I got out of the Army in the fall of 1971 and bought a brand new 1972 XS650. After tangling with a car the following year, I found myself with a broken ankle and a pretty damaged motorcycle. I received a little insurance money and rather than return to stock, I did my first custom build.
After cutting the frame and welding on a pre-fabbed hard tail, I installed an 8″ over front end and laced a 16″ rear wheel to the stock hub.
Many components where hand built because there wasn’t a lot of custom parts offered for that bike at the time.
Three years ago I had the urge to do a custom build again and decided to do another 650, sort of as a throw back to my first bike and my Army days. I located a 1977 XS and with the help of my teenage daughter, over the next winter, put the ‘Army’ bike together.
By Steve Miller