Yamaha XS650 Cafe Racer: Last steps…

Danny's Yamaha XS650 Cafe Racer is so damn close...

Danny’s Yamaha XS650 Cafe Racer is so damn close…

It seems that the final stages of a build take the longest.  There is a ton of staring at the bike, wondering what’s been forgotten, what still needs to be done, and why the hell you hid that spare key.  That’s the stage Danny is at with his Yamaha XS650 Cafe Racer…

The Yamaha XS650 Cafe Racer is so close…

Danny has been working on this Yamaha XS650 Cafe Racer, on and off, for quite some time now.  The other day saw us strip the temporary custom wiring harness from the bike and replace it with cloth wrapped wire purchased from Lowbrow Customs.  This stuff is great looking, but it’s a bitch to work with.  Getting the cloth pulled back far enough to crimp bullet connectors on is a bear, and if there is a trick to it, we didn’t figure it out.  But the custom harness was finished, and the bike looks so much better for it, nice and neat, and mostly hidden.

There had been an issue with the charging system, using a small battery rated at a mere .08 amps, it seemed befitting a remote control car, rather than a motorcycle.  Once we hit the frustration threshold, we ended up making a DIY Voltage Regulator/Rectifier from car parts and some pieces picked up at Radio Shack.  I have to admit, I was skeptical, but the bike fired up, and instantly had a better charging value.

Yamaha XS650 Cafe Racer stripped to the bone...

Yamaha XS650 Cafe Racer stripped to the bone…

After finishing the wiring, and making sure the charging system was up to snuff, there was the pesky challenge of getting this bike tuned.  The carbs had been rebuilt long ago, with rejetting suggested for the K&N pod filters.  The old tank was slapped on the bike, and we rolled it outside to see what needed tweaking.  Typical rebuild issues were encountered, with some hanging idle, and the need to adjust the idle and air/fuel mixture screws.

There is still some popping and backfiring coming from the custom exhaust, so that will need to be addressed soon too.  But this bike is damn close.  So close in fact, that a couple spins around the block showed the bike ripping through the gears, with a super-strong pull.

Now, if only we could get a hold of some petcocks that fit the gorgeous new tank that Danny got from mike’s XS…

4 Replies to “Yamaha XS650 Cafe Racer: Last steps…”

  1. I’m looking to so something similar with my xs650. My wiring was all rotted so I stripped it all and want to do a custom harness but dont really know where to start. I want it to be as minimal as possible (no electric start and only a head and tail light). Any suggestions on how to go about this?

    1. Hey! Thanks for checking out the site. There are a few variables that will determine how you ultimately wire up the bike. For example, the model year, points or electronic ignition etc will determine some changes.

      Give us some more info – and that will allow us to steer you in a better direction.

      And send pics of the build! We’d love to post ’em.


      1. Thanks for the quick response! So I have an 83′ XS650. It has an electric ignition but I dont care to use it. The only electric components I want are a head/tail light and a speedometer. In some of the reading ive done i keep hearing conflicting views about needing a magneto. I cant seem to find a clear answer for what i am trying to accomplish. Again, kickstart only with a head/tail light and speedo. Thanks again!

        1. No sweat. That’s what we’re here for 🙂

          I have emailed Danny to get the schematic he used. I’m not familiar with the 1983 models, and what changed, but with your aim to keep it this stripped down, it should be similar to his bike.

          You need to make sure you get the connections to/from the stator correct. I recall that being the key. You will obviously still need charging back to the battery – and getting this right ensures that.

          There are some magneto set-ups you can run on these bikes – but to me it has always seemed more trouble than it’s worth (financially, and frustration-wise). If your ignition is solid, and you still want/need lights, might be best to just keep the ignition you have (either points or electronic).

          I have some simple wiring diagrams in my files ill shoot you in an email. One is for a Honda (but the principals apply) and the other is XS based. When Danny gets back to me, I’ll send that your way as well.

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