I don't have a xs 650 yet but want one. I've found some reviews on bikez.com that the newer ones aren't as reliable as the older ones. Is this just because people love their older bikes more?
I also want to take it on day trips so was curious about the the touring capabilities. And one more thing Is the seat on the 82 modifiable.
Thanks for your advice. The fact that this forum is here makes me feel safe about getting my first older bike. Well at least my being stuck on the side of the road will be more my fault than lack of info.
I know I can figure this out just give me a few weeks
I've not heard anything about one year being any less reliable than another. Some prefer '79 and older models because of the points ignitions and larger 38mm carbs. Others prefer the '80-on models because of their electronic ignitions. Generally, not much good is said about the '80 and newer 34mm carbs but they're really not all that bad. They actually give a bit more low and midrange grunt because of their smaller size.
These bikes are fine for back road touring but really not made for hours of droning down the interstate. If you wanna do that, get a Gold Wing. Here's mine all packed up on a little back road trip. It did just fine .....
The main 'problem' seems to be the electronic ignition and generator, particularly if the battery isn't in good condition (just because its 'new' doesn't mean its good, it needs to be charged or ridden regularly or it may loose voltage and sulphate) Many people here do what I would consider extended trips on XS, I tend to do shorter trips at higher rpm but I wouldn't hesitate to take a stock 650 on a road trip ( I'm seriously considering riding my 800 to NH from Florida, that would be the longest trip I've done on a motorcycle in 27 yrs, since I rode down to Bol D'or in south of France) I think the bike would be OK but not sure bout Me ;D ;D PJ
There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't I dabble in rocket science, when I'm not picking my nose
Not much you can do with a stock seat...the frame is set up for that saddle look. Which means on a long trip you can't move the "cheeks" around. With the Standard unit you can move around a bit. The 82..everything is pretty much all black....a good look'n bike. I took mine to Yellowstone...Devils Tower..Blk Hills...70 mph all day...only lost the lic plate...vibirated off somewhere near Custers Last Stand. It's a better back roads bike...it will get you anywhere..but it's happy on the back roads. Mike, MN
A few items to consider (as you see from my sig I have a 82 with 24,000 on the clock now). 1, replace the two piece clutch push rod with the one piece rod from Mikes, better clutch feel and less problem with push rod seal leaks.
Plan on replacing the the alternator brushes at least every 5000 miles, they're cheap and when they wear a little the marginal alternator output will start causing problems.
Gear up. Stock gearing on your 82 is 17/34, unless you are only interested in drag racing go to 18/32 or 17/30. It will not effect your off the line performance significantly but will help quell vibration and make it a better cruiser.
Replace the sump oil filter, a quick search on this or any XS650 board will reveal why.
If you plan on riding at night do the conversion to a halogen headlight. It makes a huge difference in night vision.
Other than that just normal maintenance and TLC will keep you going down the road. Mine has never left me along side the road, although it came close a couple of days ago. It stated running crappy and dropping a cylinder but made it home. Looks like a bad coil, it should be 3 ohms across the primary and it's 2.3, I'm waiting for a new coil from Mikes as I write this. This coil had about 13,000 miles on it so I'm beginning to wonder if I should plan on replacing the coil every 10,000 kind of like I replace the brushes every 5,000.
82 XS650 Heritage Special, 98 Mustang v6 5speed, 97 Ford PU PSD, 67 Cougar 289 4speed, 56 Fergusen TO-35, 49 Farmall Super A
I got a 79 CX 500D the week it came out. Back then I ran with the much older Goldwing crowd. Water cooled, shaft drive, no vibration to speak of at all. I did several Iron butt rides through Il, WI, and MN. Up to Mn on the highway and then poker runs with the MN GWOG. then back to Il. Some times in 100+ tempratures, loaded with camping gear. Bike had good torqe, could do nice wheelies from a roll in first with little effort. All in all easy to maintain. If you plan on idling around town in trafic on a hot day or long runs on the interstate. I'd go with that. On the other hand... I've always wanted XS to run around on the back roads... Gravel roads... no roads... and for quick trips in town. Thats why i'm working on my 79 Special. Restore to ride project! I got the engine back together and running well now. It's a blast to ride .. even with no fork oil and bad shocks and brakes... lol i've put 3 miles on it just on my drive way. !
Thanks for the info I did my first order with mikes today and realized I missed a few things, like the brushes and coil. I wish I got the clutch as well being that after an adjustment it still isn't very smooth. The advice on routine maintenance is indispensable. So far I got the carb holders, air filters, carb kit, lower handle bars, and need pipes to replace my swiss chess that I have now. heres a before pic thanks again
Last Edit: May 17, 2007 11:34:18 GMT -5 by seth411
I know I can figure this out just give me a few weeks
I bought my 79 from a friend about 5 years ago for $800.... and almost immediately rode it 400 miles - on REALLY badly tuned carbs - but it made it without a hiccup! Of course - after the first 100 miles I was numb from the waist down....
