Archive for February 2011

XS650: Zero   Leave a comment

Not into his production bikes. Bread n butter. Brought Zero Engineering to the states. Building for the Japanese market…hey guys, next stop … tourist economy. Do like his creativity. And his philosophy. Like my grandfather used to say. Sitting on his Shadow. ‘Aint nuthin like a bike son. More soul than most people. Faster than a woman. More fun too.’ No arguements from me.

I think this is the bike he rode in the Motorcycle Cannonball. Parking lot crank rebuild. What an awesome base line. Add a bit o’ didge. And an oboe……


Posted February 25, 2011 by xscafe in Frame - Design

Tagged with , , ,

XS650: Home run   Leave a comment

Looking for light distraction this morning I came across this. From Angus. Of Rattlers. Thanxs for posting bro. A quick jaunt down the road for brekkie. Along my old stomping ground. Looks real fine when the Pohutukawas are in full bloom. Massive red.

Take a tin full of doobies. Follow through to Kaiaua for fish n chips. A beer. And a long dip in the Miranda hot pool. Maybe coffee with Orb.


pohutukawa, the kiwi xmas tree…full bloom end of nov generally means long hot summer


kaiaua fish n chips…twice voted best in nzl…try the terakihi – with a little lemon



Posted February 23, 2011 by xscafe in Uncategorized

XS650: ChCh   Leave a comment

I don’t mind riding the vibe. And our XSes do vibrate. But there’s a point where shake, rattle n roll don’t positively overlap. That point was reached in Christchurch yet again Tuesday. My sister’s birthday.

Having survived a few quakes and revolutions myself I can relate to the sense of dislocation many will be feeling. It is now early morning. The sun will have risen on a world full of changes and challenges. The first morning after. Some will still be searching for their missing.

I haven’t heard from friends and family in the area. And am taking the chance to be positive. No news is good news. It has to be. The extended family is small. And we are still mourning a loss at Pike River. Hopefully there are no surprizes today.

Peace. Love. Happiness.

Posted February 22, 2011 by xscafe in Uncategorized

XS650:   Leave a comment

Last friday I did something stupid. It’s not that i don’t do stupid things. I do. I’m in my middle 50’s and have 2 preschool boys at home. My life revolves around stupid things. It’s fun.

This stupid was just plain dumb. Forgot I was on reserve. Then. Filled a half tank of E10 into the SR before I realised. Question. Top er up with real gas and ride? Or. Go home and drain the tank? Home wasn’t far. By the time I got home the poor girl was doing a Johnny Leathermouth. Blue-flaming like a pro. And the MIL was there. First time in 10 years she’s dared to show her face. And the last too. So the gas sat in the tank til Sunday morning. Inside tank was already showing signs of rust. WTF? The vacuum membrane in the petcock was shot. And the inlet manifold gasket was blown through.


the melted petcock membrane led to petrol entering directly into the manifold..the popping blew this gasket causing major blue flaming


And no gasket paper.

My local friendly auto-supplier was empty. Unfilled shelves empty. No lights on empty.

Now, we have the usual chain store bike-supermarkets. Biker City – have lost the plot here, no real marketing sense, unfriendly service, limited range. Allowed Polo to build a big new outlet direct next door AND erect signage that directly blocks their own. If I was your bank manager I would have closed down your lines of credit. BUT Polo is even worse and their people cover their ignorance by being rude to you. At least Biker City people know what they’re talking about.

I wanted a sheet of gasket paper. B.C had none, no surprize there. Polo wanted to sell me a gasket paper kit. Several sheets @ about 200 x 300 mm. All smaller than my largest sidecase. For €20. Didn’t look impressed when I told him where he could put it.

Had to pick the missus up from work so drove across town to Louis. These blokes are actually pretty user-friendly. With a crappy location. In the middle of a busy part of town. No parking. Bingo. €7.95 for a 500 x 500 mm sheet of paper. And they gave my son a colouring-in book complete with coloured pencils.



Nearly forgot the petcock membrane. Kedo advertise a Petcock Repair Kit. €19.90. Then state ‘Membrane not included in the set’. WTF ?

Oh. I see. Later on the same page. Petcock, complete. Including membrane. €117.99.

My home made one works fine. Cost? Just a little time. And when that craps out? I’ll make a conversion plate. Use a non-vacuum petcock from the XS. At €118 – NFS.



Polo – big stink finger from me.

Louis – big thumbs up from my boy.

