get down with the tc bros one. two 1/4" petcock bungs and one 3/8" petcock bung? what the shit is that? so i'll use the two 1/4" petcock bungs and the other just gets plugged and sticks out of the tank like a useless turd... i would not be able to live with that, for some reason the thought of it irritated the shit out of me. so, found that throttle addiction stocks a mid tunnel wassell that has only two 1/4" petcock bungs, score!!!



i also added the monstercraftman bracket for mids, and found folding clevis and some brit style pegs. i'll have some closer pics of the pegs later down the road. oh and I welded one of Hugh's lil goose neck gussets in there too.

02-10-2015, 6:36 PM
VERY fuckin cool brother !!!!...glad ya went to spokes !!!!...check out the Yammy chop build for the Strangedays giveaway at either http://strangedays.blogspot.com and http://captcals.blogspot.com/

...might give ya some ideas/help....and Cal and his dad are REALLY cool dudes....Retrofit rocks !

02-11-2015, 5:53 AM
VERY fuckin cool brother !!!!...glad ya went to spokes !!!!...check out the Yammy chop build for the Strangedays giveaway at either http://strangedays.blogspot.com and http://captcals.blogspot.com/

...might give ya some ideas/help....and Cal and his dad are REALLY cool dudes....Retrofit rocks !

Thanx dude. I'll take a look

02-11-2015, 8:05 AM
Oh yea, so I guess I'll note that I live in south Florida... where rust can be an absolute nightmare! Now while I had the luxury of rebuilding the engine in my home... that was not the case for the rest of the bike. The rest of the bike was built outside in my back yard, spraying some things with epoxy primer when appropriate, or in the case of the frame... rattle can primer as the bike progressed, sanding where needed prior to welding and rattle can over after. That is until all welding to the frame is done and can be sanded back down again for a proper epoxy primer / urethane top coat. Needless to say, there was a lot of sanding involved... probably one of my least favorite things to do!

02-11-2015, 5:04 PM
from there, the engine went back in... i also tossed on some pipes. the ones that came with, were cut off at the muffler and were super pitted beyond belief, so i grabbed a cheep find from ebay. looks like somebody did a lil slash cut job on some mufflers, whatever, works for now and i kinda dig that they look a lil nasty. i plan on wrapping the headers and shining up rest anyway. and they hide the david bird hardtail triangle gussets a lil, not that they bother me.


swapped the old risers out for some fancy biltwell ones, and tossed my euro bars back on.


went the hughs headlight bracket as well... though at the time of this pic, no headlight to mount.



02-11-2015, 6:28 PM
Oh yea, so I guess I'll note that I live in south Florida...

I got a lotta brothers down yer way man....I plan on makin a Key west trip this year....never been to FLA....

02-11-2015, 7:58 PM
Hotness, total hotness

02-12-2015, 7:34 AM
I got a lotta brothers down yer way man....I plan on makin a Key west trip this year....never been to FLA....

Go for it man! It's got it's pros and cons down here, but all in all, it's pretty hard to not have a good time down this way.

02-12-2015, 7:35 AM
Hotness, total hotness

Thanx man, that's what I was going for

02-13-2015, 11:16 AM
and she needed cabs... she came with some, but i knew from the get go that i was going to ditch the stock cv's and go the mikuni route as i have more experience playing with those. i hit up MMM at 650 central and he got me all sorted out in the carb department with a pair of vm 34's, the hi vo ar manifolds, uni filters, and throttle cable. dude was spot on with the jetting!!! now as for petcocks... i snagged a pair w/ reserve feature from tc bros, not sure if its the petcocks or the angle of the tank, or the angle of the petcocks, but the reserve feature dont work for shit. fuckers left me stranded on the side of the road at 4am pushing the bike a mile to the nearest gas station.


it was also fender time, i used the 5" wide wassell style ribbed fender from throttle addiction, and made the struts out of 1/2" round bar and some bungs from lowbrow.


i also made up an "A" shaped bracket with the 1/2" bar and bungs that is welded to the frame, kinda hard to see in this pic, but i'll get a cleaner shot of it in due time.


at this point, i was very happy with the lines on this bike and how everything was coming together.


