This bike was built for the 2021 Blue Collar Build Off at the Saddle Sore Ranch in AZ. The build of challenges builders with customizing the bike or their choice in 30 days with a $1500 budget not including the donor bike. The idea is that with unlimited money anyone can build something cool. The $1500 budget forces builders to get creative in what they build.
The bike started as a 1980 XS650. The frame had been hardtailed with a TC Bros. hardtail kit. The motor featured a Hugh’s Handbuilt PMA and PAMCO digital ignition. The bike was largely disassembled. The previous owner had taken it apart with the intention that they would rebuild and just lost steam.
The front end was lowered -2″ using a Hugh’s Handbuilt spacers. The lowers and the trees were shaved of everything excess then powder coated.
Fender was chopped and a custom sissy bar was built.
A variety of items such as the bars, head light, tail lights, grips and seat were all courtesy of Amazon.
Shifting duties are handled with a hand clutch, hand shift, by running a clutch lever on a shifting rod attached to the shifter.
This was the first time I had every body worked a bike or painted a bike. Paint was Createx Semi-Opaque purple. The UFO image transfer technique was learned by Rich Valdez at Alchemy Kustom’s YouTube page. Clear coat was Createx Gloss clear. I definitely learned a lot about paint in those 30 days.
After the 30 day build, everyone heads down to the Saddle Sore Ranch in AZ. Thursday night is a bike night at Red Rock Harley Davidson in Las Vegas. Friday is a builders ride. All of the bikes must complete a 100 ish mile shake down ride. Builds that dont complete the shake down ride, are not eligible for the judging.
Unfortunately, while wiring the bike, I pinched one of the wires, causing it to ground out a few miles into the ride. Changing the fuse confirmed that it was grounding out, however a lack of fuses in the tool kit meant the bike ended up on a trailer back to the ranch. 28 teams had started the competition, and had just become the final builder to succumb to the short build times. 28 teams had started the competition and only 3 had made it be eligible for judging. A testament to the challenge.
After getting it home, the offending wire was changed and an automatically resetting circuit breaker was installed.
While the build off was FAR more challenging that I anticipated, it was a great learning experience. To focus on a build for 30 days forces you to focus and accelerate your skills. I thought I was going to have the coolest bike at the event. It was like taking a knife to a gun fight. There are some really talented builders.
I’m not sure if I”ll be able to attend for 2022 but I’m most certainly already planning a bike that I could bring. Another XS650!
I’d like to thank Rob Borden for putting on the Blue Collar Build off and hosting it at the Saddles Sore Ranch. I’d encourage everyone consider participating.
If you want to follow my builds you can follow me on Instagram at @No_One_Cares_Customs
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