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Old 06-27-2009, 12:38 PM
Grinder3 Grinder3 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 9
Arrow New rider

Hello everybody, I just joined this group after discovering the XJ1100 for sale on craigslist.
First I'll explain who I am before asking my questions.
I'm 6'1'' 200 lbs and just took my motorcycle safety course, they said they were impressed that I'm a new rider and honestly I felt very natural on a bike. This has led me to believe I should go for a bigger first bike so I don't get bored too quick, I can practice riding for as long as it takes to be proficient before I take it out in traffic.
I'm interested in a midsize cruiser with the best engineering I can get for under $5000, pre-owned of course.
I found the XJ1100 for sale for $1300 with 20000 mi, and then found this website. I must say that the specs on the bike are phenomenal, no other bike I've seen has what this bike has. The only problem I see with it is that the styling is well, butt ugly - although I think it would make a great concept bike, something kind of Blade Runner, or Heavy Metal Magazine - sci-fi. Don't get me wrong, I love retro looks and odd stuff that no one else likes, but this is definitely a niche bike from a specific period, hard to make it sexy by today's standards. But it's not all about looks, it's about performance.

Here are my main questions -

How acurate are Bob Jones' claims for long life? I know there are many factors that go into this, but can anyone tell me how long and far their bike has ridden?

I don't see his book available online, is it hard to find?

With the previously stated deal on the bike - $1300 (which is kelly bb value) and 20000 miles, even if the bike is running well presently, are there any common or uncommon quirks or red flags I should look for? Say the present owners have it running ok but it did indeed sit for years....

How will someone my size fit on the bike? At 6'1'' and 200 lbs, I'm average to large but not overly so. I'm sure I'll fit, but the close proximity of the controls is what concerns me the most. Is that really a comfortable riding position for long hauls? What about the seat?

How much performance modification/enhancement will this bike take or does it need?

How hard is it to find parts?

What is the mileage/range I can expect to get?

Again I'm more about function than fashion. I'd have fun tweaking the XJ1100 or giving it a full-on overhaul for style, can't beat the price but will it truly last me a lifetime? I have been ravenously researching bikes and this is by far the most impressive set of specs I've seen. It's obvious the values that went into it are no longer used in the marketplace. I saw an '06 Mean Streak with 50000 mi on it for $3000 (half of kbb) and wouldn't touch it.

An example of what I like is the suzuki m50, it's got some good specs and an original funky look, I would most likely lower it and try to jack the power. I like things that look offbeat but I want something that has the guts to hold up to my abuse. I plan to really ride the heck out my bike. This is the only one that seems to fit the bill, almost all other bikes currently on offer seem to fall short in one category or another. I just want to make sure I know what I'm getting into. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.
Old 06-27-2009, 01:44 PM
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latexeses latexeses is offline
XS-XJ Guru
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: California
Posts: 1,488
Welcome Grinder3,

These bikes have been around for 30 years. That's a lifetime for some of the members here. Bob Jones had nearly 215,000 on his 78.

I think if you treat them right they will last as long as the rider. I've seen a couple of local bikes that look like they have been stored in a hog pen but they sound great.

I suppose you could modify or enhance your XJ as far as your money will go. There are no rules as far as I know...

Except maybe putting a V-twin in one.

The search button at the top of the page will be your friend.

There are others here with much more information than I.

Again, Welcome.

RIP Whiskers (Shop Boss) 25+yrs

"It doesn't hurt until you find out no one is looking"

Everything on hold...
Old 06-27-2009, 02:28 PM
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tw1980 tw1980 is offline
XSive Maximus
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Bend OR
Posts: 662
Butt ugly?Hard to make look sexy by today's standards?I think you just offended.
1980 special (Phyllis)
1196 10.5 to 1 kit,megacycle cams,shaved head,dynojet carb kit,ported intake and exhaust,mac 4 into 1 exhaust,drilled rotors,ss brake lines,pods,mikes xs green coils,iridium plugs,led lights,throttle lock,progressive shocks,oil cooler,ajustable cam gears,HD valve springs,Vmax tensioner mod
Old 06-27-2009, 03:28 PM
cueball cueball is offline
XStremely XSive
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Nth Albury NSW Australia 2640
Posts: 375
Question Sexy

Sexy by todays standards usually means a SWIP (**** wrapped in plastic) crotch rocket. XS's & XJ's come from an era when planned obsolescence (falling apart after about 5 years) was not a concept in the designers thoughts. After a few years they realised that if they continued to make bikes as good as th XS & XJ series that they would be out of jobs. Bikes that don't wear out do not generate sales of new bikes. Personally, I think that to attempt to make one "sexy" by todays standards would be to ruin one of the best models ever made. However,as always on this site, MHO ( my humble opinion) is just that, feel free to disagree, plenty of others have.
Old 06-27-2009, 03:52 PM
Grinder3 Grinder3 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 9
Please forgive me....