02-13-2015, 12:19 PM
how are you liking them springs? I hated mine..

02-13-2015, 12:48 PM
how are you liking them springs? I hated mine..

so far i dig em, but it was kind of a pain in the ass for me setting them up with this frame and seat... like i said previously, i had intended on running the beehives originally and bought the bungs and such accordingly, but once i got to mounting everything, beehives just were not going to work with the placement of everything and the angle of the screws on the back of the seat. i cut off the posts on the mounts you see in the pic above and drilled and tapped for a screw to tighten them down. i also ended up bending the springs a bit where they meet the screws on the back of the seat. i got the springs from la rosa, as i heard that they have more action to them than the ones lowbrow offers (which i heard were like rock hard stiff). the la rosa's definitely have some action to them, I'm not a big dude at all, weighing in around 155 after lunch soaking wet.

02-15-2015, 7:22 AM
oh hey, look... a headlight...


and so this is how she stood at that point, almost ready to run, but not quite. I still needed to iron out my front and rear brake situation, lower the forks, tackle the electric, as well as tail lights and plate bracket.


and so there she was, forks removed, ready for the hhb lowering spacers.


02-15-2015, 4:50 PM
Your bike is coming out awesome man. Any updates?

02-15-2015, 5:31 PM
Looking good, nice pics too. I've always thought engine internals make great artwork.

02-15-2015, 8:31 PM
Very nice. I'm planning on a tank from TA myself and I've got the same stretch/drop on my DB hardtail. Photos are beautiful!

02-16-2015, 8:10 AM
Thanx guys, I'll post some more pics here in a bit.

02-16-2015, 8:13 AM
Very nice. I'm planning on a tank from TA myself and I've got the same stretch/drop on my DB hardtail. Photos are beautiful!

Right on man! Yea, I probably thought way too much on the stretch for the hardtail, I was torn over 0" vs 2" stretch. All in all, glad I went with the 2". Which tank you planning on from TA? I totally dig the way the mid tunnel wassell sits.

02-16-2015, 10:05 AM
time for tail / brake lights and the license plate bracket... for the tail lights i used two mini bates style led tail lights from dime city cycles. i took the bottom mounts that came with the lights and welded them to coped bungs from lowbrow, then welded to the frame.


for the license palate bracket, i just welded up some pieces of flat bar to the frame so i could curve the plate along the shape of the looped tail section.


since the frame has a 2" drop and i lowered the front forks 2", i had to figure out a kick stand solution... i ended up chopping up the original kickstand to take off a couple inches and welded it back together. i also had to house some electric crap, so i pulled a domed cap, flat cap, and 6" tubing from bung king, and put together a lil "electrics tank". the dome top holds the ignition switch and kill switch, and removes from the tank via allen screw that thread into nuts welded to the cap and tank. hidden underneath the tank are my ignition coils. inside the tank, i made a bracket to hold an antigravity 4 cell battery and fuse panel. my reg/rec is mounted underneath the engine where the starter used to live.


and so i can see jackasses behind me... a halcyon bar end mirror. and kind of hard to tell from this pic, but i mounted a mini speedo to the fork using a 34mm fork clamp for a steering dampener.


and so this is how she stood, ready to kick over and shake down...


02-16-2015, 10:25 AM
This is fucking epic. Amazing shots, awesome build. Well done, sir.

02-16-2015, 11:07 AM
This is fucking epic. Amazing shots, awesome build. Well done, sir.

Haha, thanx man!!!

