XS650: Manuals .. HJ Pahl .. now in English

Way back when, I started looking for a manual. I found all sorts. The better were always the original Yamaha publications.

In 2008 here in Germany an engineer passionate about his XS650 wrote his own. Great colour photos and descriptions. Explained the various mechanical groups, their function and their wear. My favourite manual. Unfortunately, for many, not in english.


hj pahl german 1

… original German version from 2008 …


2017, he published an English version.  Kool.


hj pahl english xs650

… English version, 2017 …


note … this is not paid advertising … many years ago I translated most of the original book for myself, this is not my translation

…  you would not regret having this.

I see he has reworked his German version. 2019. Quite a bit of new stuff. Including popular improvements.


hj pahl german 2

… reworked German version, 2019 …


Posted January 19, 2020 by xscafe in Uncategorized

XS650: Guten Rutsch 2019/2020

I hope 2019 has been good to you and yours. I’ve recovered from an accident 2018. Have recently been actively focused on the bikes. Installed PMAs and Electronic Ignition in 2 of my 650s. Cleaned and reset the carbs on all 4. Done the front disc brakes and a fork rebuild on 1 and the rear disc brake on another. Just sent 2 early SR500 crankshafts off for rebuilding and ordered 2 sets of gearbox bearings.

2020 will bring 2 new built SR500 motors (basically waiting for the above cranks, an oil pump, and to rebuild another head), 2 new XS650 exhausts and a finished 650/750 motor (need to do a head). I need to rebuild a 650 rear wheel and complete 2 SR500 rear wheel sprocket carrier bearing conversions. Been having visions of a double-duplex front wheel fitted to an R6 RJ05 fork, mounted, waiting, in an early SR500 frame … naja – there’s always next year.

End of summer 2020 I plan to ride the Norwegian Coastal Road then return to New Zealand – I can already feel the fish biting.

May 2020 treat you all well – ride in the light.

Don’t forget to dream

Enjoy …

Posted January 1, 2020 by xscafe in Uncategorized


Was raining the other day. Couldnt get out into the garden. Didnt feel like painting the stairwell.

Visited an online auction house. Came home with this ‘Thumper’.


XBR500 2


XBR500 1


1988. 18400 km. 44hp. Single. For far less than a clapped-out SR500. Produced for 4 years, this is the last. With wire spoke wheels. Ungoverned. 3 variations: 44hp(32kw) and 27hp(20kw) – the differences being cam, carb mount and jetting. The 44hp version could also be governed at the throttle, to 34hp(30kw). Dont like cities. Overheating cracks heads. Spark plug to exhaust valve. Check oil regularly!

This morphed 1989 into the GB500.


Honda GB500 Tourist Trophy


Produced for 3 years. ’85 – GB500 TT Clubman, Japan, New Zealand; ’89/’90 – GB500 Clubman, Japan, USA were the main markets. Didnt take in the US and many were ‘grey’ imported into other markets, like Germany. You can pay stupid money for good ones now. Like the SR500 this was also produced as a 400.

There is a secret part of me, deep inside, that always liked these. I remember them, new, on the floor. I had the SRX6. And, well, this was a ‘Honda’.


SRX600 -1JK


Ive never really got into Hondas. A mate back in the 70s had an XL250 that was a good machine.


Honda XL250 Motosport


Good enough for me to ride an SL350 for a while – like this.


SL350 4


These bikes are quite nice to ride. Can wind them right out. The gearing in the XBR is nice but you need to work them. Maybe, Im hooked on the low-down grunt the SR gives.




Had a quick look around. Parts. GB500 optic. Motor is basically the same. Gators, chainguard, side covers, inner/outer rear guard, toolbox, handrail, tail-light, indicators, seat. No original part tree. Found a tail-light here in Germany. Inner/outer guard and handrail in New Zealand. Have a set of indicators and gators. Seat might be a problem – may have to make a base. Sidecover mounts are different – sheet alu, meet creative violence. Toolbox is a luxury.



And the XBR also has one of those button start thingies. Kool eh!

Posted July 13, 2019 by xscafe in Uncategorized

XS650: Charging Systems

Throughout production Yamaha basically installed the same charging technology. Rotor spun inside a battery induced magnetic field creating an AC current converted to DC by a slicone rectifier (6 diodes).

Pre 80 models had a mechanical regulator controlling voltage before the rotor.

80 on used a solid-state rectifier/regulator combi which controls voltage after the rotor.

These systems have provided reliable service for a long time now. Most problems stem from bad battery, worn rotor brushes, dirty or broken wire connections, dirty or worn ignition cylinder. If you have charging problems best fix it. Better sooner than later.

A bad battery kills a good charging system. A bad charging system kills a good battery.

Although easy to troubleshoot and repair good parts are becoming harder to find. Rewound rotors expensive and not necessarily reliable.

Earlier adaptations of later model RD350 alternators provided relief – but were still old. Advantages were instant current production and the ability to run battery-free. Today, off-the-shelf bolt-in kits are available.

In the garage are 2 bikes with PMA conversions (1 an RD350 conversion, the other from Ants – both points), 1 with total loss, and 2 with original systems (1points, 1 Boyer). One of the original chargers, 79, with mechanical regulator has decided to rebel. Battery flat after a couple of hours riding, headlight on.

I have a spare RD350 conversion boxed, in the corner. Do I put it in?

If your battery is suspect, the ignition-block, fusebox or wiring damaged or dirty – nothing you do will solve your problem. When you are absolutely positive these are ok, check them again. This is actually most of your work done.


What do you know about your bike? Curly rulz!!


