I woke up one day and just had the urge to build another bike. I’ve had other bikes that I did some modifications to but I wanted to do something more. I scoured the internet looking for any bike that caught my eye with no idea what I wanted to do.

I saw this xs650 project for sale in my area. It reminded me of my old xs. I had a 1982 xs650 that I made into a Cafe style bike.

It was cool but I was young and got bored with it quickly. I sold it and regretted it ever since. So that was it that was the bike I wanted to build. However this time I wanted to do something different. I went to check this thing out and I was so excited when I saw it I could barely hold it in. I got the deal done and loaded it up.

I had so many ideas and I spent the next week looking at pictures online including this site. I landed on more of a taller skinny chopper look. I bought this as a “basket case”. The frame was bare and already hardtailed with an unknown brand of hardtail so it was beyond saving for restoration. The engine was mostly there just missing a few components.

The purchase came with some harley davidson forks and that was it. No wheels or electronics. It was destined to be a bare bones chopper. The guy I bought it from didn’t have enough time to commit to the build.

He gave me a bunch of extra parts he intended on using. I didn’t really use any of them but who knows what the future holds. The next 2 years were full of good and bad times. Turns out building choppers is very difficult. I would make great progress for a few months then I’d get stuck and frustrated for a while.

I tried to fabricate what I could but I have limited time and skills in that department. Luckily I had someone to help. I could get everything mocked up and tack welded into place and my neighbor would finish weld and clean up my mess.

Then came time to start the engine. I removed the starter to save weight and wiring but man trying to kick-start an engine that hadn’t been running in years is tough. I Eventually got the bike to a point I could start it and took it down the road.

Man what a feeling to enjoy the thing that had taken so much of my free time and energy. Now the real hard part is taking it all apart for paint and chrome. Of course now that I was ready to tear it down Covid hit and wait times went crazy.

I had to wait 6 months get my parts back. When I did finally get them back I had forgotten how anything went back together. So I took a while to get the motivation to figure it all out.

I’ve got the bike 90% done but I still need to clean up a few things. It’s been a great experience and I don’t regret any of it. Even though I went way over budget.

Submitted by Andrew Schwarz

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