View Full Version : XS Brat Chopper Build [ FNG to the Cult ]

03-14-2010, 2:26 PM
Hey There,
I'm brand new here, but I have a XS650 Brat Chopper Build that's been burnin' midnight oil since January 1.
I'll catch everyone up to my process over 1 week, so it will be like watching a build in fast forward.

Here we go.....

Subject: '81 XS 650 Special with 8800 original miles. (nearly pristine)

I love this compact "unit" inline twin engine, as it reminds me of the Brit bikes.
The transmissions on these babies are damn near bullet proof.
It's a very malleable platform to work with.


03-14-2010, 2:51 PM
I'm going for something really different here...I've done a few hardtails.
It's all been done to death, IMHO and I'll always love em', but I just want
to challenge myself to something new.

So, I'm going to build what many refer to as Bratstyle. Hey, the name stuck from the guy's shop named Bratstyle that won the Yokohama Hot Rod Show in Japan for his Kickass XS chopper with a swing arm. I'm not here to debate the name of the style....I'm here to build what I want to build, so I'm gonna' refer to it as "Brat" weather you like it or not.

What do I want...?
-a long range chopper built for comfort, but cool enough for around town scoots...
-low, short wheelbase, nimble and agile....
- seat for two and a sissy bar... (what good is a bar hopper, if you can't pick up a chick???)
(but it's also for my bed roll and travel bag)
-something that screams the era of the late 70's chopper culture...; (not the 50'/s and 60's)
-remember the feel of the movie, Anchorman...? THAT ERA in the chopper culture....
-a theme (every bike has got to have a theme IMHO)

Keeping the swing arm function to the chop design form presents a greater challenge over hardtailing.
Getting the bike to slam to the ground as much as possible while still having travel and performance, clearances,
cool factor, and simplified lines. No little feat as far as I'm concerned. It forces you to think ahead as this mod might effect that one coming up. Then getting it all to come together as sano as possible.
Try it and you'll find out real fast you're stepping into a new discipline of thought...






03-14-2010, 3:01 PM
I'm going to keep the original wiring harness and all the goodies like turn signals, reserve lighting, horn, safety relay, and guage clusters intact, but everything will be cleaned up , relocated and/or hidden from view.

That's a 4+ gallon stretched tank mounted Near Frisco. The tunnel gap will hide the wire routing.
This will allow for a 250+ mile range on a single tank of gas.
Enough spare fuel for you, AND your friends' little pinched peanuts on them long journeys to Partyville.
(yeah... I'll be the camel. They will owe me some tasty cervesa)




03-14-2010, 3:04 PM
Damn, whatta tank!

03-14-2010, 3:11 PM
10.5" progressive shocks give 1.75" of travel and are soft on the small bumps, but they stiffen up quickly. This I tested on the bike when it was running. The ride was great... (I sell them now for $129 shipped to anywhere in the 48)

The arc bridge over the rear wheel is made of two 3/8" thick plates with two 3/8" cross members. I used to build bridges, so triangulation is always on my mind for structural things. This allows for a bomb proof, super compact framework to get the bike as low as possible while still having swing arm travel under the future fender...





03-14-2010, 3:14 PM
All chopped bikes with swingarms are not Bratstyle ... I know, I read your thing about calling it that but I had to say it anyway. Every bike needs a theme? I think you meant, every bike needs a Direction. Themes are for the Teutels.

03-14-2010, 3:34 PM
Now, about that rear fender.....

It just sort of evolved as I built it.......................










03-14-2010, 3:36 PM
I like where this is going. Now would someone explain exactly what is a "Brat" style bike?

03-14-2010, 3:37 PM
All chopped bikes with swingarms are not Bratstyle ... I know, I read your thing about calling it that but I had to say it anyway. Every bike needs a theme? I think you meant, every bike needs a Direction. Themes are for the Teutels.

It needs more than a Direction even.....
It needs a Discipline, a Focus, and a Story.
A subject for which it represents.

"Theme" kinda sums that up for me.....
Pronunciation: \ˈthēm\
Function: noun
- A subject of artistic representation. A unifying or dominant idea, motif, etc., as in a work of art.
A unifying idea, image, or motif, repeated or developed throughout a work.
(don't think I could've chosen a better word for what I was trying to convey, but if you must, please feel free to retort.)

I knew a great debate about that word (Brat) would begin on my thread.
I like controversial things, and what people say about them when they take a side,
but let's not let that word interfere with my build...........capisce~?

If you don't like the coined phrase, make up your own and see if it catches on....

03-14-2010, 4:05 PM
No matter what it's called. I like the look.

03-14-2010, 4:51 PM
I like where this is going. Now would someone explain exactly what is a "Brat" style bike?

i know theres already i thread on this, but bratstyle is a shop out of japan who does some pretty innovative things.



not trying to thread jack brett.
is that stock length on the swing arm? she looks all kinds of short

03-14-2010, 5:16 PM
Nice work you're doing there, like the seat especially. Looks like you've got no fear of metalwork either!

