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Project XS1 Restoration

Thursday, 11th December 2014

Look what he's bought now!

California Custom Products Australia have recently engaged in a new project.

It’s a 1970 Yamaha XS1 650. Only 7000 were made so they are pretty rare in any condition. This one’s gonna need a lot of love to get her back to the way she originally was way back then. We purchased it from a collector in Indianapolis Indiana USA and it arrived in the container with our products. We aim to restore this old machine to look as close to original as possible. Along the way we intend to use and promote the services of the people who support California Custom Products in all the different aspects of the restoration.

Don’t think Baxter the company boxer is that impressed!

So...where do we start?!

Lots of rusty 44 year old bolts.

Lots of those hard to find bits are missing as well, funny that!!!


We are sending all the chrome bits down to Olly White at Bendigo Electroplating.

Olly’s services are highly sought after from clients all over Australia. He uses and recommends our Purple Metal Polish for maintaining the finished product.


Apart from surface rust, the pieces are nice and straight with only a couple of small dents in the back mudguard.

Can’t wait to see them finished!

Parts are all stripped off Parts are finished and ready for Copper
Parts fresh out of the Copper tank Polished Copper
Polished Copper mudguard
Chrome drying in the sun Parts are all purpled and ready to wrap


Thank you Olly for a brilliant job you did with the old rusty XS1 bits and pieces. Bendigo Electroplaters really take the time to do the job right. Fast turn arounds are not part Olly’s business as quality and happy customers are more important. Lead time is usually about 8 weeks which is easy to fit into a restoration project. Thanks again Olly I’m wrapped with what you have done for me. Regards Kevin


We think our Purple Metal Polish is the best around but sometimes you need to get in and cut the surface with heavy abrasives to remove surface road rash, oxidisation and also what’s left of the 44 year old clear coat they used to put on all the alloy.

For this job we are sending these bits to our mate Scott from Shiney Side Up Metal Polishing in sunny Cairns.

Scott is doing great things with his business and I’m sure like all of Scott’s previous jobs these old cases will be looking like mirrors in no time.



We sent our old weathered alloy cases up to Scott at Shiney Side Up Metal Polishing in Cairns and have received the finished parts today. Wow Scotty thankyou for such a fantastic job you did on these. The before and after photos tell it all. As you can see Scott takes great pride in what he does and together with old fashioned friendly service he is #1 in our book. If you need anything polished up give Scott a call on 0405 158 942.




The frame had some interesting modifications, I think she might have been a flat tracker at one stage as the steering lock stop was cut off. Luckily I had a friend who had a XS1 frame that we could make a template off and fabricate a new one. There was also various stripped bolts and broken off foot peg mounts to renew.


Lindsay Donai Motorcycles at Wongawallan is well known in the classic motorcycle fraternity. As well as being the reigning Australia Sidecar P4 champion, Lindsey can do just about anything and in my view, is the best in the business.  


Lindsay is a whiz at building motors and specialises in Honda 4s and CBXs but can pretty much build and fine tune anything. I’m sure Lindsay will have this old XS1 running as sweet as she was originally.


Spray Painting

Spray painting is one of those pieces of any restoration that can either make or break it. A great true colour paint job is essential and to do these old girls you need someone with that old school know how. Bob from Ace of Sprays at Redland Bay is that man, a professional at his craft, he even sources material internationally to make those old Candy paint jobs look right.  Bob can paint anything with wheels specializing in bikes from the 70s, the Z1s and Honda 4s etc. It’s great to have Ace of Sprays take care of this part of the project for us.


The tank that came on the bike has only a few minor dings to repair and is nice and clean inside The original side covers had broken bottom mounts and the head light shell had meet with foul play at some stage, both were replaced thanks to eBay. The rear shocks were pretty lifeless so we brought a new pair of reproduction ones unfortunately painted in XS1B Gold
Bobs job is to turn this colourful array of parts into the original Candy Green with pearl white stripes.

STEP 1- Primer

 All parts were blasted and etch primed.

The tank and parts have now been 2pack primed ready for prep and wet rub in preparation for the base coat.

Step 2- Base Coat

"Hi Kevin, today I guide coated all your XS-1 parts then wet rubbed all the primer on them.
I then laid down 4 coats of Silver sparkle base coat and then a coat of mid coat clear sealer."


