Looking for Ideas on Modernizing - 1980 Yamaha XS1100 Special - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Looking for Ideas on Modernizing - 1980 Yamaha XS1100 Special

I have a buddy who's looking to get back in the saddle this season and has been looking for a cheap bike to pick up. He may have found one, but it's older and I don't know much about it so that's where you guys come in. He works with a guy who's getting rid of a 1980 Yamaha XS1100 Special for very cheap and says all it needs is a carb rebuild/cleaning and a fork rebuild. Those don't seem too indimidating so we're hoping to get it it at least up and running come riding season. Now here's the question...

With an old bike like this, what can be done to modernize it a little bit and give it some personallity? My friend is big into choppers and bob-something and eventually wants to bend his own frame for his own motorcycle. As for now, he's got this lined up for a base and wants to just generally improve the thing. I was thinking along the lines of a street fighter of sorts (new handle bars, change the seat, etc) or maybe a hint of a Cafe racer to give it a little more agressive look but I have no idea if that's even possible with this model. It's got a big I-4 so that seems like a pretty decent base, but I just think the look of it can be upgraded a bit.

I figured there's got to be a couple people out there who have either owned one of these bikes, or have seen them/worked with them who might be able to shine some light on this "project". If you have any ideas on what might improve the look, post up and share. Pics of some ideas from other old bikes would probably work too since he's pretty handy with bending and welding and has some pretty good equipment as his disposal. Here's a internet picture of what the bike is:



Time to put on your creative thinking caps and see what you guys can come up with!

Adam
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 05:22 PM
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if he is jsut getting back into it - he might just want to pick up the bike and ride it as is for a season. Choppers / bobbers look really nice on TV, but they usually don't ride very nice. Hard tails and long rakes usually make for an uncomfortable ride. He might be better suited to just ride the ride for a year or two.

Also, whats cheap? How mechanically inclined are you? Sometimes these cheap bikes end up costing more then something a little newer and running already.

Lets assume it's been sitting for a while and you can do all of the work yourself.

Tires
battery
carb rebuild kit
possibly a new chain
all fresh fluids
fork seals and fork oil, plus the tools to do this

how do the brakes look? how about the paint? is there rust in the gas tank?

Don't forget your time has value. spending sat nights in a garage fixing a bike is fun to some people, others prefer to go out and ride. Is your friend the person who wants to spend his saturday nights in a cold garage working on a bike?

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turn the bars left and go right; that just isn't right

Last edited by clearwaterms; 01-28-2009 at 05:24 PM.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 05:29 PM
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Get Resurrection involved with anything with a carb. Not only is he good at engine work, he rebuilt the forks on my 996 very reasonably.

PM Firebretha. Rick just got me an über cool led for my 675, I'm sure he could whip up something pimp for that bike also.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 05:31 PM
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not a good bike to try to mod into a streetfighter or anything sporty , if its cheap ( well under a grand) and your bud's desparate to ride then ride it as is and dont waste your money trying to make it something its not, or just spend it on new tires and all the other things its gonna need, getting those carbs out may be a bitch if you or he havnt done it before, if it were me i'd get a old suzi or kawie , but not the cruiser model wich is what this yami is , chopperd forks, forward pegs , shaft drive, low seat , cant change it ,,, if your buddy likes cruisers then its not too bad for a 80's bike but you couldnt pay me to ride it
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 05:35 PM

 
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typical 2nd gear problems.

Gus
We offer three kinds of service @ Resurrection
GOOD - CHEAP - FAST
You can pick any two
GOOD service CHEAP won't be FAST
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clearwaterms View Post
if he is jsut getting back into it - he might just want to pick up the bike and ride it as is for a season. Choppers / bobbers look really nice on TV, but they usually don't ride very nice. Hard tails and long rakes usually make for an uncomfortable ride. He might be better suited to just ride the ride for a year or two.

Also, whats cheap? How mechanically inclined are you? Sometimes these cheap bikes end up costing more then something a little newer and running already.

Lets assume it's been sitting for a while and you can do all of the work yourself.

Tires
battery
carb rebuild kit
possibly a new chain
all fresh fluids
fork seals and fork oil, plus the tools to do this

how do the brakes look? how about the paint? is there rust in the gas tank?

Don't forget your time has value. spending sat nights in a garage fixing a bike is fun to some people, others prefer to go out and ride. Is your friend the person who wants to spend his saturday nights in a cold garage working on a bike?
After reading your response, I guess I left out some details...

