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View Full Version : Before i dive in, help steer me in the right direction please.



meanEG
07-24-2016, 8:36 PM
ok , I have been on and off this site for years, but finally got an account started. I am a car guy, but am going to take a break from cars for a while and build a bike. I am looking to build a hardtail, that I know. I am asking for advice here on what your opinions are on the best way to go. I am a mechanic by trade , but currently in the Army. I have a MIG and TIG welder and know how to use them. I am not experienced in building bikes, and am not afraid to try anything.

Here is what I know I want or don't want
1. prefer not to have a 4 cylinder
2. don't want a shaft drive anything
3, I want a horizontal twin before a v twin
4. I want electronic ignition, would like to go batteryless possibly
5. prefer to easily do 65mph for an indefinite amount of time
6. spoked wheels

I am stuck between xs650, kz750 twin or doing something entirely custom. I am not opposed to cb350/360 or kz440 entirely. I have a 0 mile Yamaha R5 engine that I was thinking of putting into a voodoo vintage hardtail frame. I was also looking for a DT360 or DT400 single 2 stroke to throw into the frame as well. the reason for a 1 off build is because its going to all be changed anyway, so why not start from scratch?

I wouold like to find a DT360 or 400 with title and try to hardtail that, but I was worried about the fork length softness and rake angle. what would you do for that? I don't know what it takes to swap front ends, different manufactures wheels regarding axles and what not. I would like to end up with a 16-18 and 21 wheel setup.

I am a little overwhelmed with questions, but this should get me started. Thanks for the help

555
07-25-2016, 9:57 AM
Thanks for your service.

The XS650 has ton's of aftermarket support and technical assistance. The KZ750 twin, not so much. The CB/CL350
is a popular choice and a good platform as is the KZ440. I'm going to say that parts may be a problem for both. I
would avoid the 360 if at all possible. It had inherent problems from the factory and little aftermarket support.
The R5 motor is interesting, but I would find a titled frame and build off it to avoid registration/insurance hassles.
Doesn't have to be an R5 frame since you are going to modify it.

A lot of metric parts will interchange between models especially forks and wheels. You may have to make new
spacers. If I was going to use a DT360/400, I would build a tracker/scrambler type bike. Just my personal opinion.

This is what I would do:
Get a complete titled and preferably running XS650. Upgrade the ignition/electrical and carbs. Maybe rephrase the motor.
Ride it for a while to see what I wanted to change. Hit the XS650 forum for advice/recommendations on
parts and vendors. Look at the builds on this forum.

Good luck

meanEG
07-25-2016, 11:30 AM
Thanks for your service.

The XS650 has ton's of aftermarket support and technical assistance. The KZ750 twin, not so much. The CB/CL350
is a popular choice and a good platform as is the KZ440. I'm going to say that parts may be a problem for both. I
would avoid the 360 if at all possible. It had inherent problems from the factory and little aftermarket support.
The R5 motor is interesting, but I would find a titled frame and build off it to avoid registration/insurance hassles.
Doesn't have to be an R5 frame since you are going to modify it.

A lot of metric parts will interchange between models especially forks and wheels. You may have to make new
spacers. If I was going to use a DT360/400, I would build a tracker/scrambler type bike. Just my personal opinion.

This is what I would do:
Get a complete titled and preferably running XS650. Upgrade the ignition/electrical and carbs. Maybe rephrase the motor.
Ride it for a while to see what I wanted to change. Hit the XS650 forum for advice/recommendations on
parts and vendors. Look at the builds on this forum.

Good luck

thanks for the help. if i can find a titled dt, i will go that route, but i am worried about dropping the front end to lower and messing up the rake. i definitely want a hardtail though. ill look into the MSO registration. i would like to find a XS650 for the reasons of great looking, great performer, great support. why i dont like them is they are not original and are bringing a pretty penny.

555
07-25-2016, 6:09 PM
If you are staying in Missouri, registering a bike with an MSO/bill of sale etc may be a chore. Missouri use to be very tough on this. Check with the DMV before you spend any money.
If you hardtail a DT, dropping the suspension should be no problem.

Regards,
555

meanEG
07-25-2016, 8:21 PM
I will be moving around Christmas to either Virginia, Hawaii, or North Carolina with small possibilities for a few other states. I have connects in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Illinois. a few years ago I had a bike that had no title. It was a 87 SP200 dual sport. I call Vermont and they said "Sure you can Register it here. We don't CAre where you are from or what your address is" so I had the bike tagged without a title., While living in Georgia I may go that route, but there were some restrictions regarding year and engine size. I am reading the chopper handbook right now to learn all I can. I am going to wait to start building a bike until after I move. If I go to Hawaii, I will buy everthing I need prior to going there. so I have a few months before ill know that.

sdustin
07-25-2016, 9:52 PM
A Honda vt600 or vlx is a great choice for a first hardtail build. The frame and swing arm just line right up. It's a brain though. But something to think about.

sdustin
07-25-2016, 9:53 PM
A Honda vt600 or vlx is a great choice for a first hardtail build. The frame and swing arm just line right up. It's a brain though. But something to think about.

