It’s always a pleasure to see our community members breathe new life into the classic Yamaha XS650, and Jon’s ’81 model is no exception. With a hardtail already in place when he bought it, Jon snagged what he calls “a helluva deal” and set to work making the bike his own. He’s been kind enough to share four pictures of his flat black beauty, and while the images give us a glimpse into his build, it’s the story and details that truly capture the essence of this machine.


Jon’s XS650 came to him with the bones for greatness, and he wasted no time adding his personal touch. The pipes are a standout feature, built using a TC Bros exhaust kit. The craftsmanship is clear, and the choice to go with this kit indicates a preference for quality and performance.

Electrical work can be daunting, but Jon tackled the challenge head-on, rewiring a bunch of stuff and installing a new headlight. It’s these kinds of updates that not only enhance the bike’s reliability but also its safety and aesthetic.


The heart of any motorcycle is its engine, and Jon has shown his XS650’s powerplant plenty of love. He rebuilt and jetted the carbs, and with the addition of uni pod filters, the bike’s performance has been significantly boosted. The result? A bike that doesn’t just fly with the jet kit and open pipes—it roars.

The seat, now reupholstered, isn’t just about comfort; it’s about completing the look. And with the HHB rear brake mount, Jon has added both form and function to his XS650, ensuring that stopping power matches the bike’s go-fast upgrades.


Jon describes his build as basic, a project to enjoy through the fall, but there’s nothing basic about the care and attention that’s gone into this motorcycle. He admits she’ll come apart again for some tidying up and a repaint, a sign that this build is an evolving labor of love.

The flat black color scheme gives the bike a stealthy, no-nonsense demeanor, and Jon assures us that it sounds as sick as it looks. There’s an undeniable allure to a bike that announces its presence with a deep, throaty exhaust note, and this XS650 promises just that.


“Thanks for checking her out,” Jon says, and we’re certainly grateful he’s given us the chance. His ’81 XS650 is more than a testament to the enduring appeal of these bikes; it’s a canvas that continues to evolve, a representation of the builder’s vision, and a machine that speaks—quite literally—to the soul of the rider.