This project started with a barely-running 1981 XS650SH that was bone stock, and is now a complete custom.
The only unmodified component that is still stock are the carbs and clutch lever.
The design criteria for this was to create as authentic a 1975 chopper as possible, with 1981 technology, and cutting everything off that didn’t make it go faster, stop faster or invite tickets.
No speedo, tach, turn signals or horn, this started as bare as possible.
The hardtail is an Ardcore Ardtail that adds 2″ of drop and 4″ of stretch.
With hardtail, gooseneck, 6″ backbone stretch, 45-degree rake and long springer, the overall length is now 19″ longer over stock.
The springer is full custom with basic bits from Bitter End Old School Choppers, and the engine is a Heiden Tuning Big Bore kit out to 750cc with lots of racing components for high-compression goodness.
To mount a fat Roadking 180mm tire on the rear, with 16″x5.5″ 60 spoke HD wheels, a Gary Poh offset sprocket kit lets the chain barely clear that fat tire.
With emulated points and PAMCO electronic alternator, capacitor and lithium battery, the electronics are reliable and modern, but look old-school.
I went jockey-shift with hand clutch, on an antique hardware lever that has “Giant Red Devil” stamped on it.
That became the name of the bike and inspired the retro paint job.
The red, black and silver metal flake paint is old-school geometric designs, including sunburst, fish scale, bubbles and fishnet on the fat West Coast Choppers fender.
With a tip of the hat to the hardware origins of the jockey shift, I incorporated augers in several structural elements of the bike.
The controls are clean, with only throttle on the mini-apes above the dog bone risers.
It was a very long search to find the right headlights, but finally settled on driving lights from a 1966 Porsche 911 with a custom bracket, and reversed the lenses for a bottom mount.
The ride is surprisingly comfortable for hard-tail springer, on the custom leather black oak patterned seat.
Except for rough roads, it rides like my HD Softail, though the jockey-shift with hand clutch makes one-handed starts a challenge to learn.
It’s not quite complete – but is any customized motorcycle “done”?
I have more inspiration to add, but my vision is near complete.
Below is the “before” pic as found on Craigslist when I bought it.
Submittede by Dan “CryptoKnight” Houser
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