Intro and 1980 XS Build. Brown Bomber.


XS650 Enthusiast
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Appleton, WI
Hey all, names Marshall, 21 years of age. Been lurking around here for a while on and off when I have time. Lots of info and skill. Anyways, this is my first post, so enjoy.
I picked up the bike last July. I bought it as a roller and got a motor with it as well. The frame was a 1980 and the engine I don't know what year. I'm guessing it might be a 75 based off the style cam chain tensioner that it has. The serial number is non existent so unless somebody has a tell tale way of identifying it I guess one will never know.
I didn't have any kind of vision or idea of how I wanted the bike to look when finished, I just started and was shooting from the hip as I went.
Anyways, enough blabb, onto the pics.

Here it is the day I brought it home. Frame, Motor, and a box of parts to make things work.


Tore the motor apart to check on its condition.
And Yes, I painted it before I even started fab work on the bike. I like to do things backasswards to make them harder on myself. So leave me alone. It still looks fantastic.
Except for the fact that it's apart right now and at my motor builder (I race motorcross and he does my heads) because the valves wouldn't seal, even after lapping. So he is touching up the seats and cleaning up the ports. All other work I have done.



Forward controls first prototype.


Stock Neck Cleaned Up.


Made new gussets


Welded in


Here's some pics of the exhaust all tacked up. Full 304 Stainless, 1.5" mandrel bent tubes.








After a little bit of work this is what it ended up like. It looked ok to me, but I played around some more. Keep reading.


Re-made the forward controls. Beefier and wider.


Here they are mocked up with a linkage.


The next change I made was the front end. The stock xs front end looks like sh!t IMO.
Everybody always does gsxr swaps. I really wanted to do a Buell front end swap (My other bike is a 2008 firebolt 1200, I'm a Buell freaak) so I could run the inverted caliper and rotor, but I would have had to run the wide rear wheel to match. And I didn't want to chop the frame again.
I had a crashed gsxr1 and an r1 on hand that I scored cheap. Both 2002's. I compared them both and decided the r1 work look better and work better for my setup. The rotors on the r1 are actually similar in size to the xs. The gsxr rotors were way bigger hence why everybody has issues getting them to work.
So here are some pics of the swap, I got new stem bearings from allballs and pressed them on, new wheel bearings to fit the xs wheel and r1 axle. Honda RC51 front bearings are actually the ONLY other bearings made that are the correct size, trust me I've hunted, so that's what I used. I fabricated everything else, center bearing spacer, wheel spacers, and caliper spacers.

Mocked up


Wheel spacers in the lathe




Left side without seals in


Right side w/o seals


Caliper spacers




It's almost as if these bikes, 22 years apart, were made for each other. Besides different size bearings, and a little bit of fab work, they work really well together. The caliper has about 3/32" of clearance from the mag spokes. It's a close fit but looks really good. I can't speak for actual spoke wheels, they might hit.

Here is the way it turned out. I'm happier with this.
You can also see the fender and supports I made from scratch. Fender isnt finished yet.






Here's me welding something :)


I have a ton of work left, though it looks nearly complete. I recently moved the seat further back, new mounts and I'm waiting on a new rock shox to come. The tank is going to be chopped apart in some way shape or form. I need steering stops, headlight and taillight mounts, oil tank, brake stay,rear axle spacers, exhaust mounts, install pamco and pma, send carbs to Rick at oldskool cause I don't have enough time to waste polishing them, odds and ends.. yadda yadada, blah blah.

Stay tuned, I'll be riding it by spring. Winter blows here in WISO
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Damn that looks good Marshall! I'm diggin' it! Keep up the good work.:thumbsup:
Make sure you post more pics when you get a chance.Are you liking the shock seat setup?
Thanks guys. The shock seat setup is awesome, at least from what I can tell bouncing on it in the garage. LOL. I don't have any ride time obviously but I'm betting it will be great, It cant be any worse than a straight rigid.
The only thing I don't like is that the shock pictured is a cheapo off ebay. The thing is a piece of junk! Soo much play and wobble. the seat moves from side to side about .5-.75" being that it is single mounted. That is why I just purchased a new rock shox from a mountain bike. It will get rid of all the play and actually act like a shock
Can you show us a close-up of the rear fender. It looks wicked cool and I wanted to see how you secured it to the frame. Thx!
Do you rent out space in that killer garage?!

Depends what you pay!

them wisconsin people sure no how to tig, the best tig welders come from wisconsin. buy miller welders. go pack go

It sure helps having the manufacturer of the best welders in the world right here in my back yard of Appleton (Sorry Lincoln lovers,not cutting you down, Miller just rules the industry around here).

Can you show us a close-up of the rear fender. It looks wicked cool and I wanted to see how you secured it to the frame. Thx!

Sure can.
I didn't want the standard purchased fender look, and also don't like the look of trailer fenders. This fender is actually not round at all. It's three flat surfaces with the radius matching the wheel. All it is, is a simple reducer made with a basic pattern drafting technique. I just figured out what radius I wanted to match the wheel and the amount of taper on the sides, laid it out, and burned it out. Then tiged the pieces together which need to be cleaned up yet. The possibilities with a fender like this are endless. Wider, narrower, more taper, less taper, more than 3 flats or less. You can do whatever and I'm really happy with how this one looks.

The rod I just formed until I got the radius I wanted. Then welded some acorn nuts onto the end and bolt it up through the bottom side of the fender. The lower mount is just a 1" square tube notched to fit the frame with a plate welded to it. I turned the tube also for a different look.






Yes they are, they are just tacked. I haven't got around to moving them up yet. I can lean the bike more than i would even be comfortable with those knobies before they hit, but i want them higher just in case i get crazy.
I definitely would if you were close lol. Tig welding is hands down one of my favorite things to do. I taught myself how back in high school.
you should try stainless steel. there is alot of stainless steel companys in your area. and there is some good tricks you could use for your bike build, like gas backing
i was thinking of a ram air intake for mine, like on a v-max, welded to the side of the gas tank out of mirror finish sst polished inside for smooth air flow, maybe a sst gas tank. someday when the kids are gone/working
Thanks for the welcome and feedback guys!

you should try stainless steel. there is alot of stainless steel companys in your area. and there is some good tricks you could use for your bike build, like gas backing

Stainless is actually where my background is. Although aluminum is where my heart lies.
I actually rarely weld just plain carbon steel simply because MIG is faster and cheaper. But on a build like this where appearance is everything, TIG is the way to go without having to waste time grinding welds.

This is my first bike build, however not my first metal endeavor. Fabricating is my passion.
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nice. i use to live in fdl. where i got into food grade sst. good thing to take pics of projects i use them to get work all the time. you do great work i've been welding for 25 years and your work is impressive. as a boss it's about 1 in 20 with that skill level. very cool thanks. hoping to get my 17 year old into it i can tell he has the skills
Thank you, I definitely appreciate it.

I try to take pictures of everything I have made. Although that gets tough because some days at work I can have finished 5+ different jobs, and some days only 1.

There are quite a few food grade sst places around here, especially in the Marshfield/Wausau area. However, I've stayed away because most of them work you like a dog and have you travel every week. Even though the money is good, that travel would cut into my hobby time.

Definitely something good to get your son into if he likes it and has the passion. Without passion you might as well get him into a production shop for the money, turn and burn.

Can I ask where you worked and why you moved away?