I am looking at picking up my first bike. I am looking for a late 70's Yamaha XS650. I was wondering what i should be looking for to know I am getting a reliable bike? Any quick tests I could do to make sure? Thanks for your help in advance.
Buy something that you can ride, in other words, not another person's project that never got completed. If you find a decent runner you can do some simple tests without too many tools. When the engine is warmed up and idling, pull one of the spark plug leads, if the other cylinder is healthy the bike will continue to run, if not, it probably won't. Do both sides. Of course if you have a compression tester you don't need to do the spark plug test.
But generally, a test ride will give you a good feel for the bike if you know bikes. If you don't, bring someone who does.
If possible it's a good idea to ask the seller not to start the bike before you show up, cold starts can be revealing.
The common sense things like tires, lights, everything you'll need to pass a State Inspection, and a title(!)should not be overlooked.
Be ready with cash if you find the right bike, and if it's really the right bike be ready to pay.
FWIW I'd be looking for a '78 or older, I'm not crazy about the "Midnight Special" theme on post '78 models.
xs's arent in my opinion quite as desirable as the cb's but then again, around here, cb750's arent that hot either. but i think the xs' are harder to find. there was kind of a cool one at the bike nite tex and i were at the other nite. setup dirt tracker style.
go find yourself an XS then, get hung up on buying only an XS, and pay more for it than you have to because the guys who own them know that "Chopper" guys are snapping them up at every opportunity.
How's that for helpful? I didn't suggest anything because only you know what you're looking for... is it that you really want a 70s bike? is it you really want a twin? only you know. Start buying bike traders... every time you see a bike in your price range, go read up on it. You want cheap? Start looking early 80s. There's tons of 80s bikes out there...
Buy a bike. A running bike. One that goes when you twist the throttle and stops when you use the brakes. One that needs a bit of work that you can sell and not lose money... one that gives you a bit of experience working on bikes so that when you find that XS, you can pick it up and ensure that it doesn't become a pile of parts sitting in your garage for years.
I'm going to parrot what has been said already and add that a little common sense will a long way at this point. first bike is a big deal. I love yamahas but I think you are limiting your self unnecessarily. It could be a long wait for the right xs. If you're bucks up, then fire away at the next nice example that shows up online. otherwise, I would suggest you broaden the search to include the gs500 and the ex500. both are entertaining rides, plentiful, easily modified, and reasonable priced.
Yea I have my heart stuck on an XS but i agree I'll probably end up with something else. Thanks for the suggestions bcr anyone else have a good bike. It needs to be around the 1980's and below 650 cc for insurance to be affordable for me.
I just picked up a '77 Suzuki GS400 for cheap money. I'm kind of impressed with the bike, decent power, 6 spd tranny and it looks like an easy conversion to a cafe. It doesn't have the cache that some of the more desirable bikes from that period have, but that also means you can get 'em cheap. The only thing I'm not thrilled about is the shim/bucket valve arrangement, which makes it a PITA to do a valve adjustment. Other than that it's stone simple.
Finally pulled the trigger and got a bike today. 1979 Yamaha XS650 Special. I am so excited. I have a couple pictures but I am forum retarded and can never figure out how to post pictures so if anyone would like to help me or host them for me that would be great.
Here are the picture of my new bike hope these work.
The seat and the bars are the first thing I plan to change but that will probably take a little while as I am working on a very limited budget. BTW anyone know where to find a seat for a '79 xs650 special its almost like they don't exist