Like a lot of guys out there I have the skills, but not the tools to build a bike, but I have always wanted to design and build “my bike”. Instead, my motorcycle experience (for the last 30 years) has been buying cool junkyard bikes that needed love to restore them to their former glory.

A few months ago, on one of my many nights of scouring For Sale adds online I found this bike; which more or less ticked all the boxes on my “when I build a bike it will have this” list.

This 1983 XS650 was built in Canada about 4 years ago. Designed by a software engineer with great taste, full rebuild on the engine, frame professionally welded and aligned, slowly built on weekends in a friends garage over a 2 year period.


The original owner put 75 miles on the bike, got a job offer in Pittsburgh and moved soon thereafter. The bike ended up in storage for a year and a half, then it got shipped to PA where it ended up in another storage unit for another another year or so.

Long story short it ended up being listed on FB marketplace, where I found it.

I live in Philadelphia and was pretty much sold the on the first picture. A 10 hour round trip didn’t seem to bad for something this well done.

It’s simple, but badass. Understated, but loud AF. It looks like a peach, but kind of runs like a dog. So now my mission is to get it running happily on both cylinders, change every single rusty nut and bolt to stainless. Tighten this thing, grommet that edge, swap the ankle biting foot pegs to something less “WTF ouch” and so on.

The forums online have been so fun and helpful. YouTube videos as well, but a good old Haynes manual can’t be beat. Stay tuned… I’ll get this thing ripping in the next couple of weeks.

This is the fun part for me that makes it feel I’m bringing something worthy back to life and making fit my style.

Fully rebuilt stock motor.

Hughes Handbuilt 277 rephase, new con rods/pistons/rings/pins,

Pamco Pete electronic ignition,

Hughes Handbuilt PMA, sparx capacitor (kick only start),

Harley dual fire coils in electrical box, pod filters,

Stock Mikuni carbs rebuilt and jetted.

Firestone rear tire, stock rear shoe brakes with new pads, custom brake linkage

Avon Speedmaster front tire, stock front brake w/ aftermarket rotor, new pads and brake line

Front and rear highwall aluminum rims powder-coated white with new stainless steel spokes

Looped David Bird weld-on hardtail (all welding/alignment by professional fabricator)

Frame fully de-tabbed and new custom fabricated mounts

Custom quilted stainless steel electrical box

Custom bobber seat with oil-tanned leather

3.3 gal. Mustang tank

Custom headlight mount

7/8” ape hangers customized with 1” Biltwell slimline risers

TC Bros Whiskey throttle w/ Biltwell recoil grips

Biltwell Sanderson foot pegs with custom mounts

Custom black wrapped dual exhaust w/ stainless steel tips

Stock front forks de-tabbed and brushed

Custom rear fender and w/ safety pin stainless steel sissy bar

LED turn signals/rear brake/running/license lights

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