’83 Yamaha XS650 Cafe’
So, this guy buys a Yamaha XS650 Heritage Special, an at the time a ‘cruiser’ style motorcycle and then says “not quite my style”…and thus the ride begins.
I have always been a huge fan of the Yamaha XS650. I test rode one back in the early Seventies and loved it, almost bought it. but…something faster caught my ego and a three cylinder started living in my garage.
A decade or so later I had the chance again to buy one. A used, beautiful condition XS650B showed up in the classifieds not too far from home. I drove over, checked the bike over throughly and made the deal. I went to the bank, pulled out my life savings (I wasn’t what you call rich at the time, raising two kids on my own and working at a motorcycle shop…), drove back to the guys house and saw my ’72 XS650 riding away with somebody else on it??!! What happened??? Apparently that guys bank was closer than mine. So, I don’t have the XS650 I still lust after.
The XS650 has been the platform for so many custom treatments over the years. Probably the most popular was as a chopper. Because of Yamaha’s success in flat track a Street Tracker version became an option and then of course there is my favorite…a cafe’ racer.
I found this very cool ’83 XS650 on ebay this morning. Like I said at the beginning here, this cafe racer started life as a cruiser style ride, you the laid back, ride slow, more style than performance type of motorcycle. Blasphemy in my book, and apparently this guys too.
He bought this XS that had been sitting for years, tore it down and changed it’s life. Starting with the motor, the top end was refreshed with new pistons and a some head work, everything else looked pretty good…it should be with only 8300 miles on it. To make it ride better the forks were rebuilt, replaced the rear shocks,and this where I have a couple of questions. The owner replaced the stockers (which was very necessary in this transformation) with old shocks from a 70’s era Kawasaki KZ500?? Shocks off an older smaller motorcycle?? I don’t get it. When you look at the pictures you can see it’s too short in the back end. He must have gotten them for free. Then switched out the stock nylon swingarm bushings for some good brass bushings (a much better choice than needle bearings that were popular at the time). Changed out the wheels for vintage cafe correct 19″ front and 18″ rear wire wheels. Then the rest of Cafe treatment started.
A very cool Kerker 2 into 1 followed up by a Dunstall muffler helped the bike perform and sound Cafe’ cool, a nice set of Omars rear sets (look a little too high for me, but that’s just me…). The XS was topped off by an Yamaha RD400 gas tank (that had to be a bit of an engineering bad dream, but the results are well worth it), a very cool looking Cafe seat set up and then all of it finished off with a very nice paint job.
Cruiser to cafe racer…very nice. Click on the pics below for more info and pictures. This is a very nicely done XS650. Makes wish I gotten back from the bank just a few minutes faster all those years ago.