I had picked up some cheap saddle bags, had my military duffel bag, and a backpack - and when I leaned back, it was like sitting in a vibrating recliner! ;D
Nowadays - I've got a king-queen seat and I found a neat leather pack, complete with barrel bag and all, that straps onto the sissy bar - and with 4 plastic clips - it turns into a backpack - I use it almost every day. ;D It's one of the best things I've ever bought off the net for the bike (except for all the parts from Mike, of course......)
Last Edit: Jun 2, 2007 1:48:35 GMT -5 by ShakerNorm
Definition of an Expert-
An Ex is just a Has-Been, and a Spurt is just some poor drip under a lot of pressure.........
For any others getting an xs I'd say as far as reliability, I think the strongest aspect of this bike is the reliable bottom end, and that most everything else is easily repairable. (well at least thats my most current assumption ;D)
I've repaired a few electrical problems(though still can't figure the electric starter yet) replaced the carb holders, feel at one with the clutch, fixed some other nick nacks and feel much more confident around the bike because the bike isn't to complicated. I had a 97vulcan and a 96 honda ace, and feel almost more comfortable with this bike because I think I can come to understand it. So I'd defiantly recommend this bike to anyone that wants to learn, and has a small pocket. And of course this site is like an insurance policy on getting an xs running.
Hope this helps any potential buyers.
(oh and the oil spots are from me spilling fork oil on the street, sorry neighbors) the only leak right now is from a float gasket, and I'm waiting for the order ;D another easy cheap fix!)
mwb122: Another newbie here. I appreciate the page and being accepted. Just brought home a 78 xs650 special. She is running good after a little TLC. So far I have cleaned the carbs, battery, fixed leaking clutch push rod oil seal. Now what to do with her.
Jan 3, 2014 8:50:55 GMT -5
mwb122: Bought a 79 special in 79. Was a great bike then and it is great to see they have such a large following!!!
Jan 3, 2014 10:30:04 GMT -5
oldcodgerhenry: Gooday ,all .new Pamco basic ign replacement arrived yesterday ,But the coil wires are different color ,to the trigger wires ,don't want to fry new one.
Jan 29, 2014 15:41:34 GMT -5
floris: at this moment, my XS is with Jerry v.d. Heiden, a well known XS tuner in the Netherlands.
Feb 4, 2014 16:28:08 GMT -5
floris: The engine become's a rephased 270 crank.
Feb 4, 2014 16:28:37 GMT -5
floris: Also a bigbore cilinder set of 890 cc.
Feb 4, 2014 16:29:10 GMT -5
floris: Also a long stroke is gona be applied, what makes the total about approx. 1000cc.
Feb 4, 2014 16:30:12 GMT -5
floris: 965 cc to be exact.
Feb 4, 2014 16:30:35 GMT -5
mahanlee: need help identifying a gas tank i bought on Ebay for my 79 xs. it has a tall neck and the new mikesxs cap i ordered will not work on it. any suggestions?
Apr 10, 2014 13:43:49 GMT -5
mahanlee: Need help identifying this part. It came in a box from the previous owner. I have searched Google and Ebay and haven't found something similar. It has a short bolt with a flat side. The only place I figure it goes is underneath the battery box.
Apr 23, 2014 8:14:07 GMT -5
djonesxs650: Batteryless setup for '78 XS650 with points ignition....I need a wiring schematic, simple as possible...does anyone know of any posts that can help?
Jun 28, 2014 16:02:09 GMT -5
gwc1147: I snapped the outer push rod for the clutch while removing front sprocket. I want to change to the longer rod. 77 650d I would also like to replace the seal and front bushing. How do I remove the broken rod? Any help please.
Aug 10, 2014 20:29:00 GMT -5
boxertwin1: I have a 76' XS and need petcocks for the tank. I don't want to rebuild, I want new ones. Weird, but you can only seem to buy right-sided ones. Any source for both sides?
Aug 21, 2014 14:56:18 GMT -5
piscean: would like to know how to change my bulb on 81 650 Yahama left front?
Oct 18, 2014 12:46:30 GMT -5
pablosixfivezero: if your carbs aren't balanced, can that throw off your timing?
Jan 6, 2015 0:08:08 GMT -5
grizld1: Pablo, I suspect you may be joking here, but if the motor's shaking hard enough, I guess it could loosen the ignition fasteners enough to throw the timing off.
Jan 7, 2015 19:37:40 GMT -5
bikest: I'm looking for a list of front disc brakes(rotors) that will interchange with my 77 XS rotors. I down loaded the list from this site a few years ago but can't seem to locate it again? Thanks!
Mar 6, 2015 10:15:43 GMT -5
grizld1: The list you want was posted by jetmechmarty in this thread: www.xs650temp.proboards.com/thread/17334/brake-discs
Mar 18, 2015 7:40:19 GMT -5