Teds 1979 Yamaha XS650


My 1979 Yamaha XS 650. Look at that seat!!

My second Yamaha xs650. I picked it up on on the Black Market AKA eBay for $250. Built circa 1979. The beautiful tropical artwork sold me.. This guy had it listed on eBay for $100 bucks and nobody was biding on it. The description of the bike said that it had electrical problems. Called the guy up and asked if he knew what was wrong with it. He said he wasn’t sure but thought it was the stator. I put in my bid and won the auction that day. The bike was down in Indiana and I’m up in MI. When I called the guy up and asked for directions, he seemed pretty pissed off that the bike went for such a low price..


The only thing I had that would fit the bike in the back was an old shitbox deathtrap minivan with loose steering. So I’m on the Chicago Turnpike at like seven in the morning cars are whizzing past me and the van tops out at 55 mph. Then there’s this all black tainted out Dodge Charger. I’m in the left lane with the pedal floored and this Charger is inches away from my bumper. So, I decided to be a Big Dick and tapped the brakes. This Dodge is inches away from hitting me. A couple miles go by and the Dodge is backing off. Minutes later he’s right back on my bumper. I tapped the brakes. HA, ha, LOL. Then the black Charger starts flashing lights at me and turns on a police siren. Shit COP. I pull over. SHIT.. This hardass walks up with spiked hair a bulletproof vest, black cargo pants and a guns strapped to his leg. He starts yelling at me and tells me to get in his car. I’m sitting in the car and this COP is just Scream has lungs out at me. Telling me how I could get shot form some guy with roadrage. I say YES SR. YES SR. Thinking in my head your the Dick who was tailgating. He let me go with a warning…

A few hours later I get to the guys house to Pick up the bike. It turns out the guy was a cool auctioneer and had all sorts of crazy stuff around his house. He helped me load the xs650 up into my shitbox and then showed me around his property. It was a good trip..

A week after I got the bike home.


Looking good at the end of Summer.


I need to get a better photo. Maybe by an abandoned warehouse, there are a ton in Michigan. HA, HA.

Double whitewall tire cost more than the entire bike.. Slowly getting to the picture I got in my head. Nowhere near finished, but that’s what is cool about having a fixity.. I’ve got it ripped down to the frame right now rewiring it. I’d like to drop the seat and put a 2 inch stretched swingarm on it. I also have a 21 inch rim I need to get some spokes for. Slowly it will come together… I also have plans for a xs650 hardtail. I’m starting to save parts for that now.

Got some pictures of you and your XS 650? Send them in.

Or have a look at what’s on the front page. New rides are posted daily.

Thanks for stopping.

Ted M


  1. theman says:

    Hey, man I’ve become fascinated with these bikes after seeing one. Yours is absolutely beautiful. I’m hoping I will be able to start building one within the next year or two.

  2. Steve Bunn says:

    Nice to see this up and running. Looks really good man. You’ve got to get rid of that chrome fender this summer and I’ve got to get my electrical system working right so we can ride. Let me know if you’ve got any time, and we can trade.

  3. admin says:


  4. zach says:

    enjoying this site! just got my first 650 last week…’73 tx650. it’s ‘almost running’ right now, but i’m feeling pretty good about having it going in the next few weeks. needs a lot of love cosmetically, but that’s what it’s all about! look forward to getting a lot of ideas from everything on here.

  5. Ted says:

    cool man definitely a lot of ideas around here. sending some pics when you get further along.

  6. Jason "BIG COOKIE" says:

    Theo this site rocks… I’m glad that you are helping people get the word out about these bikes.

  7. Ted says:

    Word BRO..You best get a bike soon!

  8. Bobby Camaroe says:

    Been “trying” to get a dirt tracker style ’81 going for around five years now. I found this site last night and I’m back to the drawing board for the ten thousandth time. Tanks a much. Very inspirational site. What is it with those Finns? They create the coolest bikes ever. Must be the long winters.

    Keep up the good work

  9. Pugs says:

    dude what shocks did you use for this bike and what else did you do really to get that look…just shocks, handle bars, and seat pretty much? PLEASE LET ME KNOW!…i am new to this stuff and want to do this to my bike…I also have a 79…thanks bro!

