WWII Military Theme XS650

Ed – The inspiration for this project came surprisingly from a Bloomingdales catalog with a vintage World War 2 motorcycle on the cover. Something about the look really appealed to me. After doing some research on the military motorcycles from that era & realistically evaluating my riding environment, I decided I wanted a modern interpretation of a wwii military motorcycle with a more modern engine & modern disc brakes.

I wanted the bike to be a combination of different elements of the various motorcycles from that era.  The sprung seat of an Indian 741, and a Harley UA or WLA style springer fork.  I chose the XS650 as a base, partially because it was cheap & partially because I liked the more symmetrical look of the engine.  After a long search, I settled on the guys at CycleServiceSales to build this project for me.  Bill has a lot of experience with very old school motorcycles, and I really needed someone that was familiar with the motorcycles of that era to pull this project off.


We ordered a high ratio gear set as well as had the MikesXS HP billet camshaft & crank rephased to 270 degrees, by Heiden Tuning in the Netherlands. The port work was done by Gary @ Hoos Racing using 2mm oversize inconel Alloy valves I purchased on ebay. We also used the MikesXS 750 big bore kit & myriad of other parts from MikesXS. Various engine parts both internal & external were sent to Performance Coatings for ceramic coating.

The bike is almost finished now, and we need to add the hydraulic brakes as well as ceramic coat the rest of the engine as well as the header pipes.   I can send more photos after it’s complete.


  1. mike lytle says:

    GO ARMY!!!!! nicely done!! thanks for sharing

  2. Troy Parker says:

    Very Cool!!!

  3. steve says:

    I built something simular to this many years ago with a XS and I really love the pride you put into it. The front fender a tad high? double taillights? I think I would switch the Horn and headlight.
    they say it is easier to Criticize then to complement but this is meant to be postive.

    Assume ride

  4. JJ Gross says:

    Nice retro job, I’m doing a similar era XS650 but not military themed. Be sure to update with new pics as you finish, your bike kicks ass!

  5. scott says:

    very cool! have not seen something like this done w/ the XS before. I have to agree w/ steve tho, if you’re going through all this work, that front fender needs to fit the tire better. nice work all around tho!

  6. wally says:

    I love it! nice job!

  7. Barney says:

    Excellent job, the best military bike i’ve seen on here. The front fender looks off and directs your vision to the rear fender which doesn’t match the tire radius. Can’t wait til it’s complete.

  8. Joe Bob Biggs says:

    I had talked about Ceramic Coating my motor with my Powder Coat guy awhile back and he warned me against it. He said the Ceramic Coating keeps the heat in and that would make the motor run hotter. He said he had done a bunch of Harley Heads in Ceramic and they all got brought back and were stripped because the ran to hot. This is just what I have been told.

  9. scott says:

    heard the same. prob better off w/ high temp rattle can. that’s how i did mine. no issues so far.

  10. srbtjeep says:

    I agree with Steve on the headllight and horn switching places, and the fender a tad high, but the dual taillights are period correct for military bikes.

  11. Ted Hewitt says:


  12. mike lytle says:

    looks like the front fender is mounted to the stationary fork tubes so there has to be room for the tire to move up and down. I think that’s why it looks a little strange

  13. Geezerman says:

    Cool idea, gonna be a great ride.
    I like it.

  14. Scott says:

    Take it from a guy who owns a 42′ military flathead 45″. The fender is spot on! Looks great and I bet you’ll have less problems than I do.

  15. El Gaucho says:

    schweeeeet! When I saw the pics, I thought this might be a little heavier and would be a great bike to do a big bore and rephase on. Then I read the description and saw you were thinking the same thing! This should be a very cool bike when it’s done. Have you considered a sidecar for it? That would be bitchin’.

  16. Ed says:

    Thanks for all the comments. I was a bit worried about the ceramic coatings retaining heat, but took a chance after consulting with Performance Coatings: http://www.performancecoatings.com/index2.html

    I believe the headlight for the Harley WLA was repositioned below the horn after 1942. It was just my personal preference to replicate that look.

  17. Ed says:

    Yes, I have entertained the idea of a sidecar many times! LOL Maybe when I hit the lottery?

  18. misfitskinny says:

    I think u nailed the look you were going for and it looks great!!! Like everything about this build. Lot of time , thinking and research put in this one!!

  19. domenic says:

    vintage World War 2 motorcycles are so kool i built one 4 months ago your bike is so kool want to see more photos wish to see more of them built. this site is the best.

  20. JAXN says:

    Pretty cool. It would look even better if you could find a replica rifle scabbard to mount on the frame. Real cool if you keep a rifle (M1 Carbine) in the scabbard. Nice job.

  21. Ed says:

    It lives! Needs to be fine tuned a bit, and the hydraulic clutch still needs to be sorted out a bit. Hopefully, I will be able to ride it in the next few weeks. I read someone describe a 270 Rephased XS650 motor as sound like a pissed off Ducati. Now, I also have a Ducati Monster and I don’t totally agree with it sounding like a Ducati, but it definitely sounds like a pissed off motor. LOL I would describe the exhaust sound as very raw & uncivilized in a good way.

  22. Scott says:

    Very cool scoot .any tips on the tank mount im also planning the same but with a different look

  23. Ed says:

    My builder had a bit if a hard time getting it right. He actually had to cut down part of the control trim because it wasn’t laying right. Sorry I don’t know any details. Good luck on your build!