My XS chop [re]build thread.


XS650 Enthusiast
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Fresno, CA
Well, kinda got sidetracked from working on my bike, but managed to upload some pics of my progress and decided it was time for a build thread. I'm using the term 'build' loosely , as all of the hard work had been done by the PO when I bought the bike. I'm on a super-tight budget, and I'm still adapting to doing a build with a bare-minimum of tools and some sub-par equipment [I got spoiled all those years working at the fab-shop, and all my paint/striping stuff got stolen], so I'm not shooting for the stars on this one. Just trying to put together something fun that won't fall apart on me when I'm in the wind. Here it is how I picked it up:

David bird hardtail, PMA, Pamco, Mikunis's, Biltwell seat, upswept pipes with cocktail shakers, etc., etc. It wasn't too bad, but there were a couple things I wasn't really digging, and it started to run a bit rough, so I figured it was a good time to tear it down a bit and clean up/change some stuff.

First to go was the mids. They were possibly the worst bit on the whole bike. Apparently an afterthought, they used MX pegs welded to perches that only used one bolt to fix them to the exhaust mount. Anyone see a problem here? On one of my first rides, the whole thing folded backwards, pitching my leg and the peg back onto the road. I almost wrecked, so I figured it was time to get rid of that shit. Took a piece of flat stock out of the scrap bin, and drilled holes to mount it using BOTH holes in the exhaust mount. Then I cut, filed and sanded them to shape.

Finally, I broke out the torch and put a couple bends into it. Going to be using there knock-off Anderson pegs, and no, the 400 washers won't be staying.

Next, I moved on to the fender and strut. Apparently, the PO had originally run a longer fender, but kept busting out the bolt holes due to vibration. His solution was to cut down the fender and add a big, one point mount to it that I thought was kinda fugly, so I thought through my options. Being pretty broke, I decided to use the leftover chunk of fender [which was actually longer], and make up a sissy bar out of some 1/2" round stock. I welded up the holes in the fender and made a flat mount for the front which will connect to a pair of rubber-isolated tabs I got from Bungking [which is also where I got the bungs for the sissy]. This is what I started with:

Heres a comparison of my front bracket with what was on there:

Here's the fender after I got the bracket welded on. The paint was just me playing around with some goldleaf to see how it would look. The fender and tank will probably get something similar on the repaint.

Here it is all cleaned up and primed:


I welded everything up with a little Lincoln Mig that I can't get to feed well to save my life [I almost resorted to stick welding the whole thing:eek:]. The welds weren't pretty, but I managed to get decent penetration, so they should hold up fine. The old struts were made out of flat strap, and weren't connected, which made the whole thing pretty flexible. I think this was the cause of all the cracking. I made a tab for the taillight I picked up on ebay, and then set to smoothing everything out.

Threw on a coat of black paint and called it good.

I don't have any pics yet, but I pulled the pipes and spent a few hours filing and sanding everything smooth before they got a coat of VHT header paint. Thats about where Im at right now. This isn't goint to be an in depth rebuild, and I'm not pretending this will be a show bike, so my plans are fairly humble. I'm going to smooth up some welds, make up a box to hide the electrical, get it back together and call it good. The PO gave me the paint he had leftover, so as soon as I sort out my moisture issues [need a shorter air hose and some dessicant for my cheapo dryer]
I had that same tail light. I'll give you the warning I wish someone had given me. Do not mount it anywhere that vibrates. The case is plastic, not metal and WILL shatter while driving when you hit a bump lol
Bike is looking good spent. I'm liking your sissy bar you made up.That should hold that fender well. The PO's mids were pretty scary man!One Bolt?
Thanks, guys. I was pleased with the way the sissy turned out. I haven't built one in ages, and I'm used to having a fully equipped shop to work in, but it turned out pretty decent.

Thanks for the heads up on the light. I could have sworn it was a metal housing, but I'll have to take another look at it. It wouldn't surprise me if it was plastic; you get what you pay for.