83 XS650 Heritage Special

Jamie – I found this bike in a chop shop in southern Alberta on consignment. It was a non runner and had been hacked up somewhat missing some of it’s original heritage style. Nevertheless, I saw the potential and began work on it immediately after getting it running.

This bike is kick only. I removed the starter and almost everything else not essential to keeping it running.
The engine was gone through, replacing the cam chain, most all gaskets, and set the valves. I added socket head screws to the new clutch springs and rebuilt the carbs with new gaskets, o-rings, jets, and added the xs pods from xsdirect.

I had a king tank laying around but the petcock orifice was up high on the tank and left probably more than a gallon of fuel at the bottom so I relocated it to the lowest point, sealed the inside and threw on a brass valve. I did the paint in the garage trying out a weathered, distressed look. Eventually this may change to a HQ job.

I made all my own bungs, tabs, and brackets. Shaved the lowers, fender & brake mounts, upper & lower trees and dropped in new  tapered bearings in the neck. Lowered the forks 2″ including new seals and springs.

The brake light is from a harley turn signal (I need to get a red lense still) and I fabbed the plate mount to work with it. Originally, this bike was rocking mags with a rear drum but I found the spoke hubs and rims from ebay sellers all over the USA and laced them up using new stainless spokes. While I had the wheels off, it was a good time to install new bearings and I also drilled the front rotor out as well.

I put in a pamco ignition with a small battery however the alternator is stock. All in all this bike took over 4 months to this point. There is more work to do still but I’m soon starting on a 73 and this one is pretty much complete. For now…


  1. Kano says:

    Mate that is sick! I’m loving every aspect of your ride! Job well done man, thanks for posting 🙂

  2. fanoboss says:

    Don’t see many ’83 bobbers around here. You’ve taken it from ugly duckling to sweet swan of a scoot. Great Job.

  3. Joshua says:

    Nice build, I like the no front fender, keeping it real boss!

  4. Yale says:

    Great job. What size/brand battery are you using. I am just finishing a re-wire and have been struggling with the space required for the battery and other electrical components. Are you using turn signals or just a brake/running light.

  5. leebo says:

    vary vary nice

  6. leebo says:

    What I meant to say is: selling?

  7. Barney says:

    I can’t wait to get my bike done. Just buttoned up the motor today.

  8. El Gaucho says:

    I can’t help but be in awe of how incredible Firestone (or look alike) tires go on these bikes. They just look so right. I think I’ve got to put a set of shinko blackwalls on my next bike.

  9. Jamie says:

    Thanks all.

    The battery is a small 12v3ah gell cell and I’m not running sigs. Just brake light and headlight on/off switch with a toggle switch to send fused voltage to the pamco. I was pretty impressed with this ignition. Couldn’t believe it started on the first kick and immediately settled into a nice idle.

  10. Big John says:

    where did you stuff all the crap? very clean, but not sure i like the big space

  11. fanoboss says:

    El Gaucho, I agree 1111% that will be the next ones that I get. Someone said that Cooker tires did some awesome ones, I don’t know that for sure. You know how some talkers are…

  12. mike lytle says:

    finding a crashed out heap at a consignment sale ,everyones dream having to spend valuable time rebuilding and purchasing parts……. bumber ending up with a beautiful chopper …………………….PRICELESS thanks for sharing

  13. Tombo says:

    Hi there, love the bike, hoping to achieve something similar with my own. Are those the stock 19″/16″ wheel setup? and if so what sizy tyres have you got on them? Thanks!!

  14. El Gaucho says:

    Fanoboss, Coker does make very great reproduction Firestones, but they are $$$$ (like 150 a tire) the Shinko’s look similar at half the price. Once my wallet can support a set of Coker Firestones, I might splurge on a set, but I’m gonna have to pop for the Shinko’s for the next build.

  15. misfitskinny says:

    Nice build, good lines and I love the distressed paint job on it. definately my kind of style

  16. Stephanie says:

    Now that’s a bobber pure and simple. Love the old worn look of the tank and firestones. Bike just has a beautiful stance, great job!

  17. fanoboss says:

    Thanks bro El Gaucho

  18. James K. Irmert says:

    Righteous little scoot dude. What sort of rubber you running on it? I really dig the look of whatever they are.

  19. kmacgregor76 says:

    Did you find the parts for the wheels and them lace them yourself? I have mags and would love some spoke wheels but everyone is asking a ton for them. Thanks

  20. Jamie says:

    Yeah I got the front hub from an ebay 650 wheel in BC. The rear hub came from somewhere in the states. The rims I found from the classifieds at 650.com and spokes were from xsdirect.

    I laced and trued them myself. Then put on the Firestone champion deluxe tyres, 16/19.

    Still, after it was all done, it would likely be cheaper to just outright buy the wheels already assembled and ready to go.
    But that’s not really any fun.

  21. Tala Crossley says:

    Hey man, very nice clean and simple, I’m diggin the weathered look and the tires rock. Where in Alberta do you live, I’m in Airdrie and building a bratstyle bobber from a 1980 XS650 Special. I have paint and powder coating left to do and I hit a brick wall trying to re-wire, do you know anyone in Calgary or area that is a wiz with these bikes and there infamous charging issues?

  22. Jamie says:

    I am a Wiz.

    I’m in Edmonton but go to Calgary now and then. Let me know and I can help you out.

  23. Tala Crossley says:

    Hi Jamie, Thanks for getting back to me. Over the last week i have managed to get it all wired with help from the XS650 thread… The only thing left is I have to find mini signal lights that i like and try to figure out why the flasher is not working, even when the bike is running. Probably a bad ground. Have you started your 73 project? Anyway look me up if your in town, I work for Stampede Leasing Ltd. Cheers!

  24. Kano8 says:

    Hi Jamie
    You mentioned your tyres are 16/19 but as another reader asked I would love to know the tyre sizes? Would really appreciate a reply, I love your bike mate its rad!


  25. Jamie says:

    That bike had a 3,.25 inch up front and 4 rear.

    I really miss that XS

  26. Damiao says:

    My friend, y hold know what size is the front and rear tires