frisco-ish style 650 chop


It feels at home in the city for sure.

Just finished up my ’73 650.  It took way too long, but it’s running great finally.  The motor is a ’79, had to rebuild the top end and replace pretty much all the charging system.


Ignition is a pamco that works great. I wanted it to be short and tall, seems like old choppers back in the 70s were always tall, so the fork is stock length (it will probably get extended eventually) and the front wheel is a 23. The hardtail is home made with a 3″ stretch, lowered just a little.


I guess it’s kind of frisco style (that’s what the cool guys call it right??) with the pegs up high and the tall bars. It is fun, you can bomb it over/off anything and lean it way over, nothing to drag.



It feels at home in the city for sure.  I already want to change up the paint and build some crazy exhaust, looking forward to putting lots of miles on it for now.



  1. bigpup says:

    very cool brother, I would leave the tank alone, looks great. did you make the bars? nice holes in the rear drum looks good.

  2. Yep. Nice tight little econo build. Just the way I like’m. Love the tank did you do the paint? What’s the 23″ and drum from? Looks awesome.

  3. RichieB says:

    I’m with bigpup, I think you should leave the flames on the tank. They look great! If you’re gonna redo the exhaust, your build is just screamin for some upswept fishtails. Congrats on finally gettin her on the road!

  4. FattDaddy says:

    Really sweet! Nice work!

  5. theirie1 says:

    Nice!!! Very nice. How did you get the front wheel to fit the XS front end. Killer Tank.

  6. Broman says:

    This bike has that spirit that draws all of us to these XS bikes man. It’s like who cares what others think of what it looks like when I’m done. I mean, not to be a bike nsob or nothin’ but they’re just Yamahas, right? Not like you’re gonna have 5k wrapped up in parts just to start the bike. Hell if we spent 5k on the entire project we’ve probabl;y gone too far. I guess the thing I am getting at is that there is a no-worries factor here that allows us all to put our own hands on the projects instead of farming it out to a pro. And the end results are bad ass bikes like the one we see here.

    I am wondering what the hubs on this bike are? I dig the combo a lot. And the tank is cool too. I’d leave it. The more wear and tear this thing gets the neater it will become.


  7. Grease Nipples says:

    As soon as the page started loading and I could see the yellowed handgrips and window bars, I knew it was going to be a great build, and I was right.

  8. Grease Nipples says:

    Yeah my vote is leave the tank alone. There is something about a hand-lined, rattlecan tank, and a little rusty detail. It puts me in a naked hippy chicks in a swimming hole frame of mind.

    Great photography, too, great alley shot. I kinda belongs parked next to an overflowing garbage can, but I mean that in a good way. I imagine the owner washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant just long enough to fill the tank and score a nickel bag, and he’s off.

  9. Grease Nipples says:

    Unable to find the party, our hero however, rode home and beat off to a playboy magazine. Ah, memories.

  10. Bake83 says:

    Very nice bike. Totally dig the “frisco” style. Good luck and happy travels

  11. drdro says:

    looks tight i want to rock 21’s on my xs. 23 looks sick nice work my friend. tanks tight leave it how it is

  12. Tebo says:

    The tribe has spoken! We like the tank. Maybe shave the forks. Great work!

  13. hooversama says:

    i dig it….i’d leave the paint alone….and RIDE.

  14. Reverend Smeg says:

    Grease nips got molested in grammar school. Sick bike.

  15. Joel says:

    haha wow grease nipples, so my bike suggests that i am a somewhat out of work perv with a struggling social life?? Haha I was going for more homeless guy that builds with dumpster parts, but either way. Thanks for all the comments, there is something very freeing about not really caring if you screw your bike up because it only cost you $500, you’re right Broman. I would be freaking out to try stuff on a $10k panhead or something. I agree RichieB some upsweep pipes, fishtails or megaphones or something would rule. I was told to keep it passenger friendly though so who knows, i may have to have an extra set of pipes.

    I don’t know what the 23″ front wheel is, some 70s dirt bike stock wheel and hub. I had a 15mm stepped axle made to be able to run it. If anyone knows what my 23″ is let me know, it needs brake shoes bad! Back wheel is the stock ’73 xs 18″. I did rattlecan the tank and made the handlebars out of some old cut down drag bars.

  16. ROODIS says:


  17. tim says:

    i love it, but be careful and don’t get mugged in the alley !!!!

  18. Grease Nipples says:

    The next morning, our rider opened one eye and felt for the joints in his jeans pocket. Three left. Digging through the pile of dirty laundry, he donned his cleanest, dirty tie dyed t-shirt. He scratched his chin absent-mindedly. The stubble indicated that it had been a few days since he last bathed, but he had lost count, working so much overtime in the dish room for the Chinaman. If he had been able to find the party, at least he could have rinsed the personal funk off his scrawny, under fed body in the lake. But, as was usually the case, the party moved on before he got to the secret swimming spot, located miles beyond the hills of San Francisco.

