Archive for January 2011

XS650: Copper Head Washers   Leave a comment

c1 .. copper washers

copper washers



Well. Those are pretty. Coppery.




c2 .. original rubber coated washers

original rubber coated washers


Rubber compresses. Hardens. Ages. Leaks.

These outside head studs are wet. Drain oil back to the crankcase.



c3 .. oil comes into the head from above...splits to each rocker...some is sprayed, the rest follows the outer head studs to the crankcase

oil comes into the head from above…splits to each rocker…some is sprayed, the rest follows the outer head studs to the crankcase


c4 .. machined return galleries...each outside headstud

machined return galleries…each outside headstud


c5 .. look like this

look like this



Copper washers on the outside head studs seal well. Allow securer torque settings.

Kits are available with 4 copper or brass washers and 4 steel ones for the 4 inside head studs.


c6 .. washer kit

washer kit


Can also use Suzuki GS750/1000 Cu washers part # 09168-10017

Or look for 22 x 10.5 x 4. Metric of course.


c7 .. torque sequence

torque sequence



Don’t forget torque sequence. Diagonally opposed.

Torque in sequence. And in increments.

Don’t go direct to full torque in 1 hit. Take your time.

Clean threads. A little oil. No loctite.

Set torque. Leave the top mount off. Run to warm. Retorque. Test run. Retorque. 70-100 kms. Retorque. Top mount – don’t forget it.

Failure to do this, and check occassionally, leads to cylinder leaks.

Doing this to stop cylinder head leaks? Too late. Do the job properly. New head gasket. While you’re there do the cam chain, front guide, valve seals and valve grind.

And then………

Posted January 31, 2011 by xscafe in Motor - Cases, Motor - Head, Motor - Oil

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XS650: Boardtracker   Leave a comment

Board tracks, loosely based on French velodromes, were popular in the United States in the 20’s and 30’s. Oval courses. Wooden plank surfaces.



Boardtracker 1 ..

top racer Otto Walker, one of Harley-Davidson’s first factory riders…after ww1 he started wearing a German aviators helmet and goggles when racing



The Coliseum Motordome, LA, California, opened April 8, 1910. Built with 4x2in (100x50mm) boards, banked up to 45°  (Fulford-by-the-Sea and Culver City both claimed 50°+). By 1915 there were a few tracks operating up to 2 miles (3 km). 24 in 1931.



High maintenance costs, perceived and real dangers killed them.


Boardtracker 2 .. 1916 Big Valve Excelsior Motorcycle Racer From Wheels Through Time museum...i dont know what this does to you-makes my blood scream

1916 Big Valve Excelsior Motorcycle Racer From Wheels Through Time museum…i dont know what this does to you-makes my blood scream


Reminds me of this Opel Sandracer replica  built in Opelwerk Rüsselsheim. I’ve had the luck to ride this-yes, it does go.


Boardtracker 3 .. opel sand racer replica...13-23 hp...over 40kmh....DM700 in 1922

opel sand racer replica…13-23 hp…over 40kmh….DM700 in 1922


The thrills of raw speed, banking, overtaking possibility are still suitably exploited in modern racing.

There have been a few nice replica projects documented over recent years.

A couple of examples are this Cyclone


Boardtracker 4 .. Cyclone



this Excelsior


Boardtracker 5 .. 1919 Excelsior replica

1919 Excelsior replica


Boardtracker 6 .. which started life as these casings

which started life as these casings


Boardtracker 7 .. and this picture

and this



and concepts


Boardtracker 8 .. like this EFI SR400 Board Tracker from Vicente Design

like this EFI SR400 Board Tracker from Vicente Design



Recently this trend has appeared across a wide range of bikes. Interesting.

The XS650 hasnt escaped.


Boardtracker 9 .. Metalhead



from Metalhead Cycles also here


Boardtracker 10 .. bryan hall from k street cycles

bryan hall from k street cycles


K Street Cycles

Boardtracker 11 .. fong bros

fong bros


the Fong Bros


Boardtracker 12 .. Triumph



from Falcon Motorcycles


Boardtracker 13 .. 79 SP1000 Guzzi

79 SP1000 Guzzi


from Adam Nestor


Boardtracker 14 .. these kiwi indians are pretty cool

these kiwi indians are pretty cool


Kiwi Indian

Posted January 30, 2011 by xscafe in Frame - Design, XS Pics

XS650: Fork Rake Adjustor   Leave a comment

From Cheney Engineering:


Fork Head Adjuster - Cheney Eng.

Fork Head Adjuster – Cheney Eng. … rake adjustors…top, bottom or both


These give you the ability to quickly change your rake.

