The Yamaha XS650 is one of the best platforms for a custom build, in my opinion, especially for the novice builder. There is a large aftermarket, making it easy to purchase both custom and replacement parts, and there’s a huge wealth of information available on forums like XS650.com. You can take these bikes in virtually any direction: cafe racer, bobber, tracker, scrambler, or chopper.
The Well of Inspiration
Of course, I am biased. I own a 1981 Yamaha XS650 done up in street tracker fashion. A huge source of information for me were the bikes showcased on XS650Chopper.com, which is THE custom XS650 blog. Blogs like BikeExif often feature XS650s, even going so far as to round up their top XS650 customs. While those professional builds are jaw-droppers worthy of every last “like” and “tweet” they garner, and then some, I also like to find bikes that are a little more achievable for an Average Joe or Jane with grit, vision, and a battered roll-cab.
The Raw and Simple XS650
Enter the “Raw and Simple” XS650, one of my favorite builds. Though it’s far from the most radical XS650 you’ll find–the main ingredients consisting of a $200-ish TC Brothers hardtail, $80 Sportster tank, and Firestone Cokers–it’s one of those bikes that simply has that IT factor–whatever IT is. Somehow, it’s just right, and you’ll see I’m not the only who thinks so when you read the comment below. What’s more, the bike was accomplished in just a month, by a 20-year-old young man and college student had never even ridden a motorcycle!
Commentary on the Bike
Do yourself a favor and hop on over to XS650Chopper.com to check out the full story on this build, and don’t forget to read the comment section, which is the stuff of internet legend, including this gem:
There is nothing that I will enjoy more than an opportunity to explain my enthusiasm for THIS CHOPPER….
……..POUND FOR POUND…AND DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR….- NOBODY COULD HAVE BUILT A BETTER BIKE…That is a Beautiful Motorcycle…- and he built it out of Spray Cans, a Welding rig, and a seventy dollar Gas-tank from TC Bros…
…….He MIGHT have bought a New Motorcycle from a dealership, and had a bike that looks like a Big Shiney Insect…Or he might have bought a “Build You Own Chopper” Harley Davidson Starter Kit, – for 14,000…or he might have built a Copy-Cat West Coast Choppers Joke-Bike that looks like a Big Gross Glop Of Melted Candy….
…But instead, – he saw thru ALL OF THE BULLSHIT…He saw some pictures of CHOPPERS…- and He Knew The REAL THING when he SAW IT….- and he built it on a BUDGET of the next nearest to nothing that you can GET….- Every move he made was Right, – and Not One Wrong Move Did He Make…..