Here are some pics of my ‘79 XS650 Special. Found the bike 2.5 yrs ago on craigslist with 7700 miles on it, I picked it up for pretty cheap as something different from my 2 sportbikes. The original plan was to turn it into a hardtail bobber. It had sat in his garage for years and the previous owner couldn’t get it started. I trailered it home, clean the carbs, replaced the battery, set the valves and points and it fired right up and ran like a champ. Replaced the tires and put some dirtbike bars on it and rode it/did research on it for the rest of that summer. Over last summer and into this one I’ve repainted it twice, ending up with the current paint scheme as my favorite so far. I am a bodyshop manager so paint is what a do, hence changing it up now and then.

Here are most of the things Ive done to it so far besides general maint/adjustments. Drag bars and bar end mirror, remounted/lowered the headlight about 4 inches and did the same with the gauges as well as laying the gauges back a bit more to look more ‘60s ish.  Repolished the wheels and resprayed the satin black spokes, sanded and polished the engine cases, removed the airbox for K&N pod filters. Converted to a homebuilt solid state rectifier and regulator and swapped out the corroded fuse box for an ATO style block. Cut and lowered the front fender, cut the back fender, welded mounting brackets to the frame for the twin tail lights I found on ebay. Fabricated a license plate mount off the lower shock mount. Shaved the holes for the “Special” emblems on the side covers and replaced worn tank badges.

New O-ring chain and sprockets, 4 teeth smaller on the rear sprocket is much nicer for hwy cruising, runs about 4250rpm at 70mph now. Cut the stock heapipes, made and welded on slip joint style mounts for the cherry bomb glass packs I used for mufflers. That’s most of it as she sits. Im still planning an XLCR fiberglass tail/seat for it and considering building a 2 into 1 header running into a carbon fiber superbike muffler kicked up on the right side. We’ll see. I have a ton of fun with this old bike, after owning it and running it up to 13,700 miles so far I can see why everyone loves them so much. I ride it as much as my ‘08 Ducati 1098, sometimes more haha.


Thanks for looking,