Max – I always wanted to do an XS based bike, I found a pristine ’83 xs650 in the Bronx, pulled the motor and rear hub and eBayed the rest of the bike.  I wanted to build the bike from scratch and everything besides the tank was handmade or found at the salvage store down the street (shifter is a porcelain door knob, foot controls are sewing machine parts…).  I didn’t have any particular design in mind when I started, just tried to make the simplest, cleanest bike that I could and let it go wherever the design took me (on a tight budget).

I have a habit of getting carried away with things, this build started from me staring at my beach cruiser bicycle sitting on the shelf in my apt. above the couch that I was stuck in for 4 months following an off road accident with a badly broken leg. The cruiser became motorized, went 70 and it became apparent that bicycle parts weren’t enough and I was once again back to building motorcycles…

I always start with a motor that I like and build the rest from scratch… I love the XS 650, possibly the most aseptically pleasing motor from Japan to date…I put a 4 “ block of wood under the motor on the table (ride height) and made the rest from.16 ga. 1”  tubing and whatever else I could find to use from the local junk & culinary stores. I did not have a particular goal in mind, I love motorcycles…choppers, bobbers and clean café bikes, I just let the build go wherever it takes me, I just try to keep it clean, light and functional with natural lines.


I basically left the engine alone, re-jettet the stock carbs with150 jets and ran it wide open in and out.  I got rid of the front brake and made a shifting system out of sewing machine parts for the clutch and a porcelain door knob for the shifter (I went through a half dozen variations before settling on this simple setup)

I wasn’t’ shooting for comfort  but there is a spring…It’s hard to see between the velocity stacks but there is a bearing/spring suspension for the seat. I have been running unmarked MX rims lately on my bikes because they are dirt cheap on eBay and are bulletproof with flat sidewalls…Buchanan spokes knows them well making it easy to got sets made quick. I had some oil burning issues that lead me to change the rings and valve seals followed by a test. trying to seat the rings I realized this is a rocket and the motor sound f-ing money….another XS build is a guarantee! Thanks to Scott Weinmann for the beautiful Images from

Maxwell Hazan