Larry’s nickel plated XS650


Got this ’75 XS650B as a non-runner for cheap. This is my first attempt at a rebuild of a motorcycle, though I have worked on lots of cars. The good thing is that it must have been stored indoors because none of the bolts were frozen with rust, but the bad thing is when I took the head off, there was a hole the size of a quarter through one piston head, and a smaller one on the other. Lots of metal bits in the crankcase. Thanks to the guys at T & D Machine shop in Kenmore WA, for bead blasting, milling, boring, fitting the new oversize pistons and seating the new valves.


They were great to work with. After getting the clean and bored parts back from the machine shop, the assembly went very smoothly. After rebuilding and assembling the carbs, head, transmission and electrics, hooked up the battery – first start and thought to myself, this is when the thing bursts into flames – but no, it started right up the first time. Whoo Hoo. The bike needed a little somethin’ somethin’ so I covered the tank in nickels grouted in with epoxy. The hardest part was finding that many nickels from 1975.


  1. Indydpg says:

    how did you get such a nice finish on the epoxy? did you have to do the tank in sections?

  2. Stephan says:

    Talk about nickel n dimen it to death. I think u forgot the dimes?
    Just a note, I worked for years in the coin/minting n counting industry n technically u could be chArged for, I think “harbouring coins ”
    All n all though l love the bike.
    Ride on!
    Remember for every mile of road there s two miles of ditches.
    Stay out of the ditches

  3. Brendan_mp says:

    Sweet! I like it man. From a distance it sort of looks like fish scales. Very neat.

  4. larryjac says:

    I used commercial epoxy grout that goes on with a stiff epoxy float, then wIpes off the surface with sponge it sounds easier than it actually was. the working time was pretty short.

  5. Denni$ says:

    Looks very good. Nice work for a first time. You DO realize that keeping a front fender is anathema, no?!?? Stock rear fender and taillight?!?!?!? SIDE COVERS?????!!!!!!!!!???????!!!!!????????

    OH…….. MY………. GAWD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh, wait……… it’s your bike sose you can dues watcha wanna.

    nice job Larry.

  6. NoHomo says:

    Thats a good one. You got me. Nice bike man.