metalhead’s old “cafe”


I digging thru my hard drive and found some pics of my old “cafe” XS. That thing had so many random parts from random bikes it was crazy! I built it back when I used to work at a local motorcycle salvage yard, so I had access to ALOT of stuff to play with. Some of the parts on the parts list are just educated guesses, as the yard I worked at wasn’t very well organized.



I just grabbed what I could make work.
specs: (that I can remember)
1974 Xs650 frame, modified for mono-shock
1979 XS650 motor
1992 gsxr750 inverted forks/triple clamps/clip-ons
1st gen (90-somthing) ZX7 front wheel/ rotor
hyabusa 6 piston front brake caliper
GPZ550 aluminum swingarm
zx-9 rear shock
GSF400 (bandit400) rear wheel
GS500 rear caliper
GSXR600 rear rotor
CB450 rear fender (modified a bit)
harley turn signal for tail light

It’s been many a year since I built this bike, but if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. I know the suspension mods tend to get alot of questions about how I made it all work. (and believe me, it worked WELL!!)



  1. Matt says:

    That. Is awesome. Any pictures of it with the seat?

  2. metalhead says:

    unfortunately no, the only other pics I have were from the build-up. The seat was made from a 1/4 inch aluminum pan, an old car seat supplied the foam, shaped with an electric carving knife, and covered with black vinyl.

  3. Steve says:

    What all did you have to do to put the forks on ??

  4. Bobby Camaroe says:

    I’ve been looking for some modern forks to put on my ’81. Did the ’92 gixxer 750’s fall right into place with out any modification. If they did that would be sweet tea!

  5. metalhead says:

    no major mods, just a bearing swap, and had to trim the lower edge of the neck. The bearings sit pretty far into the neck. Just cut it back a bit so the neck doesn’t bind on the top of the lower clamp.

    And, pretty much every suzuki made before 95 used the same stem/bearings, so any other suzuki front end should go right in with no real issues too.

  6. Jim says:

    That is an awesome piece-together. I want to use the modern Yamaha FZ6, R6, R1 wheels. The ability to use modern rubber is very appealing to me. My question is, do you think the 17 x 180 rear would fit on that swing arm?

  7. metalhead says:

    not a chance. It had a 150 on it, and it was CLOSE. If you want to run a 180, you’re gonna have to run a wider (5.5″) rear rim, wider swingarm, and an offset front sprocket. I had a 180 on my last XS (pics are here somewhere) and I HAD to run an offset sprocket. There’s just no way to get the chain to line up without it, unless you want to run a jackshaft. I did the jackshaft on my first XS chop, not something I ever care to do again.

  8. ry beatty says:

    What year gpz did the swingarm come from?

  9. metalhead says:

    I want to say 1984. I just put that same arm on my boss’s bike. The XS pivot bolt is re-used, so it goes right into the frame, very little mods required.

  10. cj says:

    Thanks for the info on the fork swap im wanting to do the same to my xs but couldnet find any info thanks so for posting how you did it

  11. cj says:

    Did you just swap the gsxr bearnings in to the xs neck thanks

  12. gilligan says:

    i remember this bike well! this is the one that pretty much started the fever back in va beach! if i remember right you brought the frame to my old shop to weld that monoshock bracket..

    isnt this the one you traded for that nasty ass duel sport wheelie machine?

  13. metalhead says:

    cj- yeah, just a bearing swap.

    gilligan- yup, same bike. BTW, when you gonna makes it back to the U.S.??

  14. if you could tell me , The stock XS sprocket is 38 tooth, What did you use to make it work for you???

  15. I’m looking for you to suggest a fab. shop that would be familier with this modification on my bike, this is just what i’m looking for for a rephased engine ,, I would appreciate any help you could give me on this Mod. Cheers! Mike

  16. norm younger says:

    Wow. great lookig cafe. How does it handle?

  17. Philip Lader says:

    I am wildly interested in the bike built by Metalhead with all the more modern suspension componants, the posting was called ‘ metalheads old “cafe” ‘ and I would like for him to contact me RE: grafting new onto old……….
    contact address is ‘ ‘ ……thanks !!

  18. El Gaucho says:

    I have no idea how I missed this before. I like it! Only if you had some pics of it with the seat on……