It’s hard to beat the Yamaha XS650 for character, durability, and ease of customization. The lines lend themselves readily to all kinds of builds, from choppers to trackers, and what the parallel twin lacks in all-out power, it makes up for in torque, sound, and sheer gusto.
This Yamaha XS650 by Jay Richetelli of Connecticut immediately leapt out at us with its beefy motocross forks, trick supermoto wheels, and bare metal tank. It also helps that I myself own, ride, and wrench on a 1981 XS650 Special with the same factory color scheme, so Jay’s bike has been filed away as inspiration for future modifications.
We’ll let Jay himself give you the details of the build.
“TruNorth” XS650: In The Builder’s Words
Garage built on weekends and after work. Grafted a 2004 Suzuki RMZ 250 front end and brake onto the Yamaha head tube. Lowered front suspension travel from 11.75 inches to 6 inches to maintain stock geometry.
Warp 9 Supermoto 17″ front and rear wheels. Replaced the 1982 650 swing arm with beefier 1973 Yamaha TX 750 swing arm. Laced the larger TX750 rear hub to the Warp 9 wheel to maintain the drum brake look while providing greater braking power.
Aermacchi 5 3/4″ headlight, bench built custom front turn signal tree. Repurposed and fabricated rear fender, fabricated original XS650 license plate light as rear brake light by fitting new Lucas taillight to original license plate bracket.
New 17×32 drive train, Uni pod filters on rebuilt BS34 carbs, Ducati Monster S4 handle bars, stock exhaust with beer can patch on cross tube connection.
Shinko Trailmaster 130/90s front and rear, Acewell 2701 Speedo/Tach, Speedmaster Voltmeter. Texture Black powder coated frame. Bare metal XS650 tank with original paint red stripe.
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