I KNOW the bike is engineered well.
I KNOW they don't make them like this anymore.
I KNOW the esthetics are from a different era.
I stated all of this in my post.
I also stated that I like things that look funky and would love to do something interesting with this bike.

Please forgive me for ruffling your feathers, but if you are going to bother to post a reply, can you please make it constructive?

Show me one person my age that thinks this bike looks great and I'll take back the "Butt ugly."

I'm 36, when this bike was new I was seven years old, what do you think I was wearing then? I'll tell you. A polyester snap down shirt and corduroy pants, my hair was parted down the middle and feathered. AC/DC was in the top 40 and Atari was awesome stuff. We have come a long way since then.

No one my age is going to say this bike looks beautiful. But the smart ones, like myself, just might appreciate what it does have and find a way to make it stylish again.

So please, if you are going to reply, may I ask that you have at least one piece of pertinent information to share? That is what this forum is for.
Old 06-27-2009, 04:51 PM
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jmnjrpa jmnjrpa is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Lewisville, Texas
Posts: 863
Temper, temper
It will get you nowhere. These people are the best. They go far out of their way to help (ie--be constructive). What you think the bike looks like really does not matter to them. Give your thread time and you will pick up some valuable advice. BTW, one's trash is another's treasure. These bikes take a lot of devotion and patience. But they give more than they receive. Hey, what a novel concept!
'81 1100 MNS - "Midnight XSpress"
Original except:
120 mains outer cylinders - 125 mains inner cylinders - Ceramic headers - Powder coated pipes, covers calipers, and MC's
4 pods - Air box gutted--E3 Plugs - High Back seat - Grooved out swing arm - SS brake lines
Fork brace - 160 speedo - Auto CCT
All gold paint and chrome replaced with GOLD plate

"STUPID is Forever" Ron White.
Contact me by PM -I don't deal with stupid anymore.

Big John
Old 06-27-2009, 04:54 PM
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John John is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 5,117
How about three people younger than you who think the XS-XJ is a damn good looking bike. We'll start with Hobbyman...20 YO and he and his dad have 6 of them. Kermit77...20 YO and is totally enamored with the XS he is restoring. Montreaux Blue...early 30's and rides a nice bobbed Special.
The list goes on.
Oh you wanted 'pertinent info'? Here's some...Most of us old farts don't care much for folk that jump in here and start talking smack like that. You know something, I, along with many others here are full of 'pertinent info' But after that last response, I'll be damned if I share any with you.
Old 06-27-2009, 05:25 PM
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b.walker5 b.walker5 is offline
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Location: Invercargill, New Zealand
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Originally Posted by John View Post
How about three people younger than you who think the XS-XJ is a damn good looking bike. We'll start with Hobbyman...20 YO and he and his dad have 6 of them. Kermit77...20 YO and is totally enamored with the XS he is restoring. Montreaux Blue...early 30's and rides a nice bobbed Special.
The list goes on.
Oh you wanted 'pertinent info'? Here's some...Most of us old farts don't care much for folk that jump in here and start talking smack like that. You know something, I, along with many others here are full of 'pertinent info' But after that last response, I'll be damned if I share any with you.
Well said John, Some of these young bucks need to learn respect for knowledge and wisdom, and stop thinking that their generation knows better.

Ya know what Grinder, you might try doing a little research on this site first, about it's members and about the tech tips at the top of the page. We will try and help anyone who put's a little effort into helping themselves first but dont think that being here 5 minutes and being a smart arse is going to help you. Talk about the "way to earn friends and influence people" NOT If the style of the bike offends you that much, don't buy it. Leave it for someone who truly appreciates it for what it is and go buy something else to cut up, a Hardly maybe or someother POS that no one here cares about.

Last edited by b.walker5; 06-27-2009 at 05:29 PM.
Old 06-27-2009, 05:43 PM
Grinder3 Grinder3 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 9

This is actually the problem not only with America, but the entire world -




I can't believe that you guys would jump me so hard for one line out of 100. I think the bike is ugly, so what, I'm still interested in having one. Sheesh.
I'm angry? You guys are wound so tight it only takes one short phrase to unravel you completely.....get a grip. THE BIKE IS UGLY.
I'm not taking any of it seriously, I think it's funny that someone once built a decent bike and that there's an entire trekkie following that will bite someone's head off if they look sideways at it.
What are you doing to see that there will ever be a decent bike produced ever again? Have you written to any manufacturers lately - like Bob did?
Old 06-27-2009, 06:00 PM
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John John is offline
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Posts: 5,117
There's one in every crowd

And let me present ours!
Looks like the boy suffers from Crainial Rectumitis!
Where you from, boy? Don't they teach manners or respect there? You might as well go join the XJ site. Maybe someone will talk to you there. Just don't mention what an ugly bike it is.
Old 06-27-2009, 06:13 PM
randy randy is offline
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Posts: 4,521
OK, let's talk about oil now. Or tires
Old 06-27-2009, 08:26 PM
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MindWebs MindWebs is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Elmwood, WI
Posts: 425

i think you scared him off.
i'll admit he came across poorly. but some people you have to take with a grain of salt....

i think he simply needs to do a search to find what he's looking for.
i know i've seen many moding threads.