02-17-2015, 8:49 AM
at this point, she was ready to fire up, i got her started sorted out my timing and carb sync. like i said earlier, MMM over at 650 Central was spot on with the jetting! went for a ride, 20 miles in, she craps out and won't kick back over. had a buddy run over to my house to grab my truck and ramp... it was fucking depressing looking at her strapped down in the bed of my truck. did some investigating, and like i thought, the reg/rec was toast... which in turn killed that stupid expensive lil lith battery. I'm pretty sure I'm the one that fucked up the reg/rec, i remember when i was doing my initial wiring, smelling an electric burning. I had popped the main fuse, but i guess i killed the reg/rec while i was at it. Well, i swapped both out after waiting for shit in the mail (thats the fuckin worst when you can't move forward, just gotta wait). got her running again and went for about 15 miles, and toward the end i noticed the clutch was getting looser and looser. so i tightened when i got back home. later that night, took her to got meet a buddy at a bar... two blocks from the bar, clutch starts getting loose again, so i pull over, kill it and tighten the clutch again. i kick her back over and go to pull in the clutch... thunk thunk thunk thunk... coming from inside the clutch cover. Son of a bitch!!! i rode her the two blocks to the bar, then made the call to get the truck out again. did a little investigating the next day... apparently my washer stacking sequence was off behind the clutch basket. now i was a little confused when i initially put the clutch back together during the rebuild as i had seen a couple different / conflicting diagrams about the washer stacking... whatever, i figured it out. once she was all buttoned back up she was running like a champ. put 200 miles on her, no problems at all. i took her over to the Dania Beach Vintage Bike Show... the bike was one year too young to judge, but they let her hang out with the rest of the bikes on the field with "don't you judge me" tag on her. it was a rad day, hung out with friends, met some cool people, got some good feedback, even ran into the dude that i got the engine and frame from. he was stoked to see that something actually came from it... he thought it was going to end up as one of those builds that never get built. so after all that, this is how she looks now...


it was tough to tear her back down, but the frame needs proper paint, and i've got some ideas for the tank and fender. so cross your fingers and hope i don't fuck up too bad on the paint!!!

07-09-2015, 9:50 AM
so i got everything painted and back together a while ago, got caught up and forgot to post some pics of the bike back together, enjoy...






07-09-2015, 10:05 AM
Man that is a BA bike, makes me want to build one! Great work and pics!

07-09-2015, 11:33 AM
Hot DAMN! That's one sexy ride.

07-12-2015, 9:05 PM
Thanx guys!

07-13-2015, 5:36 AM
This looks amazing! I'm going to run that same tank thanks to these photos. Thanks for a great thread!

07-13-2015, 7:31 AM
Haha, right on dude!!! Thanx, glad ya dig it!

06-04-2016, 9:23 AM
so recent happenings...

this bike has been running like a fuckin champ. an oily champ, due to a leaky clutch pushrod oil seal. and now I find this lil fucker in the oil yesterday...


now I believe I have a theory about this one. so I decided to swap out the leaky clutch pushrod oil seal. while doing that, I figured I'd replace the bushing while I was there, drill out the old and press in the new. did it, done... seemingly no more leak after a short test ride. now in firing it back up later and riding around, the clutch seems to be loosening up. so I go through a pattern of tightening the cable adjuster and the worm gear, and it keeps loosening up. I get it tight again and hear a noise coming from the clutch basket that sounds like the pressure plate hitting the case as I pull the clutch in... fuck! so I figure I'll drain the oil and pull the right side cover to inspect the clutch. and upon draining the oil is when I find what looks like a dog off a tranny gear! now after opening up the right side cover I found that the clutch basket indeed had play in it and was hitting the case as the retaining nut had backed out a touch... i assume due to the fact I had it in neutral when I drilled out the old clutch pushrod bushing. so with that.... ughhhh, fuck!!!

I guess I'll be pulling the engine today so I can crack open the bottom and dance with a busted ass tranny.

06-04-2016, 8:58 PM
Awesome build and photos, nice job!

06-05-2016, 5:40 PM
dude those black and whites of the motor tore apart are awesome. I'd love to have a couple blown up to hang in my shop.