  • Insert one adjustor in the top of your fork head: -can position this for a +0.50 or -0.50 degrees over 30″
  • Add an adjustor in the bottom of your fork head: -gives an adjustment of ~ +1 or -1 degree over the 30″

Each Adjustor comes with Adjusting Offset, Race and Bearing.

You need to supply the diameter, thickness and length of your fork head.

Your stem probably requires machining to fit the bearing. Or buy one of theirs and press it into your bottom yoke.

They also have some nice trick stuff to adjust your offset-

  • Offsets provide the ability to make incremental adjustments to move your forks closer or away from your fork steering stem. Offsetting forks farther from the steering stem transfers more of the engine weight to the rear wheel…provides better hook-up. By modifying your offsets, you can improve your rear wheel hook-up. The trick is getting the right amount of offset for each style of track.

…and for dealing with shorter inverted forks.

XS650: Bobber   Leave a comment

I first saw this image floating about the internet a bit over a year ago. No information. I tracked the source. Niccoli Design. Don’t know much about this bike at all. Unfortunately.

1 .. ... found this one day while out surfing ...

… found this one day while out surfing …


2 .. ... mona ...

… mona …


3 .. ... cruzin ...

… cruzin …


It reminded me of another I like…


4 .. Evo Moon Rocket

Evo Moon Rocket


from Salinas Boys Customs in California.

Posted January 28, 2011 by xscafe in Frame - Design, Frame - Tanks n Tin, XS Pics

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XS650: Dipsticks   2 comments

Some modern Mercedes models don’t have dipsticks. If the oil level gets low, is the owner sent an email?

Call me old fashioned, but there’s something to be said for a good old dipstick. Once calibrated they stay that way.

Why is it that a simple task of checking oil levels… Trans & Engine, gets more complicated with passing time?

No Trans. dipstick for auto models and now none for the engine … “all you need to do is simply scroll through half a dozen menus sir”

Pretty soon they will remove the fuel gauge.  You’ll get ‘Tank is Low’  message on the dash. And a voice message…

“Please add 40 litres of 98 octane to the fuel tank filler tube which is located to the rear nearside of your car”.

I tend to believe the dipstick was removed to discourage owners from doing their own maintenance. To encourage more service business at MB dealers.

Not so far fetched. What about the Check Engine light. Today we have massively-small computing power. Look at all the apps. At what you can do through smartphones (transfer money, surf, video, music, bluetooth…). Check Engine codes could easily be displayed, with description, in instrument cluster lcd or ComNav displays.

Still need to know what the codes mean.

Open your bonnet. What do you see? A complex array of …well, of what? Every year it gets worse. No diagnostic programming at your fingertips? Know what the failure codes mean? As a mechanic do you learn to listen and fix or plug in and replace?

What about your iPhone? Requesting a complete diagnostic analysis. Posted directly to the forum of your choice. Emailed to your mechanic. Bluetoothed to your printer. Start the engine remotely? Set the air-con? Seat temp? Radio station. Electronically dip your oil. All while sitting on the shitter.

Are these the new ‘Idiot Lights’? Idiot systems? And this should be desireable?

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing. Think what else we can do with our spare time while not getting our hands dirty.

Still. I’m glad it wasn’t designed by Microsoft. You’d need to pay for annual upgrades just so gas could work in your motor.

Sort of what’s happening with ethanol fuels. Change your rubber components or sit. What investment does Bill Gates have in the transportation industry?

It does beg some questions about our relationship with technology. With the world around us. Do we just consume? Or interact? In/Inter or Dependent? At what levels? Who is your car communicating with? Some Indian call centre? As a product user just what do you mean to the marketer? Manufacturer? What kind of Stakeholder are you?

Reminds me of a story I once read about Shell Thuet. And XS oil.

…Shell and John formed Shell Racing Specialties and started to manufacture all the parts necessary for a complete racing motorcycle. The race equipment was sold to Yamaha in bulk to be packaged under their logo and distributed to their dealer network.

From early on, Shell would butt heads with the Japanese engineers. The newly designed Yamaha twins kept blowing oil out the breather. The specs called for 3000cc to be put in the crankcase. Shell told them right up front it was too much and they needed to put in 2500cc.The engineers would try all sorts of baffles and orifices intended to reduce the oil loss, but to no avail. Shell continued to put in his recommended amount until finally the factory engineers followed suit. You can look at the imprint on top of the cases and see the reduction in oil requirements over the years until it settles on the amount advised by Shell.


1.. 3000cc



2 .. 2500cc



3 .. periodically change 2000cc

periodically change 2000cc


4.. yamaha dipstick tech bulletin

yamaha dipstick tech bulletin



Posted January 26, 2011 by xscafe in Motor - Oil

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XS650: Why?   Leave a comment

Consumer Warning: This is going to be a short personal burble. If you’re not interested click further.

