1981 Chopper Build


XS650 Addict
Reaction score
Grand Mound, Wa
Hey all! I've been on here for about 3.5 years off and on and realized that I never really posted anything about my build a side from a few questions and stock parts for sale lol. So here it is! I'll try to find all the pictures I can but I think the majority of them may be in an old phone that crapped the bed.

This bike was my first ever motorcycle and my intro into welding/fabricating. It started out as a mostly stock ish 1980 Special that I picked up from @angus67

I rode it as it was, aside from swapping out buckhorn bars for tracker style bars, for a summer. Then I began the chopping process.

I found a Voodoo Vintage hardtail on FB marketplace for an absolute steal of a deal, so the first order of business was chopping and prepping the frame for the hardtail. I made a simple makeshift jig to hold the frame straight before/after chopping. I was in college for welding at the time and my instructor took the time to walk me through how to do it. He too is a motorcycle enthusiast.

After I got it chopped and welded, I moved on to the front end conversion. I found a 91-92 GSXR 750 front end and it was super simple to swap. All I needed was the bearings and to shave 2-3mm off the bottom bearing cup. Everything fit up perfect and it even had the same size axle as the stock XS front wheel. Just needed new spacers, which I turned on my Harbor Freight mini lathe.

After that I moved onto making custom foot controls. I designed the arms and tabs on Fusion360 and had them CNC cut at a local fab shop. I then made mounting brackets similar to stock exhaust mounts. Made plates to mount the foot controls to and bolted those to the new mounts. Turned some pegs up for the brake and shift lever and got em powder coated. Jay from JumpStreet Customs helped me out big time with the foot controls.

Next was miscellaneous fab stuff. Fender, sissybar, electronics box, various tabs, plate mount, seat pan, cross support above motor (made from 308 stainless that I turned a little bit and then polished), axle adjusters etc...

After all the fab was done, I moved onto the exhaust. I wanted something simple but slightly different than what I had seen. I love the look of shotgun pipes so I did that but turned the tips downward and tried to follow the curve of the left case as best as I could without having to make a million tiny pie cuts. It turned out damned good for my first ever exhaust. Shit, everything on this bike I was doing for the first time ever 😅

After the exhaust was done I tore everything down and got it ready for paint. Had the frame sand blasted. While I was waiting on the frame to be done at the blasters, I primed the tank and fender as well as polished the electronics box.

After all that, it was ready for paint. I used a high solids industrial black paint for the frame and krylon metallic blue for the tank and fender. I then taped off some simple line work and hit the tank with Montana Cans black crackle paint. It turned out awesome! After that, I hit everything with some 2k high gloss clear coat.

Reassembled it all and fired it up!

@angus67 did a really good job on getting this motor to run really well. I just had to adjust the carbs abit and it ran mint. I made sure it was a solid runner before tear down because I wanted to ride it the second it was done! However, that didn't go quite according to plan. While it ran fuckin amazing, I found out that one of the valve spring retaining washers was cracked in half. I got super lucky with that. I thought it was just cam chain noise and I rode it about 20 miles with it chattering like crazy. Oops! Haha. I pinpointed the sound and got the part replaced and it was smooth sailing from there, aside from a leak from the right side case (I forgot to replace the gasket when I reinstalled the clutch side cover).

And that was it! First full build done! The only thing that I wasn't satisfied with was how the seat turned out. The upholstery guy talked a big game and did NOT deliver. The padding was too thick and the stitching was terrible, but I call it a win if that was the only issue!

Hope y'all enjoy it! Ask any questions ya want!


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