Can a Maxim really be a Cafe Racer?


XS400 Enthusiast
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Hi everyone
I'm new to the forum. I take possession of my first ever motorcycle on Monday.
I picked up a 1983 XS400 Maxim that has been somewhat modded already. Only has 6,000km on it.

I haven't seen it in person, only photos and videos, but from what I can tell, the following has been changed:

-Handlebars (no longer stock)
-Master cylinder is brand new (brake line has not been bled yet)
-the gas tank appears to be modded somewhat - different cap, although it appears to have the original shape, but without any badging. May just have been painted in the garage by the PO.
-The seat has been modified, no longer a double up - it's just a flat cafe style seat. There may have been frame modifications done, I am not sure yet.
-The exhaust has been somewhat modified by the road... a tad bit dented up.
-New rear tire (old front)

I've seen a video of it firing up and being revved. Looks like that part is fine. Previous owner said the bike ran well and is fully plateable.

My mechanical experience is somewhat limited. I work an office job, but have always had an interest in these types of projects. I'm slowly learning. My current/recent projects include:
-1983 Honda ATC 185S trike (completed, sold)
-1976 Evinrude 6HP Fisherman outboard boat motor (2 stroke, working)
-1952 Evinrude 3.5HP Lightwin outboard boat motor (2 stroke, not currently running)
-1989 Suzuki 2.5HP outboard boat motor (2 stroke, working)
-2005 Chinese 50cc pocketbike (not actively working on)

I also have access to a few other toys at a family cabin. Getting to be more and more familiar with 4-stroke outboard boat motors, quads, sleds, etc.

My hope for this bike would be to use it as a commuter during the summer months. I work about 10km away from where I live. It's a short trip, but I'm looking to make it more fun.

In terms of modifications, I'm looking any tips, advice, and feedback on ultimately completing the following:
-pod air intake setup
-reupholstering the seat
-wiring clean up, hopefully able to free up some space under the seat to achieve that cafe look.
-engine paint (removal of all chrome/silver, finished product would be matte black)
-exhaust pipe wrap
-gas tank paint (matte grey, to match my truck)
-frame paint (matte black)
-headlight conversion, if possible (possibly a square headlight to match the fog lights on my truck)
-eventually swap the tires, for something like the TT100 Dunlops, I really like that look.

I have access to basic tools and space to work on it, and am willing to buy the rest. I don't have a lift or anything like that.

The bike is in fair working condition as is, but I'll be doing as much maintenance on it as possible before the spring riding season starts.

I'm really excited to be starting this project, and feel that I have a bit of wiggle room on this project financially due to the price I was able to buy it for.

The only picture I have is from the ad. When I take possession of the bike, I'll upload more pics as a follow up in this thread!

Please send any helpful tips around the DOHC my way - I am really getting confused on Yamaha's naming/numbering system. Would this one be called the 1983 Yamaha XS400 Maxim? Or is the 'XS400' part followed up with another letter/number (K, D, S etc). Would appreciate being pointed in the right direction for a PDF of the owners manual as well. I have browsed this forum pretty heavily over the last week in anticipation of buying this, lots of fantastic threads here.


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The VIN prefix will give you the info you want about the bike... The first 3 digits of the VIN.

On to the cafe thing..

The short answer: no

It can be done but it will require extensive work and doing some frankenstein stuff with various, possibly non yamaha parts.

A cafe is designed off of lines your bike doesnt really have, such as a spine.

If you had to go the custom route, your bike would be better suited as a scrambler or a tracker style.
Welcome to the forum from one newbie to another! This is the only cafe racer style build of a Maxim that I can find that is super legit

But like NewHavenMike said it will take a lot of fabricating work, time and $$$ to make that happen. Good luck with your build!

Awesome. I am not a die hard purist by any means. I understand my maxim won’t ever have that 100% true cafe look. I’m okay with that! My goal is to have a safe, functioning motorcycle that looks awesome. It will be a mix of mods and upgrades over the winter, so I can hopefully ride it in the spring safely.
Headed to pick it up in a few minutes! Enjoy your build!
There are a couple of well executed DOHCs Ive come across. This one showcased on DCC:

I like that bike but the seat reminds me of a bobber. It needs more of a tail piece like how a Ducati Monster is but smaller.

Youll want to rebuild the entire brake system. Go over the suspension, fork oil is neglected.. I find the stock end suspension to be too soft and the springs are probably worn and have a lot of sag by now anyways. You should be able to find Progressive springs. These ride much better than stock IMO.