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  1. #1

    Default '77 XS650 Chopper Build: My First Chop!

    Hi everyone, my name's David. I'm 17 and the start of this build and from New Jersey. This is my first bike: a 1977 Yamaha XS650 that I'm chopping up. I'm an apprentice motorcycle mechanic at a local shop, which is where I gained pretty much all of my motorcycle knowledge. This build will be a huge learning tool to strengthen my fabrication and customization skills. I figured I'd post the process here to share with all of you and document it along the way. I'm super excited for this. I've been wanting to build my own chopper for the longest time.

  2. #2

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    First off, this is what the bike looks like now. Already kinda hacked up and not very pretty, but a great start.

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    Last edited by choppersbydavid; 10-29-2017 at 9:22 PM.

  3. #3

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    So I'm going to keep the electric starter, primarily as a backup. There's a short coming from somewhere that keeps blowing fuses every time you press the start button. I isolated the short down to the starter itself, but when I bought a used starter from eBay(tested and working) the same problem happens. Could there be a short beyond the starter in the motor, or where do I look? After I tackle this, the bike can finish being taken apart and I can cut up the frame for the hardtail.

    Update: Found the wiring issue. All the wiring is messed up from all the PO's, gonna rewire it all later.
    Last edited by choppersbydavid; 11-01-2017 at 8:55 PM.

  4. #4

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    Here's the current progress on the bike: I have the frame stripped down completely and I started to cut it up. I'm going to have the hardtail professionally welded, as being a beginner fabricator, it's not the best idea to do it myself. I have a neck gusset kit in the mail that I'm going to weld in later. I also have a gas tank on the way from lowbrow. Getting excited for this build!

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  5. #5

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    Really hope you update this. Long time lurker here, you got a good attitude kid.

  6. #6

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    Man you're right, I'm waay overdue for an update. Kinda forgot about this, but thanks for the motivation. Keep posted for a very big update with tons of pictures

  7. #7

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    Got the bike back from getting the hardtail welded on a while back. While it was gone I worked on shaving the forks. Fucked up a little and went slightly too deep when cutting one of the tabs off. It's okay though because it faces the rear, and this isn't a perfect show bike either. Gonna go back later and hit it with higher grit sandpaper.
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  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    2,675

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    Quote Originally Posted by choppersbydavid View Post
    First off, this is what the bike looks like now. Already kinda hacked up and not very pretty, but a great start.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    "Let me know what you guys think of all this, I would love to hear feedback!"

    Well done, one 'ell of an improvement! That hardtail cleaned it up right. Dem legs look smooth. Great idea re-cycling that front fender. Those high-LH pipes are nice. I think the two rear fender center-mounted bungs are a bit much; mighta been cleaner with just bolts up through the cross-over piece, or perhaps bungs on the sides where the crossover is welded, to keep the center clean. Good start on the footpeg mounts - the 1/2" looks a bit thin - maybe double up on them? maybe run another 1/2" piece along side the one there now? Keep up the good work!
    When I built a XS chop, I wanted to mill out the big YAMAHA name on the engine side covers and fill it in with a brass plate engraved with the name of the chop (it was 'Twisted ST') - perhaps an idea...

    Edit: Considering what happened to Jfuller(Went Down Yesterday...),maybe that rear fender mount ain't "a bit much"...
    Last edited by TriNortchopz; 02-20-2018 at 7:32 AM. Reason: update

  9. #9

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    I will always have a soft spot for the old Yamahas, as my first bike was a 400 special and it rode like a dream -- it just wasn't fast. At all. In any sense of the word.

    You got a great looking bike here!

  10. #10

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    Thanks for the feedback! I wanted to make the sissy bar and fender as sturdy as I could, just so I wouldn't have to worry, and considering that it was my first time(after much trial and error and scrap) I think it turned out halfway decent. Good for now, but still want to put something decretive in-between the mounts for the fender and tail light. I'll figure something out. As for the foot peg mounts, you may be right. I may need to redesign them to make them stronger, but it's a step in the right direction. Starting to feel more like a bike, and with this strand of warm weather, makes me itch to ride this thing

  11. #11

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    Last night I finished the other foot peg mount. I put all my weight on them and they seem sturdy to me. They flex just a little, but doesn't seem like they'll break on me. I also got the kickstand done. Just shortened the original one about 1-2 inches. Leans real nice.
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  12. #12

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    Been working on everything related to the rear brake. Bought a kit from Hugh's Handbuilt to keep the original brake pedal and linkage, good quality and looks good. It was a big fuss getting it in the right place where my foot would be, and that it wouldn't be in the way when taking the motor out. Ended up having to shave a little off the side of the brake lever so that it wouldn't rub on the foot peg mount. Also had to cut off the square plate on the pedal and move it all the way up and out so it would line up better. Like I said, it was a big fuss. I thought about bending my own lever, but I'd have to also make a shift lever to match, and I only have a propane torch, not oxygen-acetalene, so getting the metal hot enough to bend it would be really tough. For now it's good. Maybe I'll bend up my own levers later on. I also had to extend the brake rod about 6inches, cut up the lever that attaches the brake rod to the pedal, and make a mount for the return spring. It's all tacked for now so I can see if it interferes with anything. Have that brake switch for now, not sure how I like it, feel kinda cheap. I haven't hooked it up to a battery yet to test it, but i don't know if it's even going to actuate properly. If you know of another option I'm all ears. Here are some pics!

    Please, leave me feedback, I love hearing from you guys. Tell me what you like, and what you don't!


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    Last edited by choppersbydavid; 03-11-2018 at 7:18 PM.

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