Several people have asked me lately why I’m doing this. Good question. I have no real answer.

I guess it started with me contributing on forums. A great learning curve. For me. In my way.

I’ve had a very successful career in the exploration sciences. Involving systems analysis where the origination and degradation phases become super important. Means reading and researching. Multidisciplinary. Then channeling that understanding through cat-time to various pasts and futures. Allows you an insight into what to look for in real time. Not everyone is as successful.

I like questions. They’re starting points. The ultimate answer is often only indirectly related. Not everyone does. They don’t really have the answer.

This is what I like, and dislike, about forums. If you have a question you can sometimes generate enough intelligent discourse to get a clearer direction. If it becomes too big, without personal contact, mostly it’s simply lazy people not interested in learning for themselves. Looking for the quick fix. Not really learning. Same things. All the time. Or you have a language problem.

Brings me back here. Why? For me. I never really expected anyone to read this. Surprises me that you do. It started because I had charging, oil and clutch problems. So I went looking for answers. Kalles’ external filter, the PMA, and Peters’ 8 plate modification write up made sense to me as did the billet basket and vescanite blocks. So I went there. With results. Not to mention the rephase.

My 650 had a totally new lease on life. Still, there had to be more. Inexpensively. I had done a lot of porting experimentation on my XT500 heads. With some successes and some failures. And when I get hold of 650 heads I do the same. Playtime.

I read several languages. English German Dutch French. Some are easier than others. I write english quite well. German very badly. There are lots of things happening out there in the XS world. But little communication between them. In my curve I’ve touched all these worlds.

This. Is really for me. A way of organising my information in a way I can find it. In a way that makes sense. To me. There is no particular order. No real beginning. No end. If you can make sense from it I’m happy for you. If you can’t you can always formulate a question.

As I say, it really does surprise me you’re reading this. It’s kind of flattering really. I have not advertised the site. Not made a big noise. You’ve found your own way here. If you come back it’s your choice. If you have a problem with it all you should contact me. I can’t promise you satisfaction but I will listen and take you seriously. What I write is pretty much only my opinion.

Posted January 26, 2011 by xscafe in Forums, Uncategorized

XS650: Rephase   3 comments

I first heard whispers about rephasing listening to my older cousins discuss how they could improve their old Triumph race bikes. There are long discussions over at the brit forums.

Then I forgot all about it.

Some years ago I bought an old Special from a bloke in the Hunsrück. Don’t really know why. On a whim. An ebay joke-bid. Low kms. Clean. Been sitting for some years . MMM. As usual. The missus wasn’t happy. As usual.. And it sat. As usual.

Then I put my back out. Time on my hands. Found the aussie 650 site. Yes Terry, I know. You didn’t force me to read. And it got me off my arse. Actually I like the Yamahas. The only new bike I’ve ever bought was a ’77 XT500. My daily rides are my SR500 and SRX600. Growing up with British bikes you learn to think that‘s all there is. Later I was introduced to Italian bikes, falling in love with a ’75 Ducati 750. And with Guzzi Le Mans. They all, however, share one thing in common. They’re Thumpers.

Anyway reading that site opened my eyes to the versatilty of these bikes, and reintroduced me to rephasing. This little gif said it all.


XS Standard 360° Crank - Parallel Twin

XS Standard 360° Crank – Parallel Twin


XS 270° Rehase

XS .. 270° Rehased Crank


Changing the crank set up so the pistons dont travel together. Rephasing doesn’t so much give a power increase. Rather it uses the existing power more efficiently. The torque wasted overcoming the inertia of having both pistons stationary at TDC and BDC is made useable

  • power saving
  • less vibration, the motor runs smoother
  • better responsiveness
  • slightly torquier
  • if you do this weld the pins to the flywheels…balancing helps too



3 .. split crank…you want another #2 disc

split crank…you want another #2 disc



4 .. and one of these 90° offset centre pins

and one of these 90° offset centre pins



5.. #2 disc modified…dont forget to renotch for the cam chain gear locator

#2 disc modified…dont forget to renotch for the cam chain gear locator … this is only necessary when doing a 277° rephase as the sprocket is relocated onto the splined rephasing shaft for a 270° and is positioned properly when re installed



6 .. to be assembled so

to be assembled so



7 .. and so

and so



8 .. to look like this

to look like this



9 .. so right leads left…makes timing easier as you can use the original marks

so right leads left…makes timing easier as you can use the original marks


10 .. Tolerances



11 .. Tolerances



12 .. Mmm



There are 2 ways of doing this

  • split the crank at the centrepin-rotate the right hand side 3 splines and press back together…277° rephase


  • split the crank, replace the 2nd flywheel from the right with a slightly modified 3rd flywheel (remove 7mm from the pin boss where the cam sprocket seats … Distance between centre flywheels is 54mm, unmodified flywheel is 25mm cam sprocket is 11mm leaving 18mm for the modified flywheel therefore 7mm is removed. This just happens to be from the end of the bearing mounting section to the bottom of the circlip groove.), use a 270° pin and press together 90° out of phase…270° rephase.

