Ash Kidd's double restoration

At Dave Rayner’s request I’ll try to give a brief description of my adventures re XS650 restoration. It began for me in August 1999 while thumbing through a then current issue of Australian Motorcycle Trader Magazine. I came across a colour photo ad for an XS1 which seemed in good nick (paint appearance etc.) for sale at $2000. That image took me back some 30 years when as a teenager I owned one, I immediately rang only to be told it was gone and sold. I mentioned to a workmate here in Cairns how I’d missed buying the bike. He said to me , “I don’t know why you’d want one of those heaps of shit Ash, but my brother in Melbourne has one that’s been under his house for a couple of years, want me to call him?” (The man’s deranged—Ed)
So to cut a long story short I became the proud owner, once again, of a Yamaha XS650 twin, arguably the best parallel twin four stroke motor ever built. (A man of impeccable taste-Ed)
Frame # 447 005 282 (TX or TXA)
Engine # 447 204 571 (XS650C)

The bike was running when delivered after fitting a battery, but did sound like a bucket of nails on the spin cycle in the washing machine. My foolish optimism told me it was merely a cam chain noise and that this would be a simple cosmetic tidy up. How wrong was I? I won’t bore you with my discoveries but on closer detailed inspection it was evident that an engine and cosmetic rebuild was required and so it started in 1999.
Bike cost unseen—$800
Gasket and seal kit—$95 Nicks custom choppers
Decals—$90 Halco
Fork tubes—$50 Tony Filmer (thanks Tony)
Fork seals—$30 Aftermarket
Fork dust seals—$112 Genuine Yamaha
Paint first restoration—$350
Seat base fix—$50 Sheet metal and MIG
Koni Shocks—$300
Recover seat—$90
Crankpins—$132 Genuine Yamaha
Thrust washers—$60 Genuine Yamaha
Piston Rings—$110 Genuine Yamaha
Conrods—$340 Genuine Yamaha
Crank Bearings—$120 Genuine Yamaha
Camshaft Bearings—$40 Aftermarket
Front brake caliper seals—$116 Genuine Yamaha
Front brake stainless pistons—$130 Kevin Boss
Front brake disc machining—$40
Crankshaft fit and press—$150
Swing arm bushes—$80 machined locally
Swing arm bolt—$60 Genuine Yamaha
Cam chain—$50 Aftermarket
New silencers—$450 Halco
Front caliper logos—$10
Side cover furniture—$60 Genuine Yamaha
OK the re-chrome bill was quite large, but after five years in all weather it is still excellent. Cosmetics were very difficult to obtain in 1999 and I searched far and wide to obtain a chain guard, headlight brackets, rear mudguard, instrument cups, speedo and tacho, and tail light bracket. Had all of these re-chromed as well as exhaust headers and front engine mount. Total the cost in dollar terms yourselves for you can never factor in labour you have contributed. This bike still runs points ignition and two standard coils and runs well and reliably, not always the case.

The Second Restoration

After five years of fun, trials and tribulations I decided it was time to make as genuine a standard XS650 “C” model as I was able to apart from some big improvements in the electrics department. Firstly to get rid of the archaic regulator rectifier. I fitted a solid state regulator/rectifier from a CBX750 Honda.

( A little mod was required to fit under the right side cover) which worked very well until when testing the battery charging I found it did not regulate the voltage to the battery, it was charging at 16.5 Volts!

The solution to this dilemma was to fit a Bosch RE55 regulator ($25) under the left hand side cover.

Excellent results now. I have it on good authority from the auto electrician I bothered for the solution to the problem that the 750 Honda Reg/Rect did not suit the XS650 charging system, I will not go into the technicalities that I don’t and never will understand. He assured me however that a Reg/Rect from a Honda 900 Bol D’or would work perfectly as the systems are identical.

Alternator rotor I had rewound in Brisbane COD for $140 and came back brand new (no exaggeration here). Wreckers wanted $100 second hand and genuine Yamaha replacement price was $920. I managed to buy a wiring harness from an ‘81 XS650, a right hand switch block from a XS750, a left hand switch block from a TX500 all in very good condition and easy to fit, even for a dunce like myself and a major improvement performance wise.

Now a simple matter of piston ring replacement ($184 Yamaha genuine nowadays) A paint job in French Blue and some decals from Motographix.

The paint job was excellent, side cover paint and decals mint. However tragedy came with my painter and vinyl graphics expert when it came to applying the decals to the tank. They both said it was impossible to apply the tank decals because of the curvature and contour of the tank and the thickness of the decal material supplied by Motographix. End result, right hand side decal u/s. So I take the remaining decal to another company specializing in in signage and application who assure me “no worries mate, piece of piss, you need to use heat” Two days later they ring back to tell me the left hand side decal is u/s and application is impossible due to the thickness of the material and tank contour. By this time I am hot and bothered but these people tell me they will reproduce them on friendlier material and complete the job for an extra $50 so I urge them to do so through clenched teeth. Anyway it’s all over now and had three coats of clear over the base coat and decals and now she looks as glamorous as I always thought she would. At last I am satisfied with my XS650C.

I did some research on the paint colour with my paint supplier so if anyone needs to paint their bike in French Blue here’s the info.

402 Deltron (A) DG Col Ref: BS3.166

British Standard BS381 Code 166

French Blue, Lead 0.0% Pr Grp:2

DEAS: 1.057Kg/L

My heartfelt thanks to Kevin Boss whom I drove mad in 1999 with incessant phone calls, also to Tony Filmer for all your help, thanks also to Peter Kommer and Dave Rayner for their help this year.

Ash Kidd.