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  1. #1

    Default Skinny XS650 with Big Brembos!

    I wanted to post a bit of a build thread from the little face lift I did this winter. So here it goes:
    I picked this bike a few years ago now and have been modding it a little bit here and there to suit my own taste.

    Here it is when I first picked it up:
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    It was love at first sight. Bad ass paint. Fresh Rephased 700CC engine with a big cam. Just a beauty. Bought it right before winter so I didn't even get to put more than 20 miles on it before it went to storage.

    The next spring I ended up changing the handle bars and adding a front brake as the rear drum just didn't cut it for me. Also changed the headlight mount as I always like the Ventura style for some reason.
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    The first big modification I did was change up the foot controls. The ones that were on it were nice but I kept scraping them in corners and bending them up.
    I went with a set of FR1SCO Mids from Jump Street Custom. Also traded the Hughs Handbuilt Speedster pipes for a set of vintage Gordon Scotts. I think thats what they are anyway.
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    These controls ended up being super comfy to ride and easy to setup. Although I hated the look of that rear brake linkage. It reduced the stopping power significantly.

  2. #2


    I rode it like this for quite a while. Until one day the advance mechanism for the ignition blew apart. That was fun. Parked it in a farmers' driveway had to ride bitch all the way home to get the trailer.
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    It ended up chewin the threads on the cam pretty bad so I went with a crank fired VAPE ignition from Gary Hoos Racing. Plus PAMCO bein done I wanted something that still had some valid support. Kind of bulky on the hardware but damn is it smooth! Starting became easier and the power band is wayy smoother. Also got the cool Shell Racing cam covers.
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    Had to rewire quite a bit of it as well. Tucked it under the seat on a piece of lexan. It seems to be pretty well hidden.

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    I truly wish I could find a way to get a single magneto to work with the rephase. Then I could really clean up the wires and extra modules.

    Anyways I ended up putting about 2000 miles on it in this configuration. It ripped pretty good. But I still wanted to eliminate more and more bulk and clean things up.

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  3. #3


    That brings us to this winter. I saw a picture of this bike featured on Mullins Chain Drive's Instagram
    Built by @anthony73robinson
    I loved it. Skinny, shiny, big brakes, and mags.
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    That was it I was hooked on the look. A beautiful bike that can definitely perform as well. So I went to work!
    Collabed with Jump Street Customs again and he built me a skinny 35MM triple set. I welded on a headlight mount to keep it clean.
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    Here it is mocked up after powder!
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    Since I wanted to do skinny with a big brake there really was no room for the spoked wheel. It just wasn't going to fit no matter how you looked at it. Unless I went with like a single piston Tokico but I wanted BIG Brakes. I opted for an XS650 Front mag and a Harley solid rear.

    However since I lost a lot of space in between the forks, the stock XS650 Rotor wasn't going to fit, Actually I couldn't find any rotor that was going to fit the dimensions I wanted....
    At this point I found a company named ISR Brakes in Sweden. They seem to have a great reputation among choppers and sport bike builders. So I got a custom set to match front and rear! This was honestly the hardest part of the whole ordeal. Lots of mocking up and measuring. Needed to get it right the first time since these rotors are not cheap.
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    Once I got them I knew these were the real deal. Except the front one didn't fit. F***. Well the rotor fit but the bolt heads didn't. I ended up countersinking the rotor and buying some countersunk bolts so I could get it flush. I already had to grind the piss out of the inner fork leg to get everything to fit.
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    As you can see it was a tight fit. But everything was working out! So I pressed onwards!
    Last edited by chewblanca; 04-28-2020 at 8:54 PM.