Was talking with Heiden a while ago. They were tying to explain their new method. I couldn’t exactly understand what was being said. What I did get was that they use an offset pin…do the 277° swap and a 3° offset pin to get the rest. Saves sourcing and machining the other crank disc.

These require a suitably modified camshaft and ignition system…a good time to consider installing a permanant magnet alternator. Originally I used a modified points plate

Yamaha missed a golden opportunity to produce a truly extraordinary motor by turning this idea down. Todays TDM.

Anyone interested in spending the effort wont be disappointed. Virtually all modern-day parallel twins are built this way.

Last time I went home I took with me the bits necessary to do this. Airport security and check-in were not happy. Complete 533 crank. Already set-up. Back home we get 447 motors. Rephased 256 cam. That hurt, I had around 8 or 9 of these. All got destroyed trying to weld them together. Except for that last one. What a waste. And a modified points plate. Fortunately I had my 2 year old with me and got to use his baggage allowance too.

My initial test ride was the Scenic Drive. This winds its’ way along the Waitakere Ranges west of Auckland, separating it from the west coast. A nice ride. Couldn’t get the smile off my face. Had to turn around and run again. This time taking the Piha Kare Kare road. To the beaches. In the old days this used to be gravel. Great for testing. What a blast. Couldn’t stop. Back. To Huia and Whatipu. Then. Shot across the city. South and East. Through Kawakawa Bay, Orere, down the Kaiaua Coast road, stopping for fish and chips at my cousins. And along the Coromandel Coast Road to the commune at Coro. There I changed the oil, got super wasted and spent the night. Next day across the Hauraki Plains, out to Port Waikato and down the back way to Raglan. Then time to go home. Had forgotten my poor son. Although he was with my family he doesn’t speak english. He was not happy. Ouch.

I was converted. My son was concerned.

Bits can be sourced from Daryl ph: aus 03-9330-4909 …  and Heiden -not on their site-u need to ask for these

Webcam will regrind your stock cam to any of their profiles, and for a rephase motor. Megacycle will do this too, they need to know which piston you lead with & what profile you want. See Heiden also for billet cams. If anyone in kiwiland is reading, contact orb, he will point you to a grinder.

The crank was split and reassembled using a press. Safe. Controlled. I have seen photos where this has been done on the garage floor. It can be done. I’ve seen similar in Africa, Sth America, Asia, India etc.

Don’t know about you. But. I like my eyes.



14 .. if these get loose i dont want to be in the way

if these get loose i dont want to be in the way



15 ..

parts of me wish i’d never seen these 2 photos..hugh says ..’The 2 picture you posted of a crank being split and pressed together are mine. I did that several years ago when no one else in the US was willing to build a crank for me, nor had anyone had any real experience doing so that they wanted to share. Low budget, and not a highly recommended method, but it worked and has worked for over 10,000 miles now. I do recommend welding the crank at all pressed joints though, as they tend to seperate at high rpm’s.’


Vibration was noticeably less. Was not an XS any more. Neither sounded nor responded the same.  Begged to be cut loose. Yamaduc.

Generally crank vibration depends on such-like: balance factor, stroke and rod ratio. She will run smoother the closer you get to a balance factor of 50 to 53%. I didn’t balance mine. Pressed her together. Mic’d her up and slammed her gently into the cases. Ride.

I want to do this to my ride here too. Wont tell the wife unless she notices. Time to start collecting the bits again. This will complement the 750 well.

Interesting. Was talking to Jerry Heiden this morning. Was saying he doesnt like, or more to the point, is not as fond of the 270° conversion. Too time consuming for the extra gain? Says he has been having problems matching crank parts. Seems there are variations in castings and machining between the years. Puts the balance out. To minimise the problems you need to get the extra crank parts from a machine as close as possible to your production run/engine nr. All for only a 2% gain. Or stick to a 277° rephase. He welds them up. But not fully. 2 x 1cm tab welds. Makes it easier to resplit.

Posted January 25, 2011 by xscafe in Frame - Handling, Motor - Cam, Motor - Crank

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