Home Built XS650 Street Tracker By Jim Geissinger


I read your website regularly, and I would like to share my low cost contribution to the world of XS650 Streettrackers.

Bike: 1980 XS 650 Special. Bought in March 2000 with 12,400 miles on it, strictly for an inexpensive commuter vehicle. It was totally stock, except for the 2 into 1 exhaust, and everything worked.

I seriously injured my knee in May this year, had extensive surgery in June and couldn't ride it, so I decided to fiddle with it. Almost everything was done as cheaply as possible. I want to stress that everything was done in a home garage with basic hand tools. I'm not a machinist, and I didn't have access to someone who could weld, form sheet metal, or anything else. Supplies were bought at the local hardware store. This was all very low tech.

Modifications: top to bottom, front to rear:

Headlight is Pep Boys 55W driving light. Sheet metal box is bracket for number plate and holds all the wiring. Number 10 dirt track bars. No instruments (although both worked perfectly). Digital bicycle speedometer hidden on top of fork tube. This has both speed and odometer, reads to 88mph, works great and doesn't vibrate at all. Mirror is upside down right hand aftermarket Honda item, screwed into bottom of stock mount.

Stock tank, painted by me and Krylon. Seat was something I've had in the garage from a record holding Kawasaki 500 drag bike I had in the 70's (that's another story). Yamaha frame left largely intact, except for various brackets removed. Much, much glassing, etc. on the seat to make it work. Upholstery is the one thing I farmed out.

Tail light is Pep Boys trailer light, mounted on a bracket made from the stock Yamaha license plate bracket and some flat steel stock.

Back to the front again, stock wheel, no fender. The red paint on the disc is heat resistant engine enamel. The 2 into 1 pipes came with the bike. I sanded them and painted them with VHT clear exhaust paint, which turns dark greenish brown when it's baked in the oven. The muffler is a 2.5 inch collector going into a 1.5 inch I.D. straight through exhaust, surrounded by 17 inches of glass packing. The idea is similar to what you had on your web site a while back, but I made mine with plumping pipe connectors and small mesh galvanized hardware cloth (chicken wire.) It sounds and performs great, not too loud at all, a deep mellow tone, with zero restriction.

The motor is stock except for the Accel coil and changes to the carbs (needle, main, and pilot jets, and air bleed screw changes) and the new air cleaners. Yes I know they are too short. Sheet metal covers (under the number plates) where the side covers used to be, to hide wires and battery box. I haven't decided if I like the look better with or without the side number plates yet. Shocks are the longer ones from Mikes XS, as were handlebars, carb parts and other miscellaneous stuff. The longer shocks and taller rear tire made the kickstand too short. A 3/4 inch leftover wheel spacer bolted on the bottom of the stand works perfectly.

Rear wheel is an RD400, requiring much fiddling with spacers, washers and so on, but no machine work. Rear brake is also RD, used for its spacing. Sprocket Specialist 36 T sprocket to compensate for the larger tire diameter. New HK X-ring chain.

Tire are Dunlops, the only DOT approved real VDTRA dirt track tires I could find in 18 and 19 inch sizes, and my largest expense. These are okay on normal pavement, but absolutely horrible on our SoCal rain-groove freeways. But they're necessary for the "look", right?

This bike is once again a daily commuter. It's dependable, quick, handles well (other than the rain grooves), rides fairly comfortably, and is fun.

I estimate that my total expenditures, including the cost of the motorcycle, are much less than half of a normal down payment on the cheapest new big Harley. The Yamaha is faster (with half the engine size), more fun, and gets a whole lot more attention.

Jim Geissinger, Capistrano Beach, Ca. jgeissinger@home.com

Hi! Jim!!

Thank you for sharing your information and this budget built absolutely beautiful bike! Nice work! I am sure it will inspire many folks to do more. Bet you have a lot of fun with it, great job!

Bob B.

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