XS650 Cafe “The Hornet”

Well, I thought I would share my ongoing cafe project with the chopper world. I believe that form should follow function, so I started this little thing after my last build (the flat tracker beast… which can be seen on my finished projects page at which was so much fun to ride that I nearly wet myself every time it started up. Soooo… this is basically an XS650 Special… or most of the frame is and the lower half of the engine.

It has Excel 18 inch rims, stainless spokes, fork damper valves, progressive springs, alloy swingarm, Brembo brakes (except for the front caliper… incidentally, the rear brake is a work of art from Banke Racing), 750 kit, Shell No.1 race cam, titanium valve tops, serious gas flowing, stainless valves, race clutch, Mikuni RS36 smoothbores (what a bitch to link up…

it’s so tight that I can’t use intake gaskets), a gorgeous megaphone from Apollo Cones welded to 1.75 inch stainless pipes (thanks Matt), Yoshi rearsets, all electrics are under the seat (and it even has blinkers built into the headlight), Scitsu race tach…. blah blah blah… the list goes on and on.

XS650 Café Racer_0727

XS650 Café Racer3

As you can all see, the bike is sporting some extreme stopping power with a 320mm Brembo front rotor, Tokico caliper, the rear is completely Brembo, Aluminum rear sprocket, X-ring chain, the lovely aluminum rear swingarm, S&W shocks (I used to deal in those back in the 80’s), Integrated turn signals front and rear (yes, the front ones are built into the headlight), Stainless 2 into 1 exhaust (thanks Apollo Cones and Mattt for sticking it together)… and last, but not least… the paintwork is back from Full Custom Fab. It looks very smart indeed. I hope that this will give a few people inspiration to do something mechanically wonderful… even though this one is lacking in any chrome whatsoever!

XS650 Café Racer_0726

As it happens, I did do all the work on the bike and I specialize in XS650 engines and electrics (I build engines for a couple of the chop guys in Austin too). I also used to own a bike shop in London, so I like to bring the true meaning of a cafe racer to these shores. The only parts of the bike I can’t take credit for is the exhaust (although my design) and the rear brake hanger… apart from that it’s all me.

XS650 Café Racer_0728

Well, the last 2 parts arrived and after a small earthing issue… it fired right up. I still have to dial those Mikuni RS carbs in, but it sounds amazing so far… like an angry rottweiler with an amplifier.

XS650 Café Racer_0730

Ted > ” Cool, how long have you been in the states. Are you set up with a bike shop in Texas?

Well, I have been in the US for 7 years (love the weather here in Texas) and no, I don’t have a proper shop yet (that will come soon I hope). I work from my home in a 2 car garage at the moment. I grew up in a cafe racer environment and used to race liquid-cooled RD350’s when I was a kid, so I really built this thing to perform as it should and let the looks of the thing become secondary.

XS650 Café Racer_0731

> That is a beautiful looking aluminum swingarm. I saw it on eBay a while back. Was it a direct bolt on or did you have to do some modifications to get it to fit properly?

Yes, it does bolt on (as it’s for an SR500), but the rear axle on an XS650 is 20mm and the SR500 is a 17mm, but as I was using a front hub in the rear, the 17mm worked out perfectly with some creative spacing.

> A stock xs650 runs about 450 lb. With all the aluminum’ The Hornet’ must be pretty freaking light. Do you know what she weighs in at?

Actually, a stock Special is over 480 lbs. The last flat tracker I built (on my site) weighed in at 365 lbs with fluids, and this one is a lot more weight conscious… I would guess at 340-350 lbs with approximately 70+ rear wheel horses. I’ll have to get this on a dyno soon.

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Chris; AKA ‘The Limey
tel: 512 909 1542

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