1979 XS650 from Winnipeg


Feeling a little empty inside with nothing to work on right now.

Scott – I purchased the bike summer of 2010. It wasn’t running but after a good cleaning of the carbs it fired up and ran great. I was lucky because the original bike was complete and everything functioned which allowed me to have it safety inspected and registered prior to chopping it. With the highway traffic act here in Canada, I would have never been able to get it safetied and on the road in its current condition.



The sawzall and cutting disks came out in September of last year and with the help of my Dad, Gord Witherspoon, we grafted on the David Bird looped hardtail. The hardtail is a 4” stretch, 2” drop and the fit and finish on it was awesome. I loaded up the frame, brought it back to my place and spent the next couple of weeks cleaning up all of the original tabs, neck gussets, etc.


The remainder of the bike was built in my unheated and un-insulated garage over the winter. I live in Winnipeg and if you’ve ever been here during the winter months you know how bitterly cold it gets. It was tough to stay motivated and get out there whenever I had some free time, but I managed to get it done for this spring. Looking back it seems like I built the entire bike with nothing more than an angle grinder, files and my Miller mig welder.


Some main features of the  bike are that it has a wassell style peanut tank, handmade fender made by my dad, previously mentioned David Bird hardtail from Lowbrow Customs, narrowed Biltwell bars, electrics box made from an ebay oil tank kit, 4 ½” bates style headlight, shaved and lowered front forks, pipes made by me, PMA swap and Pamco ignition.


The paint was done by DMK Customs in Lockport Manitoba and it really sets off my relatively simple build. I chose not to rebuild the motor this winter due to time constraints and the compression is still damn near perfect, but it will be torn down next winter. I left the stock frame section with the mid controls more for simplicity than anything, but I did re-engineer the rear brake setup slightly.


Future plans for the bike include an engine rebuild and making myself a new set of bars. The current bars a little cluttered for my liking.

The bike runs and rides great. It’s a blast to rip around town on and it gets tons of attention. The only major mishap I’ve had so far is that the tank sits so low, the clear tygon fuel lines I had coming from under the tank were bouncing around a little too close to the valve covers and melted right through on my very first ride. I’ve since switched to the thicker, more rigid, black fuel line for that section of hose. I’m definitely hooked and feeling a little empty inside with nothing to work on right now. Can’t wait to start the next project.


Thanks to my dad, my wife Danielle and my 5 year old son Camden, who needed the odd reminder that I do not love the motorcycle more than him.

Thanks for looking and if anyone is in the Winnipeg area let me know.

  • Scott Witherspoon
  • Winnipeg, MB Canada


  1. Mako says:

    Great build! In my humble opinion you should keep the bars. They give the bike a mean look.

    Greetz, Mako (Holland)

  2. Ewan says:

    Looks great! I agree on the bars, the current ones don’t really play with the rest of the bike. Kinda goes against the smooth lines of the rest of the bike.

  3. Guy says:


  4. Brett says:

    Love it! Really like the David Bird hardtail and nicely thought out combination with the original foot rest mounts. I agree with you, different bars might suit it better.

  5. more says:

    wow! very nice bike !!!! what is the size of front tire and what kind…

  6. Barney says:

    LOL, i’m in the same boat as you being in Fargo, ND. Have one on the way and the wife says i spend too much time in the garage. The bike turned out great. Love the tank and the bars. That one exhaust pipe looks like a pain in the ass to remove.

  7. hooversama says:

    Awesome bike dude…..I love the color and simplicity. Man, I love this site!

  8. Allen says:

    Great looking bike. From Winnipeg myself, have a 1975, that I’m just going to get into for next summer.

  9. fanoboss says:

    I vote for some dirt track bars or drag bars. Very nice build. I rode mine this week it was a blast. Just be ready to talk to strangers when you rise is all I’m saying. Well Done !

  10. fanoboss says:

    I vote for some dirt track bars or drag bars. Very nice build. I rode mine this week it was a blast. Just be ready to talk to strangers when you ride is all I’m saying. Well Done !