06-24-2016, 10:01 AM
dude those black and whites of the motor tore apart are awesome. I'd love to have a couple blown up to hang in my shop.

thanx dude! As i figure out print sales, gallery, & book things, I'll post updates here on chop cult.

06-24-2016, 10:34 AM
stripped & tipped to pull the engine out...


then i pulled her in the house ass up so i could crack open the bottom end. sooo, tearing into the tranny...


and that'd be the culprit right there, 5th gear pinion...


i ended up finding a dude in town with a garage full of old xs stuff, and came up on a replacement for that 5th pinion. while i was in there i tossed in mike's 5th gear OD. buttoned everything up, tossed it back in the bike, and took her for a test spin. everything seemed fine on my test run, till... on my way home, getting ready to turn down my street and BANG!!! down to one cylinder with nasty clanking noise. she ran for a couple seconds after that, enough for me to pull the clutch and coast through a left onto my street after it died. went to kick it over, engine fired up for a couple revolutions then died, still with the loud clanking noise. not far from home, i walked it back home.

my first though about the loud clanking noise... valves, and sure as shit, dropped the fucking intake valve on the right cylinder. seems the valve spring retainer decided to take a shit!


at least it wasn't a tranny problem, LOL! so after just having cracked the bottom end open, now i gotta crack open the top end and sort out this mess, FUCK!!! oh well, i guess this would be a good time to give it a lil cc & compression bump with a JE 700 piston set.

06-24-2016, 10:34 AM
Great pics and great built! A picture says more than a thousand words, they say!
Multiplied by the amount of pictures, you've dona a lot of talking!!!!! :)

06-24-2016, 10:41 AM
Great pics and great built! A picture says more than a thousand words, they say!
Multiplied by the amount of pictures, you've dona a lot of talking!!!!! :)

haha, right on, thanx man

06-25-2016, 7:13 AM
I dig it. too bad about the motor though. Hi-po rebuild time? lol

06-25-2016, 2:20 PM
Odd bad mechanical luck, but there are plenty of 650 engines around for spares and the bike looks very good. Classic lines. Me like.

Strange that retainer cracked in half. I've not seen that before.

06-25-2016, 2:43 PM
Odd bad mechanical luck, but there are plenty of 650 engines around for spares and the bike looks very good. Classic lines. Me like.

Strange that retainer cracked in half. I've not seen that before.

odd indeed! i have a spare head lying around, with valves, springs, ect... i'm debating pulling one of the retainers from there vs buying something aftermarket.

10-30-2016, 8:09 AM
well, finally getting close to being able to make some progress on this fucker. my summer was a lil busier than expected not leaving me with much time to fuck around turning wrenches. anyway, since i gotta pull the engine and do a top end, and it's stock bore as is... i opted to contact hoos racing. had them bore out the extra cylinders i had lying around, as well as a shell #1 grind on a 277 cam which should make its way to me here shortly. going the JE 700cc route, with new valve springs & retainers. i haven't done the tear down yet so as not to have the engine taking up space in the house, but something tells me i might want to replace the valves and guides as well. i'm getting fucking antsy to get this lil shit beast back on the road.

11-01-2016, 2:03 PM
I just found this thread and, like everyone else, am blown away by the photos. Best of luck getting her back on the road!

07-02-2017, 7:50 PM
Hey Brother. Check with your local probate office. See if they have a abandoned vehicle clause. Here in Alabama in my county there is a way to get a title for any vehicle that is abandoned on your property it states if a vehicle has been on your property over 30 days you can run a add for at least 2 weeks in your local paper Stating you have a 19whatever year on your property once this is done you can asume ownership of said vehicle all you need do then is pay for the title to be put in your name and it will come to you in the mail. You don't give the Vin number in the add of course. Now yeah its a little white lie about it being abandoned but you checked it has no one holding claim to it as stolen and you bought it legally so it's a way to use the system to work for you. But good luck Iv had several Ya mama XS650 and regret selling them my 1st steel bike was a 80 XS650 I loved that thing Good luck