He'll be getting the bike and hopefully we'll have the carb and forks done by riding season. He'll be using this as a starter bike and to get a feel for it again and will be using it for work commute and travel. It's going to be a daily ridden bike for fun and economy so it's not going to come up and be completely taken apart to make it a chopper or something.

The chopper/bob idea is a few years off and won't be an all out transformation over the summer. He wants to take his time getting familiar with what he wants to do in terms of a frame/hardtail setup and will start on that a lot further down the road. He's more so looking for ideas on what to set as an end goal instead of just doing stuff to it without a purpose. I realize I didn't explain that too well before so I'd like to make it clear that I've talked to him about this kinda stuff, haha.

As for mechanically inclined, we're both pretty good when it comes to replacing/fixing stuff so that shouldn't be a problem. As for the other parts that needs to be replaced, everything else has been explained to us that it's in good condition except for the forks starting to go and the carbs just needing a fresh start. I'll assume the brakes and paint go along with being decent, but I've not seen the bike so I can't confirm anything with that.

In all, I'm trying to help him come up with some ideas on what to set as an end goal. Building his own frame isn't going to happen in the near future, he just wants something to ride and to make his own. I'm looking for any ideas I can pick up from here on what can be changed and improved with an older bike like this to update it a little bit. I've never owned or worked on a bike that's older than me, but I figured some people around here know some tips to make it look a little more bad ass.

Adam
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 05:51 PM

 
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Don't misunderstand me if that bike holds some cool hidden inside as it sounds your looking for .I've never seen it

Bad trans.
poor handling
poor brakes
bad petcock
heavy

If you wont to know and you did ask .

unless it's a running FREE good condition bike find somthing else for a project .

Gus
We offer three kinds of service @ Resurrection
GOOD - CHEAP - FAST
You can pick any two
GOOD service CHEAP won't be FAST
GOOD service FAST won't be CHEAP
FAST service CHEAP won't be GOOD
and cold beer.

I'd love to help but I don't chase parts.
Please contact other forum members and supporters for parts.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by resurrection View Post
Don't misunderstand me if that bike holds some cool hidden inside as it sounds your looking for .I've never seen it

Bad trans.
poor handling
poor brakes
bad petcock
heavy

If you wont to know and you did ask .

unless it's a running FREE good condition bike find somthing else for a project .
Good enough answer for me. I don't think he's going to get it for free and I really have no idea on the condition so I guess I should just pass this information along to him.

He's trying to find something he can pick up for relatively cheap (under 2K) and would rather lean towards a cruiser than a sport bike. I'm sure they're out there, but I really know very little when it comes to cruisers and even less when they're older.

Maybe I should be asking what might be a good base for this type of project? It's way too general to just ask "what would you choose to start a project with" because everyone has their own ideas, preferences, requirements when it comes to a bike to ride.

Resurrection - Along the same era/style of bike, do you have any recommendations of where to start? Maybe a popular style that people are able to easily modify? Maybe one that handles really well or an engine that is easy to work on or just plain bulletproof? Like I said, I know very little but if I can give him a better direction of where to look maybe he can find something he likes a little better.

Thanks for all the quick responses guys. Hopefully I can talk to him and give him some other options before he gets his heart set on this one.

Adam
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 06:13 PM
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Drag bars.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 07:17 PM
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USD forks, dirty bars, new swingarm (GSXR for ease, SSSA for coolness), bobber it, and paint everything flat black.

It will at least look mean

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Noodles accepts no liability for the content of this post, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided, unless that information is subsequently confirmed in writing. Any views or opinions presented in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Noodles.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 07:31 PM
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make sure you can get rebuild parts for those carbs, I'm pretty sure Yamaha has discontinued/cancelled just about every part for that bike. I don't even think that K&L sells aftermarket parts for those carbs either (mitsubishi I think).
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 07:51 PM
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rock it stock till it falls apart, then sell it to an idiot. then get a real bike.

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 08:10 PM
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motorcyclecarbs.com, they can usually get what i need. unfortunately they've removed their phone number lately and the online communique is via email now.

As for picking up a cheap old bike...unless it was recently ridden as a daily by someone, the carbs, forks, tires, brake pads, and possibly the chain are all things that will most likely need replaced.

Or if your friend is okay with riding a 2-wheeled machine that may possibly fail while he's on it, go Vcooks route.

take it from from someone who has the tendency to keep picking up and riding other's useless trash. and if he's still looking come april/may, i might just be looking to part with mine to the right person. otherwise it'll still be a fun, but 2nd bike.