    Making his way sideways down the cluttered hall of the trailer he shared with his mother, he stepped over a pair of unfamiliar cowboy boots outside his mother’s bedroom door. On the kitchen table were at least a half-case of empty Black Label beer cans, and a hubcap pressed into service as an ashtray, piled with unfiltered Lucky Strike butts. A Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket lay sideways on the floor.

    Someone let out a great muffled fart behind the wall, and then, a giggle. He pushed aside the tattered orange curtain over the sink. Over by the rusty old child’s swingset, the bike was still there. He was always relieved to see it in the morning, because it had no key ignition, just a toggle switch under the seat.

    Suddenly, the bedroom door swung open and bumped the bureau behind it. Out stumbled a shirtless, scraggly vagrant, who gave a gap-toothed smile. “Hi,” he said. Joel nodded.

    Might as well eat breakfast, he thought to himself. He pushed aside the beer cans and made enough room for his cereal bowl and poured it full of near stale Cap’n Crunch.

  19. tadd442 says:

    I nominate Grease Nipples above comment for whatever the latest give-away is!

  20. Rusty Nutz says:

    Life is short. Leave rubber.

  21. LurchingSideways says:

    Great running commentary Grease Nips….so the rider is maybe unemployed but still riding the bike when he has a couple of extra bucks in the pockets of his tattered jeans.

  22. Grease Nipples says:

    Here are some other things I can tell just by looking at this bike. It’s like reading tea leaves:

    Joel is the oldest of three siblings and has a brother and a sister.

    Joel’s mother had him when she was fifteen. She is a breathless and sweaty, braless and flatulent, gas bag of a welfare mom who is addicted to TV dinners and soap operas when she is not tending bar. It is said that she was quite a looker when she was younger. She has a slight beard and wears a stained, purple polyester mumu around the trailer. She is not averse to being seen outside, watering the sickly flowers that struggle for life in the white painted truck tire that serves as a planter, out on the front “lawn.” Not that there’s a lot of traffic where they live, at the end of a dead end, dirt road.

    Joel’s mother drives a pickup truck that a Hells Angel sold her for $200. Inexplicably, the Hells Angels are protective of her, and the other female hang-arounds don’t find her threatening, and she gets along there very well. She tends the bar at the Hells Angel’s clubhouse over in Oakland on the weekends. The HA’s probably like her because her till always balances. She’s been trying to get Joel interested in joining the HA’s, but he can’t afford a 1200cc Harley, and besides, he likes his life just the way it is. And, he reasons, at 140 lbs, he doubts he could survive the hazing process.

    Joel’s mother is not exactly sure who his father is, but it might be Sonny Barger. Or somebody else, she’s not sure. Joel doesn’t look like Sonny at all.

    Joel’s sister Tina, sixteen, spends most of her time down in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. She has met a really nice preacher named Jim Jones who is going to get her off heroin and save her from her life of prostitution. “He’s weird though,” she says. “He always wears sunglasses, even indoors.” Joel is relieved that his sister has finally found a man who can help her get her life together, and someone who is not at all interested in her for sex.

    Joel’s brother is a Hare Krishna who has shaved his head, wears a saffron robe, and bangs a tambourine for spare change down on the waterfront of San Francisco. He lied about his age in order to get into the Hare Krishnas. He is seventeen. He has changed his name to something that Joel can’t even pronounce.

    Joel was diagnosed manic-depressive after an incident in which he was forcibly removed, naked and dancing wildly, from a downtown park fountain one afternoon.

  23. Tebo says:

    Okay, to some, this may be becoming disturbing, but, Joel, the bike still kicks ass, and Grease Nipples may very well be penning the next Great American Biker Novel. It’s almost like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Horrific, yet captivating at the same time. I await the next installment from both of you.

  24. I like you, Nipples. I really do. You’re kinda like a circus clown I met one time in Moose Jaw. Only he had an odor of candy canes about him and I imagine you smell slightly more like a hot panda. Otherwise indistinguishable.

  25. Justin says:

    Looks great! Dont change anything, maybe some pipes but thats it, God job

  26. tadd442 says:

    Joel, What city are you in?

  27. nixs says:

    Yeah this is no longer fair….some might wonder why Grease Nipples knows so much about Joel and his personal life. After some extensive research it turns out that Grease Nipples, by means of a dna test, is in fact Joels father. That being said, Grease Nips., you will never be Sonny Barger, and I think its time you reconnect with your boy! Its like a family reunion up in here!

  28. Ted says:

    “Thanks for all the comments, there is something very freeing about not really caring if you screw your bike up because it only cost you $500, you’re right Broman. I would be freaking out to try stuff on a $10k panhead or something.” @ Joel – I think that is very true there’s definitely a lot more experimentation and willing to try crazy ideas out on a cheap xs {my opinion}. The economics of the situation also plays a huge part; If you have the mechanical aptitude and vision for 2K you can pretty much build whatever you have in your head with cheap parts on eBay. It all starts with a solid xs frame, motor and clean title.

    I think the only thing missing is a Sweet fish tale exhaust setup. Rad bike..

