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Old 02-12-2014, 04:42 PM   #1
duckman44 OP
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Yamaha xs400 cafe racer project

I have been living a bit of a lie.
My signature states that i have an XS400 Cafe racer.
I do own the 400 but it is only now turning into the cafe racer.
Follow along if you like and please,please give me suggestions.
I have pretty thick skin so tell me how I have screwed up if needed.
Tonight I will share pictures of the untouched beast and the first series of modifications.
It has been super cold here in NY lately so the progress will be somewhat slower than normal.
I should add that I have a very nice fully equipped work shop 32'X72' but there is no heat.
I set up a temp shop for the winter in my garage under my house.
Not warm but still able work without gloves.
The Mrs. will have to park outside this winter. Not a good place to start!

Here you have your basic 1977 XS400.


It is in average shape for an almost 40 year old machine.
It was a freebee that has been sitting in my garage for about 7-8 years.










OK so you get the idea.
First job, cafe seat/tail.
I have been eying up a seat on Fleabay for a while.
I bought it and started hacking away at the frame.





Here is a nice chunk going to the trash bin.


Next step is making a loop for the rear of the seat.
It is kind of a strange size and I cannot find one so it is now into the scrap bin and old parts shelf for some materials.


Oh look, a few of these handlebars should work just fine!
I have dozens hanging all over the shop
I think these three are form a Moto Guzzi,Yamaha 650 and Honda 550.
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2013 Ducati Multistrada GT - 2008 Ducati 1098
2005 KTM 625 SMC - 1976 Moto Guzzi Convert (Auto) - 1964 Ducati 90 Mountaineer
1977 Yamaha XS 400 Cafe Racer - 1976 Honda CB 750 Cafe Racer
1968 Triumph 650 Old School Chopper - 1982 Yamaha 750 Virago
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Old 02-12-2014, 06:48 PM   #2
16VGTIDave
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Well, it's your bike, have fun building the way you want!

XS400.com has an active forum dedicated to these bikes. More info than you thought you needed can be found there.
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:51 PM   #3
duckman44 OP
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Making the seat loop

I started by looking for a few sections of various bars that had an angle close to what I needed. They would bend pretty easily and smoothly with the proper amount of heat.



It took a while but I got the proper width and length. Trimmed a little at a time.
I turned down a rod to put into the cut frame end so I could heat and bend it to the correct angle to match the seat.



The seat was just supported on stacks of washers at this point.
The next step would be to put seat cross bars and proper height rubber mounts.
Here are a few shots of the loop with tape holding it together at the joints. I latter tacked it with the MIG.









I removed the springs from the shocks when I first started the loop so I could get the wheel at maximum upward travel. I wanted to be sure I had clearance for the loop and later for the cross mounts for the battery and electrical components.


A few tacks to hold it together during the final tweaking for fit.
After all of the fitting, I will strip the frame down and weld everything.
The pictures may look like it is not straight but it is.
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"Life is Tough, Life is Tougher if you're Stupid" - John Wayne (and my Dad)
2013 Ducati Multistrada GT - 2008 Ducati 1098
2005 KTM 625 SMC - 1976 Moto Guzzi Convert (Auto) - 1964 Ducati 90 Mountaineer
1977 Yamaha XS 400 Cafe Racer - 1976 Honda CB 750 Cafe Racer
1968 Triumph 650 Old School Chopper - 1982 Yamaha 750 Virago
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:34 AM   #4
Kennon
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Great start man
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:35 AM   #5
rd400racer
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Looks great! I'm in the same boat...RZ350 in my signature but in truth the bike is in 1000 pieces. I'm hoping to start my resto within a few weeks.

Let me know if there is anything you might need. I have built a couple of café RD400's and I have many parts laying around. Being typical Yamaha I'm sure that quite a few RD400 parts will work on an XS400.