It's a vtwin not a brain. Damn autocorrect

Westboundbiker
07-26-2016, 6:38 AM
Have you thought about the XS400? GS450? Both great bikes- the XS has more support than the GS, but I built a GS, and it seems to make a lot more power than it's displacement would let on.

OleDirtyDoc
07-26-2016, 7:14 AM
Have you thought about the XS400? GS450? Both great bikes- the XS has more support than the GS, but I built a GS, and it seems to make a lot more power than it's displacement would let on.
Yeah check out xs400.com

meanEG
07-26-2016, 7:40 AM
Have you thought about the XS400? GS450? Both great bikes- the XS has more support than the GS, but I built a GS, and it seems to make a lot more power than it's displacement would let on.

I was looking into both of those, but I was under the impression the frames were not desirable because of the backbone tube. I have a xs400 close to me that I may be able to get for super cheap. I am talking to a a guy now with a 83 750 twin for $800, but I don't have that much allocated right now.

farmall
07-26-2016, 9:08 AM
Buy a runner with a title and don't fuck around with trying to get one. Epic waste of effort when bikes are so plentiful.

Old two strokes are shit road bikes. Don't bother unless you like carrying spare spark plugs and doing lots of top end jobs. Fuck two-strokes on the street, you can find reliable, torquey powerplants for same net expense. Fuck low horsepower powerplants. They are a poverty fad and you end up with a slug. Alert searching can get more displacement for low dollars. You said you want comfortable highway cruising so get that.

Patience is a virtue.



While living in Georgia I may go that route, but there were some restrictions regarding year and engine size. I

Not if you don't build a special construction vehicle and either mod the shit out of a stock frame or to a neck/VIN transplant.

Beware of buying the cheapest ride possible because that easily backfires. Patience is a virtue, and as a car guy you can pick up spare cash fixing cars for other G.I.s or perhaps trade work for a scoot.

I suggest getting something 600ccs or over for highway performance. I grew up riding and wrenching all those old small bikes when they were new. Fun, but now there are piles of bigger machines available.



I want electronic ignition, would like to go batteryless possibly

Electronic ignitions need batteries, so fab a cool battery box that takes a STANDARD battery and not some expensive tiny battery you can't easily replace locally on a weekend.

Never go shopping hungry. Buy a turnkey runner or perhaps decent titled yard sitter passes a COLD COMPRESSION CHECK and clean the carbs.

Buy a compression tester before you go shopping and ensure it fits small Jap bike spark plug sizes. Rebuilding disposable engines is a waste of money.

BTW if you have debts to pay off, or if you don't, advance pay is a beautiful thing when you PCS. I always got the max (three months base pay at the time) but didn't spend it until I arrived at next duty station.
I always did max length payback for smaller monthly burden.

meanEG
07-26-2016, 8:30 PM
yea I have the patience for now. I am thinking I am going xs650 nor kz750 twin. I like your idea of waiting for a runner. I have a compression gauge already, ill be sure to take it with me. ill be getting a reenlistment bonus when I graduate at the end of the year, plus ill get a full DitY move that ill bank a few grand and taxes soon after. I wont need an advance, and besides if I cant pay cash I cant afford it. I hate debt, almost debt free besides a house. thanks for the help. I love reading your posts. very informative and to the point.

Westboundbiker
07-27-2016, 6:12 AM
I was looking into both of those, but I was under the impression the frames were not desirable because of the backbone tube. I have a xs400 close to me that I may be able to get for super cheap. I am talking to a a guy now with a 83 750 twin for $800, but I don't have that much allocated right now.

The 400 isn't too bad (assuming it's not a suspended engine one). Plus Voodoo does make hardtail kits for them, so the backbone isn't too much of an issue- you'll just cut out the 2 outer tubes, and mate the hardtail up to the center one. The GS has the same triple backbone issue, but no off the shelf hardtails.

meanEG
07-28-2016, 9:11 AM
I found an xs650 already hardtailed, mismatched engine and frame, peanut tank, with electric ignition anda few other upgrades. Really close to what I was looking to build, engine was rebuilt and hasn't been started yet. kinda a basket, but the price is right at only $650, no title but I worked out all title issue for any bike below 1985 for only about $100 with registration. I am going to look at it with a compression gauge and the owner is willing and he knows I am coming from far away, so I trust the engine a littlebit already. I don't think he hard it running yet since he owned/built it. he is selling because he is moving accross the country and has a limited amount of space. what do you guys think of this?

