Justin’s bratstyle xs650 bobber


Here is a beautifully done bratstyle xs650 bobber built by Justin from MI.

Incredibly satisfying to be riding on something I built.

1976 XS 650
I bought this for $50 from my neighbor who had it parked for the last
18 years.  It came just before my wife and I found out that we were
having twins, to make our grand total, 4 kids.  So as I was freaked
out and excited, this bike became my nightly therapy after my kids
went to bed each evening over the last year and half.  The twins
coming also meant that this build would be low budget and done almost all by myself.noid-img_3807
Motor: Top end rebuild, paint, and polish cases and covers, and tossed
the electric starter.  I debated on shaving the yamaha name off the
cover, but decided to keep it I am not ashamed its a yamaha.  I also
did the banshee magneto swap since I was not planning on running a
battery.  Swapped out the points for the pamco ignition – only to
absolutely FRY it my first start up. Pete actually helped me figure
out what went wrong, then he backed up his warranty and sent me
another circuit board. Pete and the pamco ignition are awesome.  Also
rebuilt the carbs, and cleaned them up. Just kept it simple with
straight pipes and rebuilt clutch.

Frame: I cut off every tab, support, crosswhat-not, etc… Anything
that was not in the future for this bike.  I also cut off the seat
rails and bent those how I wanted them.  Welding this back together
was the only thing I felt I need help with.  A guy I met who builds
hotrods helped me with the major welds, and I did all the small stuff:
headlight bracket, tank/fender bungs, etc… Basically, I welded
anything that could possibly fall off but I’d still be ok.
Front end: I lowered, shaved, and polished the front forks, as well as
trimming and polishing the triple trees. Brakes are rebuilt stock, but
I drilled the rotors with my 5 year old.  If change anything, it will
be a smaller front caliper, and disk.

Wheels: I re-laced the front to an old yamaha dirt bike 21 and the
rear is an aluminum 18 off another xs, new bearings, etc….
Tank is an old wassell that I got from a guy here in MI with a few
dents and dings. I cleaned it up and did my best rattle can paint job
ever. No its not unique, but I really liked the way it looked on the

Handlebars: my favorite part of the bike- talking with one of my best
friends about some ideas I had for bars, he said, “I’ll make them for
I was blown away- a few weeks later when they showed up at my
door.  I absolutely love them. I ran the wires for the signal and kill
in the bars.  Since there is a two month wait for chrome here in MI, I
opted to paint and ride since is only sunny here two months a year
Headlight is a old 4″ scooter headlight with a speedo inside.  I’ve
had way too many tickets and I cannot afford another, so this is a

Seat: Made the seat, shaved the foam, and learned how to work with
Apparently you can’t buy leather by the square foot- you have
to buy a whole cow.  So I bought a small calf, and now I have plenty
left for more seats.

The bottom line:
Its fun and its incredibly satisfying to be riding
on something I built.
Thanks again for this opportunity.



  1. Ted says:

    Justin, it’s amazing how much we have in common in regards to 650 building. I’m running a banshee set up. I made a custom bracket for it and planning to run without a battery. I’m looking into capacitors now. I also have a pamco ignition I fried while screwing around with it like an idiot. LOL..

    That wassell is super sweet. I just saw a original one on eBay go for 500 bones.

    Great post man. Thanks for setting in the pics..

  2. Binky says:

    Yes, stunning example of Bratstyle, this bike is perfection. You should be very, very proud.

  3. Steve says:

    very cool really like it ..!!

  4. zach says:

    very nice job!

  5. BLACK WIDOW says:

    I really like this bike it’s simple and clean one question though does it ride like a hardtail?? I would think so because if the spring did compress something would hit the rear tire right??Whatever look you were going for you hit the nail on the head it’s cool looking

  6. johnny utah says:

    wow! that is a bad ass bike i love the style, would you say that’s up to DC standards? HELL YA! looks good man can’t wait to ride with you DC out

  7. Rob says:

    Very clean bike a real head turner i am sure !!!

  8. Owen says:

    I am absolutely in love with the bratstyle bikes. Your bike is beautiful, amazing job. I have seen few better.

    I have actually seen a few different people using that type of headlight. It’s my understanding that they come from old scooters, but I have been unable to find out any more. Does anyone out there have any info on that style? What did it come from? Are they hard to find? Any help would be awesome. I’d love to get my hands on one.

  9. BLACK WIDOW says:

    Can someone explain what makes it a bratstyle?

  10. Ted says:

    Nicely put Binky.

  11. Chris says:

    Justin, nice ride. I am working on one myself right now and its a low budget also. Mine is a hard tail but I have a second bike that I’m going to do next year that I might make “Bratstyle”. Nice work!!

  12. BLACK WIDOW says:

    so it just means like a lowered bike not a hardtail one?? Is this bike only lowered it looks like if the springs did give the fender would hit or am I wrong?

  13. Alex says:

    One word for that bike…..BADASS.
    Good work and good luck with the twins.

  14. tadd442 says:

    I usually don’t care for bratstyle…probably because they look to me as if they have been rushed, or not planned out, but THIS ONE makes me think differently. VERY nice job…Ya can’t hate something that demands and therefore earns respect.

  15. HDear says:

    The bars rock! Nicely done “Brat”!

  16. skippyp says:

    This thing is beautiful. What exactly did you do to lower the forks? I’ve heard some people just cut the springs, and others add a spacer on the cartridge…any help would be great, thanks.