  4. #4


    Now that the front end was initially done with the mock up I moved on to some other things. I got a rear brake caliper bracket from Jump Street Customs to fit a matching caliper on the rear!
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    Then I half ass polished up the hand controls and rebuilt the master. Added a special little flare to it since the glass was cloudy as heck. I hate polishing shi**y cast aluminum holy cow.
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    Ended up making some Stainless T-Bars. I found a local scrap yard and got like 8 Feet of .865 stainless pipe for 10$. A little under sized of 7/8 but all the controls fit and the grips fit just fine. I want to cut them down alittle bit more and make some nice stainless bungs. I think they're at like 9" of rise and 22" Wide. Want to go to maybe 6" or 7" and 20" wide.
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    Made a little rear master cylinder bracket out of some 1 1/8 clamps and 1/8 plate. I wanted it tucked up on the frame with an inconspicuous linkage. I gotta brace it up more at some point as it flexes a bit but it definitely works.
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    I recently got into the business of Cerakoting. So naturally I've been Cerakoting lots of my bike parts. Here's my calipers Cerakoted Gold and polished off the logos and cleared them. This stuff is awesome.
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  5. #5


    Okie dokie moving on, next I had to get the wheels all prepped. I had to cut up the front wheel hub quite a bit on either side to get it to fit. I pretty much shaved it on either side to be even with the bearings. Had to grind the spokes a little bit to get the caliper to clear too. The rear wheel was in pretty poor condition. I wanted to go to roller bearings so I welded the races and they plopped right out.
    I don't really have any pictures of that whole process but once I got that all done I powdered them up. Here they are fresh out the oven:
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    I forgot to mention that somewhere in this time of doing the calipers and wheels I rebuilt the forks and once again didn't take pictures. I went with some Emgo +4 Fork Tubes and 35mm Showa Harley Springs. The Springs apparently ride pretty good and they fit right in. Just had to make a spacer to accommodate the extra length and filled them up with ATF and polished them up.

    With the wheels out the oven I slapped the tires back on and added some AirSoft BB's to balance them out. The front one didn't want to bead but half a can of Starter Fluid cured that. It was at this point it I was able to start reassembling. Once again I didn't take much progress pics. Sorry guys.

    Somehow the rear wheel was easy to fit. The width between axle plates was the same dimensions as a stock XS650. I used a Mr. Lucky's 30 Tooth Conversion Sprocket. Put the wheel on the axle with no spacers, Got it straight in line with the front sprocket via strapping a laser to the sprocket.. Measured the chain side and made the spacer. Put the spacer in there. Then I put the caliper and bracket on, centered the caliper on the brake rotor and measured the spacer on either side of the caliper bracket and made up those spacers. I really thought that was gonna be a harder task for some reason. Here it is in all its glory:
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    Suckers lookin pretty slick at this point. I got the last few things buttoned up and the brakes bled and she was ready for the maiden voyage!
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  6. #6


    That brings us to the current day! That catches me up from all winter. I plan to update my progress with this bike as I have more in store for it.

    I'd like some feedback on it! Or if you have any questions ask away I'd be happy to answer them. This is my first real "chopper" and being a young gun in my early 20s I figured I did a pretty good job. I mean I know I didn't build the whole thing I'm strictly talking about the mods I did lol.

    I bought this off the original builder and I remain pretty good friends with him to this day. Keep each other posted on the bikes and projects we got going on.

    I initially wanted to build one but jeez for as cheap and common as these XS650s are I figured I was financially better off buying this. Plus I could ride it right away and not spend a year building it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member

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    Join Date
    Mar 2012


    Looks good. Does it stop betterer?

  8. #8


    Oh yeah! It stops pretty darn well.

    The only issue is the half ass linkage for the rear brake is kinda flimsy, I dug up some parts to remedy that.

    I had to take a link out of the chain because it was too long. And now its a touch too short and the fender rubs the rear tire a tad. I gotta downsize the front sprocket anyway since the 18-30 ratio was way to high. Try out 17-30 or 16-30 and see if it drives better and takes the rub out the fender.

    Also need to make a kickstand to accommodate for the extendo front end.

  9. #9

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    Join Date
    Apr 2010


    Great looking bike and nice write up!

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