71289

miamio96
07-30-2016, 7:13 PM
I think you're buying his problem..... offer 5.

meanEG
07-30-2016, 9:40 PM
kind of what I was thinking. he accepted $500 already. I figured parts are worth it. I am not worried about it needing more work than expected. I am going for a long term project, hopefully my son will get the bug and join me. I think the reason its so cheap is the fact that it has no title. I am glad to have the connections I do to take care of the title on the cheap. I don't think he has the time to part it out. he has to move by august 20th.

farmall
08-01-2016, 6:39 PM
500 is safely in the part out range. Nail the title before spending anything on the project then have at it.

If you buy it get the engine running ASAP so ya know what you have.

BTW have air filters installed (I don't run foam socks. K&N smother backfires and last decades) and a fire extinguisher handy just like ya would with a car.

meanEG
08-01-2016, 7:28 PM
Yyea, I figured $500 is safe. He knows I am bringing my kids and we a re getting a hotel for the night before. He assured me it doesn't need a lot ride, fwiw. I was a little worried about what you had to say about my my choice, like a disappointed father, haha

meanEG
08-07-2016, 8:20 AM
Holy shit, let me tell you about the day I had yesterday. I started shift work last week. Work until Midnight. I had a trailer rented and with me to leave directly after work. Guy with the bike says he won't be available until after 11, so i go home and sleep. I leave at 7 (4 hour trip). I make it an hour away and stop to get gas, forgot my wallet at home. Had to back track and waste 2 more hours. I make to to about 1.5 hours away and my GPS on my phone switch to a new address in Arkansas without me knowing, waste 20 minutes before realizing it. So another 45 minutes in the trash. I finally look at the bike, frame was hacked bad, PO got a little too happy with a 7" grinder, flat spots all over the frame. The hardtail looked to be arc welded by a fucking monkey. Conpletly unsafe. The hard rail itself was in great condition. Something was wrong with the clutch assembly because it wouldn't enable the kick start to check compression, the bike through a chain at some point and ripped the top of the case off. No big deal except I could see half of the transmission shaft on top.

The good it had going for it, new 19" tire, master cylinder, caliper, hydraulic clutch assembly conversion, new DM PMA, pamco ignition, coil, aside from that. Entire bike was trash. Wasted about $75 on gas a trailer. We had already agreed to $500, but I was thinking more like $300 when I saw it, then I realized I would be buying a parts bike for a bike I don't even own yet.

meanEG
08-11-2016, 10:46 PM
so, I am going to a local salvage yard that I got in contact with on Sunday. he is showing me a few 650's in various states. he said complete ones were $500. he is offering a 16" spoked wheel, he has a few 21" DT wheels, aside from that, the only thing I can think of looking for is an early DT tank, or 60's tank. I am going to see if he has any vm34 carbs or busa tbodies, as I see fuel injection in the future of this build. I may try to piece together a PMA so I may look for a stator. I can also get a titled kz750 twin complete for $700. I thought that was a little steep for a non runner.

What I am asking for is, what would you do? I told him my budget is $500 for a roller. I'll have more with me. I think for $500 I can walk out of there with a nearly complete xs650 with the tank I want and the wheels I want for $500. What would you look for or keep in mind when making offers or negotiations. I don't believe the 650's have titles, but again I am not worried about them, only a $100 difference.

SouthSideKulture
08-12-2016, 7:43 PM
well, speaking from experience, an extra 100.00 for a title is always going to be worth it. no title it's a parts bike you will find in the long run. Anytime you buy anything from a salvage yard (like an engine) expect the worst. Many times I have come across engines in salvage yards that have been "thrown" into a big steel bins resulting in broken fins or cracks in the case (especially on the bottom) or run over by forklifts etc. I have even seen plasma torches used to remove the engines from an old rusty frames to save time so look for heat damage. You have no history so, expect the worst and hope for the best. I have bought motors in salvage yards that torn down for inspection look like they have never been run...and ones with holes in Pistons. Not running motors are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you will get. Really short of compression testing onsite just make sure it spins.

I don't do much with the XS650's but if you want to build a bobber or chopper I would say that would be an excellent choice. I know the owners of TC Brothers and they are great guys and have all the stuff you would need. Now, If I am buying a 70's Honda twin for example (kinda what I do) around where I live a titled project is 500 to 600 bucks typically...parts bike no title 200 to 300. Of course there are many variables like condition, how bad I need the bike..etc. It used to be you could buy an XS650 all day long cheap. I don't see as many as I used to due to thier popularity for chops. I think one with a title can be had for around 700 bucks but you have to watch for them and don't hesitate if you find one. Maybe somebody will comment on that with more XS650 purchasing experience. Make sure you think through your build plan before you jump in. Have an idea what you want to build. (It will change 10 times don't worry) Maybe, before you build your dream chop, pick up that $700 bone stock XS 650 and get it running. Ride it. Learn it. You will learn vintage Japanese bikes are not like cars. A stock bike is a great way to learn how to dial in carbs, adjust clutches, set valves, spoke & true wheels and to understand the charging and electrical system (which is different than a car). as your doing all that your custom build will all come together in your head and you will know what you have that's good and bad. Take it for a ride, then take it all apart and do what you want.