03-14-2010, 5:24 PM
I think I puffed too much happy smoke sometimes when I was younger,
but I had a little blip visual go off in my head about what to do with the rear of the sissy bar.
I have about a 1.5" thick triangular space back there behind the seat pad. So I built this louvered
tool kit box out of it. I used the key latch mechanism off the original tank.
The louvers bring me back to 1978 when my dad, who was a manager at a car lot, brought home a killer
'78 Trans Am with t-tops. We're talkin about the red TA from the movie, "Hooper", starring Burnt Reynolds.
I was on my Schwinn Orange Crate bicycle at the time and my jaw just dropped.
So we went for a ride on that sunny Summer evening with the tops off to the local A&W,
and I felt like the coolest kid in town as we raced the other hot rods down Central Ave.
in Columbia Heights, MN.






03-14-2010, 5:51 PM
I gotta git back in the shop and finish fine lining the frame edges
and "molding" some of the welds.

Tomorrow....the custom "Ducted" side covers...


03-14-2010, 8:52 PM
i know theres already i thread on this, but bratstyle is a shop out of japan who does some pretty innovative things.



not trying to thread jack brett.
is that stock length on the swing arm? she looks all kinds of short

No worries, man....
The swing arm is left stock. That was the challenge I gave myself...
Get all that tank on there, keep it low, and have room for a passenger while still lookin' like a bobtail. That's a tall order for a 56.5" wheelbase bike. Everything comes crashing together at the back end of the tank, front of the seat, and the top front of the side covers. The "pinch" there is only 2 inches wide, so she has a very narrow waistline. To alleviate the collision, I made everything overlap like tectonic plates... but nothin' touches.
This made for nice little repetitive wave ripples when you look at the top silhouette line of the bike and solved the problem.


Hey, BTW, thanks guys for the compliments. When you spend hours and hours alone in your shop talking to a volleyball named, Wilson, it's nice to have a little feedback. = ]'

03-15-2010, 8:52 AM
Lots of nice fab work going on there ... not trying to put down your work at all surrounding "bratstyle" debate. Just think the guys over in japan would crack up the idea that every american that takes a vintage japanese bike, chops it but keeps a swingarm is now referring to it as "bratstyle". Hell, I don't know, they probably get a kick out of it.

I guess some people refer to every softdrink as "a Coke"

03-15-2010, 9:54 AM
Yep, you nailed it....
And they are crackin' up. Look on Youtube for Bratstyle or Google Image it.
I would be very flattered and humbled if something I did got Worldwide attention, and people started diggin' on my style and calling it after my creation.
Hell, look at Big Daddy Roth's Rat Fink Style.....for a while there, everything was a "Rat".

Hats off to the Bratstyle Crew.


I don't know about you, but I have a strong intuition that this particular chop style is going to rocket into the ionosphere...

03-15-2010, 4:21 PM
What a beautiful day....wish I was out riding.
But, I'm doing the next best thing.


I'll have more build photos up tonight.

03-15-2010, 5:51 PM
Great fab work you got going on. Like everything your doing, but i gotta give my .02 a smaller tank would make it look much more aggressive. Specially an old dirt bike style tank. still somthing different yet smaller. But its your bike do it as you wish and ill keep following your progress.

03-15-2010, 6:06 PM

Yep, I could go with a little drag tank to get me to the 7-11 and back, but that's not what I'm going for. I'm going for a long range bike. See my first posts about what I'm wanting to build.
It should look plenty aggressive after paint. Everyone's going skinny and small; I'm going long and broad. I am purposely screwing with the proportions of this bike. This big long tank had no business going on a short little scoot like this, which is exactly why I put it on.....

Thanks for the input.

03-15-2010, 6:21 PM
You planning on putting a nice fat upholstered section up the back of your sissy bar to mach the seats?

03-15-2010, 6:23 PM
NIce work. I think I would call it a Mavrik style though.

03-15-2010, 7:30 PM
This brings me to the custom side covers I conjured up.


They were heat formed to three compound curves and made in place.



Now, everything was going great and I marveled at how well they came out. Then it hit hit me......
The Air Filters!
I quickly put out my smoke and bolted the carbs back on to fit the K&N conicals for clearance...
They hit my side covers. Lit another smoke and stared at it for a bit. Hey, do you think that when the guy who invented the Bong thought it up, a Black Light went on over his head?
(props to the late Mitch Hedburg)
The idea then flashed before me.....DUCTS!
Like on the side of a '67 Mustang. Heall Yeah!


It's a 3 piece deal. One inner cover, two outers with cut outs. The inner "box" later became the holder for the coil and the fuse block.



Sometimes a little obstacle can be an excellent opportunity.


