Metric Iron


Hi im luke cook and im 17 years old and this is my xs650. This project started when my brother picked this 650 up for 200$ In the begining they hadnt really known much about the bike so they looked up an xs650 on the web and of course the first thing that poped up was a shit ton of bobber and chopper photos. They bought the bike and lost intrest after they aquired their sport bikes. I asked about it and in short time it became mine.


Within a few weeks of it becoming mine i had already done all the reseach on it and had in mind just what i wanted to do. I was on a tight, EXTREAMELY TIGHT, bugget and began the tear down. I knew that i wanted to lower it and make it a hard tail but with the funds that were available, or lack there of, i knew that i couldnt afford to buy a nice weld on one. I wrote in a letter to the folks at ARDCORE chopper for mabye some practical suggestions but they wouldnt give me the time of day. With that, i set out to do it all myself. And thats just what i did.

I took some black tubing that i found in the attic of the garage we moved into about 6 months prior and after hacking the old suspension and frame components off rigged up a look-alike hard tail that not only looked neat but proved to hold up well and be extreamly simple. It didnt require any bike or frame stand that was elaborate and it kept the original  wheel spacing and alignment true to specs. Considering that this was my first bike to be building at all i felt that it was crucial that i not throw the rear wheel out of any alighment so it wouldnt be some bitch and a half to fix.

After i borrowed a little cricket welder and did my welds on the hardtail, i put the motor back in and removed the front brake. I wanted a very sleek look and people told me i was crazy and a fool to remove them but i had seen it done before so i figured it wouldnt be that bad. I was alittle unsure of what to do with my seat so i found an old bed frame, also thanks to the attic of the garage, and hacked it up and bent it into the shape i desired. i welded that onto the main downtube. I also found an old street sign that i flipped upside down and cut out to make a seat pan. I attached the seat frame to the seat pan with caridge bolts and that is my seat. Things began to fly back together after the main stuff was done. I nabbed an old sporty tank from one of my brothers friends and i welded some tabs on so that i could bolt it on. The carbs were gone thru three times before i put them back on. I took the original fender and hacked it short and welded it on the swing arm base.


Iwas able to get a vitage headlight from my girlfriends dad who found it in an old housse he had cleaned out. The wiring is still coming along and i have had it hooked up and running but i feel that i screwed up somewhere with it because my rectifier keeps on getting really hot and i fear it shorting out so i am going to redo it. (any sugestions on that would be great! I have a 7 wire ignition box and all original componets for an 81. my email is

All in all the bike has cost me 27 dollors to build. Thanks for reading and i hope to have some more photos when its even closer to being done!


  1. ben says:

    looks awesome man.

  2. tadd442 says:

    ATTA BOY! Great story…that’s the spirit to keep…make sure to have your welds double-checked for safety, and keep it up!

  3. Denis (fong bros) says:

    In the future, if you need help, The Fong Bros will be glad to assist. I’ve never turned away a question yet. I will suggest if I may however a cover for your battery. If that seat ever breaks you probably will not enjoy the sensation of sitting on the metal that is resting on the battery terminals. Also, if it were me, I’d add more weld to the area where the seat is attached. I don’t see much discoloration on the metal, so I am guessing you may not have gotten really good penetration into the frame. That tube is fairly thick, so it takes a good amount of heat to attach something that will have so much leverage as that seat.

  4. RUSTY RIDER says:

    Way to go. You might want to try to un-ground the brush assembly with nylon screws. If this is not the issue, it might be that your reg/rec needs to be isolated from the frame, i.e. rubber bushings in the unit(s)

    this is my buddy Brian’s video on how-to


  5. Chris says:

    At least you can say you built the bike yourself with no one elses stuff! Love the bike, cant wait to see more!!!

  6. PJ says:

    Nice start Luke. I am not sure if you want to keep the electric starter or go kick only. Here is a helpful link I used when I was setting up my wiring.

    It has info for both electronic and points ignitions and simple diagrams.

  7. Ted says:

    Hi luke, my first bike was a complete rat Suzuki 550. The gas tank was dented in and I plastered it with skateboard stickers.

    Looks like a good start. Maybe you could put a bottom frame rail from the rear axle to where the passenger foot brackets are at and cut off the foot brackets and center stand. I think you might want to re-examine your seat situation to.

  8. Billybobba says:

    Mate, first bump and your butts gonna get a nice 12 volt hit.

  9. Thomas says:

    man i hear ya im 16 and ready to build my first bike!

  10. norm younger says:

    cool seat.