View Full Version : My XS650 Chop build

12-09-2010, 2:27 AM
Love this site. Great community.
http://www.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/th.968d58d330.jpg (http://www.freeimagehosting.net/image.php?968d58d330.jpg)

Little bit about my project.

'75 XS650. Got the bike already hardtailed off of CL for 800 bucks. Guy gave me a lower price cause he had just disassembled the whole motor to bring it up to a 750 but got an Ironhead Sportster and wanted to make that his project. The TC brother hardtail was already welded on, although it seems to be a bit off. The rear down tube is not quite lined up right but hopefully it will hold.

I have been buying the needed parts bit by bit and almost have everything I need to get it done.
Doing the Banshee Swap cause I figure if I'm gonna build a chopper I should do it right and have it kick only. Can you sense the Iron Horse influence?
I hope to make a successful attempt at setting up a leaf spring seat. Just don't like the frame mounted springs. Probably just make a frame mounted seat for now until I can do it right.

After reading chop mags forever I figured it was waaaay past time to stop being a poser and build one myself. However as a guy who had his shop teachers all suggest I strongly consider college its been a frustrating experience so far.

Lesson number 1: It's waaay harder than it looks unless your buying bolt on credit card stuff.

Lesson 2: Must learn to weld.

I will be pestering people here I'm sure to figure some of it out. Love the bikes on here and constantly get over-inspired by what I see. Oooh Thats Kool, no wait that Kool.

The plan is to keep it simple and make a bare bones chop. Z bars, hand shift, long upswept exhaust and eventually a stretched out 70's style chop. Getting a drum brake front wheel to keep the bars as uncluttered as possible and eventually a rear disc brake.
Dying to buy an Alien tank from LowBrow. For the hand shift I want the clutch to be on the stick but dont want to have the clutch lever hanging off it. Have an idea for a way to have it so I can reach down pull up on a lever and then shift.

Im hoping to be done before December is over. Well at least to where its starts and I can ride it around. doubt it will ever be "done".

12-09-2010, 6:23 AM
I think. That pic is tiny. Hahahahahahaha

Good luck with it.

12-09-2010, 9:14 AM
Sounds like you are in the right direction. End of December is coming fast though, and you should always figure on things taking 2X as long and costing 3X as much :D

Take your time, build it right, and enjoy it in the spring. December riding sucks anyhow

12-09-2010, 9:39 AM
"The TC brother hardtail was already welded on, although it seems to be a bit off. The rear down tube is not quite lined up right but hopefully it will hold."

I would not "hope" that it holds. Take it to a local welder and have them look at it. Worse case, cut it off and have someone who knows what they are doing and have them weld it up straight! good luck!


12-09-2010, 11:25 PM
hugh I reckon you got that the wrong way round, 3x as long and 2x as much as per my current project....

12-29-2010, 5:08 PM
looks like a good start!

12-31-2010, 7:20 PM
The frame looks super clean!

Where did ya get the fender? I'm looking for an affordable rear fender for my 77 XS650.

01-04-2011, 1:04 AM
Got the fender from a farm supply depot kinda place for a trailer.

Build progress..................................Oh God!

So many things have gone wrong. Well lets just say I have routinely overestimated my mechanical prowess.

lastly trying to find the right kinda leopard skin fabric for the seat. Gotta be a Classy Chop ya know!

01-04-2011, 2:03 PM
On the topic of welding...


01-08-2011, 11:31 AM
It will be cool to see how that clutch idea works... Good luck.

02-10-2011, 7:18 PM
Finally ground the welds off of the two lower trees. lost my patience on the first one and actually almost wrecked the stem of the 650. Should still be fine when I get it welded to the 400.
Got pissed after grinding and not finding the seam -- yes I am THAT impatient -- but once its welded it should be just fine. Went to the local bike graveyard here in Phoenix -- Bob's Used Motorcycle Parts -- and scored a pretty nice headlight. Big one too. Oughta look pretty sweet on the little xs400 front end.

progress is slow. Now that it is warmer I'm back in my garage. The drum brake takes care of a money issue for brakes.
Motor is my real last hurdle to finishing. The transmission seems fine.
How do you test it before closing the case?
Got all the stuff for the permanent magneto so that oughta be a hoot to fire up the first time.

Gotta get a start on the hand shifter and paint for the tank. and the leaf spring seat.

