Reincarnation 1977XS


Cold Steel 2nd Phase xs 650

This is the 2nd. Phase of this bike. I was not totally satisfied with the 1st. Has a 3” extended swing arm with 10.5” progressive shocks. The seat rails where lowered 1 ½”. All unnecessary mounts, brackets and factory gusseting was removed and necessary joints were re-welded for strength. The tank is sportster that has the tunnel modified and the bottom smoothed then mounted Frisco style.


The battery box was fabricated by me to follow the curves of the frame rails and houses all of the ignition components ( Boyer ). Engine is stock with K&N filters and Mac 2 into 1 headers. Forks are XS with the lower tree smoothed on the bottom side and the upper tree polished. Headlight is 4” aftermarket spot. Controls are 1” and the bars are 1” drag.


Wheels are Excel 4.25 x 18 on the rear and 1.85 x 21 on the front. Rear tyre is 140mm 70 series and requires a 3/16” spacer on the primary and drive sprockets.



The seat is a solo that I hand tooled and riveted to the pan. The paint is black urethane that was applied in my garage ( what a “freakin” mess!! ). Bike draws attention wherever I take it and is a blast to ride.


John Ferguson

Designs in Cold Steel


  1. toe. says:

    i like it. beautiful bike!

  2. Steve says:

    Nice bike ..

  3. Bo says:

    Where did you get those shocks? Bike looks great.

  4. John Ferguson says:

    The Shocks are 10.5″ progressive out of an older J&P catalog. A little to stiff for my taste. Looking for an alternative as I write this comment. They are designed for use on a 600-700 lb. Harley and mine is at about 385!

  5. PJ says:

    Is that front rim a dirt bike rim laced to a stock xs hub? Super clean bike, what mine aspires to be…

  6. John Ferguson says:

    The answer is NO. It is an Excel 1.85 x 21 (Takasago). Go to

  7. Greg says:

    Great bike! Would love to hear some details about how you lowered the seat rails. Did you create new upper shock mounts or re-use the existing?

  8. John Ferguson says:


    I cut the upper rails loose at the rear and shortened them enough to allow lowering them 1-1/2″. At the front where they met the rear down tube I cut a slot with a 4″ cutoff wheel from the bottom side to almost thru. Then rewelded all. Made the upper shock mounts out of 5/16″ plate and then welded even with the top of the upper seat rail.

  9. John Ferguson says:


    What really lowered the bike was the short shocks along with the 3″ extended swingarm. couldn’t realistically go any lower as the bike occasionally drags on the ground under normal riding.

  10. Greg says:


    Thanks for the details. I figured the short shocks and swing arm played into the geometry. I plan on using the 11″ shock from JC Whitney and a similar seat rail modification. Extending the swing arm is intriguing. Have you noticed an handling issues? A sided from a longer chain was anything else required once you extended the swing arm?

    On a separate note. I imagine your bars hit the tank?


  11. Ron says:

    honestly I dont usually like the looks of a swingarm on a bike like this, but you did a really nice job, it really looks good….

  12. John Ferguson says:

    Thanks RON. I have a TC rigid in the works right now, but it is intreging what you can do with a swingarm bike if you think it through!


    Bike handles just like it did before, but I really don’t ride it that hard outside of straight-line sprints. Goes good because of it relatively light weight. Next extended swingarm will have some additional gusseting or possibly a truss. Handle bars don’t hit the tank; put different fork stops on it. Has a lot of small time consuming features that you really can’t see that would make it hard to sell for a profit unless it was a contract scooter.

  13. kenb says:

    Dear John,
    its Kenny b Ive been waiting to digest the work that has been done on the rephase, I for one like the bike, it almost seems dummyed up,on the looks. I for one really liked the 1st go around that was a work of rolling art, the last thing I enjoy is writing this thats why Ive sat on my hands for some time, my vote is the 1st time.
    Thkz cyber friend, Kenny B

  14. HoeyUno says:

    Alot of people try to pull off the soft tail and it just looks terrible. But this looks awesome man.

  15. John Ferguson says:


    I appreciate your input. Have others who said they liked the tall risers and the sport wheel tire better than the 21″ and low bars that I opted for. Same on the seat and rear fender. However, it boils down to what “turns your crank” or “lubes your lobes” and for me I like the more traditional bobber look than what I origonnally did! And to be honest I have just as many who like the change as who don’t. GO FIGURE?

  16. John Ferguson says:

    There ya GO… ONE..for..and ONE..not for?

  17. lil bastard says:

    Its so awsome guys are choppin & bobbin Bikes and leavin shocks on them. It looks good!

  18. kenb says:

    Well put I hope to see the next creation coming from the shop..
    Thkz Kenny b

  19. John Ferguson says:


    Have another that we finished this summer then subsequently sold. Is a 650 yami, but not a twin. Is a 4 cyl. bobber (not 4 this forum ). If you e-mail me at I’ll shoot you some pics.


  20. Blackwidow says:

    Is that a stock rear wheel?I like it maybe it’s just because it’s all polished up

  21. kenb says:

    Thanks Jonh Will Do!!!

