“Hard Luck” Bobber


This is my 1976 XS650. I bought it on craigslist about a year ago while I was deployed in the middle east. My dad went to pick it up and it was at some hippies apartment in San Francisco. The guy was living on his couch and the bike was buried in his bedroom under 20 years of junk. It hadn’t been started since 1983 (or registered, a whole other story), at least it was inside!!



So I started ordering parts and figuring out what I wanted it to look like. I got a majority of the parts from mikesxs, lowbrow, licks, TC Bro’s, Debrix, and dime city cycles, all of which have GREAT customer service and where very helpful in dealing with my hard-ass. I had to do all the fabrication at my dads house since he has the welder and all the tools. He lives 8 hours north of me so I basically built the bike in a total of 3 jam packed weeks.


So that is the start of the tale of “Hard Luck”.

Here are the details, she is rockin a 3″ stretch TC Bros hardtail and a -2 under springer I picked up for $300 shipped!! I got the exhaust from Great Scott! He rocks, I picked the curved drags but wanted a few things changed and he hooked me up with a great price, fast shipping and everything I wanted, also the pipes sound great. I have the XS Performance Keihin Carb Kit and they work great, took a little fine tuning but these things rip. To get rid of the old points I went with the Pamco Pete electronic ignition and the 75k volt coil and iridium spark plugs.


I used the radio shack rectifier and the Chrysler regulator combo. I wired up the bike to include a safety circuit, blinkers, electric start, and even a good ol horn. The front end was a pain getting the stock XS wheel to pair up with the American front end.




I found the bearings that would do the job but spent some hours on the lathe making the spacers. the front brakes were a little different, these took some good ol red neck ingenuity to get all square but they work great now.

I just got Hard luck registered and a title is on the way.

Pete Baker


  1. Stupendous Gonads of Freedom says:

    On the hill the stuff was laced with kerosene
    But yours was kitchen clean

  2. brandon workman says:

    super bitchen bike my friend! congrats aon a job well done.


  3. Joshua Rasmussen says:

    Sweet build.

  4. jason says:

    what “oil bag” is that?? sweet build..

  5. mick says:

    Not to shabby. I did twisted on my controls too. Brandon is that you the guy that just bought the twisted springer off eBay?

  6. Russ says:

    Looks good. I noticed the wires under the tank are twisted together, I’ve herd this can make them over heat.( I know,Iknow, they run together in a coverd harness stock, just something I’ve herd I dont know if it really matters) The bike looks great-Just 3 jam packed weeks awsum!!

  7. Pete says:

    the oil bag is the Torpedo oil tank off of Debrix.com.. it was a pain to get all of the wiring, fuse box, relays and the regulator to fit but it turned out pretty clean. The twisted wires are just for the brake circuit running from the ground switches so there isn’t much amperage running through them so overheating shouldn’t be a problem..(famous last words!!) The bike turned out just how I wanted it, and rides great.

  8. Fabbastard says:

    Love that linkage for thr R brake “nice twist”.ha ha ha good reason to spend time w your “pops”. p.s. glad you made it back!

  9. tadd442 says:

    Great build, great story, lots of pics & a video as well! GREAT POST!

  10. Max says:

    Great build man I would love to see a wiring diagram of what you did seeing as how you included pretty much every function I’m looking for and it’s the same year as my bike wiring is pretty intimidating to me haha I’m just trying to make it as painless as possible

  11. Pete says:

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    Here is what I used. This is a diagram DogBunny made, I got it from http://xs650temp.proboards.com There is a TON of information on that site (including how to wire up the radio shack rectifiers and the Chrysler regulator)!! I wired my bike to that diagram and then just added in the blinkers. all I did was run them on their own circuit. I started with a 10 amp fuse, then a 3 prong flasher relay from Autozone, to a on-off-on switch by the seat. Im going to wire in an led that will light whenever I have the blinkers on so I remember to turn them off!!!( I will make a little diagram for the blinkers to show how to wire the flasher relay.) Also one BIG note, if you are using the Pamco Pete electronic ignition make sure you run a relay from the key switch to the kill switch that will open the power to the Pamco when you turn your bike off by the key. If you dont, the first time you turn your bike off at the key you’ll just disconnect the battery from the equation and lose your dampener and the bike will voltage spike, then shut off. and all your wiring including your ignition will be toast!!! its just a safety circuit in case you kill it with the key and not the kill switch just that one time!!!

  12. Pete says:

    Here is the link to XS650temp.proboards and a discussion on the diagram..


  13. graverobbercustoms says:

    i really like this bike, job well done my fellow 650er

  14. RatCHop says:

    Job well done man. Some guys come home and spend thousands on big dog choppers, and brand new harleys and what not, you made a great choice, and you built the thing yourself. Id shake your hand, and tip my helmet to ya. That bike makes me drool out of jealousy, but you sure as phuck earned it.

  15. The Flying Imp says:

    is your back tire 18”? if so what tire are you running and where do u get them?

  16. shad says:

    where did ya get that kicker pedal?,I been looking for one just like it ,,,,,,,Isn’t Scott an awsome dude hes super cool guy and his pipes sound so good. I love my pipes from him .Well must say you did a really nice job on your build………………..ps the twisted metal is a nice touch

  17. Pete says:

    Flying Imp- Ya its an 18″ I got the tires from Dime City Cycles. the back tire is a 4.50 x 18 and the front is a 4.00 x 19. They are a little bit taller than the stock tires that I used to mock everything up so I had to do a little bit of rework on the rear fender..

    Shad- I picked up the pedal from retro cycle. Here is a link.


    You will have to do some modifications to your kicker arm. just cut the old kicker off and grind down the top of it till the pedal will slide on then plug weld it up and grind smooth. mine looks like it came that way… I also found some guys on ebay that sell the brass knuckle kickers and I bet if you buy the pedal and just mail it to them they will mount it for you if you dont have the resources…

  18. reynoldburton says:

    ^^Thats some Harley brass kicker pedal – should be all over ebay or the typical other Harley sources. You´ll have to modify the original kicker arm to mount it. There are different ways to do it, but for example look into the xs650 library.

  19. Marco says:

    I like this one so much!

  20. mookie says:

    very nice looking bike.
    near perfect profile. the front end with the 18″ rear… awesome.

  21. sean from boston says:

    great bike so beautiful and thank you for serving.

  22. Evan B says:

    Sick ass bike pete! The paint, springer and parts combo go together perfect! Bet that baby hauls ass. Congrats on the build and thank you for you service brother.
    Ride on.

  23. Pete says:

    Thanks… I put a lot of time into her.. turned out pretty good.. Im building another for a friend and a cafe racer out of a Suzuki GT500!! so stoked about that..

  24. JAXN says:

    Nicely done. What clutch/brake controls are you running? 1″ bars? Very clean looking.

  25. Pete says:

    The controls are from demons cycles. Ya the bars are 1″. Thanks.

  26. hooversama says:

    The more I look at this bike, the more I like it! Sweet ride.

  27. Rob says:

    Hi Pete,

    I still have this bike it’s running and looking great. Thought you might like to hear that.

  28. Pete says:

    Hey Rob,

    Great to hear man! I miss that bike all the time. I’ve built a few since and none really have the feel hard luck did. Enjoy it man. If you are ever looking to sell it hit me up. I’m not going to lie, I’ve hunted eBay and Craigslist for her a few times.