  11. fanoboss says:

    sorry ted

  12. Shad says:

    Epic build love the wassal and the mids section of frame it looks pretty awesome to tell ya the truth ,,,, love me some mags ,,,,,,EH

  13. fanoboss says:

    Yep, I’m a fan of the extra supports too.

  14. Mister says:

    Great job on the bike. Always good to see another Canadian out there building up and xs. Where are the pipes from?

  15. Scott W says:

    Thank for the comments guys.
    Mister: I made the pipes.
    Allen: Let me know when your bike is done, I need people to ride with!

  16. mario says:

    Fanoboss,Men that’s the one I like it’s simple but what a Beauty!How much you spend for this bike…I’m from Peg also Fano have a 75 model am thinking to custom like a wrench monkees cause like yours a problem in pocket ha-ha-ha…nice bike you have.

  17. Jorge says:

    I agree with Mako and with Guy on the frame swingarm, but like the overall look of your bike. If you want to change the bars AND want our opinion (readers opinion) I vote for dirt tracker bars but your bike looks great this way.

  18. Jorge says:

    I agree with Mako on bars and with Guy on the frame swingarm, but like the overall look of your bike. If you want to change the bars AND want our opinion (readers opinion) I vote for dirt tracker bars but your bike looks great this way.

  19. sean from boston says:

    I really love this bike the extra support like the fong bros and a great tank… I say go for some nice high frisco style bars

  20. fanoboss says:

    @ mario, I hope to see your bike on here soon, good luck with your build my friend.

  21. nate says:

    nice bike man… grand forks nd here… we need to get a club for these bad boys rollin outta upper midwest

  22. Scott W says:

    Thanks nate. the club thing’s a good idea, lets do it.

  23. Nox says:

    Nice. Understated and tasteful, good balance. I don’t know that I love the hard tail but I love the aesthetics.

  24. Fabbastard says:

    Lol, I lived in the Peg for few years (late 90’s)and know ya gotta have some “MAD GRIT” to build in an unheated shop… I was painting murals for the Pan-Am games and one sunny day (mid June) was out painting and suddenly it got a little cold and soon the snow was flyin WTF!!!…lol Kudo’s just for that!!!!! Very Nice Bike Dude! although you may want to add pontoons or out-riggers as I hear you may be in for another summer like 97, I hope not for your sake!

  25. Jason says:

    This is just about perfect! I don’t think I’d change a thing beyond some shorter springs under the seat. Very nicely done!

  26. Peter says:

    Very nice!. I’m in Souris MB and did the same thing with an XS400, safety insection first, chop later.

    Love the fender, any instructions on how your Dad built it?

  27. norm younger says:

    love the paint.

  28. Tomy chung Ho hA man says:

    “Feeling a little empty inside with nothing to work on right now.”

    Why dont you go ride the damn thing then! Im sure after awhile it will give you something to work on, Mine always does.

  29. fanoboss says:

    LMAO @ Tomy chung Ho hA mans comment.

  30. Adrian says:

    Love it….In Winnipeg also …….and just starting my XS bobber gonna be a LONG couple winters till i ride

  31. Scott W. says:

    Adrian, let me know when its done or if you need a hand with anything.

  32. Dime_Crusher says:

    Really diggin the paint mang!!! Was thinking of same color scheme myself… guess now its back to the drawing board!

    @more: I’m gonna go ahead and say that he is most likely rocking a 19″ in the front on a stock Yamaha Mag Wheel…

    I’ve got a brand new set.. only it’s coupled up with a 19″ for the rear as well. Comes with spacers, sprocket, rear disc conversion kit (rotor, calipers, rear master cylinder, reservoir, and caliper strut). Never installed.

    Thinking of selling it if anyone interested???

  33. rexxis says:

    Tough lookin’ bike! I like!

  34. Carl says:

    I am considering using a Bird looped hardtail, as well. How much clearance do you have with the 2″ drop?

    Also, your vertical oil tank is great. Did you fab that, or purchase it?

  35. Carl says:

    Just re-read your original post an saw the electrics box / oil tank info.