View Full Version : Building and Wiring advice for the greenest of the green

01-26-2011, 11:16 PM
Hi there
I'm currently looking at buying a 1980 Kawaski 440 ltd belt driven bike to start on my very first chop project. The other two bikes I am trying to choose between are a 1977 KZ 650 and a 1979 650 XS Special. I see there are a LOT of people going the XS route but my dilemma is that the 440 is in the best shape and is the cheapest... not to mention I am intrigued by the belt drive. What bike would you recommend and why?

The thing I am most scared about is that I am a complete rookie/moron when it comes to wiring stuff. One of the things I want to do is get rid of as much electrical mumbo jumbo as possible to get the cleanest look. When I'm finished I'd like a tail light, headlight, and signal lights.... maybe a light on my speedo too!
Can I just go in there and tear everything out and start from scratch? Or is there an art I am going to have to learn to do it? If so is there a decent thread or a website somewhere that can get me pointed in the right direction?

Any advice will be very appreciated.

01-26-2011, 11:24 PM
the bike choice is completely up to you. I myself have a XS650... with that said the aftermarket for Jap bikes definitely favors the 650. I like seeing different bikes being used... something different.

With that said.... wiring. It scares alot of people but with patients you will find it to be pretty easy. When you get a bike.... get a repair manual. Manuals have good diagrams... take pics of your harness. I have seen harnesses made 2 ways. Start from scratch using just the diagrams and pics. Second - remove one thing at a time that you dont need. Remove the wires from the main harness as you remove things you dont want. Once you have removed everything, make sure the bike starts and the remaining things still work. Then make a harness to duplicate what you have left.... new wires and new connectors. This method will take more time but for some it is easier...

01-27-2011, 6:18 AM
You say that the 440 is in the best shape. My advice would depend on what that means. If the KZ has a ripped seat and a dented tank and shitty paint, but you plan to put on a solo seat, sporty tank and repaint everything, who cares? But if the motor is full of water, that matters.

Try to look past any parts that you would be replacing anyway, unless selling stock parts to fund the build is part of your plan.

01-27-2011, 6:58 AM
I ride an xs and have only ever passed one maybe once or twice in a few years, not counting events. So here in Denver they are a pretty rare sight. every guy loves boobs and pussy, don't be the guy who loves cock and balls just for the sake of trying to be different. Get the bike you want regardless of what other people are doing.

01-27-2011, 8:27 AM
i say go for the 650 simply because the aftermarket it there for it. i love my kz 750 chop, but i find myself scouring ebay for parts, and buying parts motors. the kz 900 or 1000 would be a good choice because they have pretty good aftermarket support. i'm building two harleys, and an xs 650 now because i'm tired of searching for good usable used parts.

01-27-2011, 9:06 AM
My first choice would be the XS650 because there is just so much out there for the build and wiring is not bad.
Second would be the KZ but to make it easy i would break the wiring into two Chargeing system and Fireing System. Easy way on KZ bike is DYNA ignition and coils and you can run stock carbs or go to aftermarket. I done KZ 1000/900/750/650 and all are just about the same but keep in mind the XS 650 is a very good around town ride and alot of help out there. The KZ is going to be a rocket and if you are chopping it speed in turns are hairy.
Me first bike i would go to the XS650 and you didn't say if you are a new rider or seasoned
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR BUILD There are tons of good builder on here to ask question

01-27-2011, 12:22 PM
I think it really depends on the riding you are planning on doing also. If you are planning on taking some long trips the 440 will work, but the motor is going to be singing at highway speeds.

And like everyone else said there are a shit ton of parts out there for the XS650.

The wiring thing isn't as bad as everyone thinks. It can be frustrating if you mess it up, but it is generally an easy fix, especially if you take your time. Hooligans advice about slimming it down and then copying it and building your own diagram is a good idea. If the stock connectors are in good condition why not reuse them, especially if they are the waterproof connectors.

01-27-2011, 12:53 PM
when wiring understand how your power and grounds work using solder and shrink wrap is a plus i suggest solder because done right it is stong
you should be able to pull the coding off the wire before it ever breaking it by had

wrap all you wires leave no copper exposed

01-27-2011, 8:11 PM
Thanks for all the advice so far.
I'm a seasoned bike rider but new to the chopping scene.... unless you count my cool little chopped bicycle!!!
I plan to do mostly highway riding so maybe the 440 is not the best way to go.
The XS sounds like a real sh*# show and is missing the papers so getting it insured could be a REAL problem. I guess I'm leaning more towards the KZ, even if it may be a little harder to get parts for it.

Big thanks to Hooligans for the wiring advice that makes a ton of sense and makes the task way less daunting!

I'm new to the cult but I love it already, get ready to see my questions a lot as I try and get my bike up and running!!!

Thanks for the help!

01-27-2011, 8:37 PM
When you wire, don't be cheap, or in a hurry. Solder everything you can and make sure all your connectors are wrapped, or shrink wrapped. I've learned this lesson a few times. Nothing sucks more than being on the freeway and your bike just loses power. Take your time and do it right.
I know "unfinished" bikes look all cool and shit, but nobody looks cool loading their bike in the back of a truck.

01-27-2011, 8:48 PM
I second the thanks to Hooligans. I just picked up a XS today and I am also new to Chop Cult. This place is full of great information for someone new to the chopper world.

01-27-2011, 9:17 PM
Hey no problem guys. Anything you need just ask... thats why we are here

01-28-2011, 8:16 AM
Hey no problem guys. Anything you need just ask... thats why we are here

well, that and to point and make fun of each other.

01-28-2011, 11:47 AM
Those KZ's are strong bikes. Look at Wompy's KZ650. Granted the guy can make anything look good but the bike is a runner. http://www.chopcult.com/news/articles/wompys-1979-kawasaki-kz650.html He's a cool guy too so if you asked for help with them he'd direct you to where you need to go. Also check out these guys for parts http://www.z1enterprises.com/

01-28-2011, 7:04 PM
well, that and to point and make fun of each other.

Well that too but you have to break them in slowly

01-29-2011, 12:06 AM
Rust Rocket, thanks for the link to those pics. That got my blood pumping and my brain churning, that guy looks like a wizard!!!!
I got a line on a KZ 750 for $300 so I think it's a go!!!! We'll see how she ends up.

Hooligan and Turbonate, I think you guys are more bark than bite. Seem like a couple of softies to me. Just saying. HA HA!!!

Thanks for all the help so far.

01-29-2011, 12:57 AM
No problem. If you want something built for that bike email him or look him up through his website http://jpriderdesigns.blogspot.com/ His prices are good and his craftsmanship is awesome, and he's a cool guy on top of all that.