  10. Ted says:

    I pretty much just stripped everything down to bare essentials. The rear springs are 11 and a half inches.

  11. Pugs says:

    Thats it?…11 and a half huh?…it looks like that dropped the back a lot!…and thats what I need…so its pretty much stock? just stripped a bit…and new shocks? did you do any cutting or welding at all? thanks bro I appreciate it!

  12. Pugs says:

    sorry to keep buggin you…but did you also just leave all the wireing and non-sense where it was…I have all that wireing and stuff under my big ole seat…where did you put all that…and did you leave the battery where it was? thanks again…much appreciated…

  13. Ted says:

    I did do LOTS of cutting and a little welding and grinding to.. I just finished rewiring it this weekend. I tossed out everything that didn’t make it go.. Just start taking stuff off and don’t stop. Send in some pics when you get a chance Pugs ..

  14. Rob says:

    I found this site yesterday from another forum where a guy built his wife a xs650 for 1000 bucks.My wife is learning to ride we have been talking about buying something cheap and finishing it in her style. I own a couple custom bikes one being a newer style chopper and a classic style chopper bobber.She loves these bikes and this is something i am going to do.
    1 find a project started
    2 Get the tins she wants
    3 Get her a permit
    4 Cross my fingers and hope she dont lay it over.
    This site is killer and i know i will learn alot here.Ted you have a talent and an eye for good taste. As soon as i find a project xs650 i will post my progress with it….

  15. Aaron says:

    Great site! I have a few bikes in the garage…one in particular, a ’83 XS650 Heritage Special. It was minutes away from going into the classifieds, as I’ve spent most of my time customizing/enhancing my other bikes as it sat in a corner. That was, until, I came across this site! That was this past Thursday…today is Saturday. I’ve been on this stinking computer most waking hours since then looking up every imaginable XS650 site I can find – bookmarking sites that have parts/info/inspiration I think I’ll use over the next few months as I obsessively build that XS into the hardtail bobber vision that is now stuck in my brain. When my wife can never find me ’cause I’m always in the garage chopping/building, I’ll blame you!

  16. Ted says:

    “I’ll blame you!” HAha. Cool.
    Aaron and Rob, definitely send in some pictures when you get a chance.

  17. Aaron says:

    Will definitely send in pics as I progress. By the way, any updates regarding the “How to Chopp your Yamaha..” Series? 🙂

  18. Rob says:

    Ted, your bike is sick and very close to what I want to accomplish. I was reading Pug’s posts and have the same questions. Can you tell me what mechanical modifications you’ve made. I just bought a ’75. It actually runs so I could use it daily. But would like to dress her up (or down) until I know exactly what I want it to become. Beside new bars, solo seat w/springs, exhaust did you have to cut the frame at all?

  19. Anders says:

    I planing to build my own xs650 chopper. I’m gattering in some info.
    I’m just woundering how tall you are?
    I’m 188cm and don’t wanna look funny on the bike.

    So I’m planing to make the wheel-base longer.

  20. Ted says:

    Rob- I cut tons of useless brackets and whatnot off the frame.

    Anders- I’m 6,3″ with forward controls I think I fit pretty good on it so you should be ok. I’m about to put on a hardtail with a 3″ stretch.

  21. Mike says:

    Hey Ted,
    Was just surfing Ebay and saw one of your shirts up for sale.. Then I noticed Byron Center, MI… Holly Crap, that’s like 30 miles away from me!!! Seems like we got a lot in common here… xs650s for one, I got 4 myself. Love your sense of humor.. after that Trailer Park Boys post I got hooked, downloaded the full torrent and watched all the episodes and movies.. Took me a few weeks, and I drove my girlfriend (who works in GR) nuts because I started my conversations with “In an episode of Trailer Park Boys…” Music we seem to be on the same page.. Being that you wrote this site, I’m guessing your a bit of a computer geek, I’m a systems Analysts by day… Anyway, it would be great to talk/email off this site.. exchange local resources for building ect… Your in the XS650 Garage right? What’s your handle there.. Any local bike shows or nights you go to? There’s a small bike show near me in Mullikin I’ll be putting one of my bikes in on Aug 23rd. Even though it’s small Ron Fintch has had his bike on display there. Met him a few times, his bikes are wild.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  22. Trevor McMillan says:

    Good job there brother,looking good keep it . I am doing the same thing down here in cali.650.MC.SFV.YAMAS

  23. jessie says:

    dude! ted! site is looking good man 🙂 im bout to get at you about some usability though… lets get some way to navigate through the comments… (sort by oldest | sort by newest) and maybe a better pagination on the blog posts where its easier to get to the first and last posts etc… like this : [ First <> Last ] and maybe some more features for community involvement (check out the “like” feature on facebook, though i know you hate this. lets get some video diarys posted from people as they make their bikes – id love to see that for sure. holler ted, miss you dude 🙂

  24. Buddy says:

    I saw that you said you have forward controls and plan on putting a hard tail on it. Where do you plan on getting or have bought them from?

  25. Ted says:

    @ Jessica – Thanks! I just sent you a PM. A lot of stuff on the site that I’d like to change or improve but it all comes down to time and money. We will have to hang out when you come into town.

    @ Buddy
    The TC Bro’s hooked me up with a hard tail. I’ve already cut the frame in half and am cleaning stuff up now. But I wanted to figure out my rear brake linkage before I put everything together. I’ll post some pics soon. (It’s been taking me a while. I have had to put the project aside for a couple weeks, but it will get finished For Sure!)

  26. Buddy says:

    Did you go with their 3″ or 5″ hard tail kit? I am getting the title on my bike any day and i plan on doing a basic weekend transform like you did on yours. I really like those bars how tall are they? I come from a family that hates bikes so yes iam the black sheep and had to buy one.

  27. rob says:

    @Ted: i think you recently posted a comment; “You can also just use a vintage dirtbike 21″ front wheel”. Which bikes offer a 21″ that can be easily transitioned for use with the XS? thanks, rob

  28. Ted says:

    @ rob – There are a large number of bikes that offer a 21″ front wheel that can be used on a xs. I dig the aluminum look of the dirtbike rims. You can also find really cheap dirtbike wheels on eBay.

    Go to eBay and type in “yamaha 21 wheel” a bunch of wheels will pop up. The 77 yamaha TT500 front 21 will will work on the xs. Most of the 21 inch dirtbike wheels from the 70s and 80s are the same between brands. You will have to swap out the bearings on most. But bearings are only six dollars a piece (you can pick those up on eBay to.)

    You can see the 21 inch aluminum alloy Suzuki front wheel i am using on my update post.

  29. Stephen says:

    What kind of tank is that/ where did you get it.
    It looks perfect with the 650

  30. Donnie says:

    Great story, killer bike, best site around.

  31. Shane Nevermind says:

    what a great bike… love that it is not a hard tail…

  32. Hi Ted

    It’s great to get such information. It is useful to every viewer who is willing to gain their knowledge. I have noticed that people who share their view and their opinion makes great to know the latest technology.

    Thank you
    Buy sell classifieds

  33. norm younger says:


  34. john says:

    Ted. that king and queen is a seat only a girlfriend could love. You look kinda young and cool, toolin’ down the road in your loafers on that nice little scoot. Still got ‘er three years later?

  35. mike lytle says:

    I was looking in to some of the first post that you had on this site………they all seemed so friendly…….very cool…….hope your “new and improved” site will be the same way…….maybe a destuct program for ankle bitters……my bike is finished, so will be sending in some pics soon………cherish this site……..thanks from all us gearheads that just can’t help ourselves……..good luck with the new site, mike

  36. Eli Scott says:

    Hey Ted, I’m just learning about motorcycles and I’ve got a friend selling me a 1973 XS650. I’ve got most of what I need sorted out but I’m really trying to find a way to extend the foot pedals up farther cause I’ve got long legs. Where in the world did you find the extensions for this sweet ride??!