Grinder3, these gents take pride in restoring these bikes and appreciate them
for what they are. i've been made fun of fun years because of my tripple 250
it smokes more then i do.. (ALOT MORE)

so, please search the site and do your homework, (anything worth doing takes time and effort).

and if you have any questions about tuning or repairing the engine. this is the
right place.

good luck.
1979 XS1100SF Special.78 E motor/carbs, Jardine 4-2 exhaust, XS Green coils, Corbin seat, S.S. Brake lines, Hard cases, Heated grips.
1981 Yamaha XJ750RH Seca (War Pig) XS11S front end and rear swingarm with 17" rim, 20mm ammo box saddle boxes, HID headlight, LED aux lights, Heated grips & seat, Bark busters, Harley 12" shocks, S.S. brake lines, oil cooler

PW50, PW80, YZ80(mine? what the??? Brrap OH...)

Most bike problems are caused by a loose nut connecting the handlebars and the seat!!
Old 06-27-2009, 09:13 PM
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TopCatGr58 TopCatGr58 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Portsmouth, Va.
Posts: 12,620
We don't get no respect!

Hey Grinder,

What's wrong with the world is that people don't respect people anymore!

Another word that could be learned is "tact".

BTW, Mr. Bob Jones passed away this year. Many of us respect his devotion and admiration for our beloved machines. He did some interesting mods to many of these bikes, and some of them IMHO were not that impressive in their styling, but that's a matter of personal taste. But did I try to write to him and tell him that I thought they were UGLY mods, no...out of respect!

The XS's and XJ's are built to American average height standards of the 1980's, and that's about 5'8" IIRC. I'm 6'6" and 225lbs, and my bike looks like a minibike when I sit on it! I like sitting UPRIGHT, not hunched over the gastank, and so I like the way the bars sweep back to reach me without having to have my arms stiffarmed straight. I made some mods to mine so that I could stretch out my legs, feet position for cruising and long distance riding, but I kept the OEM pegs and controls because I like the security and feel of my feet directly beneath my butt when I'm negotiating the twisties.

These machines are durable, but any machine if abused will wear out or break down. They are not 20K rpm sport bike engines, they redline at 8500 but with their age, valve springs, etc., it's suggested that folks don't take them past 7500 too often. Due to their age and the shaft drive design, you can't put a very wide tire on the rear without some major modding...see chain drive conversion. They were only made for about 4-5 years, the XS11's and 1 year for the XJ11, no where near as long at the GOLDWING ie, and so aftermarket parts are quite rare. The XJ's ignition system is also more advanced than the XS's, but more of a pain to repair or replace if it fails.

So...unless you're a great mechainic, fabricator, painter, etc., then you will have very limited success in trying to beautify your ugly XJ11 without laying out a fair more amount of $$.

Hope you find what you're looking for, but I also hope you learn to show a little more respect to whatever bike/forum you end up relying on to help you with your bike.
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!
Old 06-27-2009, 11:21 PM
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DGXSER DGXSER is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 9,769
Wow.....I could spend the time others have wasted trying to point out the errors of your ways, but I see you learn very slowly and the hard way. So I'll just put it bluntly...shove off and do not expect help from me! You have insulted my friends!! And that earns more than you can get on an internet forum from me.
Life is what happens while your planning everything else!

When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.

81 XS1100 Special - Humpty Dumpty
80 XS1100 Special - Project Resurrection

Previously owned
93 GSX600F
80 XS1100 Special - Ruby
81 XS1100 Special
81 CB750 C
80 CB750 C
78 XS750
Old 06-27-2009, 11:49 PM
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fredintoon fredintoon is offline
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Location: Saskatoon SK
Posts: 6,795
Hi G3 & welcome to this list,
If it runs good, all the parts are there, the chrome & paint are not too bad, don't immediately need new tires and has it's papers $1,300 is fair market value.
You can't see it when you are riding it and all other folks see is it's rear end so don't let the aesthetics get to you.
But if you think it's so ucking fugly whydja buy it?
But about the bike:-
Treat it right and it'll last forever.
Fred Hill, S'toon
XS11SG with Spirit of America sidecar
"The Flying Pumpkin"
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maintenance, mileage, performance, repair, xj1100

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