I'll be keeping an eye on your thread.
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:25 PM   #6
Qaz
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I am looking forward to the build, but I think you have already made your first mistake. The humped seat with the snap on seat cover is really unattractive, but the seat and rear cowl that came on the bike really do look good with a few modifications. The XS400 tank looks good but needs about 4 inches added to it's length. Sorry, this is your build. Are you sure you want suggestions?
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Old 02-15-2014, 01:59 PM   #7
duckman44 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qaz View Post
I am looking forward to the build, but I think you have already made your first mistake. The humped seat with the snap on seat cover is really unattractive, but the seat and rear cowl that came on the bike really do look good with a few modifications. The XS400 tank looks good but needs about 4 inches added to it's length. Sorry, this is your build. Are you sure you want suggestions?
I did consider leaving the original seat and just replacing the rear fender and tailight.
I am one of those that likes the old school look of the snap on cowl.
You will see that I have mixed old school look with a few modern pieces thrown in just because I had them on the shelf or because I have no taste.
Either way, it gives me something to do during this crazy cold winter. One more month and I should be able to get into my normal shop.
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"Life is Tough, Life is Tougher if you're Stupid" - John Wayne (and my Dad)
2013 Ducati Multistrada GT - 2008 Ducati 1098
2005 KTM 625 SMC - 1976 Moto Guzzi Convert (Auto) - 1964 Ducati 90 Mountaineer
1977 Yamaha XS 400 Cafe Racer - 1976 Honda CB 750 Cafe Racer
1968 Triumph 650 Old School Chopper - 1982 Yamaha 750 Virago
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:22 AM   #8
Ed_in_miami
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Nice. Will be looking forward to your updates.
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:12 PM   #9
duckman44 OP
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Once I was happy that the loop was straight, I tacked it in a few places.
I now needed to add some cross bars to put the seat mounts and a perch for the battery. I am using an old battery from my KTM 625 for fitment.
I will use a lightweight Shorai version of the same battery for the permanent installation. I used rubber mounts so that I would have a little give in the seat. I didn't want the fiberglass to stress too much and crack. It seems very sturdy with 4 mounting points.

Here I cut a few rough strips for starters.


These are the rubber mounts that I will be using.



I used washers to get the proper height and then cut one piece spacers.




Here I have tacked the one piece spacers in and finalized the seat placement.
You can also see that i have started on the battery mounting plate.
I made sure the rear wheel would clear it at full compression.
I have also started to relocate my electrics to the underseat location as well as under the seat hump.





In an atemp to keep the bike lines clean, I did not want the look of rear turn indicators. I found a very small LED tailight that has the turn indicators as part of the light.
I made a small bracket for the tail loop and tacked it on.
This light is small but very bright. I will include a few pics of it lit later.
I am looking for extremely small indicator lights for the front. I don't want anything sticking out very far.






Once again I must state that things do not look real staright in these crappy pictures but they are all in line.
After a few evenings welding and grinding away, it will all look great.
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"Life is Tough, Life is Tougher if you're Stupid" - John Wayne (and my Dad)
2013 Ducati Multistrada GT - 2008 Ducati 1098
2005 KTM 625 SMC - 1976 Moto Guzzi Convert (Auto) - 1964 Ducati 90 Mountaineer
1977 Yamaha XS 400 Cafe Racer - 1976 Honda CB 750 Cafe Racer
1968 Triumph 650 Old School Chopper - 1982 Yamaha 750 Virago
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Old 02-23-2014, 03:15 PM   #10
duckman44 OP
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And now for the Rearsets

I thought for a long time about what style rearset to use. I really like the old school look of plain aluminum and simple round knurled pegs.
I wanted to make my own but time is not plentiful lately and more than that, I had a brand new set of modern rearsets on the shelf from my Ducati 1098 that were not being used. The cheaper part of me won and I decided to use the black Ducati set. I would still have to do a fair amount of fabrication for mounts and linkages.

The old



Here is what it looked like after I cut off the original studs for the old footrests. I was hoping I cpuld use one of these mounting points for a bolting location. Here is the left side.


Here is part of the new bracket. I was pleased to see that if I used the upper mounting hole location , all I would have to do was make a new plate for the upper mount.


So my plan is to make a triangle piece and weld it to the frame to accept the upper mount. Here it goes.




Set in place and ready to tack








This is part of the rearset installed. There are heel guards also.


