1981 Yamaha XS400 Scramblerized, eventually...

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by JimVonBaden, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    I picked this up from an inmate the other day:

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    For him it was a bobber project:

    from this:
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    To this:
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    He started out chopping the rear and relocating the shocks, then adding a seat pan, plus a bunch of work.
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    (photos courtesy of his photobucket account, and mine)

    My plan is to beef up the suspension, beef up the shock mounts (they are fine for street, but I am big and need them really strong), redo the wheels (but keep the drum brakes) and generally make it look period, but very clean and newish looking. I even hope to fab a set of high pipes for it.

    Just a first look:
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    Note the modern 2015 R1200GS seat foam and cover I hope to add. I plan on changing the tank to something smaller.

    I want pipes similar to this:
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    and paint like this except Yamaha yellow:
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    The overall look will be similar, but a lot less chrome.

    I warn, it will not be a fast project, but I will eventually get it done.

    By the way, any suggestions for Scrambler type tires to fit
    R 90/16 4.5" wide 120/90/16
    Fr 350/18 3.75" wide, 80/100/18

    Preferably matching.
    #1
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  2. Salsa

    Salsa Long timer

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    The headlight bracket doubles as an anti wheelie device !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    #2
  3. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    It certainly is stout!
    #3
  4. victor441

    victor441 Long timer

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    If you want to attempt DIY scrambler high pipes check out the video below, very clever and the result is good. An Avon Distanzia would be a good tire up front but is not available in 16" for the rear. Was there a non cruiser version of that bike w/ a 17 or 18 rear wheel? Might be worth tracking a wheel down if so, the you could run Distanzias or similar front and rear. FWIW am using them on my DR650SM (sort of a scrambler) and like them a LOT.



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    #4
  5. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    I ordered a pipe build kit, since I can't really bend my own. I also ordered a new tank, cap, valve, filter, hose, spark plug caps, battery, Speedo/odo/indicator gage. They should be in within a week.

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    My plan is to get it started and see if it is mechanically sound, then fab all the pieces and get them fit up. once I have what I want, I will strip it to nothing but pieces and start the powder coat, paint and polish. Lots of steps in between to post about.
    #5
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  6. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    I love the Distanzias. I have run 7-8 sets of them on my GSs. I will see if I can find an applicable spoked rear in 17". That would be perfect.
    #6
  7. zap2504

    zap2504 Dave E.

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    #7
  8. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    Thanks, I am a recent new member there. Unfortunately no one brand, with dual sport tires, has a matching front and rear.
    #8
  9. zap2504

    zap2504 Dave E.

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    Yep - the trouble with trying to get a rear dual-sport tire in a 16" rim - about the only viable option in this size would be the Bridgestone TW40. The front 18" could be either the Shinko 244 or the Continental TKC80
    #9
  10. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    Realistically this is about look more than off road prowess. It should be good for dirt roads, or sand, but not much more. More than likely it will be the Bridgestone and the Shinko or Distanzia.
    #10
  11. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    Got in the parts. I am a bit conflicted on the tank, but I think it might work aesthetically.

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    Sitting on the bike:
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    I also got in the pipe kit. I think I can make it work.

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    I'll get started on the weekend, but I am quite excited to get going.
    #11
  12. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    Had some free time to work on the XS Scrambler today.

    First I hooked up a battery and used a little starter fluid and it cranked right up. It ran fine, so I shut it down and proceeded to mod it.

    First on the agenda, since I wanted to make sure I could actually do it, was the exhaust.

    It started like this:

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    I used this kit for custom exhaust:\

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    Then proceeded to cut and grind to fit the pieces up and make the whole.

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    Once positioned and tack welded, I took it apart and welded the rest. Not a great job, but it looks pretty good to me. The flapper wheel is the crappy welder's best friend.

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    Not even close to perfect, but I am happy with it.

    In the end, I hope to make it good enough to ceramicote, or at lest high heat paint.

    More to come!
    #12
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  13. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @oneworldcycles

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    Cool build! Seriously consider a relace to an 18/19 combo. Your tire choices will expand exponentially and the bike will be far more useable off pavement.
    #13
  14. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    I already found an 18" rear on E-bay and it should be here tomorrow. It will allow me to run Distanzias, which should be just aggressive enough looking and still be perfect for the street. I might consider something cheaper, but I need to look around some more.

    The bike should be fun to ride, though certainly no hot performer. I plan to do all the fabing, then tear it down and powder coat as much as I can, and rebuild the carbs, refresh the seals and gaskets, and all the mechanicals while it is apart. I am considering having the wheels redone, but that will depend on their condition.
    #14
  15. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @oneworldcycles

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    Always nice to score something on the cheap. I sourced a bunch of my parts on ebay.

    That's what's great about motorcycles. They don't have to be the highest performance vehicle in order to put a big grin on your face.

    Sounds like you have a bunch of work ahead. Looking forward to updates.
    #15
  16. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @oneworldcycles

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    #16
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  17. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    That is sweet! Did he do a write-up for it anywhere?
    #17
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  18. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @oneworldcycles

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    No write up but I will have a bunch of pics after Barber. The suspension setup is nuts on that bike!
    #18
  19. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    A little more progress today. Took about three hours to remedy a deficiency in the mods done by the last owner. The rear frame where the shocks mounted were basically U-brackets welded to the end of the frame tube. no reinforcing. Since I am a heavyweight and the bike will doubtless get some off pavement use, I needed to add some steel to the shock mounts.

    Started like this:
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    Note that the frame rails just ended, with little keeping them from spreading, and not very strong brackets to hold the shocks.

    Made a paper template for each side:

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    Found some 3/16 mild steel to make a cross brace:

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    Used similar 3/16 mild steel for the frame braces.

    Ready to weld:
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    Tacked in place:
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    I need to touch up my crappy welds, but this should be plenty strong now.
    #19
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  20. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    A bit more from yesterday:

    I made a mount for the tank from found parts and tacked it into place.

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    The welds are just tacks. I plan to weld fully, and fully clean the look when I strip the bike for paint.


    Then made a bracket to attach the new gauge with lights.

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    Measured up for shocks:
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    I'm thinking 1-1.5" increase.

    Just a couple more shots of the rear frame reinforcement:
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    Next I need to notch the left frame to allow the tank petcock to fit. Then I want to revamp the rear fender, find a suitable front fender, create a bash plate and figure/make out the side covers.

    Of course there is a new headlight, tail light signals, horn and rebuild the entire wire harness.

    Oh, and clean everything, paint a cool tank and fenders, frame and check/repair the brakes and forks.

    Not much at all, assuming the motor, clutch and charging system is sound.
    #20
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