The Limey Strawberry Shortcake


The Limey – You see, there’s another shop in town (‘town’ refers to Austin, TX) that specializes in old Triumphs… so one day I said “The XS650 is the best Triumph ever made” and then this happened. The plan was to prove what I had said in a moment of XS pride and build a very light, very small XS650 that would trounce the evil Triumph (and bear in mind, I’m from England and have owned many Triumphs) in an 1/8 mile drag race.


The rules were simple; NO bore kits and only a maximum of $1000 to spend on the engine build.

So, I built up a bone stock 447 XS motor with a fresh set of pistons and a lot of care. I did port the hell out of the head, matched the intakes and stuck a set of VM34’s on the end to make it breathe. It’s fast and spins the back wheel happily if you’re not paying attention… so it should be an interesting race. I just wanted for it all to be Yamaha in the engine… so it would be a good test to see which really is the better Triumph… at least this won’t leak.



A stock Triumph generally weighs nearly 100 lbs less than a stock XS Special, so I had to get rid of weight… lost of weight. So, everything that can be aluminum (including the engine casing bolts) are… and we reckon it’s sub 300 lbs now. I will have to borrow the roll-on scales at the print shop down the road to be sure.


There was one small snag to the race happening… the other shop hasn’t built a bike to race against yet. But I’m sure they will and when they do I will post videos for all to see. Wish me luck! Oh, and before anyone asks… there’s a fair few T500 parts on this and all the rest was one-off stuff (including the hard tail… thanks Matt!). Anyway, if anyone wants to visit our site, here’s where it is:

Chris Kelland AKA: The Limey

Leave a comment below!



  1. Ted says:

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for sending in pictures! I dig how you left the PMA side cover open and the advance uncovered. Tons of crazy detail and a completely different style than your previous café racer. RAD bike for sure – The triumph has NO chance…

  2. fanoboss says:

    FUG that is awesome. It’s hard to find any drag race XSers so PLEASE keep us posted on that KICK-ARSE XS.

  3. loulou says:

    Love it! Clean and all about machinery.

  4. The Limey says:

    Shucks you guys… I’m glad you like it. I never intended it to be kind of ‘cute’, but it’s so short (a 2 inch under frame) and tiny that it looks like a 3/4 size bike now.
    I’m also working on an XS dressed like a TD350, complete with massive 4LS front brake, which I will post when it’s done… oh, and a twingle dirt tracker.

  5. Rootbeervobb says:

    Love it, such good detail, awesome work. Mine should be up here In about 3 weeks, can’t wait!

  6. Rob says:

    Tough bike man, looks killer

  7. The Limey says:

    Funny you should say that. When I was originally going to put this thing together, I wanted a Sonic Weld hard-tail dirt track frame, but that would have been expensive. So, I looked at loop, weld-on hard-tails and the David Bird one looked great… except for the way it welds to the lower frame rails, which was ugly.
    I understand why they designed it that way, to keep integrity and make it easier for people to weld up properly… but it looked messy in my opinion. So, I designed a version for me and gave it to a friend of mine with a TIG and a frame jig (Matt of Working Man’s Customs) and he followed my design perfectly. He in fact does a lot of fab work for me as I’m a way better engine builder than fabricator. The Beast Mk2 (on here) is more my normal build style… and if you notice I have used a lot of Suzuki T500 parts on both builds as I had a T500 roller that was taking up space and I like to recycle. The wheels are T500 hubs laced onto XS650 rear rims front and rear… the forks are T500 too with exposed springs.
    In fact, the whole reason I did this bike as a hard-tail is because I hadn’t seen many other hard-tails that were performance based and weren’t done just for a look. This is more of my idea of what a bobber originally was… a cut down rigid frame racer. I think I was just trying to do something that hadn’t been done many times before and I’m a huge advocate of if it doesn’t perform a function, it shouldn’t be there… I like simple engineering.
    It’s even road legal now, with plasma LED headlights in the number plate (hard to see in those pics) and LED side mount plate etc. I will update my site soon with more pics.

  8. El Gaucho says:

    Yes, yes and more yes! Kick some Trumpet a$$! I grew up around Triumphs, which is why I like vertical twins so much, but between amal carbs, lucas electronics, and leaky engine cases, I never wanted to actually own one. I love my Yammie! Definitely post a video once the race happens!

  9. turdherder says:

    Nice looking build, it has a real solid flat tracker stance. Some more pics would be nice!!

  10. The Limey says:

    Thanks! There’s a lot more pics on my site here:

  11. The Limey says:

    There’s lots more pics on my site if you click on my name

  12. Gail Weitz says:

    I’m not qualified to comment but when Dave saw it, his comment was, “Oh, wow!” Knowing him, that’s just about as good as it gets.
    Carry on….:)

  13. stephen says:

    Twingle tracker? I gotta know, whats the platform your building off of. I just built a twingle tarmac race bike

  14. The Limey says:

    Hi Stephen.
    Well, I was going to use an XS650 as the base… I know it’s been done a couple of times, but info on them is scarce and I really don’t know what to expect when it’s done. I did consider a CB450, but I have about 20 XS650 engines and parts are cheaper.
    I also can’t decide if I will go for a 750 kit or not… it might be too much to start with that.
    As far as I know, twingles give a bucket full of torque, but very little top end. I’d like to know what you have found with your twingle racer? What was yours based on?

  15. reynoldburton says:

    come on guys – you should praise this scoot some more 😉

    Maybe it´s not the typical 500 times already seen chop, but exactly that really does it for me. Once again, I like it a lot!

  16. fanoboss says:

    I really love this bike. The more I look the more I Love !!!

  17. Austen says:

    Think the machine looks fantastic!!!

  18. willem says:

    “xs 650 is the best Triumph ever build” ??!! Haha! I’m gonna use that to piss some friends off!! I’m building my first xs right now and will post some pics when done.