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1981 Honda XL80s Restore Project

4017 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  RebelnDirt
Back when we were kids, my friend owned an 81 xr80 and most of us kids at that time learned how to ride on that bike. Fast forward 30 plus years and I came across an xl80s on a classified ad app. Guy didnt know what was wrong with it, but it ran when he parked it. I went and took a look at it, it smelled like starting fluid...but I noticed one strand of dry rotted tarp hanging from under the seat. I didnt even try starting it. Guy was asking 200, I ended up getting it for 100. After I loaded it up in the truck, and the transaction was complete, I told the guy Id have it running later that day. As suspected, a chipmunk had created a nest in the airbox. Cleaned it out, changed the oil, plug and cleaned the carb. First kick, started right up. Fast forward a few months, I found another xl80s, same model/year. I thought parts bike, got it for 65$ plus a doobie (hey dont judge, I drove wayyy into the sticks and the guy smelled like weed). Neither bike came with a bill of sale or title. My friend decided he wanted to restore the parts bike so now we are restoring both of them.

Here in PA, the process to be granted ownership of motor vehicles that either dont have a title or abandoned, is pretty simple. $162.50 to file the petition, $100-200 for the legal ad in local newspaper, $53 plus sales tax to PennDot and you have yourself a titled vehicle in your name. I was discouraged a bit, because these little bikes, although rare, are the same costs involved as a $100,000 Mercedes. So from the get we have over 300$ invested in each of these bikes.

I think the main reason my buddy and I wanted to restore these 80s is because back when we were kids, the cops always wanted to bust us for crossing the road or riding down streets (we live in the country) to get to better trails. Now that we are in our 40s, we want to somewhat relive our youth, and have these little bikes street legal.

Im way ahead in regards to the restore/rebuild of mine vs my buddys. What started out as a simple restore/rebuild project has turned into ripping everything down, including the motors. I had a leaky head gasket on my motor, so I knew the top end had to come apart. But once I had it apart and got it looking clean, it didnt match the dirty ass bottom end. I ended up buying a stage 1 cam, boring it to 92, new clutch, bearings etc. Motor is actually up in New York getting vapor blasted at the moment.

I decided to keep the frame black, I think my buddy is going to powder his frame that Honda orange/red...crazy how Honda changed that red/orange color a little bit each model year back then...

I went with a Prismatic Powder color called Rodeo Red for the rims and various other parts. Its really close to the 81 Honda orange/red. As with all rebuild/restore projects, once you start, you cant stop. I have way too much money invested in this thing, but I cant stop now ha!

The hardest parts to find for this bike are the turn signal assemblies and mounts. Ive done some research and alot of the older Honda turn signal parts for bigger bikes can be cross referenced. Some of these turn signal parts are exactly the same, just diff part numbers. My bud thinks Im cray for spending over 200$ on the OEM turn signals, when I could just buy some LED ones for less than 50 bux. I do think the LED ones look better, but I am a sucker for keeping it as OEM as possible.

With that being said, the 6v electrical system had to go. regulatorrectifier dot com has a 12v system that although expensive, will work nicely. The mid 80s xl125's had a 12v system. The battery for those 125s is about an 1/8th in longer, but will fit in the stock battery holder on the back of the airbox.

Im sure most of you are aware of CMSNL dot com over in the Netherlands. They have TONS of NOS parts. They have alot of the older Honda stickers/emblems/etc.

Well Ive been ramblin on here for a bit, time to upload some photos. Ill try to update this thread with some progress pics and what not here soon. I feel like Im already half way done restoring this little 80. If anyone has any tips tricks or input, Id be glad to hear it.

The one thing that I see being a problem is the side covers. I have a pair, but the nipples are broken on the top back ones. Im sure we can figure out how to remanufacture some nipples, but Im not that far into this yet. As I mentioned, any input, ideas are very welcome.

In one of the photos youll see someone who owned it before me mustve used channel locks to take the rear axle on and off at some point. I ended up replacing that with a new one.

The aftermarket rear shocks come in today, which is great! Now I can finally finish the exhaust. More to come!
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That is going to be one clean looking bike, at least until the first mud puddle.
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Did some wrenching today. OEM NOS turn signals arrive tomorrow. 12v battery barely fits, wished I had chosen to redo the electrical system before I powdered the airbox, I wouldve bent it to fit the 1/4 inch bigger battery, but its in there nice and snug haha! Really happy with the progress :)

Can someone tell me why I cant upload more photos?

Thank you!
Hmm it seems the photos are too big? Shouldnt the site just auto shrink large jpg files?
Well Im disappointed with this site (unless Im using it wrong). It seems users are only allowed to have 1gb of uploaded photos to be posted, and once you hit that number, you have to delete old photos and then those photos are removed from posts/threads forever. So the pics I upped here in the first post are GONE. The pics of the electrical system I posted on another thread to help someone with something are GONE. I get it for newbies so some rando cant post a bunch of spam, but does this change once you've hit a certain number of posts or something? I was talking to a Mod in private messages, but once that reaches 5 back and forth messages, then even the private messages freeze, until you delete older messages, even if you need the info located in said private Ive deleted them and lost all that info we were talking about. I know its super early in the AM for some, so if anyone with any additional info sees this please let me know why these things are in place, and perhaps explain to me why I have to delete old photos to post new photos (that totally destroys the point of lending a hand to folks and/or limits me from showing you all the progress on this little 80 build).

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Ya, I don't think they're set up for mass photo storage. Most of us link photos from a separate account (Google Pictures, Pixlr, the dreaded Photobucket...)
Seems this problems does come up from time to time. I thought they had addressed the issue but obviously not. I've forwarded your PM to me Jack to the site admins. Maybe they will finally see there is a real problem and contact you and potentially finally fix the issue. Take my advice and don't hold your breath though.:smile: Yeah, it's frustrating working with your hands tied.
Hello. Sorry to bug you guys but do any of you know the basic wiring for getting an xl80s running? No lights or nothing just from stator and all that to spark plug. Tried everything and cant get spark. Made several posts awhile ago still havent gotten anything
Hello. Sorry to bug you guys but do any of you know the basic wiring for getting an xl80s running? No lights or nothing just from stator and all that to spark plug. Tried everything and cant get spark. Made several posts awhile ago still havent gotten anything
Did you make an introduction? Many here will not respond to hit and run posters. That's those that come here just to get an answer and not actively participate. It's like a family here. Might try it. No guarantees of course but how can it hurt.
Hello. Sorry to bug you guys but do any of you know the basic wiring for getting an xl80s running? No lights or nothing just from stator and all that to spark plug. Tried everything and cant get spark. Made several posts awhile ago still havent gotten anything
First what year is it? Schematics change from year to year sometimes and getting the right drawing is important. What equipment do you have on your bike? Sometimes its just a key and that's it, sometimes there are clutch lockouts and kickstand switches to prevent you from turning the engine over.
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