  17. Teebs says:

    Really, really nice brat. Great lines, beautiful color choices, and super clean. Damn, the tank and headlight look SHARP! Nice, simple chop man…

  18. Carthy says:

    I am doing my own 650 project and dont plan on running a battery, and before i go into something im not really sure a bout i was looking for advice from someone that had done it before like what i will need and how to set it up…ect

  19. Scott S says:

    Can you tell me how you mounted the headlight? Maybe some close-up pics? I have a similar light and I don’t like the way I’ve got it mounted at the moment (using mounting ears, bent to fit). I’ve envisioned something like you did and would love to know more about it.

  20. rob says:

    justin, stellar bike brother. i really like the simplicity. 2 quick questions. Can you give a little more detail about the seat rails? and “speedo in headlight” is that custom or aftermarket? If custom, how did you accomplish this? thanks dude.

  21. Justin says:

    Thanks for the comments! Here are a couple of answers for you (most are from the geniuses over at 650 rider or jockeyjournal):

    -the banshee swap– http://xs650temp.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=Charging&action=display&thread=11096

    -lower forks–http://www.jockeyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5317&highlight=lowering

    -headlight was from some Italian scooter- I know triumphs headlights have an oil pressure gauge, maybe you could swap it out.

    Scott S- send me you email and I’ll get you pics of the headlight mount.

    Thank again.

  22. Rick Payne says:

    Nice, I realy like this style……….

  23. Adrian says:

    Nice work! this is an inspiration… i’m actually working on my first build and its in my living room 🙂

    hey was wondering if you cut and machined the tubes to lower them or cut the springs? some tips would be appreciated! thanks! Again.. nice work!

  24. Adrian says:

    Read your answer from June 6th, 2009 at 7:48 pm THANKS!!

  25. evan says:

    sweet bike, i was curious, when redoing the seat area do you move the shock mounts, or do those stay in the stock location.

  26. FOM says:

    I love everything about the bike. im inspired to buy one a build one now but I too am wondering about the rear suspension travel and will it hit the rear fender when you hit a bump in the road?

  27. J-C says:

    Love the seat how did you fasten it to the frame? Just curious. very nice bike.

  28. Bryan says:

    Justin the bike is sweet.Been planning a brat style Yamaha myself. Either sr 500 or xs 650.I am from Mi. aslo. Can you shot me your email so I can ask a few questions?

  29. Justin says:

    J-C, its bolted to 3 tabs that are welded to the seat rails.
    Bryan- leave your email and I will do what i can to help!

  30. Ben says:

    How did you slam the wassell tank? Are you using the top motor mounts? Mine seem to be getting in the way.

  31. rM says:

    Got a good laugh out of this:

    “Apparently you can’t buy leather by the square foot- you have
    to buy a whole cow. So I bought a small calf, and now I have plenty
    left for more seats.”

    I didn’t know that…

  32. chris says:

    really stupid question here… i’m doing my first kz650 build here… and i can’t find the assembly unit for the clutch lever like on this bike… where do i get one?

  33. Capt_Zoom says:

    Could you shoot me an email…I’ve got some questions about your bike, In particular how you went about lowering the seat rails and changing the shock mount, what shocks you used, and if you kept the coils under the tank? Thanks. My addy is jwinges@innovativesport.com

  34. Justin…- I so much Love what you have done here…- The dead on profile is SO GOOD…- This is The Kind of Motorcycle I love the most…- Someone Working With What Is There…Taking a motorcycle and Removing All that is Somehow Wrong with it…while modifying the stance and the ballance – freeing up the the spirit of the Essence, of Two Wheels and a Motor….ballance and stance and relative proportions…- very difficult to get right…
    …….I am glad to see this motorcycle getting so much favorable response….- not to say word one against what you have done…(I LOVE IT) …- but only just to join in the conversation, – I think BlackWidow asked a question that I have wondered about…-I would have put rear struts on the swing arm to prevent rear fender coming down on tire…- or I would have tried to see if raising the fender 2 and a half inches would hurt profile (???)…-or I would guess that if the underside of fender has no bolt heads – then if it comes down on tire it might not hurt anything, – just a quick briefe rub for a moment…-
    ……………..I know I have had trucks that fenders hit tires on hard bounce – that never hurt fender and never hurt tires..- so …- does the same principle apply?…
    Also – Thanx to Binky for explaining where “Brat Style” came from…- Up untill now, I thought it meant when a dad buys his kid a nice BRAND NEW factory motorcycle, and then comes home and sees the kid has removed the fenders and chainguard and side covers and turned the handlebars upside down…..lol…- “Brat” was what my dad called me…- Seemed logical…..
    In thier way I have to say I think BratStyle is the most fun style…

  35. millz says:

    perfect. im jealous n inspired. thx for the ideas.

  36. Justin says:

    The rear shock is pretty stiff, but it did hit occasionally, so I’ve adjusted it some now- it’s about 2 inches off.

  37. sean from boston says:

    great bike another one that got me into this style of 650

  38. Alin says:

    Awsome bike!
    Anyone got a link to a video of this??

  39. Steel spine says:

    This bike is sweet as I love brat style. I am workin on a bike at the mo it is a sr 400 very similar

  40. Phil says:

    yeah love it, hope mine looks this good when finished.
    ok, heres mine.

  41. 650greaser says:

    the headlight /speedo is sick!!. since it was off a little scooter that probably couldn’t reach the same top speeds as the 650, what did you have to change to make it work?