New Pics by Nathan DiClaudio

XS 650 Chicken Salad

Jeremy LC Fabrications Late last summer, the shop was in kind of a dead spot, we had alot of big ideas of what to do for a winter project including a salt flat racer and going back to AMD. Unfortunately it all hinged on selling our beloved Panster. We try to keep our personal projects separate from our parts business, so the creation of a new bike is always dependent on the sale of another one.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town our good friend Bruce Walker Jr. (of had his own story to tell. Bruce is “that guy”,  you know the one who is so cool the temperature drops 10 degrees when he walks in the room, the one with the big black trucks , sweet little roadsters, and all the fine women. Bruce had picked up this ’79 XS650 from one of his drivers for cheap. This bike was near mint condition with only 11K on the 31 year old odometer. One late night filled with good ideas, Bruce did a nice sawzall  induced hack job on the frame, that is where the bike sat for over a year.
This is where we tie it all together.

One day I’m at the shop focusing on parts, wishing I was building a bike, and Bruce pulls up outside with the XS-half on his truck.  The “bike” had finally gotten in his way and wanted to know if I could use it.  Bruce said “Man it’s just a f-n Yamaha” and he donated it to the cause. The Beerhaulers are pretty hardcore into traditional American style chops, and just weren’t that interested in this Yam. At this point I still had bigger ideas in mind, and it took a few months to finally decide to do something with it. The Panster was still not sold and time to do a bike so we decided we’d just do something quick then turn it over on ebay.


By the time we had our XS to roller status the Panster sold to a guy in Germany and we had cash flow to do another build. I am a guy who’s stubborn about doing things start to finish, but like I said, “bigger plans” and after all this was just an “f-n Yamaha.”  I began making the engine and wheels for the next big thing, but it bugged me that the XS was half finished just sitting around. Plus it was starting to come out pretty cool. So I decided screw it, let’s do this Yamaha and see what we get.

Still trying to keep it simler than our other bikes we hard tailed the stock frame, kept the stock front end, and moved the front wheel to the rear.  The offset brake disc and small rear sprocket seemed the perfect setup to run both on the same side, so the front wheel was modified to accept both and moved to its new location on the back of the bike. To keep both brakes on the left side we got an XS1100 dual disc front wheel and left side caliper then shaved the unneeded stuff from it as well as the right leg.  The stock front end was bolted up using tapered bearings and custom trees which were designed to work with the front shroud we cut from a piece of aluminum sheet.


The bars were then stubbed right into the thick aluminum upper tree, eliminating the need for clamps or risers of any kind. For the tank I used an old CL360 Honda tank that I had re-tunneled and cut a 3” wedge out of the center.  The seat section was a small piece of a flat rear fender that I wedged to match the tank, then I built the rest from 14 gauge sheet. The LED tail lights were made to fit in the rear.

The original plan for the engine was to just split the cases, clean, inspect, and reseal everything. Once I got inside I was quite impressed by just how well engineered this engine is.  I hated to let a good opportunity go to waste so I dug into some of our new found cash and ordered up a beautifully re-cast 750 cylinder kit from XS Performance. For carburetion I swapped the stock for 36mm Mikuni round slides. I did some mild porting, replaced all the gaskets, seals, timing chain and guides then dressed up each piece as I reassembled my new found engineering masterpiece.


The paint color was chosen by our local paint store, this color was a mis-match left over from another job but worked well with the black wheels.  All the other details and doo-dads were done out of my head as the bike came together.   Some of which went on to make up our new line of XS parts.  In the end I decided to name the bike Chicken Salad, a good explanation of what I thought I was starting out with versus what I was able to transform it into.

Ted- Hi Jeremy what’s up? You’ve built a ton of bikes at LC Fabrications is this your first XS?

Jeremy- Very first Yamaha…people always ask if I’m an H-D guy, or British or what, I just tell them I like cool bikes. Every brand has their share of good stuff and total crap, besides I’ve always loved the look of an xs650 engine, and my first street bike was an ’81 xs 400.

Ted- So the bike’s name is Chicken Salad? There’s probably a joke here somewhere, I guess am just not clever enough..  What kind of chicken salad are we talking about here? The kind with little chicken bits sprinkled in a salad with lettuce or the kind with mayonnaise and grapes you can make into a sandwich?Ha Ha..

Jeremy- we have a saying “you cant make chicken salad out of chicken shit”….the guy I got this bike from GAVE it to us, because it was “just an effing Yamaha” , so I thought the name was appropriate!


Ted- XS Chicken Salad looks to have a tons of custom parts. Right off the start I notice the wheel spacers, clutch cover, points cover, manifold clamps etc. but I want to know more about the rear sprocket break combo???!! From what I see it looks like you are using a 19″ front mag wheel with a rotor attached to the rear sprocket?

Jeremy- Yes Just moved the stock front to the rear, machined the face down enough to accept the extra thickness of the rotor, and used a Brembo caliper I had in my stash. I just thought the small pitch sprocket and offset rotor worked perfectly for this type of setup, makes the right side of the bike real clean!

Ted- The cantilevered seat is a unique and clever setup. What made you come up with that design and how comfortable is it when riding?

Jeremy- Really I did that for 2 reasons, i like to make things overcomplicated and mechanical, a bike is a machine and should look like one, also It helps to fill the empty space under the seat, and Im not particularly fond of “fake ” oil tanks.



Click Here for a large full screen or to download this pic as a screensaver.

Ted- You were having some issues with your performance clutch which we were talking about earlier. What was the problem with your clutch and shifting?

Jeremy- The clutch lifter design is a total POS……I did some fine tuning and upgrading of parts, and now it shifts but Im still not happy….thinking about doing a totally lifter design of my own, one that works!


Some photos of LC Fabrication's Chicken Salad from Smokeout 11. New Pics by Nathan DiClaudio



Ted- Any other mechanical headaches besides figuring out the clutch?

Jeremy- Just that and carb tuning, that’s not my strong point and I’m running the bike as kick-only with long intake, not smart but Ive got it now, thanks to your help actually. Also I can’t understand why they design the seals to be replaced only when the cases are split, the clutch push-rod seal is a pain in the arse!

Ted- Where did you get the gas tank and what is it off?

Jeremy- on eBay, it was from a CL360 Honda scrambler, I made a new tunnel and cut a 3 inch wedge out of the center.

Ted- Is there any part that you are super geek out on. Any part you spent way more time than usual staring at and think about?

Jeremy- Really the aesthetics of this one just fit the way they wanted to, which was good because the idea for this bike was to do something that could be sold for a reasonable price. I think its important to keep as many lines parallel as possible, seems stupid but makes a big difference when you step back and take a look!


If you are digging the parts on this bike some are for sale.
LC Fabrications has a xs650 parts collection.

Jeremys @ LC Fabrications

Photo credit to TTJ-Photography.