Ben’s new build, “The 23”


Ben – My new build is centered around 23″ rims.  This was inspired by the ‘Board tracker update‘ post on this site.  I loved the look of two 23″ rims and a leafer front fork.  So I started the search for rims and began gathering little bits and pieces for my build.  I started the bike in November of 2012 and finished it in late June of 2013.  Not bad for being broke and a full time student.  My wife bought me a David Bird looped hard tail for a Christmas present, so I ordered it 3″ drop and 6″ stretch.  I’ve always been a fan of the Fong Brother’s frames where they keep the swing arm bracing on the stock frame.  So I worked that into the frame mods as well.  


Other mods where using a backbone from another frame to make a single down tube in front of the engine and a goose neck look.  I stretched the top tube 4″ and gave it an inch of extra height as well. Other features of this build is the leaf spring on the seat support.  It gives the seat a very clean look IMO.  The seat its self is hand hammered from a cut out steel blank.

photo (1)-xs650 photo (5)-xs650

I left the top in bare metal because I liked the dimpled pan after all the hammering. The tank is cut down from a Yamaha XV920.  I wanted it to look super low slung.  The exhaust was made entirely from stuff I had laying around the yard, hence the header wrap.  It covers up all the bad chrome. 🙂  I added a fishtail to the end because it needed something to finish off the end.


The rear fender is two rear sub fender off of stock XS650s.  They were trimmed a bit and welded end to end, then sectioned lengthwise down the middle and welded back together.  I made the front fork myself, cut everything out with a 4″ angle grinder and cutoff wheels.  Lots of grinding and smoothing followed.  I’m pretty happy with the results.  Not to bad for no jigs.  The bike rides great and runs true as can be.  Feels real tight in turns.

photo (4)-xs650 photo 2-xs650

The engine was torn down for a total reseal.  While I was in there, I pressed the crank apart and did a 277 degree rephrase. and had the cam cut and rephrased by a gentleman in Spokane Washington.  I’m having some ongoing issues with my single carb set up.  Don’t know if it’s the weather day to day, or some gunk in my gas tank.  But I get a different little problem it seems every time I go for a ride.  Then today, I noticed a fuel bubble forming on the side of my tank.  So I will be doing something with that soon.

I’m very happy with the out come and the bike gets plenty of attention at the few biker spots I’ve been to so far.


  1. Joel says:

    Sweet ride! I live in Spokane and need to rephase my cam. Who did yours?

  2. bikepilot says:

    That is clean and minimalistic. Just the way I like it. I also would like to know who did the cam rephase, as I live in a community neighboring Spokanistan. Love the front fork… who made it..?

  3. DENNI$ says:

    wow, so MANY features to like on your creation. Love the overall, and the many details as well. Excellent composition!

  4. William A. says:

    Wow, I love it!…You have a true eye for design and fantastic metal working skills (I am a little envious). The fact you did it on a tight budget makes it that much more special.


  5. tadd442 says:

    Amazing work!

  6. ben says:

    I did the front fork myself from plans published in The Coppers Builder’ Handbook. Cam info is in my reply one post up.

  7. El Gaucho says:

    Yes! That’s what I’m talking about!

  8. Kory says:

    Funny I also live in Spokane . We have built about a dozen xs’s over the past 5 years . Would like to see it sometime.when the weather warms up we ride Thursdays.

  9. bikepilot says:

    Uuuhhh…. I don’t see any reply one post up….

  10. derek says:

    i was wondering what wheel spoke and hub combo you used? I’m having a hard time finding any rear 23in rims! thanks

  11. Ben says:

    A guy named Matt Riggs.

  12. Ben says:

    I made the front fork myself from plans in the Chopper Builder’s Handbook.

  13. Ben says:

    Yea, the reply was slow getting posted.

  14. Ben says:

    I actually live in Tucson, AZ. I had the ca, rephased by Matt Riggs in Spokane.

  15. Ben says:

    I used Honda 23″ front rims both front and rear. Used the Yamaha rear hub and ordered spokes from Buchanan’s.

  16. derek says:

    awesome, thanks! your bike turned out great man

  17. Bikepilot says:

    Kory, do you ever get over to Curley’s Hauser Junction on Thursdays in the summer?