    @ Grease Nipples – “It puts me in a naked hippy chicks in a swimming hole frame of mind.” that reminds me of 05 MN- 2AM – hopping fences- chlorinated swimming pool – naked cannonballs and PBRzzzzzz.

  29. The TWERKS says:

    Hahahahaha Poor guys hardwork paid off with slanderous lunacy. Very cool bike. Awesome story telling too. Not sure, but it seems like Mr. Nipples is obsessed with the where abouts of the young builders semen. This might just be the estranged father’s subconcious, yet misguided, longing to reconnect with his own off spring that he’d never known existed. It could also just be that, inbetween manic pharmaceutical fueled fits of creativy or short lived desperate stabs at becoming a world renowned fictional short story writer, grease nipples is prone to sleuthing through his neighbors years old refuse. Both grease nipples, as well as the builder need, to accept that garbage can never be read into so deeply.

  30. Ted says:

    @ The TWERKS- HAhaha – You are right. It would probably be well advised if we just listened to some Sword – Freya >

  31. Lurchingsidewayd says:

    The reluctant hero does have a nice ride. I’m not so sure of the background story. Maybe the reluctant hero is just humble as in he knows the bike is coolaybe like a modern day marlbro man riding away into the urban landscape

  32. J-C says:

    Great bike!!! love the tank paint, dirt bike wheel and pipes have to be loud to be cool!

  33. RumbleBee says:

    yeah whats the backstory and who did the fart?

    Did mom do the fart?

  34. Joel says:

    Haha wow, Greasy that is quite a tale you have created there. I would say it is about 0.000001% true haha. Tadd442, i’m near birmingham al, it’s sure not frisco but it’s got some cool old urban areas anyways. TWERKS, you speak truth. I think… actually i’m kind of confused at this point haha. But I found an 8″ over xs650 fork at the swap meet this weekend so that should get interesting

    You’re right Ted, it rules to see all the crazy different ways these lowly little yamaha’s get built, from clean high dollar to low budget rusty old stuff. Keep the site going!

  35. mark says:

    the front wheel ape ears to be from a xr500 honda , thats what im grafting into my xs, how are you holding the brake backing plate? , i plan on using my axle spacer, coming off of it with a plate to the lower caliper hole on the leg then into the square notch on the backing plate

  36. Joel says:

    You may be right, it could be xr500, I can’t find a good enough picture of one to be sure. It’s got a weird curved brake arm that kind of bends around the fork leg. I first just ran a bolt with a thick square bushing over it straight through the old bottom fender mount (i think) and into the square notch, but it snapped that mount right off the fork leg. Now i have a longer bar going up to one of the top fender mounts, seems like it’s not as much torque moment on the fork leg tab it’s holding up good so far. I thought about using the lower caliper mount, that might work fine, but it sure broke that little mount just below the caliper mount clean off…

  37. mark says:

    i am 99% sure its xr500, i zoomed your pic and the drum looks exactly like mine , 79-82 was drum and 83-84 had a disk. for some reason when i look up brake shoes for one it splits the years into 79-80 and 81-82 i dont know the difference, but i guess there is some? i might have to do more research on it since i need a set also.

  38. Heinz Thunderclap says:

    Grease Nips you are the man!!! I was almost in tears over your demented story tellings. That bike is ILL and I would ask you to please leave the paint dude it just suits the bike so well. I am running a 19” front wheel but after seeing your 23” I might just have to upgrade. Keep up the good work my friend. 650’s RULE!

  39. @Joel @mark careful where you mount a drum plate to. I snapped a CanAm plate in half because I mounted it to one of the caliper mounts with a small spacer to gap the distance. The force pulled so hard UP on the plate that it broke in half. I now run an 1/8″ X 3/4″ stay all the way up to the fender mount, equal distance out to the plate mount, to avoid stressing the new plate. Plus your torque is way better with a long stay. Lucky I didn’t shave the forks before the mechanics of the bike were sorted.

  40. alfredo says:

    where did you get these controls and what size bars are they?

  41. AU nation says:

    dude looks good i like the lifted pegs and the slight drop on the rear end. the face that nothing scraps on hard dips is very cool as well on any bike cornering is a must for me personally ..

  42. EJ says:

    Hey Joel or anyone else that may be able to help out.

    I have a local motorcycle junkyard that has a couple xr500 23″ front drum wheels for sale. The thing is I don’t know how or who can make an axle for it. Joel do have the contact information of who made yours? Does anyone else know how to rig this up to a stock xs650 forks. Thanks for any and all help.

  43. Philthy78 says:

    JESUS!!! This was the most EPIC read of an even more epic bike I’ve read on any forum! Joel, bitchin ride….Nips….get help or published, which ever comes first!

  44. Blacksmithbilly says:

    Joel, how can something so cheap…. be so good? Nice ride!

    “He pushed aside the tattered orange curtain over the sink. Over by the rusty old child’s swingset, the bike was still there. He was always relieved to see it in the morning, because it had no key ignition, just a toggle switch under the seat.”

    Great stuff Zerk