The Yamaha XS650 managed to combine the character and charisma of the British twins with something those bikes had rarely offered: oil-tight reliability. What’s more, the XS was technically advanced for its day, boasting unit construction and a horizontally split crankcase. Today, the XS650 remains one of the world’s most beloved vintage motorcycles, and it’s also a prime candidate for street tracker builds — after all, none other than King Kenny himself piloted an XS650-powered tracker in his day.
Enter Serge Lindemann, the behind custom garage Swiss Cruiser, who recently partnered with Dany Kunz of Switzerland’s Ace Cafe in Lucerne to found a new brand, Heritage and Sons, building and restoring vintage cars and motorcycles. This 1981 XS was one of their first projects, built as a street tracker with many handmade, one-off parts and a speed-block livery that harks back to King Kenny’s dirt track days.
We spoke with Noël Saugy, founder of www.streetonaut.com, who’s responsible for the photos and sales of Serge’s bikes. Read on for more details on the build!
Yamaha XS650 Street Tracker: Interview
•Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Serge Lindemann, motorcycle designer and owner of the custom/import garage Swiss Cruiser in Gersau on Lake Lucerne. He specializes in the whole process of import/export, restoration, rebuilding and custom-made products. You can view his latest builds at the following link: www.streetonaut.com/custombikes/custombikes.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Yamaha XS650, 1981.
• Why was this bike built?
In partnership with Dany Kunz, the founder of the Ace Cafe in Lucerne, the two have launched a new brand called “Heritage and Sons.” Under this brand they build and restore cars and motorcycles. The XS was one of these projects in the early stage.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The XS650 was completely rebuilt and many new parts were added. The frame was repainted and modified to hold a single seat. The rear fender and saddle are self-made. The tank is also self-made, as well as the front panel with light.
The bike has LED headlights, LED taillights, handlebars, quick-throttle conversion, open air filters, larger carburetor, digital speedometer, digital adjustable ignition, battery box with electronics and integrated ignition lock.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
The engine runs superbly and the transmission shifts perfectly. Super easy handling.
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