Curly 2.2


Battery voltage: Static? (around 12.5VDC) … Active? (max. 14.5VDC @ 2000 rpm)

A quick Slap-test gives an indication how good your Regulator and Rotor are. I hang a 17mm ring spanner off a screwdriver, poition it close to the alternator cover and turn the key on. It should pull into the cover and release when the key is turned off.  The more positive it reacts the better. Mine was good.

Check voltage at your brushes. Green wire. Key on. Motor not running. It should be max. 0.3VDC less than your battery reading. Weak  voltages create weak magnetic fields. Check your wires. Battery, earth, fusebox, ignition block. No real point in going any further until you solve this. First time I had 5.4VDC. Cleaning the 6 wire connector gave me 11.5VDC. Battery earth strap both ends sanded and washed, 11.9VDC. Battery +ve, heavy end to starter solenoid. red to fusebox and ignition-block. Washing the ignition-block out with brake cleaner and cleaning the brush connection gave me the rest.

You may, now, only need new brushes. Check them. Min 7mm. The outside brush will be shorter than the inner. Its’ path each rotation is longer.

I usually remove the stator.

Gives direct access to the rotor. Meter on Ω, Ohms. Ring/Ring should be 5.0 – 5.5 Ω. Ring/Earth, infinity. Inspect for damage, discolouration. The dirtier and darker the windings the more likely the rotor is defect.

Check the stator. Damaged wiring? Discolouration? Smell? Mine was quite oily. Where did it come from? Crankseal? Cable-pass hole? Gave a quick sqiurt with brake cleaner. Unplug the 6-wire connector. White/White should be around 0.5Ω. All 3 combinations. If not disconnct the single yellow wire and repeat (tests the safety relay). White/Earth – infinite. Plug together. Motor running. Meter to VAC. White/White 10.5-11.0 VAC. Low readings indicate a grounded Stator. High readings, a bad Rectifier.

TBC: pics, rectifier and regulator tests

So, if you’re having problems with your original charging system don’t simply throw it away and get a PMA. Check it. When you find a problem keep checking – there may well be more than one issue.

For me here, once I sorted the voltage at the brushes I was fine. A quick readjustment of the regulator and all was good – didn’t even need to replace he brushes.

If you do decide to replace it, be aware that if you have electronic ignition you will need to replace that too.

Ants produces a direct swap kit for points models that i am personally very happy with. Powerdynamo also have a combi PMA/Ignition.

XS1 LH Engine Cover

People – I’m on the search … have almost finished my XS1 engine rebuild … it has taken a long time to find the correct original parts – and the last piece still eludes me

If anyone has an original early model left hand engine cover – for the alternator – with the screw-in clutch adjuster cover and is willing to pass it on I would be very happy



… many thanxs Jake

Posted April 29, 2018 by xscafe in Uncategorized

XS650: Happy New Year 2017/2018


Well, I’ve been incommunicado for a good while …

Photobucket fukt me off with their stand-over tactics … ‘pay me for your (up to now, agreed, free) photo storage or lose all contact to third parties’ …  I cant seem to be able to even copy the photos now

 Naya – my contract with wordpress includes enough storage to directly load the photos there – and I’ve slowly been doing just that, some may have noticed more and more posts have their deco back – it’s a shit job, takes a lot of time, and is the third time I’ve had to do it – thankfully my mate Phil backed-up most of 2011-13 or I would have simply walked. All eggs are now in a single basket. Bad luck if they later decide they want (more) money – perhaps at some time I can set-up a donation function, or start merchandising (patches, t-shirts, caps, stickers, etc …). I’ve been trying to avoid that as I am not commercial and have other shit to do

As you read through, let me know if you find links that dont work or anything I have missed

Anyway, I’ve moved. Small village. Large Garage. Now full. Large garden – yes, I know, it’s hard to believe – but – there is life outside XS

Sitting here listening to Jeff Beck and Friends playing Purple Rain – and thinking, this ‘dauerregen – geht mir auf den sack’ .. kinda like living in Vancouver without the beauty

Enough about me … we live in (very) interesting times, multi-d power chess, just how deep is the swamp? Whose pyramid will rule the dust?

I wish you all well.

Keep your heads low.


guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr

Posted December 31, 2017 by xscafe in Uncategorized

XS650: Rocker Shafts   Leave a comment

Been building myself a couple of XS motors lately. 277° and 360°. Have had the blocks together for some time – gearbox and crank, new bearings and seals etc.

Got round to stripping down an old XS1 head the other day. Just to check her out. Actually not too bad, some leakage around the top of the inlet valves, guides ok, valve stems straight. Cam ok. Rockers starting to wear a little. Decided to replace them and the shafts as I had a new set lying around and I have a new cam.

First you need to remove the 4 press fit sleeves that seal the outer-headstuds. You can simply bash these out but I wanted to remove the rockers and the shafts sit pretty tight (unlike the SR500) so I popped the rockerbox in the oven for a while.

The sleeves knock out easily with an 8mm socket.





Then you can get to the rocker shafts. These are tight.The puller I had rustled up for the SR500 wasnt up for the job but still had the longest 6mm thread I had on hand so I simply packed the outside with a socket and an old gearbox bearing and wound the shafts out.





Total time, less than 5 minutes once heated (if you heat use the oven and not a torch – no point in risking warping the box).

Slapped her back into the oven for a few minutes before inserting the new shafts and rockers. Dont forget to blow out the oil galleries first, and lube.

If wanting to reuse remember to bag and label: left/right, inlet/outlet


Posted May 29, 2016 by xscafe in Motor - Head, Uncategorized

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