“Shop Rat” A 1978 XS650


“Shop Rat” Carved into the seat..

Hi, my name is Josh, I work at G&L Choppers and this is my personal ride. I finished it a few days ago. It took me 2 years to build in my free time. This bike started life as a stock frame and a motor. Nothing more, nothing less. The backbone of this bike is the G&L Choppers hardtail with a 4″ stretch and a slight drop in the seat area. I wanted the riding position to be nice and low. I mounted the tank high on the backbone (frisco style) and made the mid controls. I went with some Biltwell keystone bars that are wrapped in leather grips from madtailor. I run a left hand clutch on the bars (like normal) and crossed the shifter over to the right side (hand shift) for a little style.



The fender started life as a square front fender for a harley and after running it through the english wheel a few times it became my rear fender. I built the round electric box, the end caps and the battery box. The springer is a 2″ under DNA with a 21″ harley front wheel and 16 rear wheel with a disc brake setup. Headlight is a small 4″ light and the taillight is model A style. The engine has been painted and polished and the pipes are aftermarket headers from mikesxs. The carbs are 34mm aftermarket Mikunis.



I painted the bike using HOK limegold candy base and the pinstriping was done by Steve Havens here in Colorado Springs. This was my first time wiring a bike and to my surprise it actually starts and runs! The name “Shop Rat” is carved into the seat which I had made for this build. The bike (and I) hung around the shop for 2 years so I figured what better name for it!


  • Thanks to Rich Ford (owner of G&L Choppers) for all the help and advice throughout the build.
  • Thanks to Sarah and Zozo for putting up with my obsession!!!!

Thanks for looking,
Joshua Scott
G&L Choppers


  1. Ted says:

    Is definitely a beautiful bike. Nice work Joshua.. Thanks for sending in the pics.. I like the idea of working on a bike for a year or more and that’s why I’m currently saving parts for my next XS. I think you build a different bike when you’re not trying just to get something running to ride if you know what I mean.

  2. Dan says:

    Very nice ride. Well worth the two years of lovin.

  3. Wally says:

    This bike is absolutly perfect, really, really nice job!

  4. BykerBrad says:

    Turned out absolutely amazing Josh! A super clean, flawless job as always. Thank you again for the ideas from your blue one as well as the parts you sent my way. Ride safe brother. Congrats again.

  5. e-dog says:

    great job, love it. dig the color too.

  6. Rorschach says:

    seeing this bike caused me to have an accident in my shorts. it is soo clean. right now i am torn between getting the G&L rear section or a full on Ardcore frame. makes me keep thinking. nice work.

  7. Hans from Holland says:

    Well Josh, what can I say after all these words….
    It’s a green, mean, lean super machine!!! well done!

  8. Richard says:

    Really the collection of pictures is fantastic. People will definitely want to have such bike after having a look o these pictures.

  9. Steve says:

    Looks great some neat idea’s …

  10. josh says:

    well thanks for all the nice comments fellas. I’ve been riding this thing for the past few days and I am in love with it. It was well worth the wait! thanks again.


  11. Smitty says:

    Josh thats a kickass bike if mine turns out half as nice i’ll be happy i’ve talked to Rich about those dna springers he was very helpful i love the work comming out of G&L

  12. Rorschach says:

    Josh, are you not running a top motor mount? if so, how is that working out for you?

  13. josh says:

    I am running a top motor mount I just cut out the cross member that attaches to the front of the frame area.

    thanks Smitty! good luck with your bike.


  14. mike N. says:

    That is a very clean job! I really like the shifter. What are you runnin jetwise for your carbs? I started on my xs project( stripping it down marking the wires) And I was wondering what everyone is running?

  15. josh says:

    I have 165’s in there and I am in CO at an elevation of 6000ft.

  16. mike N. says:

    Cool thanks.

  17. Ron says:

    Josh I’m glad you got her done and now we can get on your boss to get his going. Its going to be a good summer.

  18. jimmy ako says:

    hi josh love your bike m8. got tobe the best xs650 ive seen. building one myself. been collecting parts for a few months. got myself a nice set of springers 8inch overs. iam haveing a bobber style frame built. will start a new thread with pics. again well done m8 shes a belter : )

  19. john says:

    Nice article.

