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1981 Xj550 Maxim Major Pita

Average User Rating:
  • Year:
    Xj550 Maxim
    Engine Size:
    Modifications & Accessories:
    Dunlop D404

    Forks, brake, wheels are stock
    Chopped original fender
    Custom length steel braided brake hose
    Custom length speedo cable
    Upper triple tree off of a FZ600
    Headlight of a Puch, closed holes previously used for indicator lights
    Aftermarket Clipons, 2 inches shortened
    Aftermarket brake master cylinder, angled
    Aftermarket shorty levers
    Aftermarket controls

    Tank mounts relocated
    Suzuki GS550 tank (around 1980?), welded neck area, modified/welded area to attach to frame
    Inside cleaned out and coated

    Seat area/frame:
    Chopped frame, hoop welded on
    Modified Kawasaki tail fairing
    Custom made seat

    Stock swingarm
    Aftermarket shocks
    Self made license plate holder
    Cat eye running/brake light
    Self made turn signal mounts
    After market LED turn signals

    Minimal wiring, build from scratch
    New fuse box
    New starter relay
    New regulator
    Rebuilt front brake
    Relocated horn
    Aftermarket ignition, relocated
    Black powder coat
    Tank and tail in Melon Yellow
    Build duration: close to 1.5 years
    Original bike has 22k miles on it
    Currently still missing side covers that I will custom make
    Tank badges still missing
    Carb rebuild done by Dave (hogfiddles)
    Engine is stock and only done shims and cam chain tensioner reset
    Engine painted with high temp paint
    Clutch untouched as it still works well
    Exhaust cleaned with 000 steel whool
    All bolts and nuts original, just cleaned and polished
    Lots of other parts replaced, like wheel bearings, steering bearings, gaskets, cables etc
    Most replacement parts from Len

    Things I have learned (in no particular order), and other advice:

    It's a must to be a forum member and listen to advice
    Get a manual. Paper copy is great for notes
    Test tank for leaks even when there is already a coating inside
    Don't buy parts spontaneously, you end up not using them
    Be patient
    Put the bike together to make sure you didn't forget anything and/or everything fits, THEN take it apart again and have it painted
    Take your time, no rush and no shortcuts
    Buy parts from a trusted source who actually knows the bike
    Don't try to save on tools that are made for the job. They make things so much easier
    Be patient
    It's sometimes better to let a pro do a job
    It's a hobby, don't expect to get your money back when you sell the bike
    Make sure engine runs fine before modding the bike
    Buy a motorcycle table lift and a stool
    Label everything
    Be patient
    Take a ton of pictures. They help when it's time to assemble the bike again
    Wear gloves and eye protection when dealing with cleaners or other tools
    Use a grease gun to get the brake piston out, not air
    be patient
    When you like riding bikes, make sure you have a second bike around because your project may not go anywhere for a long time
    I would have never thought how much the sound (engine) and behavior of the bike depend on well adjusted carbs-it changes the bike completely
    Don't throw any parts out
    I like to use websites (like bikebandit.com) that show exploded views of different parts/sections of the bike. This helps in assembly to make sure you don't forget anything.
    Did I mention that you need to be patient?
    Carbs don't like to sit in the dry for a lon time. Not good for them. Sometimes tapping them unstucks a float
    Cover any openings like spark plug holes, carbs, engine intake. Nuts and bolts always seem to fall right into the most impossible holes.

    Hope this helps
  1. Dulcechp
    I'm new at the group so I'm just watching every item, this one looks amazing!! Excellent job! My goal is to modify my xj650 to something like this.
  2. Bosen
    My 81 xj 550 Maxim doesn't look quite like this... haha but wow!!!
  3. CactusJack578
    And I forgot to mention that I love how the yellow really brings out that beautiful red hair and lips. WOW!
  4. CactusJack578
    It's amazing to find out this is a Maxim. It's REALLY amazing after you see the BEFORE picture. Great Job.
  5. CactusJack578
    Love the speedo in the headlight. I am impressed with the amount of talented people on this site. Keep the inspirations coming.
  6. Nastn8
    This was one of the bikes that inspired me with XJ's. Thank you!
    Also, what size is your rear dunlop?
  7. dkavanagh
    Just noticed you plate. I got NY XJ550R for mine.
  8. bruthaswade
    Super cool
    Love the headlight and stance
  9. 81550Seca
    Beautiful work. Really inspiring!
  10. Dirty Harry
    WOW! Extra WOW when you see the before picture!