1981 XS heritage special, FONG BROS

FONG BROS out of Baltimore

What you’re looking at is a hardcore one of a kind, handbuilt Yamaha xs650. There is a huge cult following with these bikes because of their bulletproof reputation and availability of parts. This bike was built by the “internationally recognized”, legendary FONG BROS out of Baltimore, Maryland (See “The Horse Backstreet Choppers” May/June 2008 issue for more on the Fong Bros), and modeled slightly after the WCC Coors Dominator. This bike is like a one man parade. People will not stop bugging you about it while you ride.

Handbuilt Yamaha xs650

This bike has always been a dependable ride. It hasn’t been out much since completion, but it has ridden in numerous charity rides and been shown and placed (2nd) at the 2007 International Motorcycle show in Maryland.The bike that beat it was brand new and had two racing stripes painted on, so what does that tell you about shows? You may have seen the Fong Bros at the same show with different bikes in 2008 – they were the guys with the fireplace. They are stupid. It has also been seen at The Smokeout 2006 in NC. It’s probably logged about 350 miles since being finished and had run perfectly everytime.

1981 Heritage Special

Now onto the details of the bike. This bike started life as a 1981 Heritage Special with about 13,000 miles. It has since been converted into the most hardcore riding combination. It is a true suicide shift with no front brake. This bike should really only be ridden as it is by a skilled rider, as a novice will surely crash it. However, with that in mind it was built to be easily converted back so that a novice can buy it and ride safely. In order to be more user friendly, I will have available a front brake rotor and caliper, and an unshaved fork leg. To convert it back to the stock shift /brake set up, just add a foot shifter and clutch lever/cable, and hook up the front brake.

The frame is a custom hardtail with 3″ stretch in the rear. The controls were left mid control (because I think they look better than bolt on forwards). The foot clutch is a one of a kind setup that has never been done like this before. It is totally stock looking because it was made from all stock parts. I had to ruin an entire other frame just to make the clutch setup. I cut the foot brake section from a good frame, flipped it, put it on the left side, and used the foot brake controls (also flipped) to make the clutch setup. I guarantee you have not seen this done on one of these before, but you may start seeing them now that it’s out there. Wheels are 19 and 16 and are powder coated and have new spokes. Speedmaster on the front and whitewall on the back. Frame is House of Kolor gold metalflake (lots of sparkle) over a titanium silver base. Low tunnel Sportster tank (Kreemed and with new petcocks), Ford tractor tail light, 1929 Willys Overland Headlight and recipe/battery box, and shaved forks are all finished in genuine iron oxide rust finish.

For a while, I was really into the juxtaposition of materials – the over the top metalflake finished off with weatherd rusted looking tins. There is a vintage bottle opener up by the headtube and a cadillac trunk lock cover hides the ignition switch. New top end gaskets on the engine as well as top end and lower bolt kit. Super sixties metalflake grips, Hurst Indy hand shifter, shifts behind your leg and is topped of with a gold metalflake Peterbilt shift knob. Custom Chrome risers on 12″ Ape hanger bars (1″ diameter). I had LePera custom make the seat for this bike. 3 inch springs offer a surprisingly comfortable ride. Kicker converted to a pedal, and it’s kick only. A 4 amp battery supplies the power. The electric start is there and is hooked up so you can jump it from a bigger battery if that’s the way you roll.



  1. Joey says:

    I saw these guys in the horse mag while back.. cool bike. I like the metalflake rust look..

  2. nick says:

    cool keep up the good work !!!!

  3. seedboy says:

    nice bike! like to see more? that is hot!!! yamaha all the way

  4. trucker920 says:

    Dude….love it. I had a ’75 XS650 Special back in the late 70’s. Next to my current Valkyrie, it was the best damn bike I’ve ever had. Cool.

  5. jesse coyne says:

    put a lil bit of that white wall on that front tire to top it off perfect!!!

  6. Bryan says:

    I would love to see more pics of the bike on the bottom that was in the Horse!!!

  7. Denis (Billy Joe Fong) says:

    I sent in some pics of the silver bike, but they didn’t post them.

  8. Ted says:

    I plan on posting the silver bike, but was waiting to get some words on it.

  9. Ted says:

    hopefully coming soon.

