The bike we know as the Yamaha XS650 actually started life as the 1970 XS-1. For the 1973-74 model years, it was re-badged as the TX650 to match the TX500 and TX750. When these bikes were discontinued, the XS badging returned and all subsequent models in the series were known as the XS650. Few bikes in motorcycling history have so deftly combined classic styling and new technology:
“Yamaha’s new 650 twin was an interesting mix of an old-school favorite — 360-degree, 650cc parallel twin — wrapped in new-school technology. Although it looked — by design — much like its British inspiration (specifically, Triumph’s 650 Bonneville), Yamaha’s new twin was not like twins of yore. Intelligent application of new technology meant it breathed easily (thank you CV carbs and overhead cam) and spun happily, a light flywheel accentuating the engine’s instant throttle response. It also didn’t leak oil, thanks to modern tooling unit engine/transmission construction with a horizontally-split crankcase, superior to vertically-split cases for controlling crankcase flex and subsequent loosening of critical sealing surfaces.” –Motorcycle Classics
Enter Richard South of the UK’s Kuna Customs, whose workshop in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, isn’t but a stone’s throw from the shop where Frank Whittle invented the jet engine — talk about an auspicious location! Richard has been riding since his early teens and building bikes for customers for over ten years now. He’s developed a real affinity for the XS650, as evidenced by the pair of his builds we’ve previously featured: his 1971 Yamaha XS-1B brat and 1978 XS650SE, originally built to showcase at The Bike Shed London.
Now he’s back with this TX650 brat — and it’s for sale! Below, we get the full details on the build from Richard himself.
Yamaha XS/TX650 Brat Style: In the Builder’s Words
Yamaha TX650 bratstyle. This 1973 build like many of our others are MOT and Tax exempt. Running a battery-less configuration & using all modern electronics which makes looking after a Kuna custom bike simple. Vape PMA charging system and solid state CDI, high performance coil coupled with our full stainless steel exhaust system, new 32mm carbs & high flow air filters giving a good increase in power from a fantastic twin motor.
- Frame stripped & all fabrication work completed
- Manufacture & fit new narrower subframe
- Make & fit new rear suspension & mudguard mounts
- Fabricate all new electronic mounts & fit to frame
- Frame, swingarm, wheels etc all powder coated
- Engine checked, adjusted
- Replace engine seals & gaskets where required
- Soda blast & steam clean the engine
- Engine prepped & painted
- New TT classic tyres fitted
- Rolling chassis built all bearings cleaned re-greased or changed
- New fork tubes, seals & dust caps then lowered
- Refurbish steering damper
- New headlight & speedo fitted
- Brake caliper refurbished
- New brake master cylinder & new brake line
- Type 049 low rise handlebars fitting
- New clutch lever & cable
- New throttle body & grips
- Make rear mud guard paint & fit led tail light
- New HD chain & sprockets
- New rear brake shoes
- XS1 tank chemically stripped then finished in candy red & black
- New fuel taps, pipework & clips
- Make stainless steel seat pan then covered in quality black napa leather
It’s now for sale on our website for £6250.
Follow the Builder
- Web: www.kunacustoms.com
- IG: @kunacustoms
- FB: @kunacustoms
Very nice XS650. I love these bikes thats why I own two. I like that color of red on the tank. Is it a special mix of red? Nice detailing, very clean and functional.