Teebs: If you feel up to it… let me have it.


Write about your XS650.: I picked my current project bike up as a total basket case last year. 200 bucks and I got a frame and swingarm,  2 wheels, the motor and a box with the coils and the carbs (dismantled and wrecked) Not so much as a turn signal or a scrap of wire with it. I’m piecing it together a bit at a time.noid-frame_complete004

The design, the bending, everything up to the tack-welding are all my own. I have fairly severe arthritis in my hands, and they’ve developed a shake, so instead of having welds that look like I went at the bike with Silly String, I enlist my brother’s help for the final welds.


The swingarm is stretched 4 inches with a brace made of 1/2″ round stock attached. Currently I’m working on the shock mounts for the ’85 Ninja 900 monoshock that I’m using on the rear.
Shinko tourmasters front and rear. Standard 16 rear and an 18″ drum wheel from a ’71 Yamaha YDS7 on the front that will require a little modifying.


I have another tank coming in that I may use, if not I’ll be removing the filler holes from the mustang tank and installing a pop up cap on the right as well as using a piece of half-inch tubing to make a rib up the center of the tank to match the fender. (I can almost guarantee this happening.)
The factory neck gussets are gone, replaced with some nice, clean new ones. I’m fabricating my own signals and tail light out of various objects that I’ve found. I’ve also designed and am making my own pipes, intake manifolds, forward controls and anything else of that nature.

It probably won’t be finished until snow flies, but that’s what happens when you want everything right.


  1. Ted says:

    I’ve seen some really cool Monoshock Café racers. I hope your bike turns out the way you want it and you get it finished.
    Check this out >>

  2. Teebs says:

    Thanks Ted. There’s no doubt that I’ll get it finished, and no doubt it will turn out the way I want it to, eventually. I really appreciate the encouragement.

    This will be the first bike I’ve done with a monoshock, and I’m sure it will require some experimentation. I’m going to try setting it up like the older style except the “basket” will be inverted, using the lower brace I’ve formed as support for the lower shock mount. If this doesn’t provide enough suspension, I’ll fabricate linkage as shown in the “newer” shock setup on the site you provided.

    As with many garage modifiers, I experiment and fail, and experiment some more and fail, and just keep going until it comes out right. My first build started as a totally thrashed ’71 sportster that I hardtailed back in the late ’80s, but my first mods were on a ’73 Yamaha GT80 when I was 8. While my Dad worked on one of his BSA’s or his crazy fast ’67 Camaro, I tinkered on my GT in between fetching tools and parts, or holding his drop light, or turning a wrench where he couldn’t reach.

    As for the site, it is an excellent source material for beginners. Great graphics, and simple, clear explanations of the different suspension styles.

    I’ll finally get back to work on it this week. I’ll send more pics after the shock is mounted and the seat is at least partially finished. I’m taking photos of the entire process, but most of them will be going up on my own blog site. I plan on blogging the build as part of the travel blog for my cross-country trip (originally slated for late summer, now postponed until spring.)

    Man, I’m a long-winded SOB…

  3. frank GRC says:

    teebs you are a long winded sob among other things…..lol
    just kidding bro the bike looks great so far keep it up,looks like it will be a fun bike to ride.

  4. frank GRC says:

    love the spare tire cover for the fender!!!!!if i could find one, that is what i would run on mine

  5. Teebs says:

    Thanks Frank, I’m going to be in the shop at least a couple of days this week. Hopefully.

    Go to eBay, search for “Ford spare tire cover”, sort through all of the vinyl slip covers for broncos etc, ad you’ll usually find 2 or 3. It’ll run you $100-130, if you use shorty fenders you’ll get about 3 out of it. 35 to 45 bucks each; that isn’t too bad for a nice ribbed fender.

    I still have the other half of the ring which I’m going to trim down the sides for a full front fender. I may actually leave the cutting to a friend that does tin work.

    Yeah, I am “among other things”, no denying it. lol And again, thanks for the compliments. It will be really interesting o see if my monoshock works out right on the first shot.

  6. Damonic says:

    Love this build. I’m dying to do something very similar… softail chopper with a monoshock and can’t find too many examples or info. I fall into the beginner category so the link that Ted posted was helpful. Teebs, how tall are you? I’m 6’3″ so I’m trying to figure out what my stretch and up should be for a comfortable position.

  7. Teebs says:

    Damonic, I’m 5’10”, at 6’3″ the drop seat is not going to be very comfortable for you. With the 4″ swingarm stretch, you might want to keep the seat higher and make it longer to accommodate for your height. If you were to do only a mild drop and make it horizontal it would likely be a lot better.

