Myself and my buddy’s about 8 of us kicked around some ideas to get to this point, working around my vision I’ve had since 2000 and made it a reality. I picked up the 1978 xs in April of 2009 for 425.00, which needless to say was in sad shape, it had been living outside under a tarp on the street in Oregon for a number of years so, every thing was rusty, rotten, and just ugly.


My buddy Ken and I had to w-d 40 the rotors just to push it up the ramp into the truck, this was after some long negotiations with the owner who had visions of what it used to be, the price started out at 1050.00 a little high.


By the next day we had it running to find out what the compression was and it wasn’t good 90 lbs and 120 lbs so out the motor came. And by the next week I was tearing it apart like a nut with a dead line which was a big task to have it road worthy by May 29th well that date got pushed out.


Tore it down to the frame and sat it up on the mock up table and invited any of the buddy’s over who where willing to dream along with me to sit stare drink coffee and bounce around ideas, one of the fellas Rich was very helpful in his willingness to kick it and entertain me on my first chop build, I’ve monkeyed around with bikes since the mid 70s but it had been about 18 years since my last obsession. Picked up the hard tail from TC bros NICE work it went together just like they said. And kept my buddy’s busy painting, cleaning, and polishing while I put the motor together, and mocked up parts. And if the dead line was,t enough I wanted to use as much of the original parts as possible so to get this together was a large under take-in getting the parts to work in a pleasing matter, but I am pleased with the finished bike.


As far as the motor goes its a stock 78 with electronic boyer ignition, and Mikes xs filters with H-D sporty mufflers. I did freshen the top end up,with new gaskets and a lot of cleaning,and polishing of the aluminum.
The sporty tank was picked up at the local swap meet as well as the mufflers for 70.00 bucks then the paint was laid out by my buddy Kevin who did a wonderful job. All the life or death wielding was done by my buddy Marty who also did some nice work. Then assembly was mostly lots of head scratching and time lots of it and this is what we came up with a 78 xs chop that runs great, with a 30t rear sprocket, looks pleasing and yes draws lots of looks and passerby’s taken photos of my bike, with the exception of a Gresham police officer who didn’t like my license plate or my turn signals, so some alterations have been made to please the court and avoid 310.00 dollars of tickets, this was hard to get my head around and still not really likening the some polluted look of the bobber, oh yea I was riding it by July so plenty of summer fun was had. I could have built it all myself but it was so much fun with the help of my friends, besides the fellas are always rollin with me where ever I go, way cool. And the original owner did see the finished ride and as I told him he rode it and wants me to build him one using his Norton, coool.

Now dreaming of the sugar plums and my next build a street able speedway bike using a 80 suzuki gn 400 which by the way is crazy hard to get parts for, never the less I like the motor.

And yes thinkin about my next xs goto love it.

Ken Bourgo


  1. ajs_1971 says:

    You’ve got one sweet lookin’ ride there…well done. Typical blue rash (what we call coppers here in Oz). They drive ’round with tinted windows so dark you can’t see out, but they give you a ticket for having your car tinted…go figure. Sensible mods with the motor, they really are bullet – proof.
    Once again, the xs is a credit to you and your mates!

  2. John Ferguson says:


    Got to agree with the constable about that licsence plate, just tad difficult to read when tryin to chase you down to get that undeserved ticket. Love the old school taillite but they don’t lend themselves well to the plates. All in all a nice build, particularly considering the budget that you kept! Back off, enjoy and build another!

  3. kenb says:

    Thanks guys, well maybe a touch hard to read, I just was running with the near outlaw look, ok older fart outlaw its my fantasy, thanks from the fellas.

  4. Jon Kindsvogel says:

    Great photos of the bike! I met you in Vancouver about two months ago I gave you my number I hope you will give me a call. I have a sweet Xs bobber that is getting a full overhaul this winter, you said it best we should stick together. Hope to hear from you soon!

  5. tadd442 says:

    please Please PLEASE post a vid of her running with those mufflers….I just gotta hear the difference they make!

    oh yeah, nice build!

  6. Spun says:

    Very clean, nice lines, great work. You and your buds should be proud.

  7. Spun says:

    Just noticed the duel disk’s up front, I like. I know front brakes are a questional concept around here but I love how much further you can push things when you can pull it down in a hurry. In my book it’s worth the negitive visual impact, but than again everyone knows what opinions are like. Once again nice ride.

  8. HoeyUno says:

    Looks great! Well worth all the effort you had to put in.

