Kelley Runion – This is a little hotrod XS650 that was put together over 2 years with the help of my 3 sons and some good buddies. Not a whole lot of part numbers on this bike. Its been a labor of love and a learning experience for sure. Building a bike in your 2 car garage with limited tools isn’t easy but I can’t imagine running stock. This bike has a 23″ front wheel and an 18″ out back, both running dual sport rubber. The bars were inspired by one of my sons knucklehead friends who left his bmx bike laying in the driveway overnight and my headlights just happened to catch them just right and I knew right away that we had to make a set. Brass mids and highway (yeah right) pegs were turned on my buddies lathe (pays to have friends with cool tools who know how to use them…thanks Jason at Jumpstreet Customs for not shooting me when I broke your lathe). We made the exhaust short, loud and capped it off with brass caps. The rear section is an ArdCore Choppers dropped 2″ and stretched 4″. Scariest part of the build was cutting the frame in half and measuring 800 times before I welded it up.
The fake oil bag was designed and built in house as well and houses all of my electronics and the coil. The kill switch is in the filler neck and capped of with a brass cap that was turned at our local high school fab shop. The easiest part of the build was the seat and solo bag. That was the only part that was in my wheelhouse when I started but i have to say already jonesin’ for the next build. Probably some sort of cafe. Can’t wait.
This bike has been a dream fulfilled. Not because of how it turned out or even the fact that I once again have a bike to ride after having sold my last Harley. More so for the fact that it allowed me to meet some really cool people, spend some good time with my three boys and taught me a ton about the process of building a bike. The 1980 XS650 Special was purchased a little over two years ago. Within minutes of getting it unloaded my sons and I began tearing it down. I was such a rookie at the time that taking the wheels and front forks off seemed like a milestone accomplishment. We’ve done that a thousand times since and then some which has changed my perspective from being intimidated by the bike to looking at it and thinking what can I do to make it cooler no matter what I have to cut off of it or make and weld on.
The process started off like gang busters but slowed as I had to do the research to determine the steps that I needed to follow. Along the way I came across a local guy who runs a side hustle making parts for XS’s out of a shop called Jumpstreet Customs. We hit it off as we have similar ideas of what a chopper should look like. We traded some labor on one anothers bikes and even swapped some parts. I’d make him seats for his bikes through my my side gig called ChampCo Customs and he would throw me some mid controls and fab up a BMX themed set of bars i designed after seeing an old set on one of my little guys buddies bikes he left laying in the driveway over night. Due to a crazy schedule (dad to four kiddo’s, husband to a beautiful wife and a career as one of the pastors of a large church) I found myself back in my garage turning wrenches as time would allow mostly working solo for the next year. I missed the comradery but was pretty motivated to get this build on the road as I realized that I was setting a bad example for my sons as it relates to sticking with your intended goals. So, after two years of on and off building here she is. Affectionately referred to as “The Champ”. Its rolling on a 23″ front and 18″ out back. Both wrapped in dual sport tires to accommodate the Michigan backroads. Shaved front forks compliments of my buddies lathe work. Billet aluminum triple trees provided on the cheap by old School Speed.
Running a HHB PMA along with one of Pete’s PAMCO’s. Removed the starter and gears and used that space to mount the rectifier. All the wiring including is run through some copper pipe that leads to a fake oil bag that was designed to follow the lines of the frame a little better than what could be found on the shelf. The filler neck houses the kill switch which isn’t a covert now that I have told everyone.
The rear fender is mounted a little different than I’ve ever seen. I made the mounts ridiculously large and sturdy not to hold extra girthy passengers but just due to the fact that that empty space should at least have something cool to look at. The rear fender is a ribbed wassell style that i used the excess from the bottom to create a seat pocket that kept with the racey look of the bike and didn’t disturb the lines. The grab bar out back is a little different and running it short and at the same angle as the front forks and seat pocket kept it looking like maybe we did this on purpose. The bike runs great with the vm34’s and the custom exhaust which much to my relief isn’t too short. Looking forward to getting some miles on this thing before it goes up for sale.
If you are interested in custom bars or some one off goods hit my boy Jay up at www.jumpstreetcustoms.com. If you dig the leather on this bike or are interested in other goods such as wallets and belts check my site out at www.champcocustoms.com