The Yamaha XS650 is one of our favorite platforms for a custom build. I personally own an ’81 model, and the air-cooled parallel twin makes an especially solid street tracker.
Enter Felix and Patrick of Le Garage de Felix, who have created “Oval 79,” the coolest XS650 street tracker we have ever seen. Built for American brand Ride & Sons, this ’72 model has incredible amount of custom work done, including new forks, swing arm, and reinforced frame.
Below, we get the full scoop on this incredible build.
“Oval 79” Yamaha XS650 Tracker: Builder Interview
(Words by Garage de Felix. Highlights by us.)
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
The Garage de Felix was born from my passion for motorcycles and beautiful objects. I’ve always been attracted to motorsports. Motorcycle, car, on land or on track, competition, departures in line or on the spur, beautiful mechanical, modern but especially old, have always kept me in breath. Unconventional machines have this extra soul that distinguishes them from current production. For it is indeed the soul in question! Of those of the motorcycles, but also of that of Felix.
Inspiration and creation rather than restoration, that is what we base our profession on!
We don’t restore, we create (or recreate) new machines by putting a little of our soul and much of our heart. They return to the world, as transposed, reflecting an evident modernity. Newer than new, but full of authenticity. They are the perfect synthesis between present and past. Each is a unique work, which we would be incapable of duplicating.
I say because if my imagination to recreate motorcycles from another era to make machines ultra-contemporary and in the era of time proves to be overflowing, it would be nothing without the quasi-religious intervention of Patrick. I write the melody, put it into music, with instruments, with mastery.
Patrick is a real Meccano. In the noble sense of the term, as one would say Soprano. He has spent many years as a semi-factory mechanic in endurance races, arguably the most demanding discipline in motorsport, as both machines have to perform well and have 24 hours at full speed, at one time. Where the engines made the soul more often than in their turn.
He knows a ray about what makes a machine efficient and reliable. But beyond his technical skills, it is his mastery of the mechanical thing that makes him an exceptional preparer. Not content with selecting and assembling the most beautiful pieces, it is able to create them if the need arises. It disassembles, shapes, welds, limees, it refines, it rises, it adjusts to the millimeter, until obtaining a result that confines to the perfection. And to achieve this, time is a precious ally. We do not count our hours. It is our love of things well made, and not the clock, which presides over any realization of the “Garage”.
Do not expect an old-fashioned, old-fashioned workshop filled with oils. It is from elbow grease and precision equipment that our productions are made. We work in a secret, ultra modern, spacious and clean place that our motorcycles are well finished.
As you can see, motorcycles coming from the Garage de Felix are not only pleasant to the eye or the ear, they are created to ride long and offer their owners the pleasure of driving an exceptional machine without back thinking about its reliability.
When a motor comes back, after many weeks in our lab-workshop, it’s a bit of Patrick’s heart, but also that of Felix that builds … And if our achievements take your breath away — for a second — by their purity, it is because we have worked well.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
You guessed it, we have a love for the 70s. At that time, a motorcycle discipline really had the wind in stern of the other side of the Atlantic, it is the Flat Track.
It was obvious that it was necessary to leave from a Yamaha base, and the XS650 (1972) presented itself as the ideal motorbike for this preparation.
• Why was this bike built?
For our number five we chose to show all our know-how, through this preparation Patrick pushed his technical skills in their last entrenchments. Creating the XS650 for our favorite brand Ride & Sons, FOR RIDERS WHO LIVE — sums up well the spirit of the American brand, that aims to accompany the rider on the handlebars and in the everyday life, and to equip him from head to toe.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
We have a love for the 70s, at that time a motorcycle discipline have the wind aft on the other side of the Atlantic, this is the flat track. The XS650 is a snap, a world champion out of the ordinary, Kenny Roberts.
It has a very assertive dirt track look, but endowed with essential details to ride freely. We have taken care of every detail, to make it a unique pieces, with no limits of budget and time — just our desires and our imagination.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
- Framing of the frame
- New swing arm
- Suzuki fork
- Carburetors MIKUNI (34)
- Front and rear wheel
- Beringer brake
- Omars Fiberglass (usa) Petrol tank
- Moto gadget: Commodos / speedmeter / lighting
- Vinélia Numbers (vintage)
- Home production complete exhaust system welded from inox elbow in 40 mm diameter, and completed by a SC PROJECT silencer
- Highlight of the yamaha bycilindre,
- The original frame was rebuilt around its backbone and its steering colone
- Patrick one recreates a main tube, bent at the “goose neck” to retain the original fixation
- 2win shock factory Shock absorber
• How would you classify this bike?
Flat Track / Street Tracker
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
It is quite difficult to give an answer to this question. It is a work of several months, with many hours spent, hard work, laughter, good times … I will say: ALL.
- White Background Pictures: Fabrice Berry
- Other pictures: Denis Boussard
Follow Le Garage de Felix:
- Website & Shop: www.legaragedefelix.fr
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/legaragedefelix/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/legaragedefelix/
Follow Ride and Sons
- Website: http://www.rideandsons.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ride-Sons-1396829310639347/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rideandsons/