The parts are now ready for the green candy coats to be applied.

Step 3- Green Candy
"Hi Kevin, got the 4 coats green candy on today and the 1st 3 coats of clear.
A light rub back next and pearl white stripes on the tank and all clear-coated again.
Looking good so far mate hope you like!!"


As always Bob you are doing an Ace job.

Bob dropped off the finished shocks, headlight bucket, side covers and headlight ears today and what a great job he’s done on these. The finish is amazing.

Bob has also painted the tail light bracket in silver as per the original.

The tank is being cured for a while before the pearl white stripes are added. 

Step 4- Pearl White Stripes

The stripes have been taped up ready for the Pearl White coats, then they are cleared again.

The freshly painted tank completes the XS1 paintwork.

As you can see Bob has really excelled on this one .It’s a flawless job and just simply stunning.

I can recommend Ace of Sprays to anyone looking for that perfect paint job to top off their restoration.

Thanks Bob for an awesome job, in my opinion it’s better than the original. 


Powder Coating

All the frame components are being sent to Roberto’s Custom Powder Coating at Morningside, Brisbane. Roberto is a restorer himself and knows where to apply the powder and which parts to mask up. The last thing anybody wants is to try and remove powder from bearing surfaces and threads. Roberto can powder coat parts in any colour and also in a variety of finishes.

The frame and components will be gloss black.

Everything but a centre stand, has anyone got a 70 XS1 Centre stand?  If so, please let me know. Contact us.

These pieces will be coated in an aluminium finish.

We have used Roberto’s services on a previous project and were very impressed with his eye to detail and the professional manner he applies to his business, we would not consider sending our XS1 parts anywhere else.    


After Roberto degreased and sandblasted the frame and parts, he gave everything a coat of zinc epoxy to provide extra rust protection. This is also a good time to inspect problem welds and other cosmetic issues with the surface such as rust pitting, deep scratches and dents. It's not enough to just sandblast and powder coat if you want a quality job.

True to form Roberto called me when he spotted the dodgy repair on the rear engine mounts and we agreed to halt the powder coating process and send the frame to Lindsay Donai for repair.

Lindsay did a great repair on the rear mount, after removing the two mounts and grinding off the daggy weld,he rewelded both the mounts on, plating and plug welding for added strength.


The frame and parts are now finished by Roberto's Custom Powder and what a result! We agreed that the dull original coating was once a gloss black when it was new so we went with a gloss black powder coat.

Roberto's seal of approval, check out the quality of the finish, the frame tubes look like new. Lower triple clamp carefully masked for easy reassembly.

Always a great idea to mask an earth point on the frame, ever finished a build and wondered why it wouldn't start?
A close look at the air filter boxes coated inside and out, and assorted mounts and brake rod in flat silver.
Roberto's trade secret satin polish finish between the flanges, gives the look of a freshly cast hub without looking overly polished.

Every picture tells a story and that is, if you want a professional powder coat job done to your parts whatever they may be, we can recommend Roberto’s Powder Coating service to you. He is very passionate about every job he does and the finish he achieves is amazing. Thank you for doing a fantastic job for us Roberto.
You can contact Roberto on 07 3899 9832.


The wheels on the XS1 are to be restored by Ash’s Spoked Wheels in Albion, Brisbane. Ash’s have been around for years and has a loyal following of restorers that want the job done right. They are able to offer a one stop shop with services for all facets of the wheel building process.

Hubs and Rims Before

Roberto’s finish on the hubs and new spokes.

After Roberto powder coated the hubs the new bearings were installed.

The rims were the originals on the bike with the date stamping on them so Jack from Ash’s sent them to his electroplater in Canberra to be rechromed.


WOW, nice shiny wheels made by Ash’s Spoked Wheelz. The old girl will look real smart with these on.

Ash’s also supply and fit tyres to complete the service. We opted for the original rear fitment of Dunlop Gold Seal K70 and on the front an Avon Speedmaster MK11 rib pattern.

Thanks again to Jack and the team at Ash’s Spoked Wheelz for another Ist class job done on our XS1 wheels. For anything wheels we recommend you give Jack a call on 07 3262 6447 and they will take care of it.