  22. John Ferguson says:


    The rear wheel is Ecell 4.25 x 18 with a 140 x 18 70 series tire. The wheel is commonly used for motard use an originally was gold anodized. I stripped the gold with Drano, then sanded and polished it. A lot of work after I found out that you can get the same wheel already polished! It is about 2″ wider than the stock wheel.


  23. Blackwidow says:

    Thanks for the info John the bike looks great

  24. Joel Mekolites says:

    Man that is one sweet ride Looks great!!!!!

  25. Brett says:

    Very nice ride. I like its’ bantam weight and 70’s pro street chopper look. I have been looking everywhere for a 40 spoke 18×4.25 Excel rim chromed or polished with a drum set up. Where’d you find it?
    What about axle, bearings, and brakes? Any fitment issues?

  26. John Ferguson says:


    The wheel is a 36 spoke drilled to fit the stock rear hub. If you look close there are no nipple pockets on this wheel, it is completly flat on the surface of the rim. Contact Woody in Denver at ( and refer to this bike. He can set you up with one of these wheels. In order to use this wheel and tire combo (140 x 18 x 70 series) you must either build a custom swingarm or extend the stock one 3″. You must also space the rear and primary sprockets 3/16″ to clear the wider tire and fabricate a longer axle. I have another 650 in progress that uses a stock front spoke hub from a XS650 with an adapter for a rear disc brake setup from Omar’s that is really slick.


  27. Brett says:

    Now that does sound interesting!
    I was just at Omar’s site…didn’t see that. So, does it use a stock rotor? How about mounting a sprocket? Custom?
    I was already planning on the stretch to get the stance I’m looking for. Did you have to widen the swing arm as you stretched it to fit that hub? why not just go with a stock 36 spoke hub and the 4.25″ rim, and keep swing arm width as is?
    Well, now this whole Omar thing has me sidetracked…! =-]’

  28. John Ferguson says:


    Since the two sides of the swingarm are not parrallel to one another as you lengthen the swingarm it progressively gets wider, hence the longer axle! On my bike the rear hub is a stock 36 spoke XS650 hub already. The only way you can use this wider tire is to lengthen the stock swingarm or build or adapt an entirely new one. As far as the Omar piece, I didn’t see it on his web-site. You need to ask specifically for this piece. The kit comes with an adaptor for the stock XS rotor (or you can use an after market rotor and caliper) and an adaptor for a sprocket of your choice which is furnished ( very nicely machined billet piece) with the kit, it is a vey well engineered piece. If I remember correctly the entire kit was between $300.00 and $400.00 dolllars.

    Good luck with your build.
    John Ferguson

  29. Brett says:

    My ’81 Special’s swing arm must be longer and wider than yours.
    Stock, my bike runs a 130 / 90 / 16 which converts to 5.1″ wide.
    Your 140 / 70 / 18 converts to a 5.5″ wide tire. We’re talking a hair over 3/8″ difference here, and that split in half is 3/16″ of growth from my tire side to side. I have about a 1/4″ tire clearance at the narrow end of the swing arm, and my axle is almost all the way forward up the slot. The radius difference between our tires is 1/4″ (1/2″ difference in diameter), yours being the taller. I could very well fit this wheel and tire on my bike with no swing arm modification.
    So, are you planning on sending woody the front hub for another 4.25″ rim for a disc brake rear wheel? What does that run if I may ask? I’d be happy with just a drum setup and that cool looking wide tire, but disk would be the bomb as you could ace the front brake for a cleaner look. Go clutch lever on a jockey shift and your down to only the throttle cable on the bars. cleeean…. =-]’

  30. John Ferguson says:


    Physical measurement of my Bridgestone tire is almost 6-1/4″. Cannot always rely on calculations for actual measurements. I’ve found from one brand to the other considerable differences, so be cautious. As for the rear wheel, yes. I’m going to use the 4.25″ rim. I believe the rim is around $225.00, the stainless spokes and nipples around $100.00 and lacing and truing is an addition $100.00. It’s expensive! When you add a $200.00 tire your at $625.00!! Then add the disc brake kit and a 650 front hub throw in another $400.00 and Wah-la, over a $1000.00. With the 3″ extended swingarm my tire has about 3/16″ clearance on ea. side and the chain is only 1/16″ off the tire using a 3/16″ spacer at the rear and front sprockets. I tried mountig the 140 tire before I extended the swingarm and it would not even go in far enough to slide the stock axle through it. I will try to send you a close up pic. of the clearance issues if you would e-mail me your e-mail address.


  31. HoeyUno says:


  32. Brett says:

    Hey, just got back from out of town. I’m going to look into if swing arms differ from year to year. There’s something on Omar’s site that touches on this. My email address is
    I just got my tank and seat in the mail.

    I’m ready to chop!

  33. Dave says:

    Nice bike. Where did yopu get your risers from? I need some for my 78′ bobber, thanks.

  34. shofwan says:

    Very nice ride. I like its’ bantam weight and 70’s pro street chopper look. I have been looking everywhere for a 40 spoke 18×4.25 Excel rim chromed or polished with a drum set up. Where’d you find it?