Finally done (for now)


Christian – Well here is my xs that I have been working on since august of 2010. I picked her up in Bakersfield, Ca for $400. It was already stripped down and the guy who owned it was in process of “re-wiring” it. As soon as i got it home I started cutting off all the tabs shaving off the unnecessary stuff and then it just sat there for about 2 months until I decided where I wanted to get the hardtail from.


I decided to drive 3hrs to drop it off with Robert Elswick down in Lancaster, Ca so he can Tig weld a custom 2inch stretched hardtail. I was amazed at the craftsmanship that went into his work.

Then after I stared at it for ever and kept switching between all kinds of rim, handlebar, and tank combinations this is what I ended up with.


The stuff I made myself were the handlebars (from stock bars welded to some clamps), footpeg mounts, exhaust (pandemoniums kit), repurposed front fender for rear fender, shaved up the top triple, and made the seat myself, upgraded to points and switched over to the permanent magnet thanks to hughshandbuilt. I painted it Gunmetal gray out of spray cans from autozone, and clearcoated it with spray max cans also.


  1. Andy says:

    wow great work, how much did you drop the front?
    So its a 2 inch stretch any drop as well?
    What’s your wheel/tires combo?
    I’m sure you can tell I’m quite envious and want to build mine something like this congratulations.

  2. mike lytle says:

    very nice clean build!! interesting mounts for the rear fender struts

  3. davethewrench says:

    Really Nice, Great Build…Keeping the XS alive !!

  4. ewan says:

    Really good looking, like the raw steel feel of the paint!

  5. Christopher says:

    Great build…How do you find riding the bike with only a rear drum brake…I want to do the same with my bike but not sure? And help from any buddy would be great??

  6. 650Sears says:

    You can be proud, It looks great, rattle can paint and all !!

  7. tucker says:

    very nice,clean and not junked up! It’s awesome to see that some of us are keeping it old school and taking on the paint projects ourselves. This is usually the point when most weekend builders send there tins out. great job!

  8. Barney says:

    Nice looking bike. Classic.

  9. Marco says:

    Dude, seriously nice build! Very slick look man. Love to know where you got the tires from as well!

  10. Piute says:

    Very nice,
    can-bomb paint never looked so good,(except on mine),What tires Did U use ,the Kenda’s cross tires I used didn’t look this good.

  11. def one of my favorite hardtails on here. nice form, clean, good colors, not overdone w/ details, and i’m a fan of big tires and black wheels. nice work!

  12. Cameron says:

    Very sweet looking bike. Clean and simple.
    I would like to see some closeups of the mid-mounts you made, the handlebars and the rear fender setup.
    It all looks awesome together.
    Do you have a build log?

  13. Leebow says:

    Smokin bike, don’t really know what else to say.

  14. Dennis says:

    nice looking hardtail. I agree with posts above. What did you think of the Pandemonium kit, easy to work with? Also, whats the tab on the frame by the rear wheel? (only thing I can see to pick at)

  15. shad says:

    what tires are those and what size are your wheels

  16. Christian says:

    Thanks all for your compliments. The tires are both Avon speedmasters, the front tire is supposed to be a sidecar tire. The rear is a 4.00×18 (xs rim), front is a 4.00×19 (rim i stole from my brothers gs550).
    @ Andy – Robert Elswick made my hardtail. I just told him that i wanted it stretched two inches and that I wanted it low. I don’t know how much was dropped, but it stands about 5 inches off the floor right now with my fat tires and I dropped the front 3 inches.
    @ cameron – I do not have a build log for it, but I have some random pics of it when it was in different stages on my chopcult profile (speakerboxxer02). The rear fender struts I made using lowbrow’s fender strut kit, here is link to instructions on mounting fenders this way be sure to check out both parts of the tech tip. Part1 and Part 2
    @ Dennis – the tabs on the frame are to for my flush mount turn signals. I know your thinking that I shouldn’t have turn signals on this bike, but honestly you cant even tell there on there when they’re mounted. I shoulda probably put pics up when it they were on, but I was too excited haha.

  17. Christian says:

    Oops it looks like I commented twice, my internet cuts out on me all the time and I couldn’t see if my first comment was sent or not

  18. Nemsis says:

    Nice build, I guess you have to go down to Elswick Cycles to get anything. I ordered a hardtail in Febuary and all I got was excuses.

  19. fanoboss says:

    Very Clean lines and I even dig the clip-ons! Pipes look awesome, great job on the fender too. I don’t like the lines on the tank only because they distract from the bikes strong lines and they don’t seem to be part of the bikes overall design. I agree with Dennis, what are those tabs ? LOL

  20. mick says:

    I like the bike but I agree with fanoboss. The lines on the tank should angle down.

  21. Blacksmithbilly says:

    I dig the motorcycle, all goes together well the way I see it.

    On a side note :I personally have build trouble with flow, lines and distractors….

  22. fanoboss says:

    @ Christopher, in regard to your question ” …How do you find riding the bike with only a rear drum brake…I want to do the same with my bike but not sure? And help from any buddy would be great?? ” . If you are new to riding or have never done mods before, KEEP THE BRAKES. Its safe and keeps the value of your bike. Also learn how to replace the brake shoes and pads. Its pretty simple. If you have a phone that can take pics, take pics before removing anything and then every step after that. That way if you forget what goes where you will have a picture to reference where parts go and what it should look like. Good Luck, fanoboss

  23. Dennis says:

    Christian – actually, I *like* turn signals. and fenders. and bags and speedos etc etc. I’m not in the ‘minimalist’ camp, altho I can appreciate the concept. You have put together a fine rendition of ‘less is more’…. if thats what you were going for. In any case, turn signals provide a function that *might* keep me from being run over some day, and besides, it’s aNOTHER component you can paint or customize to add to the appearance. In any case, my bikes as a rule are kinda junked up with dewdads. but hey… thats just me. now…. what did you think of the pandemonium exhaust kit? was it easy to work with? thanks man.