    I thought about going with a 6″ stretch, but at that length the chain becomes an issue, may not be too bad with a chain roller though. I’ll probably end up stretching the next one out 6 inches.

    Glad you like it. Good luck with your future project.

  8. Brandon says:

    Man Teebs, you do talk a lot of smack! This is what you’ve been talking about!! WOW! Not that great! BASIC!

  9. Teebs says:

    That’s it? “Not that great”? That stings. lol

    You need to use more exclamation points.

  10. Larry says:

    Looks great, and I think it good that you are doing it in spite of the arthritis. I know it’s off subject, but I’m arthritic too and I’ve found this helps:
    choindroitin/glucosamine is good, too
    If it weren’t for these, I’d be in a wheelchair and there wouldn’t be a 3/4 done biplane from scratch in the shop either.

  11. Teebs says:

    Hey Larry,
    Thank you for the kind words. When I go to my bimonthly treatment, I’m reminded of how fortunate I am. I caught it very early and the treatment is very effective. Although I deal with pain and stiffness daily, I have met guys in treatment that haven’t been nearly as fortunate. Thank you also for the links. I’m always up for more info.

    Glad to hear things are going well for you, also. Do you have any pics, links or a blog for your biplane? That sounds incredible. I would love to see it!

  12. Damonic says:

    Thanks for the tip Teebs. I never thought my lanky ass would look right on a dropseat anyway. The image in my head is a cross between your bike and the one here but with the monoshock added…

    This was a custom frame but I believe its 6 up, 2 out, and 40 degree rake from stock. Is that doable with the factory frame or do I need thicker tubing? Also, I don’t know how tall this guy is but I want to be able to see over the front of the bike, I figure normal risers would do it. Sorry to hijack your thread, just don’t know where to ask these things. Also, is your blog up and running and if so, what’s the address? I’d love to follow the detailed evolution.

    And I second the tip on choindroitin/glucosamine… we used it with an old horse we used to have and it worked so well my wife started using it. There’s a dirty joke in there somewhere…

  13. Damonic says:

    Teebs… thanks for the kind words man. With a house full of projects and a 1 year old I have very little free time but I really NEED something like this. I used to mod/race my twin turbo Stealth and the poor thing has just sat for several years now. I joined chopperunderground and have had some great feedback in the welcome section.

    Right now I’m trying to figure out what platform to start out with… and I’m leaning towards XS650, KZ650, or KZ1000. I know mentioning other platforms may be taboo but I’m trying to think this out from the start. I’m in love with trying to fuel inject and turbo a smaller engine like the 650. I know forced induction but this would be my first bike build and I’m trying to decide whether to keep it simple for the first build, or go with what I really want long term. I don’t need or WANT a 200HP+ bike… I’ll kill myself. But around 120HP on something unique that I’ve built myself is my idea of perfect. Can you offer any advice on the XS650 platform compared to the others I mentioned?

  14. Damonic says:

    I hear ya about going with what you have. I got nothin’ though so I might as well put a little thought into the platform since I have the option of choosing up front. A long time ago I really wanted to do a Buell chopper but the costs involved were just too high. In fact my DREAM project bike would be a turbo Buell chopper. But I’m worried I may already be getting in over my head. Especially after your comments on the KZ frame and the “choppability” of the XS650… maybe I should start with a simple, old school, naturally aspirated, XS650 chopper. Make the mistakes I know I’ll make and then know better when I tackle the Buell. The flip side to that is why not build what I want from the beginning? Tough call…

    But to answer your question, I need a bike I can ride sooner rather than later. I need to get on and GO. But I am like you, a little obsessive about doing things right and end up re-doing it after the fact if I’m not 100% pleased. I had already seen the Kev’s Turbo thread and that guy is nuts! He’s definitely going in a different direction and I don’t think the custom heads are necessary, just something he wants to do.

    So you sold 3GT’s huh? I used to be really active in 3SI (3000GT/Stealth International) and still love those cars. Sexy as hell PITA to work on with all the stuff they crammed into the engine bay but AWD and twin turbo makes for a helluva lot of fun!

    I appreciate the dialogue but don’t want to clutter up your thread either. Email me and as long as you’re up for it, I’ll keep bouncing my ideas off ya’. strataproductions (at) hotmail (dot) com

  15. BigJimmyW13 says:

    That’s what she said.

  16. Dennis says:

    thatsa long, interesting read. do these guys still hang here? hmm.