Swedish Dan – Ever since i saw a photo on a friends bobberized xs650 i knew i just had to build my own… Because of a traveling lifestyle i only had a small window of time where I had access to my dads workshop, so this fall when i got my hands on a -81, i knew that it was now or never.

I had somewhat of a plan, or to be honest, more a goal of what i wanted the bike to look like.. But never having done anything like this before (ok i welded a swing bike once) i kinda just started to chop and cut away and figured “ill cross that bridge when i get there”.

Since i live in Sweden, where there’s very strict rules on what you can’t and cannot do (welding wise, rake, stretch and so on) without further inspection, so because of this i decided to keep as much of the original frame as i could.

I cut the frame just behind the shocks, then i cut off the seat rails and heated them up and pushed them down to get a neat line matching the new solo seat. Originally i wanted to bend them so they matched but i kinda screwed up when i cut them too short so i compromised and fabbed up some metal pieces to get a better flowing line. It took more then a few tries before i got the welds OK (MIG) and a lot of grinding.. then i moved the end part of the frame forward, heated it and bended it to fit nicely to the remaining parts of the frame, so i could “close it off”.

By the time I had all this done, the tank and other parts i ordered from lowbrow customs landed at my doorstep. Next I took the forks apart and lowered them about 2 inches on the inside, wet sanded them like crazy and polished them just about enough. I’m going for the raw and sleek look so I’m not to crazy about getting everything shining like a mirror.. Then i mounted shorter shocks to match the 2 inch drop in the front. The engine was mechanically OK so i with the limited time window and budget, i didn’t want to tear it down.. I read somewhere that a homemade soda-blaster would clean the motor without risk of getting sand or glass inside the cylinders, so i fabbed on up and looked all over town for baking soda. Then i blasted away and it sure did the trick.

I masked everything that was chrome (bolts, covers and whatnot) then i painted the motor with two coats of motor paint, primer and then half-shiny black.

Once again i took the wet sanding papers out and went crazy on the motor covers, kept some of the old nicks and dings (the bike has lived for 30 years now, i like when you see that the parts have been around for some adventures) and then i polished them up to match the fork legs.

The rims got the same work done and finally i painted them with matte black rim paint, primer and then a few coats of black. Hopefully i did a good enough job on cleaning them so that the paint will stick. Time will tell i guess. At the moment the bike is stored away for winter, and unfortunately i won’t be able to resume building until may. I kinda got where i wanted to be progress wise although it took a lot more time than i thought it would..

Next up is to fabricate some sort of rear fender or reuse the old front fender somehow. Mount the tank and then paint the frame matte black. All the old bolts and brackets will get zinked (unsure of the english name of the method) but they will become nice and silverish. So that in the end, the color scheme will be black / raw metal / zink.

After that all the electrical work is up. Because of the law I have to run indicators, but other then that I’ll keep it as simple as possible. The starter is still on there, but ill probably run one of those tiny batteries and just bypass the starter to save some space. Also i’ll most likely end up mounting the ignition and other switches that i don’t need on the handlebars somewhere under the seat…

I think thats all for now. I now that the frisco tank has been done over and over before, but I like the look of it so much that i don’t care. The dirt bike handlebars that are on right now was intended for mockup only, but i kinda like em. Maybe i’ll get a pair of fat bars without the top rail. It feels good to, its low and neat.

Swedish Dan