  24. christian says:

    Dennis- this exhaust was my first attempt at one ever and the only reason why I even tried it was because it was only 100bucks. The only issue I had at first was that my mig welder was set too high so I had a few times that I had some burn through, but that problem was fixed when I adjusted my welder. The tabs were easy to weld the only problem was that they were barely long enough for my application. No real complains though. I’d highly recommend this kit for all you who are like me with minimal to intermediate welding skills. The exhaust wrap was purchased on eBay, used primarily because I was too lazy to clean my welds on the exhaust

  25. christian says:

    Christopher- I rode around with rear only for about 2 months. Its not too bad as long as u remember to give yourself time for braking, but when I would go on rides with my buddy it was annoying because he would keep ditching me through all the stop signs since I can’t stop as fast as him. Also my rear tire locked up on me a few times when I braked last minute

  26. Dennis says:

    C – thanks for the response. Money is definately a factor for that exhaust kit, but it’s important to get yer $$$’s worth, too!! your personal experience/opinion means more than the product advert, especially because this kit is designed as a ‘fits most custom applications’. It would be awful hard, for example, to realize that the tabs were short just from looking at pics. On another note, Anyone here ever try copper drain pipe for headers? I am wondering if the joints would hold up.

  27. elrico says:

    perfekt lines, good job.

  28. Sam says:

    I would also like to make a set of clamp on bars for my bike. Any feed back you can give me on type of clamp you used and where I could purchase a set.
    Thanks Sam

  29. christian says:

    Sam: The clip ons were made from a set of 35mm clip ons that i stumbled upon for15bucks. They were really ugly so I cut off the handle bar from the clip ons and what I was left with was just the clamp. I put the clamp on the bike and then cut my stock handlebars(yes those huge schwinn looking ones) and welded straight on to the clamp. I guess I could have done it without putting it on the bike, but it helped with the mock up.
    Here is a link to a picture of handlebars you can find at pretty much any salvage yard for motorcycles. I literally saw tons of these laying around, you just have to get lucky and find em in 35mm.

  30. Kevin Bass says:

    If you dont mind me asking, about how much do you have in this build. Im in love bro!! Super clean, and simple.

  31. Christian says:

    Kevin: I’d say i spent right around $2000. The most expensive things were the hardtail and converting to a permanent magnet alternator. I’m actually surprised how much I spent, but screw it well worth it.

  32. that’s actually pretty cheap I think Christian! well done! i usually spend almost 2k getting rim/tires/powdercoating and lacing. Did you do your wheel yourself? Sprayed or powdercoated? The bike looks great! do you plan to sell it and build another one, or just ride it?

  33. Christian says:

    Scott: The damn powdercoaters here in Fresno, Ca were giving me expensive quotes so I rattle canned the whole damn thing, including the rims. The paint has been holding up well so far, (though I’ve only put about 900 miles on it) I can’t even think of selling it, its the first bike i’ve ever built and i’m really in love with it.

  34. justan says:

    All I can say is nice job. Like it all.

  35. wally says:

    great looking bike!

    what mufflers are they? i see the kit is just the pipes.


  36. gatecrasher93 says:

    absolutly love it!
    can you post a full list of parts you used?

  37. Christian says:

    Wally: The mufflers are a pair of shorty mufflers I found on ebay. Just go on ebay and search “shorty mufflers” You can usually find a pair for around 40bucks.

  38. El Gaucho says:

    Never saw speedmasters with that tread pattern before. I love ’em.

  39. craig says:

    Is this for sale? Nice pic 717 634-1235

  40. RJ from the ole school says:

    I like everything about this bike,,,,its got that nasty look with blacked out motor and wheels,,,,bad ass profile,,,,,but that solo drum brake makes the hair stand up on back of my neck,,,,at least carry an boat anchor,,,parachute,,,or some quick set glue,,,,SOMETHING,,,,ANYTHING,,,,, to keep you from slidin up under a truck,,,,I’ve heard that 90% of your stop comes from the front ,,,,so you are depending on only 10% to keep from becoming a car tag ornament,,,,,,hey bro,,,dont trade off your safety for a cleaner look ,,,we want to keep 650 builders around a long time,,,,nice ride,,,RJ

  41. Christian says:

    Rj… Thanks for the comment. The bike does actually have a front disc brake, its just that I was getting annoyed trying to put the front wheel on there with the disk on so I took it off real quick just so I could put it together. These pics were from the first day I put it together and I was so excited to hurry up and take pics of it, but ya I tried not running with the front brake before I painted it and it sucked ass, especially when ur riding in country roads with people who do have a front brake.

  42. craig says:

    Is this bike for sale? Nice work..let me know..

  43. Kevin says:

    I’ve seen every bike on this website and this is my favorite, do you have any pics of the process of this build? Where did you get the rims and tires and what size are they? Also, where did you end up buying the hardtail from and headlight? Last question, where did you get the rear fendor and gas tank from? I just purchased a 78 650 special and want to make a bobber out of it, I’d like mine to be similar, do you care if there is a 3G? Just kidding I have some other ideas but this is a good model. Thanks for posting.