4-wheels may be a privilege, but 2-wheels are a passion.

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muddy4dsm View Post

Resurrection - Along the same era/style of bike, do you have any recommendations of where to start? Maybe a popular style that people are able to easily modify? Maybe one that handles really well or an engine that is easy to work on or just plain bulletproof? Like I said, I know very little but if I can give him a better direction of where to look maybe he can find something he likes a little better.

Thanks for all the quick responses guys. Hopefully I can talk to him and give him some other options before he gets his heart set on this one.
Honda CB750 / night hawk

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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 08:13 PM
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
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honda cb750
+1
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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 09:19 PM
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Meh...... if he has nothing to ride and this is a runner ?


I have rarely met a motorcycle that wasn't a kick in the pants to ride.


And the XS11 was one hell of a kick in the pants !



Could be cool for the right price.


Tom

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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 09:19 PM

 
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If he likes cruisers The Yam. virago,Honda shadow,Magna many years of experiance has shown no common faults in these bikes.

If he has a project in mind any Honda four will have parts and many to choose from.but not a cruiser .

I dont want to back peddle on my last post but I guess any bike that floats you boat is cool .you just happend to pick one of the few jap bikes that has not proven its durability over the years.

I have a freshly rebuilt 2000 Yam. Vstar custom,nice looking bike with all the goods also an 1985 Honda magna 700 another very nice bike.These are just a few we have around that I've gone threw I will share more in a PM or maybe a visit come spring time

Gus
We offer three kinds of service @ Resurrection
GOOD - CHEAP - FAST
You can pick any two
GOOD service CHEAP won't be FAST
GOOD service FAST won't be CHEAP
FAST service CHEAP won't be GOOD
and cold beer.

I'd love to help but I don't chase parts.
Please contact other forum members and supporters for parts.
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-28-2009, 09:22 PM

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLARNEY View Post
Meh...... if he has nothing to ride and this is a runner ?


I have rarely met a motorcycle that wasn't a kick in the pants to ride.


And the XS11 was one hell of a kick in the pants !



Could be cool for the right price.


Tom
I did say just that. above .

BUT I wont recommend spending any real money on its rehab

Gus
We offer three kinds of service @ Resurrection
GOOD - CHEAP - FAST
You can pick any two
GOOD service CHEAP won't be FAST
GOOD service FAST won't be CHEAP
FAST service CHEAP won't be GOOD
and cold beer.

I'd love to help but I don't chase parts.
Please contact other forum members and supporters for parts.
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-29-2009, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice guys!

I'll have him check out this thread and see if any of your ideas float his boat. Keep the advice coming for other choices, the more he has to choose from - the better off he'll be with doing some research before spring.

Adam
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post #21 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-29-2009, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Any thoughts on this?

This bike is a 1981 Yamaha SR500 with 7760 miles. The carb is rebuilt and the tank is clean. The engine runs good with the exception of an oil leak. I've got the replacement gasket, a new chain, and a manual which I'll include.

http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/mcy/1011627555.html

Adam
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post #22 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-29-2009, 01:15 PM
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u can never trust these CL ads until you check out the bike in person. If the bike doesn't have a laundry list of information about it, the guy is probably omitting something
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post #23 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-29-2009, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krukster86 View Post
u can never trust these CL ads until you check out the bike in person. If the bike doesn't have a laundry list of information about it, the guy is probably omitting something
Very true, but I meant more about the model in general. I personally would have a hard time buying an old bike because it's had a lot of history before it got to you so it seems to me like a gamble. But he wants a cruiser/chopper style and under 1.5-2K so old is pretty much the only way to go.

Adam
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post #24 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 10:40 AM
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I love my eleven special

first gear's gone, she's heavy and steers funny as hell with these wacky triple clamps. the drag bars look good but hit the tank when rotated low, I'm putting upside-down clubmans on asap and painting them army green to match the stripes going over the rest of the flat black tins. I trimmed about eight inches off of that ridiculous 70's seat for looks and lower center of gravity. It's been said that tranny work is easiest on this bike than nearly any other in that you just drain the oil, and flip her up on the seat and bars and everything's right there (I'm broke and she's got more than enough power to take off in second). yamaha had to've been trying to cater to the drag community when they conceived that steering geometry- this thing's not happy until going over 80! probably fixed with putting standard xs clamps on.
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