A Spooky Scrambler from Milwaukee…
Introduced in 1973, the Yamaha TX500 was a four-stroke vertical twin with a number of innovative features, including a contra-rotating balancer and four valves per cylinder — first for a mass-produced motorcycle engine, claimed Yamaha. This “balanced twin” was renamed the XS500 in 1975 and continued in production until 1980, evolving from a curvy British style reminiscent of the XS650 to an angular Italianate look.
Enter Nick Petterson of Milwaukee’s Moto-fied Cycles, whose first custom build — the “Brown Bomber” — we featured back in 2016. Since then, the shop has grown in big ways, moving from a one-car garage to a new location just north of Milwaukee’s Miller Park.
After seeing Nick’s KZ400 build, friend and customer Dean D’amato reached out to commission an aggressive, trail-ready scrambler. Starting with a 1976 Yamaha XS500, Nick pushed his own comfort zone, retrofitting a mono-shock swingarm from a vintage motocross bike, fabricating an entirely new tail, and leaning on expert friends for wiring, paint, and upholstery help — many of whom he thanks below.
The result is the “TxXsChainsaw” — a killer 500 twin scrambler. Moto-fied Cycles even has “Spooky Scrambler” hoodies for sale — perfect for the Halloween season!
“TxXs Chainsaw” Video
Yamaha XS / TX500 Scrambler: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Nick Petterson, owner of Moto-fied Cycles. Starting from a single car garage, the idea of our shop evolved drastically in a few years, and is now proudly located just north of Miller Park in Milwaukee.
I’ve been working and riding bikes for roughly six years now. Out of necessity I started learning my own fab skills at past jobs and that helped me out greatly to start doing work for others and help out with their projects. This year we got our shop setup for powder coating, so now we can handle any parts a motorcycle may need refinished!
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
1976 Yamaha XS/TX 500.
• Why was this bike built?
The bike was built for a friend, and customer Dean D’amato.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Beginning with my first custom built bike “The Brown Bomber,” Dean reached out to me with huge interest in what my small shop was getting into. He loved the scrambler style and wanted me to make his machine look aggressive and trail ready.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Starting with the back of the bike, I removed the old swing arm and replaced it with a vintage mono shock swing arm from an old motocross bike. I found that it fit perfectly without major work, the next step was to make pivot points for the suspension as well as sturdy mounting points on the frame to withstand the forces of off-roading.
I next cut off the entire rear end of the motorcycle and fabricated a hanging tail, battery tray, and upper shock mount out of plate steel.
Once the tail was welded into place I adjusted the front tank mount to give the angle of the tank/tail a more aggressive look.
Next, a Brembo rear master cylinder was fitted up on the bike to replace the old clunky unit.
The rest of the build included intense detail into plating, wiring, powder coating, and painting.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• How would you classify this bike?
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
There are so many things on this bike that pushed me well out of my comfort zone. Firstly, the tail was quite a challenge as I did not have a frame jig at the time. With an intense amount measuring and leveling I got it to a place where I was very happy!
The second part of this bike that I am very proud of is the electrical panel, and all the clean wiring that was done. Thanks to Jacob Stendel , friend and electrical engineer the panel came together seamlessly! We used a Motogadget m unit, along with a few other products from them and were very pleased with the outcome.
Thirdly the seat was another exciting part about the build. The taillight was integrated into the back of the seat and seen through a tinted clear vinyl, commonly used on camper tops and boats. The seat really brings the bike together following lines from the tail and meeting up with the tank perfectly!
Special thanks to: Jacob Stendel for wiring the entire bike and helping me through electrical challenges. James Quesnell for painting the tank and providing a ton of help the week before the Mama Tried show. Ron at Milwaukee Cycle Salvage for building an absolutely killer seat. Philip Birschbach for spending an enormous amount of time setting up the suspension for the bike. Calculating spring rates and teaching me a ton about suspension! I wanted to add a huge thanks to Jason Braun with Needs More Sticker for doing an insanely nice job with the tank vinyl. Lastly I’d like to thank the owner of this motorcycle Dean D’amato. Since the bike was started my life has changed drastically in ways I could not expect. Dean was supportive the entire time, giving me free creative ability on his machine and was extremely patient with me. I could not have built this bike without the support of homies like these guys.