03-15-2010, 7:58 PM
You planning on putting a nice fat upholstered section up the back of your sissy bar to mach the seats?

Yep, in fact they came back from the upholsterer Today.




03-15-2010, 8:41 PM
The Thing I spent the most time on, that you can barely see, that hides all 24 wires, the AGM battery, and all them nasty huge plug connectors and relays. I kept everything in the wiring harness completely intact and functional....
but you can't see it cuz it's in the Spirit World......


Under them floorboards there is the battery, the ignition module, and every relay that came stock with all them big ass plastic plug connectors.

03-16-2010, 5:14 AM
Don't know why I'm up so early, but I shot out of a cannon this mornin' at 5:30 a.m. after only 4 1/2 hours of sleep. Kewl, my body is adjusting to the sleep deprivation... = ]'

K, here's my wot-the-fawk with this bike...

I WAS going to tuck everything electrical directly under the seat, behind the side covers and be done with it.....But NOOOOO.....I noticed all that extra space directly above the swing arm, but under the lower side bars. There's a whole spare bedroom under there. I can't rob this bike of room and leave it with wasted space!

I'm a fabricator and I'm not conventional as you can see. If I can build it and make it work,
I'm gonna. So I made this two piece battery box / electrical component compartment to go under there.



It has a chain guard that covers the chain in the triangulated area on the left side. It took a while to figure it out, and it goes together like a 6 piece puzzle with many very short 4mm button head screws, but it worked out great..




The voltage regulator bolts to the outside on the right.


So the only thing electrical you see directly under the seat is the fuse block.
I know....I'm a freakin' kook.........

So this brings me to why I did this...
Well, now I have a Trunk directly under the seat all nice and tidy like.
Goggles, Gloves, Maps, Motorcycle Waterproof Cover, Spare Parts........
.38 Snub Nose Hammerless in Triple Nickel for all you critics! (just kiddin')

03-16-2010, 5:53 AM
This brings us to my next WTF.

The side covers are made to go on once and stay on. So I wanted to be able to get to my stuff under the seat quickly without having to unbolt anything. SOOOO, being the kooked-out McGuyver type that I am, I grabbed the Seat Latch / Helmet Lock mechanism that came with the bike.
Hey, why not...!?!? it's flippin' free.....




Made my own spring loaded latch and guide mechanism.


Now I have a quick release seat, a cool compartment for road gear, spare inner tubes, extra parts, and a helmet lock....
The tool kit with tire irons is in the other locking compartment in the sissy bar.
YES, I am keeping the freakin' Center Stand......it will be cropped and shortened however.

Hate me, you Bare Bones Mofo's......I've been there with many spartan bikes like yours on long trips.
Now I'll have a bike that wears no side saddle bags, all trim, compact, and sano-clean lined
like a chopper should be; a slick machine with long legs that can take care of itself on the road.

I know now what it takes to be prepared for the 4000 Mile Loops.....
I'll be equipped from here on out.

H-a-v-e a N-i-ce D-a-a-y ! = ]'
(Flame suit on.......)

03-16-2010, 1:09 PM
Guys don't like all that shit because it's visible. You did an excelent job hiding it all, so great job. I myself am a minimalist but I can apreciate the time, thought and talent that is going into this build. Not zactly my style but awesome job.

03-16-2010, 1:50 PM
Really good build you have going on here! Definitely some good ideas on storage.
I look forward to seeing this bike finished. Keep it up!

03-16-2010, 2:19 PM
nice use of available space, nothing wasted.

03-16-2010, 2:30 PM
Hey, thanks guys. I appreciate it.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to get cocky. I think I need to get more sleep.
I love hardtailin' a throwback style, long and narrow with apes and a springer, or slingin' a low down, snub nosed drag bar bobber with a 5 wire batteryless system, and next to nothing bolted to the frame but the absolute bare essentials as much as the next Freak...I'm just bored I guess. I want to try something new.

Almost everything I have done on this bike I literally had to force a different direction from my normal path. At every step where I had a choice, I chose the opposite on purpose just to get a new result and experience with it:

Chuck the swing arm and hardtail it. No. - Leave it, lower it, and make it all look good
Cut all the wires out and remove the battery . Nope. - Leave it all intact and functional
Make a nice skinny pill tank with a long filler neck. Nah-Uh - Get the biggest tank you can find
Solo Seat & maybe a P-pad . No Way - Make it a double, mister...
Barhoppin' Scoot is main use. Scratch That. - This is the bike that can go Coast to Coast

You get the idea...
Then the Direction of the bike went from there.
Funny thing is, everything I do just flows on this bike under this new discipline.
I'm just tryin to push my skills and stretch my creativity.
Maybe when it's done I'll hate it....Maybe when it's done I'll dig it.
Either way, it's something different.







03-16-2010, 5:13 PM
Sure wish I had as much energy for my projects. Maybe I would if I had nothing to ride or wasn't so damn lazy.

