A little Salt Flat influenced

– Finished!

Hello, My name is Mike McFadden and I live in Owensboro, KY and work out of my shop beside my home going by the name of M&M Customs below is the info on the “Salt Shaker” build. I finally finished up the XS650, as you can see here. The bike came to me from a Yamaha District Manager after talking about a 72 CB500 Café I was working on at that time. The bike was sent to a local Yamaha dealer and I picked it up with the Bill of Sale in hand.  The bike is a 1980 XS650 Special and has about 8000 miles on the odometer. It hadn’t ran in awhile due to some brake issues up front. I brought it home started to cut and just went with what I could do in the garage.


My goal was to fabricate everything in my shop with basic tools and also do the finishing work as I’ve painted and done metalwork for over 20yrs. The sub frame was made from a company on the internet with a drop seat design at 5” over on the stretch. I was not thrilled with the final product and the 7 months that had gone by before receiving the frame.  I ended up having a friend, Brad Greenwell, to eliminate the drop seat and go with a sleeker look. Brad did an awesome job on getting it set up. I wanted to have a bike with a “Booneville Look” and look fast sitting still. I fabricated the tail section and battery tray under the seat to house the wiring harness. Next up was to do something different with the exhaust. I’ve seen too many bikes with your typical pipe kit and I was looking for something that would be hidden.  

The chin spoiler was made out of stainless the first time around but weighed just short of a ton. I molded the second one off of it out of fiberglass and saved a lot of weight. The wheels are 21” Invaders from Scotty at Invader Wheels. www.invaderwheels.com and the tires are Pirelli Scorpions. The Copper pieces came from Mr.Lucky’s.

The motor has just been cleaned up and freshened and I added some new carbs from Mike’s XS and also including new bolts and nuts. The bars are made from the original buckhorns and some 35mm clip on clamps. I wanted the bike to have an old basic black and white porcelain look so I sprayed the black and used vanilla shake from PPG on it.

The seat was made from an old leather jacket of my wife’s. She hadn’t used it for years, so I took it to the shop and cut it up. The bike is pretty quick and doesn’t ride to bad being a hardtail. The exhaust wrap made it on this bike and my other builds because in our area the wrap has become popular with the Hot Rod crowd. I was contacted through email that Yamaha would like to have it under their corporate tent during the MotoGp race in Indianapolis at the Indy500 track alongside some of their newest bikes and older racing classics. This made my day as you can imagine.

Update: After presenting the bike to the Yamaha representatives during the 2012 Indianapolis MotoGp race. They have decided to take the bike for the next year on tour for the Progressive International Motorcycle Show Circuit throughout the United States. To say I was floored would be an understatement. The bike will be the main subject for their booth and rumor has it tie into a new triple or XS line coming in 2014. I haven’t been told anything to those rumors just hear say. The bike was picked up by Yamaha at my house and taken from Kentucky to Cypress California to the Yamaha headquarters to prepare it for the upcoming shows starting in Atlanta.

Mike McFadden


  1. Black Rose says:

    Congratulations on such a well done project. Yamaha corp is lucky to have it on loan.

  2. pickles says:

    I gotta say, this is the best bike I’ve seen in a while. Xs650 or not. So effin awesome!!!

  3. hooversama says:

    Nice! Real Nice.

  4. mack-o-matik says:

    Oh my god… what a stunning build! And the moustache bar fits in movember topic. Congrats!

  5. Grumpy says:

    I like it! I think spoked wheels would of set it off better but I’m old school……………

  6. Marcus Hare says:

    Stunning bike. My hat is off to you, sir. You are an artist!

  7. greg says:

    Excellent job! You ought to be very proud dude. Not everyone has the chops to pull off such a clean look.

  8. turdherder says:

    I knew this bike would turn out awesome from the level of quality I saw on your initial post some time back and I’m not surprised by the end product. You’ve put great deal of thought into the design and little details. Clean and Sleek! As far as the Yamaha thing, WTF!!!! That’s a feather in anybody’s cap! Sounds like maybe it’s time to start your own line of XS components and builds. As I stated on your first post I’d like to hear what kind of sound you get out of your unique exhaust system. Once again a great looking build.

  9. Gearbanger says:

    I’m not into the hardtails, but love what you’ve done. Slick & clean with outstanding design thought & detail work. I’ve got a corner of my garage stacked with buckhorn handle bars that I was going to take to the scrapper. Great idea for cutting ’em up & mounting them with the clamps. Ok, I’ve got a bunch of engines sitting in the back of the garage & one will look good in a hardtail frame. You got me inspired for another winter time build. Angle grinder…here I come!!!

  10. mayute says:

    Mike the bike …..nice job dude

  11. Cameron says:

    WOW!!! Just WOW
    Amazing job.

  12. Fatbob says:

    Pretty. Pretty and elegant. Pretty elegant!

  13. RJ from the ole school says:

    Mike,,,,awesome,,,,,awesome,,,,awesome,,,,awesome,,,,no wonder Corporate YAMAHA has stolen it from you,,,what an honor,,,,I have a solo seat too but its not made from my wife’s hide…..not yet anyway,,,, congrats,,,RJ from Alabama

  14. Scrapyard says:

    Beautiful work. That has got to be one of the most well thought out and executed builds I’ve seen in a while. Congratulations on the tour. That’s quite an honor. Look forward to seeing it.

  15. Jett says:

    work of art

  16. hooversama says:

    I can’t stop looking at it!

  17. steven says:

    Awsome build…truly a work of art

  18. El Gaucho says:

    Believe it or not, one of my favorite things about this bike is the exhaust. That was exactly what I had originally planned to do on Wabi Sabi, but never got around to building the collector box and tips. Very subtle, probably not noticed by a majority of people looking.

  19. Desmo864 says:

    What a beautiful bike, fantastic work. Love the detail on the fork sliders and the exhaust dumps out the side-“hidden” but just visible if you look close.

  20. Great, great work Mike !
    that second pic get my by the throat….
    That skinny look is breathtaking !!!
    Great tirechoise also. Now ride the hell out of it !!!

  21. Deweychop says:

    My new favorite bike on this site. Well done!!!

  22. CruzBoos says:

    Dude…You’ve streamlined her beautifully!


    I didn’t think i liked that style bike till i now see, how its supposed to look, nice job

  24. Ted says:

    Mike all the compliments are well earned- this bike has a beautiful look. I’ve studied the pictures and would love to see it in person. One of the cool details I really like is how you pin striped the spokes and how the pinstriping is echoed on the fork. You should consider adding a white pinstripes to the back hardtail legs to match the spokes like the front. As a dude who loves motorcycles, I can’t help but think what I would do if it were mine; I think the only thing I would change is the seat to black leather. It is really a beautiful XS and I appreciate you sending in the pictures.

  25. ant says:

    Just saw this bike at the Seattle leg of the motorcycle show. Gorgeous. Ridiculous attention to detail. Seeing it in person was awesome.

  26. Ryan says:

    Killer bike, great lines to it

  27. Jacques B says:

    Making such desirable motorcycles should be forbidden!

    And be shipped to me in The Netherlands immediately, off course!

  28. Visimpact says:

    I have been waiting to see this bike done. I can see why yamaha wanted to snatch it up and tour it. It is one of the finest examples I have ever seen. Beautiful work