A man doesn't have to be fluent in Nipponese chopper to know Yamaha XS650's rides loud and proud among the toughest hand-built death traps in today's no-frills scene.
The pace and distance of weekend rides like last month's Gypsy Run seem designed to destroy old iron, but in all my days bringing up the rear I've never seen a bike like Kevin Goveia's Baloney Sandwich on a trailer.
Here's what the builder of this impressive little Yamaha from upstate New York has to say about his machine.
In June of 2008 I visited Japan. A few months before I had met my friend Kyle in a bike deal and he turned me on to the Bratstyle website. Luckily I was able to spend a day at their shop when I was in Tokyo. I’m sure I was a huge pain in the ass since I wouldn’t go away until they closed. It’s pretty obvious they were a huge inspiration on this build. I got the bike as a non-running, sad-looking '70s chopper with tall twisted Z-bars, huge king-and-queen seat, and 6-over forks.
It was my first full custom and Kyle at Lead Fist Cycles in Saugerties, New York, really helped me out with his knowledge, time, and tools. Basically this bike would suck if it weren’t for him. While heavily inspired by Bratstyle and other Japanese shops, there are some things we did differently, most notably the curved seat rail. I have never seen a Japanese shop do this, and I think it really made the lines of the bike flow. Since we built this bike there has been a surge in the so-called "Bratstyle," and many have a curved seat rail. Although small I like to think it’s our little contribution to the chop world.
I think that Kyle’s gritty style has rubbed off on me and it shows on this bike. I’m really happy with the way this bike turned out. I have friends that hardtailed theirs but I love to rip up the mountain roads and the swingarm makes it easier to ride fast and aggressively. I just got back from the Gypsy Run where my bike performed flawlessly and had no problems keeping up with the big bikes.
Owner: Kevin Goveia
Hometown: New Paltz, NY
Builders: Kevin Goveia and Kyle at Lead Fist Cycles, Saugerties, NY
Bike model: 1973 TX650 (same as and XS650) with stock '77 XS650 motor. Stock ’73 carbs, jetted for the pod filters and 2-inch drag pipes
Frame mods: Custom neck gusset (cross bar removed) and top motor mounts, custom seat frame, shock mounts relocated. The bike was dropped 2 inches front and rear. The front end is off of an early '80s “Special” model. Wassell fender, alien tank, NOS Z-bars, shitty paint by yours truly. It's a temporary base coat that I’m too lazy to paint over
Front wheel: 21” mini drum from a Yamaha enduro (a XT550 I think) with a polished brake plate, wrapped in a Speedmaster copy. Rear wheel: Stock ’73 hub and brake plate, polished and laced with NOS custom spokes to a Dunlop Harley-style drop center 16” rim. It’s wrapped in an old Goodyear Speedgrip tire taken off of a shovelhead
Thanks: Big ups to Kyle at Lead Fist Cycles and Jay at Pirate Upholstery in Kingston, NY for doing my seat