  10. Bryan says:

    Billy Joe Fong,
    On the bike in the Horse that tank has two petcocks. Does this one? Sorry for the dumb question but this is my first build and got a sportster tank….will the one work, or do I need to bung the tank out for another one???

    Also you got that drum front on that bike from a 360 right? Is the axle the same? The article in Horse says you put a 360 front end on there???

    Thanks again bro, Ive got that issue of the Horse out in the garage and show it to people when they ask what im going for.

  11. Denis (Billy Joe Fong) says:

    You can run one petcock or two. It doesn’t matter. However, to answer your question, yes the gold bike has 2 petcocks. All you have to do is make sure you put a “T” in the line so it can go to both carbs if you run a single petcock. The primer “62” Fong Bros bike in the other post has been running one petcock for about 2 years now. The only problem you may have, is if the petcock is not on the end of the tank, sometimes the angle of the tank will cause you to run out of gas even when you have gas because the gas will sit below the petcock.
    The forks, triple tree (clamps), axle and hub on the silver bike are all from an xs360, which is the same as an xs400. In order for it to work on the 650, you have to change the steering stem, The one on a 650 is longer. To change it, you grind the weld off of the bottom of the lower tree, and knock the stem out, Do the same to the 650 tree and weld in the 650 stem into the 360/400 tree.
    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. I check the board usually once a day or so.

  12. I’ve been looking through your bikes here on xs650chopper….your bikes are sick and your style is awesome! I live in northern VA. Are there any shows coming up in the VA/MD/DC area that any of your bikes will be at? I’d love to see them in person. keep em comin!

  13. …Or I could just drive to baltimore from VA to check out any of your bikes. I dont really care about going to a show.

  14. Denis (BJF) says:

    Daniel, Thanks man! We’ll be riding the Pete Leach charity ride in Baltimore on April 19th.

  15. THOMAS says:


  16. Ted says:

    Bryan, you can use a sportster tank with one pet cock just splice the line with a T adapter and run it to the carbs. it works fine. I’ve been running the same setup on my bike for a year and a half. All the other information you’re looking for is already been covered in the Fong brother’s other posts…. just reread!! Send in pictures when you get done. Thanks

  17. EJ says:

    I really like the style of your bikes. I want to add a hardtail to my ’79 special but leave the side supports in it like you have. It doesn’t seem like you guys do hard tail conversions for customers. Can you give me any details about adding a hardtail using the side supports? It doesn’t seem like any other companies that add hardtails can/have done that before. Thanks.

  18. Rusty Nutz says:

    Good to see this bike again. This is the one that got me interested in bobbed XS650’s. The Fong Bros are legendary. My build will be a Fong clone.

  19. Brent says:

    I understand this bike has an Avon Speedmaster on the front but could you help me out with what kind of rear tire is on this bike? Thanks.

  20. blackwidow says:

    What was the purpose or advantage of changing the front forks from another bike or why was it done??

  21. brettj says:

    rad bike. Was thinking of picking up a low tunnel sporty tank like the one on the bike. From the pics I’ve seen the tank seems to have a 3/8 and two 1/4 petcock taps?? Is that correct?

  22. Geezerman says:

    Sweet !!
    love the pipes.
    Not a woncer that it is so popular

  23. anthony taglienti says:

    hey there you do great work and really love your style.would like to know if you guy,s can hardtail a 1980 honda cm400t.i know you guy,s are into xs650 ,s but my project is a honda for now to chop & bob.or any info on who up my way might.i live in newark delaware..thank,s for any info..keep on chopping.

  24. fong bro says:

    Anthony, can you send a picture of the frame?
    Geezerman, Thank you.
    Brett, no, just the 2 petcocks, no other tap.
    Blackwidow- it’s done (by me anyway) when I want to run a drum front. Xs 360/400 parts are way cheaper.

  25. Seth says:

    This is my style of bike. I build similar creations. I do a lot of rusting and natural application of patina. I consider it my specialty. I like to know that there are some people who still enjoy the thrill of making something look 60 years old. Ill be putting my bike up shortly, Im in the middle of a springer build right now but when shes done and on her, ill send in some pictures huh

  26. ranken says:

    what diagram did u use i have same year can you send me a diagram need to get her wired and ridding

  27. norm younger says:

    Great bike but i think it would have been better contrast with the frame oxidized and the tins painted