Building Your Own Motorcycle – The Yamaha XS650 Cult
It’s just about time, at least here in the wilds of the Midwest, to put the bike away for the winter, and that means a bottle of Sta-Bil , stocking in a few quarts of cheap whiskey and selecting the right winter build project.
If you happen to be a man like me with a Spectacular Spouse Who Does Not Understand or you’re just plain poor (and I qualify here as well), you’ll need to find a suitable bike you can pick up for next to no money.
The candidates are fairly limited as most serviceable bikes go for something like $3,000 to $5,000, and that kind of money at my household goes elsewhere to satisfy the bottomless needs of bankers, insurers and home improvement stores.
So what do you buy and how do you get it rock-bottom cheap? You could go for a sport bike, but that’s not really my style, so that’s out. You could buy something with a little cachet, like say a 60-70’s Triumph or a Harley, but you’re facing a serious outlay for increasingly pricey – and difficult to find – parts and accessories. The market is glutted, and like any competitive market, the money required for entry is dear.
It comes down to a few useful and inexpensive makes and models which are both rideable and which were produced in the proper abundance. Namely, the venerable Yamaha XS 65o or the pre-1999 Kawasaki Vulcan line. You could easily add the Yamaha V-Star line, but even those are still holding their value nicely and many of them are still on the road in stock condition. All of these model lines were made and sold in huge numbers, offer a variety of after-market parts suppliers and earned a reputation for being hardy and anvil-solid.
At this point, it looks like what I can afford will be an XS 650, and my plan is to make something never before seen in the market. There are lots of superbly engineered and built barhoppers, bobbers and choppers out there, but what I have in mind is something a little more practical and suitable as a daily rider. I want the project to harken back to a time when motorcycles were made to be ridden and needed to have the requisite fuel capacity, rider comfort and were easily repaired with a fairly small and common tool kit which will be provided and carried on board.
So there you have it, I’ve set the bar, now off to the shopping…and a chat with the Spectacular Spouse Who Does Not Understand.
Wish me luck and good hunting.
I love home-built stuff and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
List of XS 650 Parts and Tech Tips
- Mikes XS
- Classic Cycles
- Ardcore Choppers
- Old Bike Barn
Tips and Parts Resources
The Ultimate XS650 Parts and Tech Resource List
|Engine and TransmissionRephasing an XS650 engine: “Rephasing, What is it?”Cylinder head torque pattern and specs: “Bad Head Torquing?”XS650 piston ringsOverdrive 5th gearFlushing out an XS650 engine: “calling all engine guys…”|
Wheels and Drive
Maintenance and General Troubleshooting
Identifying your XS650, VIN Numbers
Carburetors, Fuel, Intake, and Air Filters
Whether you ride a sport bike, an American cruiser or one you built with your own two hands, your insurance needs can get complicated.
We’re here to help you find the right motorcycle insurance, whatever you ride…
Tips for buying your motorcycle insurance, coverage you need:
- Collision to pay for damage caused to your vehicle in an accident with another vehicle or any stationary object.
- Comprehensive to cover such things as fire, hail, wind, vandalism, hitting an animal, etc.
- Towing / Pickup
- Medical payment or personal injury protection to cover the medical bills resulting from an accident.
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist to protect us when the other driver is at-fault and does not have coverage or assets out of which your bills can be paid.