03-16-2010, 5:38 PM
I'm pretty sure it was not intentional but. You've built a bike that looks like a Kawasaki Vulcan 750 with an inline twin.

Sad But true

-Picture removed because some people are too sensative these days. I never said anything bad about the bike, just agreed with the previous post and expressed why. Calm down your bike is different but dont expect everyone to jump on you dick about how much they like it just because you have alot of time into it. I will say you are a decent fabricator but i'm not a fan of this bike.

03-16-2010, 5:57 PM
Still ya gotta give him props for the mad fabricating skills...

03-16-2010, 8:33 PM

I'm going to hit the slab.
I'll put up some more progress tomorrow.

03-17-2010, 4:17 AM
it's 5:30 a.m and I'm shot out of a cannon again.
This is all gonna catch up to me like being walloped with a giant Alaskan King Salmon.
It's Day 76 of the build. I wish I wouldn't have squandered my time in January. I was in cruise mode with the build back then, and I would be done right now. I'm estimating I am 17 days behind where I should be.
Anchorage is 4,775 miles from Tampa Bay and the Summer's comin' up like a newborn seed.
That all remains to be seen as to what I am going to do. I've been laid off for a while now doing my own thing, and it doesn't look like things are going to improve here. I love to build Grand Staircases, Circular Stairs, Spiral Stairs, wrought iron gates, hand rails and the like. If a position pops up here in the bay, it has a line of applicants a mile long and the hurting employer will take who will do it for less pay. There is no money here. At least not what I'm used to. But they say the scenery is part of your salary.
I feel like I must go where the money is. Alaska has Oil,Fish and Lumber, and that translates to money. Back out West, I have worked gas and oil feilds, built bridges, erected steel buildings, drove trucks OTR, and built homes. I've done it all. Change has made me very diversified and adaptable. I see that as a positive thing I guess. Maybe I'll get a grant, go back to school and become a Certified Crane Operator. I hear it pays handsomely, but you travel a lot.
Another option would be to go back into business for myself and start building custom anything. I've owned a few businesses in my life. I'm not sure yet what I may decide. A definite Cross Roads situation I find myself in once again.
I always see these times as the Greatest Opportunity. It's there....you just have to keep your eyes wide open.

K, one more cup-o-java, and onto the build photos to catch you up.

Don't you despise this particular spot on the XS650?


I mean, it's like they didn't finish it. Choppy, ugly and broken. I just grabbed some 11 ga. plate, cut an irregular triangle, and turned up the welder to throw down a big fat bead to take down with a flap disk....


There....that's better.


03-17-2010, 5:25 AM
K, next is the tunnel I made for the wires to run through the frame from under the neck plate area to under the front of the tank. I welded in a 1-1/4" - .120 wall tube to re-strengthen the hole. The wires will then travel under the tank and split again into 2 looms under the seat, behind each side cover, and into the center box between them, that also houses the coil pack and starter solenoid. There is just enough wire for all the electrical components & plugs to terminate right in the belly box underneath it all; where everything is located and hidden from view.



As you can see from the earlier photos on page one, I cut out the original support bar for the coil and relay mounts that was hidden under the original tank. I cut 2 pieces of 7/8" - .120 wall DOM, notched them to my specs using my tubing notcher, and then welded them in at 100 degrees from each other. The small one goes in between the original motor mount piece and up under the top bar of the frame. Then I filled the triangular gap to smooth out the lines. This tank mounts near Frisco, so everything will be visible underneath it; Except my wiring of course, which will be hiding behind everything on its' way rearward....




Now the only wires you will see on the frame is right at the bottom front of the neck tube behind the forks; where the wire loom originally splits in into 2 rubber jacketed sections behind the neck plates, that pass through each triangle shaped hole on each side and into the stock headlight bucket.

Clean and simple.


03-17-2010, 7:15 PM
Sure wish I had as much energy for my projects. Maybe I would if I had nothing to ride or wasn't so damn lazy.

Yea stop spending so much time on your forums and on yahoo and head out to the garage once in a while... I can't say much... i still need to get a battery so I can test my charging system. Riding season is almost here, and I haven't spent nearly enough time with my babey...although the other woman (my wife) says I spend way too much time in my "Man Hole".

03-17-2010, 8:02 PM
That's it guys... you're all caught up to my build and in real time now.
Now to do the final route, trim, splice, solder, and wrap of the redirected wiring harness.
Tedious work, but worth it in the end.



Tomorrow, I do the final smoothing and paint the frame.
The tank & tins will be back from the Painter this Friday.
then it all comes together......

03-17-2010, 8:21 PM
I love the fab work man. Nice job.

03-18-2010, 10:19 AM
Mucho Apprecionado'

Hey, you guys see Viz's brat build...?
It's comin' along sweet.