  20. skr00zloose says:

    lookin good man. I remember we were both trying to get the 1″ necks to work right about the same time. Mine hasn’t broken yet, lol.

    Keep a check on the rocker bushings on that springer, I had to replace my whole front end b/c the bushings dried up and ate themselves. Hate to see that happen to yours too.

  21. tom says:

    hey just curious what it took to use a springer front end if you dont mins me asking

  22. josh scott says:

    skrooz, thanks for the comps. always liked your scoot! I will keep an eye on the front bushings!

    there is some machine work that needs to be done in order for it to fit properly. Along with new bearings. Give us a shout if you want more info . . . 719-550-0096. Ask for Rich.

  23. Emzdogz says:

    one of the best XS chops I’ve seen.
    I’d give up a tooth for closeup shots of how the footpeg and especially the rear brake pedal mounts were attached.


  24. josh says:

    no need to be missing any teeth over some pics!!! I responded to you with a pic over on 650rider. later man!

  25. Duran says:

    That bike is perfect…

  26. Tyrone says:

    Bike is beautiful…I remember reading when you started…Great job!

  27. Chris says:

    Hey Josh Ive been working on my bike for a while now,
    doing a little here and there and ive hit a rough spot that hopefully you can help me with.

    I switched to a Sportster rear wheel with a disc brake,
    but where did you get a sprocket to fit your sporster wheel that is geared right for XS650 engine ? what did you do for a rear brake caliper as well ?

    any pointers would be so helpful, please just shoot me call or email and i would be very grateful.

  28. Jason says:

    I was just looking over your bike in the new HORSE. Nicely done. I can only hope for my ’71 to turn out that clean!

  29. Ted says:

    Congratulations on getting a feature in the horse Josh.
    Nicely done sir.

  30. Jay says:

    That is a really, really nice creation. Did you use a Harley caliper and rotor with the Harley wheels? I just picked up a 16″ rear and 21″ front for my XS, but I’m torn on the disk. Any suggestions?

  31. OKSHADOW™ says:

    Ok I got to ask, Amazing looking bike, Why is the kick stand on the right instead of the left? Just have to know, nice job.

  32. shawn says:

    any spacing/alignment issues with the harley rear? any specific rim/hub? thanks

  33. franken daddy says:

    Man killer bike! what all was involed with installing your spinger and what top bearing did you use. Thanks

  34. david valentine says:

    here what steps did you have to do to make the rear harley wheel fit ?

  35. Noah Katsma says:

    Beautiful Bike! So clean! I have been working on a Honda CB Bobber for a while now, but this bike right here has convinced me to throw everything aside and tomorrow I am going out to pick up my XS650…

    I too would also like to see your close up pic of your rear brake foot pedal mounts! If that is alright with you!
    My email is noahkatsma@gmail .com Thanks!!!

  36. Steven says:

    this is one helluva sweet scoot……well done !!!

  37. Mike says:

    Those look like G&L Choppers mid controls. I have the same ones and it look like I’ve mounted them in the same spot that you have, but they interfere with my kick start. Do you have the same problem? Or do you just use your electric starter only?

  38. fanoboss says:

    I like how you kicked it over. Most JUMP UP WAY HIGH !!!! Like they are kikn over a top fueler drag bike !!!! LOL

  39. Jorge says:

    I would be happy with a bike like that, and I wouldn’t change a single screw.

  40. norm younger says:

    Wow perfect bike!

  41. norm younger says:

    Once again great bike.

  42. Johnny Chop says:

    Nice scoot! Any chance of a cat like me gett’n some close up pics of your rear caliper mounts?

  43. eric says:

    What did you use for a rear spoke rim,,, running into problems trying to put a rear spoke on my 78. Need the help. thanks….

  44. Don Miller says:

    BEWARE of G&L Choppers!
    They’ve had my bike & $4,000 for well over 3 YEARS and still refuse to answer my calls!
    I’m not the only one. Check out the XS650 Forums, Chop Cult, Chopper Underground, SOHC, Bobber Talk or the Garage Journal and judge for yourself.