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Project Bike First 200 miles first impressions.

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  • Project Bike First 200 miles first impressions.

    So after tuning the carbs, sync and idle drop, I took the bike out for a ride for about 200 miles. I'm still in my garage as I write this and wanted to share my first impressions of my XS1100SH and see if it's on par.

    She pulls hard, she doesn't struggle or sputter but really only hits a power spike in the mid rpms. Not a lot of torque off idle compared to other bikes I've owned. I dont know if I hit redline or not due to the tach not working.

    Gearing is nice for around town, sucks for touring with the 16", rear. She revs higher compared to my touring bikes at highway speeds.

    Handling is also great for around town. Very clickable and leans nicely. I did spin the rear out quite a few times coming out of a corner in 1st or 2nd.

    The brakes are archaic. I have a spiegler SS kit on it with new pads. I have to full hand these brakes as opposed to two figering it. Around town, again not much of a problem.

    My riding style is aggressive, I wouldn't however trust these brakes on a mountain pass doing anything over 60mph on corners.

    Suspension is soft. Too.soft. running 14 psi in the forks with 10W oil. Haven't messed with the rear shocks yet. At freeway speeds the fork lowers bounce up and down so fast on uneven pavement that is sends a vibration up to the bars, almost feels like death wobble. However it doesn't wobble, just feels like a jackhammer.

    My other bikes are sport and sport touring, so maybe I just spoiled with firm brakes and excellent suspension lol. Let me know your thoughts and if this is a normal experience.

  • #2
    I latched on the my 79 special project because I wanted another antique and it seemed like a decent project. The only other air cooled bikes I've owned was a 78 GS1000E and 82 CB750SC. Both were fine rides.

    I agree that the front suspension is soft and it does have good torque for around town. My ZL1000 revs at 1000 rpm higher at highway speeds in 6th, so I find the gearing in 5th to be pretty good. Runs smooth and the brakes are what they are, it's old like me and I shy away from the ragged edges on the performance end of things. I'll ask for it to go, stop or turn, just not all 3 at the limits at the same time. All in all, I look at the bike as an enjoyable way to roll around and have something unique that takes some knowledge and work to keep running.
    1979 XS1100 Special
    1980 XS1100 Std parts bucket
    1987 ZL1000 Eliminator
    1976 XS750D Project in waiting

    Comment


    • #3
      Banshee,
      The brakes were barely adequate in the 80's and we never used 2 fingers back then. It's not a modern sport bike.
      Power band is from 3500 to 7200 RPM with a step at 4500 so no need to go to redline. Hard acceleration in 1st & 2nd will have you looking for the slipping transmission fix which is probably in your future.
      Enjoy it for what it is.

      Phil
      1981 XS1100 H Venturer ( Addie)
      1983 XJ 650 Maxim
      2004 Kawasaki Concours. ( Black Bear)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by MaximPhil View Post
        Banshee,
        The brakes were barely adequate in the 80's and we never used 2 fingers back then. It's not a modern sport bike.
        Power band is from 3500 to 7200 RPM with a step at 4500 so no need to go to redline. Hard acceleration in 1st & 2nd will have you looking for the slipping transmission fix which is probably in your future.
        Enjoy it for what it is.

        Phil
        Thank you. I keep thinking there is air in the lines, after spending a day bleeding them because the feel wasn't firm enough for me.

        The only thing I can think of would be the EBC sintered pads for an upgrade. However I hate brake noise and every bike I've put those on sounded horrible.

        I run ceramic pads with ss lines on my other bikes that have more of an aftermarket available to them. So I guess I spoiled myself.

        I like to go fast then slow down fast as well. This build will be doing only the former. When I go up the mountains I guess I'll be going slow as a Harley

        Comment


        • #5
          I made a few mods to my 79 Special to solve some of the problems you are having. First the front end I went with Progressive springs and cartridge emulators. No air assist needed any more. For the front brakes, SS lines and a 16MM bore Brembo M/C. The bike actually stops very well now. For the rear I found a set of used KYB or Fox performance shocks with 12 5/8 eye to eye dimensions. Custom preload spaced them to my liking. My bike handles and stops so much better than the stock set-up ever did. I also did the 850 FD mod which has taller gear ratio and drops the crusing RPM by about 900 RPM.
          2H7 (79)
          3H3

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bikerphil View Post
            I made a few mods to my 79 Special to solve some of the problems you are having. First the front end I went with Progressive springs and cartridge emulators. No air assist needed any more. For the front brakes, SS lines and a 16MM bore Brembo M/C. The bike actually stops very well now. For the rear I found a set of used KYB or Fox performance shocks with 12 5/8 eye to eye dimensions. Custom preload spaced them to my liking. My bike handles and stops so much better than the stock set-up ever did. I also did the 850 FD mod which has taller gear ratio and drops the crusing RPM by about 900 RPM.
            A shock upgrade is on my list as well as progressive springs. I wanted to make sure the bike ran good before throwing that kind of money at it. Super interested about the cartridge emulators though. Do tell!