03-19-2010, 7:57 AM

Finally, today is the day after I get the finals of shaping and smoothing done, that I paint the frame.
Just a little more sanding time to get it right. I refuse to add any filler to this bike. It's all skillfuly shaped steel, and no bondo. I didn't want powder coat or a pro paint the frame. I want to be able to touch it up anytime I want in minutes using rattle bomb paint readily available anywhere; but a mixture of them to get a unique effect.

I'm going to sample two different types of techniques I want to try then pick one.
I'll have some photos up tonight for ya's.







03-19-2010, 1:06 PM
Alas, the metal work is finally finished.

Rolled the bike outside to hit with the Degreaser, Brake Cleaner, Windex, and then M.E.K.





After that, I prep the shop for painting, and then I start huffin' some paint fumes
of the laquer family....woohoo!

more to come.....

03-19-2010, 5:36 PM
Seems you've likely already chosen your paint. I was going to suggest Hammerite. It dries hard and resists solvents well. Plus it can be had in smooth or hammered look finish.

03-19-2010, 6:49 PM
what are you going to do about them big ole bars?

03-19-2010, 8:30 PM
looks great cant wait to see it in paint

03-20-2010, 12:02 AM
Thanks, guys.
In fact I'm putting some sneaks up tonight after I have my pop tart.
Dem' aint big ole bars.....
Dey' jist aint drag bars....

Remember my first posts....................Long..................... ..Range...........................Bike.

03-20-2010, 12:21 AM



I changed my mind at the last second to epoxy paint instead of lacquer. The black looks as if it's
powder coat satin. Almost a match to the stock coating. I may throw a clear on it , but I'm not sure yet,
as I really like it as it is. I'll have to take some photos out in the sun,

03-20-2010, 12:37 AM
coming along nicely... are you keeping those hidious gauges?

03-20-2010, 12:41 AM
aaah yes....

Mine are in perfect condition, so is the stock searchlight......




03-20-2010, 2:24 AM
Okay... So you're keepin the big ass bars... and the funky chunky gauges... in fact pretty much everything. But please man, for the love of god and all things chop, get rid of that mirror!! Take something away dammit!!! This is Chop Cult not Add Cult!!!
Hehe. Seriously though, not my cuppa coffee but if you're happy that's all that counts...

03-20-2010, 7:14 AM
I love the fact that this build has so much controversy. Yeah it's not my style of bike either. But you have some great ideas and you have followed through on them. More than I can see most people do with their own rides. Congrats man for having a vision and seeing it through. Not to mention your skills are terrific.

I'm sitting here reading this thread for the first time so I got the whole thread in one sitting. I don't see many other guys fabbing the stuff you have AND making it look pretty. Nice attention to detail. I for one appreciate that for sure.

Sorry not everyone can appreciate what you've posted here. Keep it coming brother. I want to see it all the way through. Not everyone likes my work either. So there is atleast two of us! lol

03-20-2010, 9:31 AM
Yes, the mirrors are going in favor of some teeny little 3" rounds mounted just above the grips.
And I did chop and remove quite a bit from stock trim. Tank, fenders, back-half of the frame, seat, side covers, brake light, turn signals, etc. The stock front end to me, sans the turn signals and fender, looks great on the rest of my design. I love the big headlight as it helps offset the tank's broad sides, and it's different than the small light everyone else puts on. What I like about this bike is the immensely offset proportions of everything. It's hard to tell from the photos for size comparison, but this bike is small and scrappy. The wheelbase is 4 Foot, 8 and a Half Inches, to spell it out. The tank is nearly a foot wide at the top front ( 7 inches at the front base, and 2 inches at the rear ). The driver's seat is at a mere 24.5" off the ground, but the top front of the tank is at 44". It's all a little skewed and cartoony in person, but the lines are neat to me...

Hey, this bike isn't even MY style....or is it....? = ]'

Just keep an open mind about this ride. You really have to see what I see when it's done.
A stubby, low slung, swing arm bobtail, with a flare from 1979, having unlikely proportions. This is not a '50's and 60's piece.This is not a hardtail. This is not the variation of the same custom bike with a different color metal flake you see everywhere. This bike will have Chrome.....Yes, CHROME!

The trend right now is "chrome is wack".........but stand by to time fellow freaks, cuz' you'll be back!!!
It won't have anything in Billet however...