Posted February 22, 2011 by xscafe in General, Tools

Tagged with

XS650: VAM   Leave a comment

Back in the 80’s VAM was one of the leading french sidecross tuners. Produced some cool trick gear. Original 750, 880, 1000cc big bore kits. RHS engine case complete with fittings for remote oil filter. Possibility for rh pull clutch. Access for clutch without removing whole cover. LH generator case. Tappet covers……

heidens 750cc big bore kit is a replica of this


clutch side case, with option for pull clutch and remote oil cooler…VAM big bore..tappet covers..


generator side case…from the dutch XS club


motor, VAM fitted…mounted in sidecrosser…with rh shift, pull clutch and remote cooler


rhs case … clutch, oil pump mount


clutch cover … 82/84 catalogue


Fred, from France has obtained the original castings I believe. Intends a production run. Needs a minimum of 10 pieces. When? No idea.

I would be interested in playing with a RH clutch case. If you want more info I have a phone number and an email address. Fred speaks French. Have no idea if he speaks English or German.

email: …

XS650: Sag   Leave a comment

Your body can and will tell you all about this. In time. Some parts more than others. Size. Weight. Time. Wear. All, factors.

The harder they come the harder they’ll fall, one and all


Amount of change in your motorcycle’s suspension travel with the rider on board-varies around 30% of your total suspension travel. Helps you choose correct spring rates. And correct spring pre-load.

Because suspension works under both compression and dampening a certain amount of preload prevents topping or bottoming out.

First check your springs. Correct rate. Not too progressive. Fork oil. Seals. Bearings. Set your gearing. Half tank of gas. Load when touring.

Have a look at this. For help choosing springs. From here. May need separate springs for touring or carrying a passenger. Or riding conditions.

Static Sag.

Best with a couple of mates. 1 to help you hold the bike up. The other to measure.

Paul Thede from Racetech advises to allow for stiction. Friction and inertia. Both serve to complicate correct measurement but can be compensated for.

Mark 2 points front and rear. Axle centres..2. Frame..2. One each above and below the spring. Front-lower triple clamp. Rear-as close to perpendicular as possible.

  • L1. Set the bike on it’s centrestand. Or racestand not interferring with the swingarm. So both wheels are at full suspension extension.

Measure and record.

Set the bike on the ground. Sit the rider on the bike. In riding position. With full gear.

  • L2. Push down on the suspension. 25-30mm. Slowly release. Measure.
  • L3. Liftbike and rider. 25-30mm. Slowly lower to rest. Measure. Average. This is Static Sag.

Static Sag … L1- L2 + L3/2

Free Sag

Sag from bike alone. Only makes sense after Static Sag is set. Push down. Slowly release. Measure. Lift. Slowly lower. Measure. Split the difference. This is Free Sag. Used mostly setting up rear suspension.

Don’t ignore your stiction result L2-L3. This shows suspension condition. Front should be 10-20mm. Rear, 2-3mm. More or less than these? Time to start getting intimate with your bouncies.

Recommended Sag Measurements: mm …from Racetech

Road Race Street Dirt-full size Dirt-mini
Sag 25-35 30-35 60-75 55-65
Preload 5-25 10-35 3-15 3-10
Stiction 5-15 5-15 10-25 10-20
Sag 25-35 30-35 90-100 80-85
Free Sag, Top-out bumper 2-8 2-8 15-40 10-25
Free Sag, negative spring 10-15 10-15
Stiction 2-5 2-5 2-5 2-5

Correct Sag numbers are personal. Will vary depending on the type of bike you ride, your individual riding style, your weight of the day, surface conditions….. This may help you get a baseline. Fine tuning is up to you.

Posted February 15, 2011 by xscafe in Frame - Forks, Frame - Handling

Tagged with , , , ,

XS650: Retirement   Leave a comment

My mate Dave retired last year. An occupational hazard. His own choice even. An event facing many of us boomers. A life on the road. Kids grown up. Contacts globally. Lovers too.

Life in the slow lane. Good job you’re not married Dave. Rolling on the floor laughing


dave bought a guitar…ok, he bought several…here is his blade durango


So he went out. Bought himself a guitar. A ‘Tune-a-Day’ book. Already had the time, eh. To cut a short story long. Mates being mates. He got a call. Come to Auckland. ‘We have an overdub for you. You pay the flights.’

‘We give you beer money.’ For a sixpack, Joe.

Want to make money from music Dave? Hope you got a good pension plan, mate. And can collect. While it lasts. And can live on beer. Actually he’s not too bad. Good enough to take out Robin Trower?

Needs some peanuts to go with the beer though.

What to do?


‘eye to eye’ … trade for peanuts and pistaccios to go with the beer


Mr Tickle helping Dave put himself out of his misery?

And with a little help from Little Miss Giggles…

But what if you  get a gig Dave?

Anyone living in Central England who has an XS650 spare. A project? For Dave’s retirement plan. Are guitar cases waterproof Dave? Will a tube of sillycone work?

What about a sidecar mate?

Live the dream.

The Rock n Roll Honour’s List is long.

Real XS never dies. It just kills you. Note

Posted February 13, 2011 by xscafe in General, Uncategorized