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, the compression damping can be adjusted with the emulators and the rebound with the oil viscosity. Straight wound springs are recommended with emulators but I had the progressive springs already and used them. With some experimenting, the front suspension can be fine tuned much better than the factory setup.
              2H7 (79)
              3H3

              Comment


              • #8
                Banshee, Here is a description for the cartridge emulators by Race Tech.

                https://racetech.com/page/title/Emulator%20Fitting

                Front forks were still a bit behind on the learning curve for XS models........

                ---Bax

                80 SG

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have emulators from Race-Tech in mine. They're combined with straight rate springs. I don't recommend progressive wound springs with emulators. The competing technologies will make them very hard to tune. Choose one or the other.

                  I can slow down to make a 90 degree turn onto a side street, then twist the throttle and it will pull without coming out of 5th gear. That is plenty of torque. If you can't do that, you have some work to do.
                  Marty (in Mississippi)
                  XS1100SG
                  XS650SK

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You're right NOT to try to use sintered pads, they are metal infused and actually don't work as well until they are heated up a lot more. And they can wear down the disc faster as well. Your bike is the same as mine, and specials make it next to impossible to upgrade the front calipers due to the wonky swivel mounted slanted calipers/pads! Crazy Steve posted a tech tip about how to add dual piston calipers from a Harley onto a STANDARD lower fork tube with it's normal 2 bolt plate attachment design. SO..that's one easier simpler mod, to put standard lower sliders onto your special uppers, then you could add the calipers, along with a modern MC. I did an extreme mod on my special forks and made a special bracket to mount some dual piston calipers on my special. Took some work with some machining equipment, not just a simple hack saw or grinder. But it can be done.

                    Also, do you have a FORK BRACE on the front forks? IF not, that can help add some stability to the front, can help you with canyon carving.
                    T.C.
                    T. C. Gresham
                    81SH "Godzilla" . . .1179cc super-rat.
                    79SF "The Teacher" . . .basket case!
                    History shows again and again,
                    How nature points out the folly of men!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TopCatGr58 View Post
                      You're right NOT to try to use sintered pads, they are metal infused and actually don't work as well until they are heated up a lot more. And they can wear down the disc faster as well. Your bike is the same as mine, and specials make it next to impossible to upgrade the front calipers due to the wonky swivel mounted slanted calipers/pads! Crazy Steve posted a tech tip about how to add dual piston calipers from a Harley onto a STANDARD lower fork tube with it's normal 2 bolt plate attachment design. SO..that's one easier simpler mod, to put standard lower sliders onto your special uppers, then you could add the calipers, along with a modern MC. I did an extreme mod on my special forks and made a special bracket to mount some dual piston calipers on my special. Took some work with some machining equipment, not just a simple hack saw or grinder. But it can be done.

                      Also, do you have a FORK BRACE on the front forks? IF not, that can help add some stability to the front, can help you with canyon carving.
                      T.C.
                      Where can I find fork braces for a SH?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm going to be looking for one soon, but TKat has retired and no longer makes them, so I think it's the UK for us. You may find one on ebay, but it MUST be for the Special, as the forks/fender are different than a standard and they will NOT interchange.
                        Ray Matteis
                        KE6NHG
                        XS1100 E '78 (winter project)
                        XS1100 SF Bob Jones worked on it!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Banshee's Veil View Post

                          Where can I find fork braces for a SH?
                          Tarozzi makes fork braces for the XS1100. You can source one from Fast From the Past. The one for the Sport has been successfully fitted onto a Special.
                          Marty (in Mississippi)
                          XS1100SG
                          XS650SK

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jetmechmarty View Post

                            Tarozzi makes fork braces for the XS1100. You can source one from Fast From the Past. The one for the Sport has been successfully fitted onto a Special.

                            I passed that advice on to a fellow XS’er this summer that wasn’t able to join the old forum, I don’t know if he’s joined up here. He ordered the Tarozzi and it did not fit his Special. He had to return it. The Sport was apparently the name for a Standard overseas, I just looked up that link and it specifically says the sport does not fit the special.

                            Unless there’s some modification that can be done I’m not sure that is worth pursuing.
                            Howard

                            ‘01 ZRX 1200, only bike in the garage.

                            2020 Rally Link:
                            http://www.appleattic.net/XS2020/xs2020.html

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              donebysunday fitted one on his Special. I think he had to do a little work with a file. Hopefully, he’ll chime in.
                              Marty (in Mississippi)
                              XS1100SG
                              XS650SK

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