This is a purpose built chopper. Runnin' Long, But Not Runnin' On Empty.
This IS an exercise in restraint believe it or not. Restraint from stripping everything off the bike and taking a bite of the main stream chop flavors. This was taking a stock style production bike with a strong history as being a very reliable and venerable design, and changing its' looks while keeping all of it's factory intended appointments. An Aftermarket Dealer Option, if you will..... The Yamaha XS650 Special III...; The bike Yamaha never built. Most of the frame welds were left alone. The frame was coated with a near identical match paint to appear as if it came from the factory. The rake ended up a perfect 30 degrees. This bike had flawless accesories and near pristine chrome when it came to me, and I couldn't bear to strip it away. Instead of segmentation and broken lines of all things mounted to the frame, I built everything to flow into one another for more streamlined transitions. The tank provides a 250+ mile range. The rider's position on this bike is perfectly comfortable for long trips State to State. No, I will not go with forward controls, although the Era I am taking from could permit it. There is 4.75" of ground clearance before you sit down, so it's low enough. The wheelbase is the stock 56.5", so it will stay agile for cornering. Performance was the main focus here. I'm even looking for the second front disc and caliper option. If I could find a rear mag in excellent shape that had the rear disc brakes, I'd snap it up. I'm going to go with the fork "emulators" and progressive fork springs later on. I really want to install the Overdrive 5th gear option and then go with a lower Sprocket set to get the 0-60 times way up while still having a long legged 5th gear, but I'm not sure I want to crack the case open on an 8000 mile engine just yet.

Continue on this build with me. The experience has shown me that you can color outside the lines a little when you chop. It may open a future door for me creatively, and later on I'll have a design epiphany on the next bike that will rip peoples heads clean off because of it....who knows. Maybe it will spark someone else's imagination to create something that's never been done before.

I may get this little fish all finished and decide it didn't work....or not;
but I'll always have my grinder and torch ready to chop it again if I feel the need.....


03-21-2010, 12:18 PM
After I read the cans of the epoxy paint I used for the frame, it says I have to wait 7 days for it to fully cure before applying the second coat. This stuff is really hard and durable and doesn't require primer.. I don't know if I'll wait that long, but I am going to wet sand it with 800 grit before the second coat. Nice thing is if I do get a nick or scratch, it's only a sand and shoot away from a fix.

So today is the perfect day to rebuild the carbs. these are the stock BS34's. I got much opinion to switch to the VM's of earlier years, but This guy named XS John off of ebay makes these adjustable needles for the BS carbs, in that the c-clip has multiple slots and he provides different spacers. The new needles taper much sooner. From what I hear , it really smooths out these carbs and adds a ton of performance. John does recommend I go up to the 135 main jets from the stock 130, and drill out the pilot jets to 46 with the provided wire bit he supplies in his kit. These engines are very sensitive to air filter, header, and muffler changes, so these nice needles will help me to dial it in.

By the way, John is very supportive and quick to respond with questions. Here's the link on ebay:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/XSJOHNS-XS650-HI-PERFORMANCE-BS34-CARB-JET-NEEDLES_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem439e1faff4QQite mZ290415685620QQptZMotorcyclesQ5fPartsQ5fAccessori es#ht_500wt_1182





03-22-2010, 7:10 AM
Getting into the carbs more today.
I'm learning alot about the BS34's as I dig into them. With the right needle curve map, main jet and pilot jet, these late carbs can really be made to perform. With everything inside in good working order of course....
I'm finding Mike's XS has everything you need as far as gaskets, main jets, rebuild kits, even needles, but I like XS John's Needles. I am having trouble finding some specific replacement rubber seals for the carbs however.
Soon, I'm going to get the carb meter tool from Mike's XS to balance them. A perfect running set of carburetors, along with a good ignition system is the difference between "ho hum..." and "Wahoo....!"




03-23-2010, 9:36 PM
I finally got the rebuild kit and other seals from Mike's XS. This included a new float gasket, needle and seat with a new seat o-ring, and pilot jet hole plug. I also got new seals for the brass fuel T that joins the carbs' fuel supply together.


Here is a pilot jet. That's a Q-tip to gauge its' size.


I put XS John's "46 wire drill bit" in a vise and finger tightened the pilot jet into the chuck of my cordless drill.



Then I carefully turned the jet into the bit at slow speed until it opened the hole to size 46.



Then I put the pilot back in its' home.


03-25-2010, 10:08 AM
Here is a shot of the order of the needle set up in the damper.
You can see that little white spacer that goes in between the stock spacer and a c-clip.
That spacer comes in XS John's custom needle kit. It's like surgery how it all goes together.
It helps to put the end of your screwdriver on a strong magnet for a while to hold the little screws
until you get it them home.

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k276/brettmavrik/Private%20Stuff/XS650%20Project/My%20XS650/IMG00486.jpg (http://s90.photobucket.com/albums/k276/brettmavrik/Private%20Stuff/XS650%20Project/My%20XS650/?action=view&current=IMG00486.jpg)

I'm going to start the reassemble of the entire bike today to get it ready for the return of the
tank & tins tomorrow. Then I will finish the assemble over the weekend.
I'm hoping to fire it up by sunday for the first time since the tear down.

I'll post more photos of my progress this weekend as I go...

03-25-2010, 4:13 PM
Ah, nothin' like a set of freshly rebuilt carbs.




