Bike project

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Bike project

Postby Richard Lamin » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:04 am

I've been wanting to do a hardtail motorcycle project for a few years now, something along the lines of a bobber, bar hopper, or even earlier style board track racer. This weekend I bought an old 1980 Yamaha XS650 on ebay - so the fun begins! Inspiration comes from bikes below like Earl Kane's bobbers and Falcon Motorcycles.

For me it's very similar project to my 550 - relatively modern and reliable mechanics, stripped down with a classic feel to it and vintage details.

If anyone has any ideas or feedback it would be welcome. Has anyone here done something similar?
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Postby Richard Lamin » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:06 am

Here's what I'm starting with
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Postby Wayner » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:17 am

rd350 parts bolt right on.

On my XS650 race bike I built up a frotn wheel from an older XS650 hub, RD350lc brakes, susuki GS400 spokes, and a wider rear hoop from a honda CR motocross bike. It made for a nice spoked front wheel and all it cost me was eight in scrap metal at the junk yard.

For the seat pan, drape a plastic sheet over the frame and lay up some fiberglass. Then take an impression of the top of that peice and get the new peice upholstered.

Bolt the original piece down to the bike, and join the two using velcro.

(btw, that bare stock frame weighs 80 lbs! [:0] )
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Postby YamaBice » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:29 am

I'm going to guess that that's about a 1979 XS650-2F. Weird, though, because it has aluminum wheels on it. The 2F (Special II) had wire wheels, so someone must have changed that.

The TX/XS650 is an awesome platform on which to create a custom bike. There are lots of aftermarket parts sources out there, and the bike is stone-reliable.

Deus Ex Machina creates some really cool customs:

http://www.deus.com.au/


Also, here's another source for inspiration:

http://www.xs650chopper.com/
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Postby cinqster » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:43 am

Rich,

I'm so jealous of you doing this because I know it's going to look ace and I want to do one! You probably know I'm a big Hank Young fan, so if it looks anything like The Lakewood Special it's fine by me!

Ignore Wayners seat pan idea...it's gotta be wicker dude! :)

http://youngchoppers.com/chop_cmplt_lws.shtml

[8D]
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Postby YamaBice » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:47 am

Well, if they put a wicker passenger seat in the original 550 Spyders, then I guess a wicker seat on your XS650 custom would be equally cool. That would be wicker, I mean, WICKED!
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Postby danstern » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:22 pm

But, if you're over 20, then you want a well sprung (and maybe even damped) seat on a hardtail. The bicycle shocks with built in suspension seem to work very well.
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Postby Richard Lamin » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:27 pm

Yes, it's a 1980 Special II, imported to the UK from California in 2000. I thought all XS650s of around this time had alloy wheels, but I don't know much about the XS history. 80lbs?, I thought it felt heavy, should be a lot lighter by the time I've finished.

It's helpfull to know RD350 parts bolt on, but I think they get snapped up for RD350s over here. A friend has a pair of nice Norton spoked wheels and forks I might use, but the first thing is to get the hardtail sorted, there are plenty of suppliers of ready made hardtails in the US so I'll look into that or get the frame done from scratch here.

Not sure about the seat yet, I had something similar to a large brown leather Brooks bike saddle in mind for a slim vintage racer look.

Yamabice - I've been following both of those websites, really helpful, especially www.xs650chopper.com. There's a real mixture of stuff on there.

I'm not sure about the wicker seat but I'm sure there'll be something Spyder inspired on it. Maybe not silver with a red seat and darts, - perhaps a similar fuel cap?

Sorry, I hadn't heard of Hank Young Cinqster but there's some amazing stuff on that website. You'll have to enlighten me if we get to meet up at Goodwood on the Saturday.

Thanks for everyone's imput, I'll keep you updated.

Two favorite videos that have inspired me:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wwtCy08bSA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wm2MwFHW5qM
Last edited by Richard Lamin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cinqster » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:40 pm

Rich,

The 'Chicken Salad' bike on there appears to have the stock mags...first time I've ever seen them look good:

http://www.xs650chopper.com/

I'd be tempted to be lazy and keep them!

Have a look at Jesse Rooke's stuff if you don't know him:

http://www.rookecustoms.com/designs.html

Some of his flat track bikes look fantastic!

On another note, but a very similar note, I watched a very good doco about the 'History of The Chopper' on Discovery the other night. Here's something that might surprise you; especially after seeing Captain America at Goodwood last year (with no mention of the chap).

http://thevintagent.blogspot.com/2009/0 ... erica.html

How come I've been into bikes for 40 years and never knew this. Hmmm, I wonder!

[:0]
Last edited by cinqster on Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby YamaBice » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:47 pm

That's really good news, if it's a 1980 XS650 because it should have electronic ignition instead of the dreaded points. Also, both fork legs should have attachment points for brake calipers, so you can upgrade to dual front-disc brakes if you so desire. Yeah, the Special-II models definitely came with laced wheels. During that era, Yamaha considered the \"II\" models to be their bargain bikes, so they offered them with wire wheels and at a lower price. Funny, because nowadays, the laced wheel is definitely more preferred and probably cost more to produce than a cast alloy wheel.

You're probably also familiar with Omar's Dirt Track Racing, but they have a TON of goodies for creating a custom 650:

http://omarsdtr.com/
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Postby Richard Lamin » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:38 am

Cinqster. I'd rather go with wire wheels, but it's an idea. This guy has done a nice job too:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8p2MaVD_lE

Why don't you sell the Kawasaki and get one yourself!
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... K:MEWAX:IT
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1980-Yamaha-XS650 ... otorcycles

Interesting article on the Vintagent!

Yamabice: the forks do take twin calipers, I'll check on the ignition, electronic would be good!
I hadn't seen Omar's website before, thanks. A lot of this is new to me, so another big learning curve, like when I started building the Spyder.
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Postby Wayner » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:53 am

For reference, my stock XS frame did weigh 80lbs before I started hacking it up.

My racing pal's stock Norton commando frame weighed 22 lbs.

You should be able to shave off on ounce or two on your project ;)
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Postby Richard Lamin » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:03 am

Wayner - I hadn't realised they were so heavy!

Tell me more about your XS, have you got any pics?
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Postby Wayner » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:59 am

Heavy frames made out of what appears to be sewer pipe was typical of all japanese manufacturers of that era.

The good news is that you can get dramatic weight savings with each chunk you cut off since it is such heavy material.

The motor is basically a Yamaha interpretation of the triumph 650 motor (not a copy) and unlike the triumph, it uses a roller crank, just like a spyder 4 cam. :nana:

I raced with a trimmed stock frame.
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Postby YamaBice » Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:18 am

Yup, Wayner, and some of the frames didn't carry sewage, but they DID carry engine oil (SR500).
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