My Cafe Racer Build (and Re-Build)


XS400 Guru
Top Contributor
Reaction score
Cleveland, OH
My 'Racer' Build (and Re-Build)

Hey guys! I had originally posted when I got my 81 XS 400 4r4, but never got around to posting build photos last year. I had a time frame of around a month to get it ready to ride so it was hectic and I didn't get to take any photos during the process. Cut a lot of corners also, just so I could get it on the streets. Couldn't get a painter or powder coater to give me a good ETA on getting things complete, so I just gave the whole bike the BBQ paint scheme. Also laid it down around November last year, not too bad on the damage, just slightly bent the swing-arm and ruined my Tarozzi rearset :( So now I'm giving myself 2 weeks from the time all the parts come in, to get it redone the way I originally had planned.

Bike as it was when I got it last year-

After my quick 'Cafe' job-

Have much planned for the rebuild. Powder coat almost everything. Decent paint on the tank and seat. Grabbed a 'square' tank from a 77. New seat made by Ian at Twinline Motorcycles. New rearsets. Aprilia RS125 forks. EBC Brake rotor. New EBC Carbon Fiber clutch. Custom ground cam, done locally. Head port/polish and a slight amount taken off for a slightly smaller dome. PWK(fake mikesXS ones, but they will do) carbs. Domino dual pull throttle. Going with a minimalistic wiring job this time around, I kept a lot of the original wiring on the last build and it was a pain to stuff it all under the seat, and looks like shit. Needle bearings for the new swing arm.

That's about it I think. Should end up a lot nicer! Still need to decide on a color scheme, but I've got a few things in mind.

I'll do my best to take pics and post here!

Finished- Jan 14th, 2016
Last edited:
Oh and I have a steering damper to throw on, this thing should handle fairly well with the USD fork upgrade and damper. Just need to find something to replace those monza shocks- I think they were made for a 350lb rider, they are so stiff.
Well other than my cam and small odds and ends, I've got everything I need to get started. Finishing up my M.E. degree at the moment, so not much time on my hands unfortunately. I'll get to it as soon as I get some free time. For now, enjoy the new parts pics!

DCC Rear sets to replace my Tarozzi set. These seem to be better quality, believe it or not.

Gold chain for some bling. I figure it will look good with my gold anodized forks.

Domino dual-pull throttle. This thing is built nice. Had no idea it came with grips either, which seem to be perfect for my build. One less thing to buy!

EBC carbon fiber clutch kit.

37 tooth rear sprocket.

17 tooth front sprocket.

New wires.

LED flasher relay.

Swingarm needle bearing conversion kit.

RS125 forks and all that good stuff.

EBC Rotor.

New gas cap and no-vacuum petcock.

PWK style carbs.

New rings. Might not need them, I'll see when I pull the motor apart.

EBC clutch springs.

Big ass headlamp. It's quite heavy, I may switch to something else.

Speedhut GPS speedo and tach.




And that's about it for now. Next order of business is getting the cam shipped off the get reground, and I need to do some work on my CNC machine removing some weight from the mag rotor and clutch basket. And I need to work on the head too. Sigh. Lot's of work :(
you obviously have cash to burn. Send me some :laugh:

that's some nice gear though! very curious what this build is going to look like
you obviously have cash to burn. Send me some :laugh:

that's some nice gear though! very curious what this build is going to look like

Took me since November to save it up. I think I could have bought about 5 XS400s for the amount I've put into it so far. But it will be worth it.
I've put the front forks on my bobber project and they look so cool I'm gonna be watching this build to see them on a cafe racer. Good luck and keep them pics coming!
Spent some time before work today drawing up my caliper mount for the rs125 forks. I'm going to throw the file in the 3D printer to make sure it works good before wasting my aluminum stock. I have drill for the Army this weekend so it will have to wait til next week though. Still need to work out spacers for the front wheel as well.
I see you have a 520 chain. Are those 520 sprockets? I have never seen 520's for the xs400 before.
I see you have a 520 chain. Are those 520 sprockets? I have never seen 520's for the xs400 before.

Good eye!

They are 530 sprockets. My boss is taking care of them for me, machining both sides to get them to proper width. Apparently he does this on his bikes all the time.
Since they don't make a 520 sprocket that I know of for the xs400 he could sell some here:wink2:
What LED flasher is that? How did it install?

It's from superbright, a lot of folks here on this forum have used it with good results. Haven't installed it yet as I'm currently in Serbia for an Army training event, but I'm doing a complete rewire on my own so my results will be different from someone installing it to the stock wiring. If you do a search here, you'll find a bunch of threads on how to install it.