03-25-2010, 4:38 PM
very nice work ,, all the fab work is well thought out , must say that in the beginning I did not like it ,, but you have changed my mind with your sticking to your vision, not crazy about the tank ,, but that's just me ,, keep up the nice work !!

03-25-2010, 6:16 PM
Hey thanks, man....
Like I said, stick with it. Right now the tank looks shiney and displaced visually.
Once the whole bike is monochromatic, it'll all tie together and flow.

I'm putting the bike together right now. I love this part!
This is the part where you take all the shiney new stuff out of their boxes and put em' on.
It's like Christmas all over again...


03-25-2010, 6:41 PM
Where did you get the Front Brake Res??? How much was it, and can you get me a prat number... I am looking at puting XS Controls onto my Vulcan... I have the Switches, Just looking for the front master cylinder, and left mirror mount.

03-26-2010, 11:07 AM
ebay, my friend....

03-26-2010, 11:12 AM
Decided to paint the engine in VHT Black Wrinkle




I like it so much, I'm going to do the case as well.

03-26-2010, 11:16 AM
Happiness in PPG Triple Mirror Black.....






03-26-2010, 11:49 AM










03-26-2010, 6:07 PM
The wrinkle paint is still tacky, but it has textured. Tomorrow it will be dull satin,
and as time progresses, it will become more flat. I still have to strip the old factory clear coat off of the covers and polish them up to a nice chrome like shine. I think the shiny stuff will all look good against the black backdrop.




03-26-2010, 8:54 PM
looking good, thanks for the info on the brake cylinder

03-27-2010, 10:05 AM
Ready for the reassemble.



03-27-2010, 11:12 AM
this bike is going to look sweet when its done. Love the colors.

04-04-2010, 7:27 AM
Scratching The surface until you can shave in the reflection.

This part is grueling, tedious, very time consuming, but so worth it in the end.
It doesn't require expensive tools or exotic materials......just your time and patience.

My covers have the original clear coat still on them but have all but yellowed, flaked, and pitted the aluminum underneath. A couple deep gouges and nicks here and there, but that's what's nice about aluminum;
it's soft and malleable. It will bend to your will and submit to your persistence.


First is to rid the covers of their clear coat. Mar Hyde makes a decent economical stripper that works very quickly.


Here's where your effort and patience part pay off. There is years of scratches, pitting, and oxidation on there.
There is no rouge nor polish that can possibly help you at this point. You would waste your time and money.



220, 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500......
Put an old shop towel in the sink so the stainless won't scratch the aluminum. A little dab of soap and lots of water. Thoroughly wet sand every area, focusing on problem spots of nicks and oxidation with the low grits, but completely sand in every grit stage before moving onto the next. It gets easier and easier after each stage. Take your time. When you reach 1500 grit, you almost don't need polish........









Now you can take it to the polishing table.
Relax, you've finally made it to easy street.................

04-04-2010, 1:43 PM
Wow =, its really starting to look good.

04-04-2010, 10:09 PM
It's once you get the sanding behind you, and the 1500 grit
scratches you left are so fine, that the polishing part becomes a blast.




Now what I did was play around with some different wheels and rubbing compounds before the final polish with Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish on a drill mounted buffing wheel.


Most of the buffing wheels I found where at Harbor Freight along with some cheap brown aluminum rubbing compound. The polishes and cream rubbing compounds are from the auto parts store.
Here you can play around a bit with different compounds and techniques.
In the end I found I needed none of them. The 1500 grit wet sand was down so fine, I only had to apply the Mother's with a T shirt and take it off with my favorite wheel; a 5" drill mounted buffer I had found at Northern Tool.






Cool part is, every time you go give it another hand polish, the finer the shine will get.

04-05-2010, 12:20 AM
are you sure you didn't buy new covers...man those thing sparkle good... I am going to have to do this with my VN project...

04-05-2010, 4:13 AM
That section on polishing those cases should be a How To thread on their own! Top work.

04-05-2010, 12:36 PM
man that is some sweet polishing,,thanks for posting, me, a few buddies ,and everybody else that likes shiny things will get great use outta this

04-05-2010, 8:52 PM
Hey, no problem.
I'm no expert at it however. I just used common sense.

I'm Finalizing the assembly of the bike tonight.
Tomorrow, I kick her to life and go for a ride.

Photos to follow.


04-06-2010, 9:27 AM

04-06-2010, 4:38 PM
That section on polishing those cases should be a How To thread on their own! Top work.

Agreed! Thanks for documenting your work.

04-06-2010, 8:24 PM
Are those pipes polished stainless or chromed?

04-06-2010, 9:09 PM








04-08-2010, 11:45 PM












04-09-2010, 11:50 AM
very nice gotta love the outcome!

04-09-2010, 12:28 PM
Very nice!
It's really impressive to see the reflections of the room in the cases.

04-09-2010, 12:52 PM
still gotta polish up the wheels and fork legs, and wax the paint,
but I thought I'd take some photos out in the sunlight...


















