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Long-Time XS Owner Picks Up First 1100

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  • Long-Time XS Owner Picks Up First 1100

    Hey friends! I just picked up my first XS1100 a couple weeks ago after wanting one since I started riding. It's a 1980 Special with some good (and some very questionable) mods. As you can see in the picture it has cone filters, a MAC (I think) 4-into-1 exhaust, flat bars, a Sergeant saddle, and that orange/black paint job. It hadn't run in five or more years but was stored all that time in a climate-controlled building under a cover. Now, this is my first 1100 but not my first XS. I've owned an '80 850SG for 20 years (it was my first bike) and I just completed a very comprehensive rebuild on a '79 650SF that was abandoned and hadn't run since 1987. Anyway, about this 1100.



    Once I got it off the trailer and into the shop, I gave it a thorough inspection. It's shockingly clean. The old guy who owned it (he's a story all on his own) had a fleet of bikes and was clearly good with a wrench. Not a pro, as you'll see, but decent enough. He also took very good care of his things. The orange and black paint job is well done, as are the period-correct mods. The one thing I don't like is that short, flat handlebar. Aside from the ugly grips, the PO half-assed the installation. Instead of getting new cables and brake lines, he just zip-tied them into loops and stuffed them all behind the headlight bucket. Like, the brake line that went from the master cylinder to the distro block was scrunched, bent into a nasty-looking shape, and just stuffed beside the headlight where it stuck out the right side. He also ran a screw into the steering head stop to decrease the turn radius since the bars are so short but neglected to remove or account for the hazard assembly on the left control box. There are two solid gouges in the pain where the hazard box smashed into the tank. For all that, though, it's still a solid bike that doesn't need much.




    So, what have I done so far? Well, first off I changed the oil and put in new plugs. I also dropped a new glass mat battery in. Then I pulled the carbs, gave them a thorough cleaning, and replaced the float bowl gasket and all the tiny washers and o-rings in the mixture screws (some were missing, natch). The carbs were a bit grosser than I expected. There was this black film that I've never seen before (almost like soft pieces of old audio cassette tape) clogging the float needle screens and little flakes of orange paint everywhere. There was also what I think was sand in the float bowls. It looks like whoever painted the tank sandblasted it first then didn't properly clean/prep it for painting. The fact that the fuel sender plug on the tank side is painted the same orange as the tank leads me to believe that the paint job is also half-assed. I put the carbs back together, gave them a quick bench sync (and guessed at the mixture screw settings), then put everything back together. It fired right up. The video shows it idling right after reinstalling the carbs. It's a touch lean off throttle, up until about 2500 or so. I may need to fiddle with the mixture screws.



    Now I have a running bike but not a riding bike. The front brakes are hashed and I need to do a complete rebuild. There's also wax or armor all on the tires. Like, the whole tire, tread and everything. Nothing some brake cleaner and vigorous scrubbing can't take care of, though. I picked up a new, lower-profile master cylinder (because it was cheaper and easier than rebuilding the stock one. Plus, the special assembly isn't gonna work for the bars I'm using), and I'm replacing the brake lines with braided steel. I'm also going to rebuild both front calipers while I'm in there.

    That should be all this thing needs. I'm going to Vintage Motorcycle Days at Mid-Ohio for work next week, so I probably won't have this thing finished until late July or early August. So, yeah, watch this space. Oh, and a quick question - I'm replacing these trash straight bars with a handlebar from a '78 Standard. When ordering the new braided lines, should I order lines for a standard or just live with the extra length on the special versions?

    PS: Aside from what's in the FAQs, and what I've gleaned from the internet, are there any little tips or tricks I should know about the XS11?






    And here's Yamaha's big bike lineup for 1980!


  • #2
    Looks like you got a nice one, congrats. I like that you even have the owners manual!

    What master cylinder did you end up getting? I might just go that route rather than rebuilding as well.

    Comment


    • #3
      Enjoyed your detailed introduction.