Here is part of ther shifter linkage started. It takes quite a while to get the right length and location for this. Sitting on the bike, it feels like it will be in the proper location.



Here is the other side after the same process.


One side note, There now is no clearance for the kickstarter. It will hit the peg. I was planning on taking it off anyway and just use the electric starter. Looks a little cleaner.

The rear brake linkage is much more involved that the shift linkage.
I am getting rid of the stock rear master cylinder and an installing an aftermarker one. Homemade linkage and a remote resevoir.
Here is part of that mess!



While I was tinkering with different things, I removed the tach cable because I am not going to run one. This left a big old ugly hole in the motor. I made a little brass fitting the same size as the end of the tach cable. It fits great and I will shorten it so it does not stick out so much. I think I will cut a groove for an o-ring to seal out and oil from messing up my soon to be clean motor.

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"Life is Tough, Life is Tougher if you're Stupid" - John Wayne (and my Dad)
2013 Ducati Multistrada GT - 2008 Ducati 1098
2005 KTM 625 SMC - 1976 Moto Guzzi Convert (Auto) - 1964 Ducati 90 Mountaineer
1977 Yamaha XS 400 Cafe Racer - 1976 Honda CB 750 Cafe Racer
1968 Triumph 650 Old School Chopper - 1982 Yamaha 750 Virago
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:27 PM   #11
Kevan Garrett
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In!

Hey Duckman.

Looks like a fun build. Thanks for sharing with us. I love the XS650 as it was my first "real" bike. I hate seeing people fug them up by chopping/cafe'ing them. I want to buy one but can never find an unmolested bike.

But I don't want an XS400 so chop away. Heh.

Best of luck with the build. Keep those pics coming. Spring is right around the corner out your way.

Cheers

Kevan
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Old 02-26-2014, 04:18 PM   #12
Scubawerx
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Inventive ways to get what you need. Nice build. Good photos along the way as well. Keep us updated.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:03 AM   #13
1stiski
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I Love builds.
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:29 PM   #14
duckman44 OP
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Progress continues

Even though it is like a freezer here in NY, I have to keep moving on or this will never get done.
I got rid of the ugly and heavy instument cluster. I wanted a cleaner and lighter look.
I found a small and light speedo that is very low profile. It does not have a tach but I don't need that anyway. Speedo,turn indicators,high beam,trip meter. That will work! It even has a few different background colors to choose from.


Here is where it will fit. The two mounting points should work just fine.
You can also get a peek at the headlight ears I have chosen. They are billet and look great. Better shots later.


The unit had a couple of good mounting tabs on the back. I removed the mount that came on it. Won't be needing that.


First paper and then a rough cut from a 1/4" aluminum plate.
I will most likely make another one after the final fitting is over.


Here are the pieces that I need.


Bolt them all together and voila!


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"Life is Tough, Life is Tougher if you're Stupid" - John Wayne (and my Dad)
2013 Ducati Multistrada GT - 2008 Ducati 1098
2005 KTM 625 SMC - 1976 Moto Guzzi Convert (Auto) - 1964 Ducati 90 Mountaineer
1977 Yamaha XS 400 Cafe Racer - 1976 Honda CB 750 Cafe Racer
1968 Triumph 650 Old School Chopper - 1982 Yamaha 750 Virago
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:22 PM   #15
edjo69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duckman44 View Post
Even though it is like a freezer here in NY, I have to keep moving on or this will never get done.
I got rid of the ugly and heavy instument cluster. I wanted a cleaner and lighter look.
I found a small and light speedo that is very low profile. It does not have a tach but I don't need that anyway. Speedo,turn indicators,high beam,trip meter. That will work! It even has a few different background colors to choose from.


Here is where it will fit. The two mounting points should work just fine.
You can also get a peek at the headlight ears I have chosen. They are billet and look great. Better shots later.


The unit had a couple of good mounting tabs on the back. I removed the mount that came on it. Won't be needing that.


First paper and then a rough cut from a 1/4" aluminum plate.
I will most likely make another one after the final fitting is over.


Here are the pieces that I need.


Bolt them all together and voila!


Who makes the speedo tach unit?
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