  9. R.C says:

    I have seen this bike in person and He has been offering me some advice on my build ~thanks for the speedo and tank btw~
    But this bike is spotless! and very well done even though I think its a bit too quiet~lol~. but is a perfect look and stance…….. very nice looking scooter….. will be a blast to see the next one

  10. kenb says:

    As far as the dual disk up front Spun it does help but they are not like a new bike, like my 08 kawasaki versys, make no mistake the do come in handy in the panic stop!!
    As far as the visual inpact I tryed to dress them up by drilling them I think it helped, the next will be spokes with no brake up front. Happy black streaks…..

  11. kenb says:

    tadd442 Iam a bit slow on the no how on the up load when it comes to this tech stuff, I will try sometime..PS momma said if the bike comes home it better be quite and it is sounds very Brittish, she happy I likey….

  12. kenb says:

    John Ferguson the cost of the build was 1800.00 completed
    Thkz Kenny B

  13. Spun says:

    Oh well, like I said questional concept. I guess asthetics win almost 100% of the time huh? She will look great without.

  14. John Ferguson says:


    That’s a tight budget. you got a lot of scooter for that investment!! As of this reply I have over $6000 in materials invested in mine. Added up before I realized!

  15. kenb says:

    John if the drop seat is the oneyou are speaking of, I could see there are some big$$$$ spent on that ride and THAT drop seat brat is one that has been on my desktop for some time, one good lookin build all the way around. There is so much on the bike I just drooled over.That sweet heart could leave her mark in my driveway any time.
    Thkz Kenny B

  16. Hesh says:

    love the open flannel

  17. Willem says:

    Great bike, great lines. I really dig the way the bike looks from behind. Gonna build me one in 2010 if I can find a good old basic one to start with. Prices in Holland are high. Cheers!

  18. John Ferguson says:


    Might be the one you are referring to; it’s dated March 27 09. If it is I made some significant changes to it recently and reposted it on Sunday the 21st. It has yet to show up on the site as of today. Let me know what you think when it’s posted. I’m currenly building another with a TC hardtail and a 750cc kit. Trying to keep the cost for materials under $3500. Anything over that and they are a BITCH to sell. Trying to work it in between a Buell Blast,750 twin Kawi,400 twin Honda and a 550 single sided swingarm 4cyl. dropseat Honda. Got my hands full. Love your bike and as soon as I get these others out of my garage I would like to build a low budget 650 similar to your outstanding example and make it my primary ride!

  19. kenb says:

    Dear John,
    Ok John now that I can relate to to many bike pojects me to on the {cheap} The next one is a 400 suzuki speedway bike for the street,a 650 trophy trump,yama exiter 250 bob, 400 suzuki calf a,
    and yes 2 more xs 650 just missed out on a cool matchless g12 650 get this 400.00 I just about tossed my lunch, that would be soooo much fun to bob. I guess I have my hands full enough, married with children and oh yea that work thing that cuts into my addiction grrrr.

    I,ll be lookin for the changes made on the bike, yea I to think its a tough market to dump bikes on even righteous one like the brat you did, can I be so rude to ask???how much$$$ Best of luck Thkz agian Kenny B

  20. kenb says:

    Hesh, hicks wear flannel all year around where Iam from, Estacada, pretty hot though, yea, watch out. hee hee hee

  21. Blackwidow says:

    Nice polish work

  22. John Ferguson says:


    I’d give my left you know what for a Matchless or an A-10 BSA! I figure that I have about 500 hrs. in the 650 at a cheap $30.00 an hr. labor; you do the math $15000.00 labor + the $6000.00 in materials =$21000.00. No way in HELL!! I could sell it for that! Only way it would work is if it was a commissioned build! Looks like you are spread thin just like me! Stay after it brother!!

  23. kenb says:

    John I think for myself it has to be a labor of love, like washin dishes, doin the familys laundry and such for a fella like me.

    Iam new to the chop arena so getrdone is howslowIgo well I have fun!!! KEEP SMILIN dont let the s.o.b get ya down!!

  24. John Ferguson says:


    You are right about that labor of love stuff. If you build one for yourself you put way to much time and money into it to ever get it out! Here’s a good example: built a 1980 650 Maxim for my son. Everything on it custom fabricated outside of the wheels and engine. About 400 hrs.=$12000.00. $3000.00 in materials=$15000.00. Sold to a guy in Evergreen Colo for $6000.00. NIIIICE profit margin ehh! Negative $9000.00 Whooa there KIMOSABE! Go to: ( forum heading: Inspiration & eye candy )>( topic: non-650 Yamis )> scroll to Author: designsincoldsteel. That’s what were talkin about… LABOR of LOVE!!