Motor Strip

Day spent with Lindsay stripping down the XS1 motor
The speedo on the bike is showing 13,502 miles which if correct the motor should be in reasonable condition inside.

Off with the cylinder head assembly first and the camshaft and cam chain sprocket are in great condition. The rocker arms show very little wear and the valves will be able to be reused.

After removing the head we found standard size 75mm bores which is good as we have 2nd oversize pistons to go in.

The clutch appears to be in a good useable condition as well.

The Crankshaft and transmission both look good, no suprises here either thankfully. Looks like the motor has had a normal operating life.

Engine cases, barrels and head assemblies are washed and being prepared for vapour blasting.

What’s left of #2608 is scattered in plastic containers and trays.

Vapour Blasting

We sent all the motor cases, head and barrels to Bill McCulloch at Tweed Heads Wet Blast to be Vapour blasted. Vapour blasting, wet blasting and soda blasting are all the same process only using a different medium in the water, high volume, low pressure blast that is not abrasive on critical and sealing surfaces. Bill did a fantastic job on the motor casings. The burnished finish leaves the cases with a long lasting finish and very clean ready to be assembled. The motor will look like new when installed.

Bill gives prompt friendly service and at a reasonable price, for your next project call Bill on 07 5524 4755 or 0418 244 755.


The frame rebuild begins with the addition of the triple clamps installed with the ball bearings and races as they were originally built.

That top clamp polished up by Scott at Shiney Side Up really looks nice against Roberto’s powder coated frame.

The swingarm was fitted up together with new bronze bushes replacing the pitiful plastic standard ones.

Centre stand added as well.

The forks and boots installed along with the head light and fork ears and indicators. With the front wheel bolted up it’s starting to look like a bike again. Great to see the Candy Green bits going on.


The Chrome on the Front and Rear mudguards and chain guard really come up nicely with Olly’s Electroplating workmanship. I was especially pleased with the chain guard as it was pretty rusty. Great to also see that Olly protected the internal threads for ease of assembly.


The original speedo and tachometer are in good usable condition. The speedo is really nice and the tacho face has a bit of fading.  These gauges are very rare and hard to find NOS so we will go with what we have and hopefully we might find some new ones down the track.

Taking shape now, next down to Battery World for a new battery and see if we can get the lights sorted.


We had to replace one Conrod due to bearing wear and I was lucky enough to get my hands on 2 NOS Conrods from Geoff’s XS in Sydney.

We had Craig Thompson Machining at Capalaba split the crank and fit all new bearings and replace the conrods.

Installed new camshaft bearings, valve guides, cam chain and cam chain guides all other components were serviceable.

The Engine going together, cylinders bored to 2nd oversize to accommodate the new pistons.


Lindsay hard at it torquing down the head bolts.

The clutch  basket and plates installed, all ready for the shiney cover.

Breaker plate and new points going in. 

Motor complete and looking pretty as a picture, great job Lindsay, cant wait to bolt it in and fire it up.


The master and his apprentice trying hard not to scratch the frame.

Motor bolted in, on the home stretch now.

Wow the motor came up nice.

It’s a beautiful thing.


We finished the restoration on Thursday and entered her into the Ray Owens Classic Bike Show at Canungra on the Sunday and were proud to have won Best Bike in the 1970-1979 category. She created a lot of interest on the day.

She has come up better than I even imagined. We are very grateful to all the various trades that were involved with this restoration. We can recommend everyone of them. They are all great people and they are the best at what they do.  A big thankyou to you all,

Mechanic -  Lindsay Donai Motorcycles  Ph 0427 027 774
Chrome Plating – Olly at Bendigo Electroplating   Ph 03 5442 1562
Alloy Metal Polishing – Scott at Shiney Side up Metal Polishing – Ph 0405 158 942
Spray Painting – Bob at Ace of Sprays Ph 0466 842 679
Powder Coating – Roberto at Roberto’s Custom Powder Ph 07 3899 9832
Wheel Rebuilding – Jack at Ashes Spoked Wheelz   Ph 07 3262 6447
Vapour Blasting – Bill at Tweed Coast Wet Blast  Ph 0418 244 755
Various Parts – Geoff at Geoff’s XS Ph 0412 677 739