I’m broke.  Flat dead, rob Peter to pay Paul broke.  I have had this old ’82 XS 650 for five years that my father-in-law gave to me because he couldn’t get it running.  After having it home for less than an hour, I was going up and down the street on it.  I rode it for two years completely stock.  My father-in-law kept talking about what a great bike this makes for a base to build a chopper.  I just didn’t see it; it was one of the homeliest bikes I had ever seen, what with its wrist turning pull back handlebars and all.


I finally pulled it into the garage to put a set of cafe bars and maybe cut the seat pan down from the king/queen seat to a solid bench.  And while doing that, replace the clutch that has always been bad, put a new chain/spur and sprocket and replace the front dry rotted rubber.  At this same time I was just starting to scratch built an airplane.  My passion is flight.  After getting tired of working around the 650, I boxed up the tank and seat and wheeled the chassis to the white trash storage at the side of the house where it sat while I built the airplane.  


I ended up getting laid off of my really good paying job as a dumb roughneck and started working for the state after six months of house remodeling/running out of airplane materials/unemployment.

I had been bicycling to work because I could not afford to register my truck, and my wife suggested that I get the motorcycle running. My opinion is she was trying to get me to clean the white trash storage area up- her term for it.

It was at this time I discovered this great site.


I sat at work looking at every one of these great creations (I do work for the state now, you know?) getting inspiration.  I took it all in, from my favorites like “Norma Jean” to the simple- I put a flat seat pan on it. Then I planned it in my head.  This bike was going to be built as cheap as possible and I would recycle everything I could to bring the phoenix from the ashes.  No corporate suitgoing around begging from respectable bike companies/suppliers and calling that being built on the cheap for me.


In the course three weekends I took the sawsall to the frame, heated and bent things, found left over 4130 heavy wall (by aircraft standards) tubing and oxy/acetylene welded it all back together as planned in my head.  I would have loved a hard tail from tc… well from anywhere to tell the truth, but those cost money.  My father-in-law sent an in progress picture to a HD friend of his.

This friend came over to look at it, bring two seat pans from his 1200 sportster; A really nice leather one for sale and a simple metal plate for trade.  He took a cheap set of torx bits.  And I found a large seat cushion on the road side while bike back to work one lunch and I covered it all with some left over seat covering I used on a Honda Nighthawk about ten years ago. The handlebars are more 4130 tubing.  I de-loomed the wiring harness and cut out all the stupid relays.

Look, it you are too dumb to know the clutch has to be in or be in neutral to start a bike, then you have no place being there in the first place.  I rewired it to keep it as simple as possible, keeping the starter.  I don’t use it, but my wife wants to learn to ride and now her short legs will reach the ground.  I spent as much time waiting for the money to re-register it as the build.  The total cost to build…$50; $25 for a new battery and $25 for the taillight.  I tried to re-use the license plate light as the taillight, but I was not happy with it- maybe if I put LEDs in it?

I am proud of my junk and I am going to ride the wheels off of it. Funny, the front is about to come off from dry rotting and damned it the clutch doesn’t slip still.  As a follow-up, I still have no money for wing skins and I cleaned the white trash storage area up some more.  I traded a ’94 jet ski for another ’81 XS 650. I gave this running bike to my father-in-law.  Maybe a TC Bros. hard tail would look good on it?