Chappell Customs 1980 XS650 Bobber


Chris chappell – This bike started as a roller, with parts in box’s, spiders in the engine and more corrosion than aluminum on the parts. It took hours of cleaning, blasting, polishing and painting to get it back to respectable condition. The final “polished, tuned, working” bike build time was around 2 months of straight work (literally every day). And a bit of tweaking here and there since.



I cut off what was already done to the rear of the frame by the PO and decided to weld on a hardtail instead. Engine appeared to be rebuilt as some point in its long past, but still it got torn down and received a new cam chain and guides, and new cam shaft. The cylinders were true so they got honed and new piston rings installed. Valve’s re-lapped, all filters gaskets and seals replaced, along with a new clutch, starter gear and various other parts I’m probably forgetting.


I fabricated a custom mono shock seat mount and fitted a super low Cole Foster tank to the frame (after re-making the stock tank and frame mounts) all trying to keep the lines flowing.



An aluminum ribbed fender hugs the rear tire and the springer front end gives the bike the appearance of over 3 inches of stretch in the front without any rake on the frame. 4″ risers and drag bars to hold onto, and the 2010 yamaha kill/start switch is the only hand control on the bike, no fancy speedo, signals, hi/lo etc… We also mounted a 60 spoke billet hub 21″ front wheel and 4 piston front brake setup to stop the beast. And for fun welded a bicycle pedal to the kicker.


The exhaust is a 2 into 1 system I made from an old collector pipe and a cheep dual exhaust system, the cocktail muffler tops it off and sounds killer. Mounted a chain slack roller to the oil can/electrical box only to stop any chain slap from hitting the nice oil can. The paint is 2 stage PPG and has several coats of clear. (also done in-house) 34mm carbs, all new charging system, high performance coil, a seat that actually works and a throaty exhaust make this thing a pleaser to ride, and far more comfortable than you may think.


Chappell Customs XS650 Café racer was recently featured on “two brothers who build bikes out of their garages on evenings and weekends.”  You can check out for more pics of this ride and some other builds.


  1. J-C says:

    Love this bike and the others in the last pic!!!! Work of Art and nothing less of a performer for sure!!!! Great work!

  2. norm younger says:

    Great looking bikes.

  3. BJ Harf says:

    I am currently starting my first bobber build under the guidance of Rob Chappell. I’ve seen some of their customs frat hand and am sti
    Can’t wait to transform my new 1981 Yamaha 650 Special. I will send in pic’s fir sure.

  4. paolo says:

    Fantastic Work! i love it!

  5. rand says:

    i love the clean lines and the paint makes it POP. great job!!

  6. jeffy says:

    mama mia!!!…chappells know whats going on!

  7. Barney says:

    Whoa, wow. That white paint really makes the bike pop. The last pic is awesome.

  8. rt choppers says:

    fcc’n cool and smooth bike man!
    That’s the way……. no ,or less wires and cables l ike the paintjob.
    Grtzz R.T. Choppers.

  9. Rexxis says:

    After seeing Garage Company Customs’s 650 w the Cole Foster tank I thought they looked to big and not in proportion w a 650’s smaller stature but you have changed my mind. The tank looks awesome on your bike and flows nicely.
    I think the tank looks wrong on the Garage bc they basically frisco’ed it. That tank isnt meant to sit up high, It needs to hug the line of the backbone, you have done it right.

    Click here to see what I mean:
    Garage Co bike>>>×388.jpg

  10. Martijn van Geenen says:

    Really nice bike. Love the paint, and the shape of the tank!

  11. iamsofaking says:

    Love this bike. Not overdone; just perfect.

  12. Chuck Jones says:

    Love the bike, i really like the white paint and seat, it really looks great on the bike.

  13. bobD says:

    Just perfect, looks like a $10,000 bike to me… I love how these builders are showing up the “big name” outfits. A little style goes a long way, and this obviously was thought out and not just put together for the hell of it.

  14. mike lytle says:

    beautiful bike! goes to show what a little bit of ability, a well thought out plan, and attention to detail can do. nicely done!! thanks for sharing

  15. mike lytle says:

    interested in the way you desgned the seat, am thinking of copying. where did you get the shock, and what is the strength of the spring on the shock? i’m hopeing your r&d will make it easier for me to get the right shock, and spring combo. thanks

  16. Dennis says:

    Great lines, great paint, very smooth look. Where did you get that springer? Also see that you swapped out breather elements; any improvements from one set to the other?

  17. hooversama says:

    sick bike…..i love that black and gold one too!

  18. Adam_G says:

    Still one of the “BEST” XS bobbers i’ve ever seen! Compared to the rest of the “generic” bikes out there this one is sure to stand out, in a good way. If i had the cash i would buy it in a second. Great Work!

  19. usp222 says:

    Dude, this bike is the bike that made me buy a xs650 and I’m in the middle of rebuilding it right now. I see this one is for sale on ebay, if I had the $$ I would hop all over that. You are an inspiration. This is a masterpiece. I will be sending in my pics soon I just found a cole foster tank after months of searching.

  20. Kenny M says:

    is the springer front end a -2″ or -4″…..also is there any stretch to the hardtail? looks great by the way

  21. vtwinspin says:

    My father just bought this bike a few days ago out of a barn in Pennsylvania.
    Looks like it was owned by a non-mechanical person and possibly left outside for a while…
    Needs a few touch-ups but its in a good home now! SWEET RIDE!