04-11-2010, 8:09 PM
looking good... that bike is screaming for some new rubber. for some reason I keep staring at your bike and fork gaitors come to mind. but yea, bike looks great...

04-11-2010, 9:25 PM
You want to come polish my bike? J/K... great looking scoot, I loved the outcome... even better than I had anticipated.

04-11-2010, 10:27 PM
It's more sanding than polishing. Just do it.
It's the most rewarding result of my labor on the bike for the work it took.
The tires and mags still have months of metal dust on them. I gotta detail the bike yet.
I think I'm going to paint the fork legs black like the frame. I think that will balance it all out up front.
I'm pretty sure I got the carbs dialed in for the different exhaust and filters. It hauls ass...
Very quick and agile. The exhaust note is a deep & throaty rumble with just a hint of cackle and pop.
Just decibels before the edge of too loud. I did drill out the center baffles though. They were a little too restrictive and hushed for me left alone.
I just built the custom swing arm mounted vertical license plate holder tonight. I'm going to crop the center stand in the morning, then it's off to get it registered.

Here's some shots for scale...





04-13-2010, 9:33 PM
I'm ready for another word to replace "brat" bike By the time mine is done I will have a new title to peg it.

Nice job! Different then the rest.

04-14-2010, 7:14 AM
Thanks, that was the plan.....Be Different.
Yeah, me too on bratstyle.
Just have to throw some names on the wall and see if they stick....

04-14-2010, 12:58 PM
Bike turned out great!

04-14-2010, 11:30 PM
Great lookin bike man-how about brettstyle? It looks like a sportbike thats been chopped and been made comfortable to ride. As for neg feedback on this thread, it's just the typical rub/haters doin what they do. Always whining about how they've seen this and that done hunderds of times and wanna see something orginal and creative, but when you give it to them - just more whining and hating. I agree, the black up front would balance it out. Awesome thread-thanks man.

04-15-2010, 11:26 AM
Real clean. I'd ditch the gauges, change the bars, and run a different headlight to really set it apart.

04-15-2010, 11:36 AM
I really like this. Sort of reminds me of what I intend to do with mine, both with the Bratstyle and otherwise. My only serious difference is that I'dve thrown some risers on those bars so I could bring them in closer to the body, and then angle them forwards, giving it some different lines, and also allowing for a little more bend in the arms and in my opinion a slightly more comfortable ride.

-James K. Irmert

04-15-2010, 2:38 PM
very nice. Is it as comfy as intended?

04-15-2010, 6:14 PM

Like a cradle... = ]'


04-15-2010, 6:29 PM
Real clean. I'd ditch the gauges, change the bars, and run a different headlight to really set it apart.

That's what does set this chopper apart. ...
The point was to keep all factory intended appointments right down to the cropped center stand for rear wheel service on the road. Neutral Safety Switch, Safety relay for the headlight to switch filaments automatically if one burns out. Reserve Lighting Relay to save battery power, turn signals and auto time/speed canceler. Horns, tool kit, steering lock, two locking security compartments, neutral, turn and high beam indicators, passenger seating............

Who says you can't have it all and look cool as well......?

04-15-2010, 8:34 PM
really solid metal work man, but i gotta say, im a bit surprised you didnt shave the fender mounts off the fork legs...

unless youre planning on running a front fender, i just didnt see it in the pics.

04-16-2010, 1:07 PM
Wild man! very cleverly done! Good job!

04-16-2010, 11:49 PM
really solid metal work man, but i gotta say, im a bit surprised you didnt shave the fender mounts off the fork legs...

unless youre planning on running a front fender, i just didnt see it in the pics.

I'm going to build a 1/4" thick 3" wide arc brace that will have "go fast" holes in it.
It will attach to the fender mount holes and go up and over the tire down to the other side.
This will be after I get the 21" Spoked Rim for the front and a 16" Spoked Rim for the rear.
The mags look ok, but they don't have the classic look I'm going for.

That will finish the bike....

05-01-2010, 9:43 AM
I can't believe no one caught my funky horns...





11-30-2010, 5:57 PM
Love this bike! I'm about to buy my first 650, and I've been looking at hardtails, but I think you've sold me on this style. I'm with you, who gives a shit what it's called, 'this' style is great. My ass won't be hella numb after a good ride! Thanks for the inspiration, I'll do my best to not rip too much of your direction.

11-30-2010, 6:03 PM
This bike looks like the child of a xs and a virago.

11-30-2010, 10:42 PM
Everyone that is hating has an XS with a TC Bros hartail, peanut tank, no paint on their bike, and someone else did it for them... Let 'em hate...

I painted my front end gloss black... It has a clean look. So does polished aluminum, I just don't have the time to do it. Either way it will look good. I want to see this with a 21" spoked front wheel. Will have a really clean look to it.