I first met Jeff Wolf nearly a year ago at a helmet show he was co-hosting in Signal Hill. Along with some other awesome artists, he had a couple of helmets on display featuring his unique painting and pin-striping style. Low and behold I ended up winning one of his helmets in the raffle. Flash-forward a few months and I found myself watching his 1978 Yamaha XS650 build come together on his Instagram account. I've always been a fan of metric choppers. The XS platform with its parallel twin motor lends itself to symmetry and balance. The unit construction also leaves a lot of empty space on the frame to create unique battery/electrical boxes or remain empty. They are light, nimble bikes and they sound raspy and pissed off. What's not to like?
For Wolf, his XS was built for adventures. Usually, painters use their bikes as a sort of marketing tool, putting flashy paint jobs on their own bikes to turn heads. Wolf knew this bike was going to be ridden hard. So, some layers of clear over the tins and some subliminal pin striping is about as fancy as the paint gets. Wolf, having experience building cars for nearly 15 years, beautifully fabricated most of the frame in a beautiful way. "It's better to over-fab than to have to re-fab," says Wolf, and it shows.
We had been planning on shooting Wolf's bike for over a month. With multiple wrenches into our plans and the looming date of his move back to the Pacific North West, we finally managed to bust out the shoot after the David Mann Chopperfest. As luck would have it, the XS650 brought home the Best Metric award. After the show, we reconvened at the shop he has been working for in Ventura and shot his rad XS650. Good luck up North Jeff!
Owner name, location: Jeff Wolf, Portland Oregon/ Ventura California
Engine/tranny, year and make, model, modifications: 1978 Yamaha xs650. Stock motor with upgraded ignition and charging systems.
Frame/Rake: 35 degree front end rake. Hand built hard tail, cross members
Front End: stock XS Tire/wheel size and style: 16" rear stock Yamaha spokes. 21" front Honda dual sport wheel with a front drum.
Favorite thing about this bike: It's hard to pick a favorite thing on the bike, but the sissy bar would still have to be my favorite. I was able to make everything come together really well with the 1937 Chevrolet marker light and the exhaust kick outs just under the fender.
Next modification will be: one off springer front end, a sissy bar mounted packing rack, spotlights for the dark country roads, and a removable front fender
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc (paint, seat, tires, bars, switches, pipes, doodads):
-3" narrowed and Raised Yamaha DT1 tank
-2.5" narrowed zombie performance 12" bendalicious bars
-Handmade sissy bar
-Battery box: made from an old air tank
-Hurst racing shifter
Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: The bike had been passed around a few times among a few friends, got it in non-running condition for 500 bucks in Portland. My buddy Enrique hauled the bike to Ventura for me (since he was in Portland at the time). Started tearing into it the next day I had it. Not much of an interesting story, but I've got less than $1500 into it, including the cost of the bike. Everything else was made from scratch. I just can't do aftermarket cookie cutter parts
-JG fab and design for helping me TIG weld my exhaust up.
-Carolyn and Ian Halcott of Twinlinemotorcycles.com for the seat upholstery and some small aluminum welding.
-Andy Morgan for wiring the bike