This is what we mean when we say, “Backyard built”. Pommie started out as a bunch of spare parts from Jordan’s last project. From the frame, to the engine, to the wheels, to the forks, no two parts had ever graced the same motorcycle before. Looking around the 8X12 shed that is the Tiny Garage Rod Shop, Jordan saw more than enough “seconds” to put together another chop and why not?
Living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada he has plenty of time to work considering the winters can last 6 months and temperatures dip below -40 degrees. Cozy in his little, insulated, wooden man-cave the race to springtime was on and the Pommie began to emerge.
The stock ’74 XS650 frame was hard tailed by HamBone Kustoms in Martensville who also rebuilt a vintage, homebuilt, narrow springer front end which Jordan, and Lee from HamBone, both agreed had never been run due to it’s “deathtrap” design. Some re-engineering and a few sparks later and Lee had the springer working better than ever.
With the major items in place Jordan got to work. The vision was to take the old XS650 saying to heart, “The best bike the British never built.” Jordan wanted to build a 60’s style trump-like show bike that could hold it’s own on the road. Subtle frame molding and a solid color scheme were among the first design decisions for the Pommie.
Although Jordan had never done any painting or body molding before that didn’t stop him from getting into the muck. Although he’s not sure he’d do it again claiming that he’ll only build “black motorcycles from now on.” Jordan’s love for old machines goes beyond bikes to include his 1963 Biscayne affectionately referred to as “the original antiquated mule”. This affection (or infection) helped to inspire the 1963 Chevrolet Laurel Green paint for Pommie B.
After the Bondo had been smoothed and paint dried there was a lot of little fabrication items still to do. “Building chops with Japanese bikes isn’t like building a custom Harley. There’s a lot more stuff you need to make from scratch. There’s no what-fits-what parts guide for the XS650.” Jordan began to realize there were a number of little things that he didn’t have spares of and that some extra fabrication time would be needed to finish the job.
A serpentine stainless brake pedal, a battery box, mounts for OEM foot pegs, a square stock sissybar to mount the fender to and some tusk-like arms to mount the vintage homemade windscreen complete with gun sights were among the fabrications. The risers, originally vintage 8” dog-bones, were chopped, drilled and tapped to mount directly to the springer. A complete wiring harness was put together and got power out to signals, high and low beam headlamps and a sparto taillight mounted to a custom license plate holder.
Finding a suitable front wheel was also a bit of a challenge due to the narrow front end. Aside from lacing up a 21” to a spooly and running rear drum only it seemed a bit hopeless. In the end Jordan pulled a wheel off of a ’77 KE125 dirt bike that was a perfect fit. He wrapped it in an Avon Speedmaster and with a little work to the rockers, that made the axle fit just right, he was in business.
So close…and then…on a fateful night…disaster struck. As Jordan was testing the position of the kick pedal against the foot peg position he kicked down and heard the distinct sound of a camchain snapping and then slowly clinking and clanking it’s way down, down, down into the bowels of the engine. “Ballz.”
After a bit of whining to friends it wasn’t long before another complete 650 lump was located. With some creative bartering for a vintage Dunlop rim laced to a narrow spool and some Anderson pegs the new lump was in the tiny shed being timed and tuned. “That’s the nice part about working with the XS650.
It’s often easier and cheaper to find another complete engine than it is to split the old one apart. The best part about it is I still have another lump for the next build.”
Cheers, Jordan (I_am_10_ninjas)
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