Man it never ends does it.
and just saw the thread on fork covers....add that to the list.

07-21-2011, 12:26 AM
Long time since I did anything on this bike. Actually further back than when I last posted.

tried the hand shift on another bike just to see how it would work --- good way to die. Found that out within 2 miles of trying the thing. Would look sweet as hell but if you got to react quick its impossible to shift and maneuver through traffic with one hand on the bars and one on the shifter.
Almost ate the side of a Buick Lacrosse.

Will go with the traditional hand slap shifter and use a foot pedal. Lesson learned.

Did a leaf spring seat on my buddies xs400 chopper -- basic, just bolted a piece of spring to the frame, no fancy brackets or anything. Really really comfortable. Gotta get some pics of his chop, square tube hard tail, dished tank, springer front end. God damned cool.

Finally can get back to mine. Amazing how life can get upside down, look like its all Bill Paxton in Aliens GAME OVER and then suddenly clear waters again.

Ditching the idea of using a leaf spring seat on mine. It just looks wrong. The geometry of the stock frame with the weld on hardtail just looks all scrunched up. Its just off, kinda. Since I have lost so much time and I wanna get it running just bought a cheap seat from Bob's here in Phoenix and made simple flat steel fender struts.

Got the 650/400 stem swap all welded up and it looks nice and narrowy. Gonna make a simple angle iron bracket for the head light ala the recent thread here. cheap and simple.

Heres a problem though

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/51107782@N04/5960331164/" title="110_0312 by chriroe, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6128/5960331164_cb91b2c1c3.jpg" width="500" height="281" alt="110_0312"></a>

Everything else on the frame was welded very well but this whole thing is justa WTF!. I mean seriously WTF!
anyhoo the weld looks solid but since I know crap about welding how long will that thing hold once the motor is bolted in there? Does that look like it hold or should I get someone to redo that part of the frame?
and does anyone have any idea what that might set me back? Im at the bike parts or food stage.

07-21-2011, 12:31 AM
The motor. Every single part is in pieces.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/51107782@N04/5960331028/" title="110_0298 by chriroe, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6008/5960331028_4207cab3d1.jpg" width="500" height="281" alt="110_0298"></a>

Everything. Waiting on the plug for the starter. Doing the whole Hugh's handbuilt Banshee swap, got all my parts
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/51107782@N04/5960330548/" title="110_0304 by chriroe, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6009/5960330548_b1d2af7b91.jpg" width="500" height="281" alt="110_0304"></a>

anyone done this with a completely disassembled motor? Im gonna be smacking my head on the concrete over this i'm sure.

07-21-2011, 12:37 AM
Anyone lace up a brake drum from an xs400 to a 21" rim? I know Buchannon's can get me what i need but if I can get away with just ordering spokes that'd be great. Anyone know if the rim needs to be drilled out to accept the spokes size change? I guess I can just send them the whole thing and bite the money bullet -- hey I'll be all thin and cool looking after trading a few meals right!

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/51107782@N04/5960330606/" title="110_0303 by chriroe, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6140/5960330606_d01a4556a8.jpg" width="500" height="281" alt="110_0303"></a>

07-21-2011, 12:52 AM
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/51107782@N04/5960331110/" title="110_0297 by chriroe, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6001/5960331110_d0e448f88a.jpg" width="500" height="281" alt="110_0297"></a>

I love my garage.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/51107782@N04/5959772737/" title="110_0299 by chriroe, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6001/5959772737_6bbd9fa082.jpg" width="500" height="281" alt="110_0299"></a>

love my z bars

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/51107782@N04/5959773151/" title="110_0309 by chriroe, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6126/5959773151_c77983b2bf.jpg" width="500" height="281" alt="110_0309"></a>

Uhm......not so much. Tried to mock up a headlight shroud kinda thingy. With the narrowed front end I thought getting some triumph fork covers might look way cool and still do but would like a more complete cover around the light.

Saving up for a TIG welder. Have come to the serious conclusion ya cant really get much done trying to build a bike if ya cant weld. All the little shit like brackets and tabs become an issue if ya gotta wait around for someone else to do it. All my other projects outside of this bike are alo in the same boat. Welding is essential. Since they got TIG for 1500 and they are more than good enough for the home builder its my Christmas goal.That Miller Diversion looks like the thing.