      That's a nice bike to add to complete your 1980 trifecta.
      -Mike
      _________
      '79 XS1100SF 20k miles
      '80 XS1100SG 42k miles
      '81 XS1100H Venturer 35k miles
      '79 XS750SF 20k miles
      '85 Honda V65 Magna ~7k miles
      '84 Honda V65 Magna 48k miles (parts bike)
      '86 Yamaha VMAX 7k miles

      Previous: '68 Motoguzzi 600cc + '79 XS750SF 22k miles +'84 Honda V65

      Comment


      • #4
        Looks nice, and the three together are very nice!
        For the bars/brake line, just go with the '78 standard for the upper lines, and the Special for the lower lines. The will be close, but might not work quite correctly if you use the standard lower lines.
        Don't forget the special has the "different" front brake pads! they are all 4 made differently, so each one only fits in one position.
        Ray Matteis
        KE6NHG
        XS1100 E '78 (winter project)
        XS1100 SF Bob Jones worked on it!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by tntmo View Post
          What master cylinder did you end up getting? I might just go that route rather than rebuilding as well.
          I got this one from MikesXS. I put the 13mm version on my 650 and it's pretty great. You need the 16mm version for a dual-disc setup.

          Originally posted by DiverRay
          For the bars/brake line, just go with the '78 standard for the upper lines, and the Special for the lower lines. The will be close, but might not work quite correctly if you use the standard lower lines.
          Don't forget the special has the "different" front brake pads! they are all 4 made differently, so each one only fits in one position.
          Ah, crap. You're absolutely right. I didn't make that connection because I was so fixated on kits instead of buying individual lines. Thanks.
          Last edited by BSAKat; 07-17-2021, 08:25 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            I recently revived an ‘80 XS1100 Special that hasn’t run in many years. Pleased with the results.

            Comment


            • #7
              This thing is AWESOME! You and I have nearly identical bikes! The two main differences: I have 79’ carbs on mine, and a maier headlight fairing. wait - THREE differences - yours is MUCH cleaner than mine! I’m going to have to sandblast / repaint mine when I rebuild it…I’ve tried everything to clean it up, but it just straight up needs a makeover.

              I can’t believe that it has the toolkit and manual as well!! I REALLY like that seat…I’m due for a new one soon!

              Congrats on this score, and I love the Yamaha lineup picture!!
              80' XS1100 SG "Dottie"

              79' SF carbs
              MAC 4-1
              K&N Pods
              Accel 3.0 coils
              Tarozzi fork brace
              TC fusebox

              Picture update soon

              http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g4...psej6wqu9l.jpg


              79' XS1100 SF (parts, will be reborn)

              http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g4...snfgpozqn.jpeg

              Comment


              • #8
                Quick question for the braintrust: Are the handlebar-mounted hazard switches notorious for breaking? The turn signals (and everything else on that circuit) on this thing work just fine (after I unplugged and discarded the self-canceling relay), but the hazards don't. Certainly not the end of the world, but I figured I'd ask before I went chasing through the loom with a multimeter for something that's not, in fact, that important.

                Comment


                • #9
                  IIRC the hazards are controlled by the key. In the off position turn the key to the left. If you push the key down and turn to the left it will lock the forks from turning. forks need to be turned first.
                  79 F full cruiser, stainless brake lines, spade fuses, Accel coils, modded air box w/larger velocity stacks, 750 FD.
                  79 SF parts bike.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Huh! I guess I should have looked in the owner's manual. I ran some tests, including using a new flasher, but nothing. Guess I'll have a look inside the switch.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hey, friends. Anyone have any idea what these shocks are? Make/model/etc.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Not sure, maybe you could twist the baffle around and see the name. It's got a progressive wound coil though. Probably a progressive suspension unit, there is something stamped above susp...
                        1979 XS1100 Special
                        1980 XS1100 Std parts bucket
                        1987 ZL1000 Eliminator
                        1976 XS750D Project in waiting

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Out of curiosity, how hard would it be to adapt a standard seat to this thing? I've really come to loathe these stepped Special saddles.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The big problem will be the ignition box. On the Standard, it's on the rear fender, behind the seat. Yours is under the seat, IIRC. You would need to re-locate the box, or put a "bump" in the center of the seat. If you have a 34 or better inseam, you can just have the seat foam built up to level. I did something like that with the '80 seat I modified to fit my '79 Special.
                            Ray Matteis
                            KE6NHG
                            XS1100 E '78 (winter project)
                            XS1100 SF Bob Jones worked on it!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I liked your laugh in the video. You sounded quite happy.
                              Started riding in Sept. 2019

                              1983 Honda CB650 Nighthawk (sold)
                              2009 Suzuki GS500 (sold)

                              2019 Suzuki SV650
                              1993 Honda Nighthawk 750
                              1980 Yamaha XS1100 Special (project)

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