    Have a great Thanksgiving Dinner all!!
    Designs in Cold Steel

  25. kenb says:

    Jonh you are a man of passion FFFFFFF>>>>>> that is a supreme
    example of what a maxim can look like…
    Some of the fellas in the shop will dig it as far as Iam concered I want to build one also with a 650 yama radian 1986 so yes I like very much!!!

    Feast Like it maybe your last enjoy the company you keep,
    keep the passion burning, Kenny B

    p.s Thanks for the new site cool Iam headed back now!! see ya

  26. R.C says:

    Is a kick ass scooter no matter how its looked at………
    I just got back from Cle Elem with two more. call me aft holliday. IF yor up to it help me get a gameplan…………

  27. John Ferguson says:


    Get after that radian, Those are awesome looking motors. Will be one in my future down the road somewhere! Have one of the largest salvage yards here in Denver that has several but without titles, means I have to build my own chassis and then I have to deal with the EPA b.s. of one custom bike per owner in your lifetime crap.

    Turkey Down

  28. Dennis MacKenzie says:

    Like the XS-650.
    I know what you mean about the GN-400 parts. I got a wiring diagram from a German website. I have both he mag wheel front and the spokes on the other roller. DR400 engines are basicly the same except they are black. What parts do you need, I have 2 engines that turn over, 2 frames, 1 spoke rear wheel, etc.
    Everett, wa

  29. kenb says:

    Dennis at this point I think I need nothing I was in need for a kickstarter, the other parts are not perpriatary thank goodness.
    So thank you for the offer, I may down the road or build should I say. Not unless you have the 21 in front and the 18 rear of the sp or dr? I picked up some ankronts thinking to use them then I priced the spokes and not at this time, not in the budget be in as Iam pitin a hand made alum tank through the frame. Thkz Kenny B

    P.S whats ya buildin

  30. Squirrel says:

    Hi. I’m from argentina and i want to build a bobber but i got a question. Is the frame from de xs 400 the same as the xs 650? it’s the same with a bigger engine? Please if someone can answer me mi mail is and if someone wanna talk by msn is ok for me.

    Thanks everyone!

  31. Dennis MacKenzie says:

    KB, In fact, I also have a complete, except for headlight SP500 that has the 21 & 18 combo. I have a titled 79? XS650 that needs complete rewiring and carb degunking, along with 2 more frames and parts engines. Now if I could find time when the rest of the house isn’t sleeping & of course extra money. LOL

  32. kenb says:

    Dennis are you in the washinton state area??
    I’am wondering also is the sp being toss to the choppin block?
    Or ya wanting to part it out?
    whats the plan ? Ilike the 21 & 18 inch combo, are they drum brakes? Thkz Ken B

  33. kenb says:

    Da you are in evertt wa.
    Bit slow quick to wrench Ken B

  34. Dennis MacKenzie says:

    I am in the south Everett area, near Boeing where I work second shift. I have everything available since I traded for most of what I have including a couple of Yamaha 400 dirt bkies, along with the sp-500 and the gn-400’s. SP-500 has drums on both ends.

  35. kenb says:

    Dennis I will email you thkz Kenny B

  36. Blackwidow says:

    You guys are right about the labor of love I really like doing it, it’s alot of fun and kills time. I like where the liscense plate is mounted looks really clean

  37. R.C says:

    Ken drop me a call/email sometime.

  38. kenb says:

    R.C sorry about the no call or email but I don’t have ether.
    Here is my email feel free to contact me

  39. Ron says:

    Where did you get that rear fender? I am have trouble finding one that fits my stock wheel properly (the radius) thanks!! my email is

  40. shawn says:

    man this is a sweet bike…black, simple and really cool looking!

  41. Glenda says:

    ken needs to button up his shirt 🙂

  42. Glenda says:

    nice bike tho

  43. Bob says:

    I too have to put on turnsignals for legal issues. Do you have a picture of how you did it and what lights you used. Thanks

  44. kenb says:

    Yea Bob hope you get this sometime as I don’t look back very often at this old listing, any way.
    I used sportster type front and rear mounted the tab type up front off the top tree and the rear I in corperate them into the sparto so from the rear there are 3 similar lens at the rear if you would like I would be willing to shoot ya some after shots via email I can be reached at feel free to contact me any time hope I can be of help,later.

  45. vern sowers says:

    great looking build love the colors and just plane love everything about it keep up the great builds and look forward to seeing more from you