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Discussion Starter #1
Just introducing myself!

Just wanted to say hi. I recently got my first bike, a 1976 Yamaha XS500, and know absolutely nothing about motorcycles, but I picked it up for a very good price and always have been interested.
I've been learning... slowly.

It was already converted into a cafe racer by one of the previous owners, I bought it with the intention of riding it and fixing it as it breaks.
These pictures do it too much justice, I think the last guy that had it didn't take too good care of it.
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There's a decent amount of rust, the paint is coming off in certain areas, And the wiring is now hanging from underneath the seat.
If you see me around say hi! it'll probably be in the "technical" section...

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Please if you have any direction or input on what would be best for me to do in terms of learning, cutting my losses, customizing, etc I'M ALL EARS!! :D:D
 

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Fit some real sport tires in stock sizes, and sell the clown ones to the next clown on eBay. Push the forks back down a few inches through the triple clamps, and fit the clip-ons on top of the top triple clamp.

Far safer, and better on both counts.

Are you after Ride or LOOKS ?

You asked.

Clown tires are for photoshoots, and then you put real ones on. Like this guy:

http://www.pipeburn.com/home/2011/07/10/1985-yamaha-sr500-cafe-racer.html#.U5_JhhUiY1I

He threw the clown tires away and later fitted real sports tires. Learn from him:

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response!
I'm interested in both ride and looks, more so ride of course. I think it'd be a lot nicer to have a stable bike than one that looks cool but doesn't run.

To be completely honest I'm at the point where I don't even know how to push the forks down or what benefit it would be to the bike.
I'm at ground zero.

It was riding up until a couple days ago when the petcock started leaking and now it won't start. So I'm reading a Haynes Motorcycle Techbook and waiting on the service manual to get here to figure out what the problem might be.

Any links to towards reading up on motorcycle basics or maybe videos on motorcycle basics would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Well find out what size the stock OEM tires are. Get a set of Bridgestone S11's fitted and balanced by a pro. Bigger or wider tires than stock OEM sizes will not make the bike ride or handle any better.

The tops of the forks should be in line with the top of the top triple clamp.

You just carefully put a small jack under the frame/motor, jack it up a little to take the weight off the front wheel and loosen the six bolts a little on the triple clamps, and let the chrome fork tubes drop/slip down. Then you just tighten the six bolts up like they were before.
 

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Ok, I see what you're talking about. I'll do that tomorrow.
This will end up lifting the front of my bike a couple inches right? Not that it would be an issue, just curious.
What's the benefit of having them inline like that?

Sorry for the basic questions, just trying to learn.
 

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It means the steering geometry is like the factory intended. It means it "steers right" and the bike is stable over 50mph.

You should move the clipon handlebars up as much as you can, for comfort and control.
 

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…and look to make sure someidiot has not shortened your fork springs.


"What's the benefit of having them inline like that?" non-reduced suspension travel.
No suspension system in the world has ever been improved by reducing it's effective travel by half.

 

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Just to add to your to-do list:

* Get turn signals /license plate mount/ common sense stuff to make it road legal
* Put real fenders on it, especially in the rear. Your tire will sling all kinds of road grime directly at those crappy pods.
* Put non-crappy pods on it (UNI or K&N) instead of those cheapies. Better yet, find a stock airbox and side covers. Your bike will be much easier to tune and ride.
* Either add rear sets to go with your clip-ons, or ditch the clip-ons and get drag/superbike/Daytona bars for a more functional seating position.
* Add some length to that exhaust. The total length of the system is designed to achieve optimum pressure balance in a given RPM range for a particular engine. Yours is about half as long as it should be.
 
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