Bought another bike! Yamaha xs850 special
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Bought another bike! Yamaha xs850 special

This is a discussion on Bought another bike! Yamaha xs850 special within the General forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; It's all stock and original, 1980, 30k on the clock. ive seen a couple of these stripped down with r6 forks and smaller seats, and ...

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Thread: Bought another bike! Yamaha xs850 special

  1. #1
    Senior Member thechief86's Avatar
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    Bought another bike! Yamaha xs850 special

    It's all stock and original, 1980, 30k on the clock.
    ive seen a couple of these stripped down with r6 forks and smaller seats,
    and they look great. What do you guys suggest? First thing would be getting it running. It has
    been sitting over a year.

    It ain't easy bein' fat and greasy.

  2. #2
    Senior Member dirkchecken's Avatar
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    get it running good, and change the bars.
    I like my shocks like I like my women. Cheap and Chinese.

  3. #3
    Senior Member hillsy's Avatar
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    Is it possible to convert these to chain drive like they do on the XS1100's? That would make them a more appealing platform.

    Also, Triumph Trident (mid to late 90's) carbs are supposed to be the bolt on go fast mod for these motors.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Joep7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillsy View Post
    Is it possible to convert these to chain drive like they do on the XS1100's? That would make them a more appealing platform.

    Also, Triumph Trident (mid to late 90's) carbs are supposed to be the bolt on go fast mod for these motors.

    I know you can use 850 gearing on an 1100 so i would imagine the middle and final drives are near identical, making a conversion possible.

  6. #5
    Senior Member thechief86's Avatar
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    I thought the shaft drive was kind of cool. It never bothered me on my old guzzi. Do they suck on jap bikes?
    Would it make it handle like crap to just leave that part alone? Seems like the ring and pinion outlasts the
    average chain and sprocket set, but doesn't offer the option of changing ratios...
    I was thinking I'd get a smaller seat and a set of clubmans, and kind of strip it down to start.
    As time and money would allow I'd try to adapt some later crotch rocket forks and clip-ons to it. Is there anything wrong with gutting the
    stock megaphones until I can afford a 3 into 1?
    It ain't easy bein' fat and greasy.

  7. #6
    Senior Member hillsy's Avatar
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    Not sure about the 750/850's, but the 1100's shaft drive was arguably the worst of the lot of the Jap shafties from the 70's. Lots of shaft jacking and general misbehaviour. I've heard stories of them locking up on more than one occasion (not sure if that's a design issue or just from lack of maintenance). Mind you, the 1100 was pretty powerful motor for it's time so that may have had something to do with the shaft drive unit's failings.

    The biggest problem you have is being that it's a Special you have a 16" cruiser style rear rim - which limits your tyre choice and is not very conducive for sharp handling.

    Hence the idea of chain drive conversion - that would open up endless wheel choice possibilities.

    Anyway, if you're doing it on a budget, sure you can start with cosmetic stuff.....but it's only playing dress-up and you won't really be improving the bike.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    jap bikes have horrible shaft jacking.

    two words: mad max

    That bike will NEVER be "performance" orented so don't go down that road. keep the upright riding position. I like modern suspension on anything so why not go for it. I think your goal should be to make the lightest possible commuter bike you can see how far you can take it. Just don't call it a bobber, a cafe racer, or anything like that. Try to innovate, start something new.

    but yeah make it run first.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  9. #8
    Senior Member thechief86's Avatar
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    I guess 'café ' won't be the right term for this bike, but would it be stupid to change the bars and strip it down? What keeps this bike from ever fitting into the 'cafe' category? I realize it won't be a racer unless I race it, but I have done track days on crotch rockets, and might one day do a vintage track day. There are a few of these around that have been called 'cafe's', and I have always liked the look. The 850 special that Spin Cycle built is pretty much what I have in mind. What does 'shaft jacking' do that I might not like? I understand that it raises the back of the bike under load, but is that really such a big deal? Spin Cycle Industries Yamaha XS850 ~ Return of the Cafe Racers
    It ain't easy bein' fat and greasy.

  10. #9
    Senior Member drgonzo's Avatar
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    Name:  Yamaha-xs-850_32be1.jpg
Views: 24452
Size:  67.0 KBNeeds a seat pad.
    Name:  yamaha-xs-850-sears-point-by-obiboi-on-deviantart_01.jpg
Views: 44945
Size:  83.9 KBNeeds to be real.
    Name:  cafe-racer-tail-light-xs-cafe-racer-page-1-cafe-racers-do-the-ton-74437-900x675.jpg
Views: 28524
Size:  96.1 KBBest option, just change to superbike bars or drag bars at the lowest.
    Last edited by drgonzo; 08-21-2013 at 02:24 PM.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    A real "cafe" racer is an old bike someone has extracted as much performance out of within their means. I have seen this new generation come along and call things "cafe racer" that aren't anything more than a glorified chopper with a set of low bars. It isn't about the look, it isn't really even about the speed (because you can buy a brand new R1 that is more bike than you will ever need), it is about the rewards of mechanical tinkering. Anbody who build an xs850 shaftie and called it a "cafe racer" is just a guy jerking off to an image and a style - it isn't about the bike, it isn't about riding or garage time, it's about feeding his head that he is somehow related to 1950s cool. If you are doing it for a look you are missing the point of the exercise.

    Why the 850 is a bad platform:

    - heavy. The japanese always straddled the line between the light british and the pig iron americans. They used exotic metals and GP engineering but they overbuilt when they though necessary and it usually means the bike is heavier than it needs to be. Their solution to a bad frame design was to add more tubes, not redesign, if this gives you any idea.

    - Shaft drive. It is hard to take a shaftie performance bike seriously. Guzzi's tonti frame does an admirable job as do airhead beemers. But the japanese never intended these bikes to be fast runners, and the shaft jacking is pretty noticable. The good news is it is somewhat predictable, but not something you can eliminate. What shaft jacking functionally does is shorten the wheelbase, which in a turn can change your line. it also changes the suspension rate in the rear because now the shock is fighting the bump and the force of the pinion trying to climb the ring gear.

    - suspension. 16" rear wheels are a joke. Chopper bull crap. The forks are too small and inadiquate, and the frame probably has too much rake and too much trail . I believe the stock forks are leading axle which is absolute shit for a performance bike. yeah you can change all this, but not much you can do about the rake on a shaftie without cutting the neck in the frame.

    That spin cycle bike is nothing to aspire to. I count quite a few errors and issues. There are some nice parts on there but you can tell they didn't do their homework - it is just a stock frame with some fancy suspension pieces and a a fancy seat.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

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