Let’s start out by sayin this is my first ground-up build. And more proof you can build a sweet chopper for cheap! I’ve done a lot of customizing on other bikes but never started with a blank frame and built from there. I found this frame, that was built in the 70’s for a triumph motor and since the XS650 motor looks similar to a triumph and is a lot cheaper (I’m trying to build on a budget), I decided to go with the XS route.
This bike is straight out of the 70’s style, long, low, rigid, LOUD, and simple. I started building this chopper with one goal in mind, I wanted to make my dream bike, but on a budget. A year and a half later, I have this beast. I started by chopping all the triumph motor mounts out of the frame and throwing the xs650 motor in it, got it lined up, then made and welded the new mounts in.
After getting the motor in and getting it to a roller stage, the best thing to do is sit back and get a vision for how it’s gonna look when I’m done. I knew I wanted an old style coffin/prism tank with a tall sissy bar, a springer front end and a king/queen seat, with some 6 bend bars.
So I bought the tank, bars, springer, and seat. Everything else was made from stuff I had around the garage. The chain guards are made from an old fender I cut a bunch of times and welded back solid how I wanted it to be bent. Then to save money I made the wheel hubs from a couple 16” pizza pans I got from the grocery store and a big hole saw.
The box under the seat is where the wiring is hidden, is made from some scrap flat stock, along with the frame top motor mount that the Rat Fink cast figures are on. After getting the tank, fender, springer, and bars all mounted on the bike, then it’s time to set the sissy bar and seat. With the seat I got and the angle the sissy bar needed to be in order to flow I had to build up under the seat a little, which I think is cool.
I absolutely love being able to see as much of a frame, and motor as possible. Hence the minimalistic look to this bike. Its got essentials only, but very functional. With the seat and sissy bar being set I was able to decide how I wanted the exhaust flow. So with a little trial and error I was able to cut and weld of this one of a kind exhaust.
I’m not sure if it’s all the bends or the length of the exhaust but this thing has a one of a kind, mean sound! With wanting to stick with the 70’s style, I spent countless hours hand molding the entire frame so there is a fluid transition between all tubes, mounts, and tabs. That is a huge reason I wanted the hand done pinstriping, the way it flows and shows off specific edges, angles, and contours of the whole bike.
All of the art work that really takes this chopper to the next level was done by the amazingly talented Mark “Fat Daddy” Hagstorm with Fat Daddy Lines. He did everything from the sissy bar backplate, to the little flies around the hand brushed rat fink’s body. This thing is as simple as it gets as far as wiring and how it runs.
The motor is running on a Morris magneto I got from Lowbrow Customs, and the lights are running off the PMA kit from TC Bros. So with all that being said, she is a kick only bike since I got rid of the battery and starter. There’s nothing that gives a bike true character like having a kick only bike. Plus you feel cool when it kicks over first kick. With all that’s being said, this is the smoothest, and most unique bike I have, so far… follow Dylan deSomer or Vibe Cycles on Instagram or TikTok to see what I’m workin on next. Old Rat Finks never die, they just blaze away!
Submitted by Dylan Desomer
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