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1976 Yamaha XS360 – Bombshell Customs

Posted on February 21, 2012 by Scott in Bobber, Other. 32 comments

We love boredom. Boredom can drive a person to do some crazy things. Sometimes boredom can get you into trouble. Other times boredom can motivate you to create something unique, something out of the norm. That’s exactly what happened to Mike Busch, a 26 year old Hot Rod builder from Pennsylvania. His original passion is building Hot Rods, which he’s done for years, but he recently decided to do try his skills at building a bike. “I literally got bored one day” says Mike. “I searched Craigs List for cheap bikes with potential and came across this XS”. Mike is one of those guys who has always tinkered with things, even working at a motorcycle shop where he learnt a lot of the skills he used to build this bike. This is Mikes first custom build under his new shop called Bombshell Customs Cycles which is already gaining attention from around the world.

“After finishing up some other work I had at the shop” says Mike. “I ripped the bike apart. In a matter of hours it was down to the bare frame. That’s when all the ideas came. It almost ended up as a stretched rear with the dual shock setup but I wanted to do something different. Go hardtail but not typical. Instead of triangulating the tubes under the seat like most rigids, I ran them straight into the mid tubes. I think that’s where the whole look of the bike changes compared to other hardtail bikes. It was a pain in the ass trying to get the seat just how I wanted it. You can see I “pulled” the sides of the seat pans down and gave it some lines that match the lower frame gussets. The bike kind of has sectional focal points. I like that. It’s not overdone or too empty.”

“All of the electronics for the bike are neatly packed under the seat. As the bike was coming along, I took notice that it was becoming something I didn’t even picture. It was like a bobber fucked a cafe racer and gave birth to a boardtracker – or something like that. I didn’t want to go crazy with the front end by raking it out or dropping the forks. So I cut the neck, added about 8 degrees and re-welded. Also added some gusset plates around then neck for support and to clean up where the neck meets the downtube. I also gave the tank a 2” lift in the rear to dramatize the way the seat sits. I utilized as much as possible from the original bike. The only new parts I bought were a tail light from pep boys, a new headlight and throttle kit from Dime City Cycles, and bike pegs for the foot controls. Everything else, including the paint and pipe parts where laying around the shop. Believe it or not, those handlebars are from a 1950’s Columbia bicycle I found on the side of the road. As soon as I put them on, I knew they were staying.”

“I would say the things I am most stoked about on this bike is the laced paint, the pipes, and the overall look of the bike. It’s unlike most bikes, but it works. The paint was originally going to be basic and clean. Black frame and scalloped tank with a matching fender and headlight, or something like that. But the more the bike came together, I felt it needed something special. I remember seeing some old hot rods with the roof and hoods laced. I figured that would be perfect. In reality the paint was an experiment. That’s how I do a lot of my custom work. I wanted things like the lace and certain colors to be subtle while other things “popped”. After everything was painted, I came up with the idea of tinting the clear. I used a bit of black metallic, pewter metallic, and a touch of forest green metallic in the clear.”

“The pipes were something I have always wanted to do that way. I wanted “over one side, out the other”. It was a bitch working around the chain, but I managed. They are wrapped in DEI’s titanium 1″ wrap. The color was a perfect contrast to the bike colors. Plus like I said before, everyone one does the same shit. If I’m wrapping the pipes, they going to be different.”

The pipes weaving under the seat is a really neat idea – even though they do look precariously close to the chain. This may sound like a cliche, but if this is Mikes first build then we can’t wait to see the next bike that rolls out of Bombshell Customs garage – no pressure Mike.

Photography by Eric Sandroski

  • GuitarSlinger

    Hmmmn . Not bad for a first attempt . Not bad at all . A bit too squared off for my taste perhaps . But really … not bad ! Nice to see something other than a Harley getting a custom treatment as well . 

  • Carbon-arc

    Well, pipe wrap seems to suit this one.

  • Paddy

    The colour scheme is chaotic to say the least. Maybe the pics don’t do it justice. but the whole bike seems to be an exercise in “can I do it’, not “should I do it”. Oil pressure gauge on the side of the bike? Why?
    The skill is obviously there but the vision thing, not so much.

    • Assholewelder

      Im with you Paddy.
      The seat seems to have been put on the wrong way???   

      • Paddy

        A-hole, the seat seems drunkenly formed. The more I look, the more I “Hmmmmm”.

      • I think it’s designed to protect the most important part of his body.

      • I’m another with Paddy. A whole bunch of “Whys?” and “Huhs?” Most of this bike makes no sense. Why would the builder do what he did other than to say he did it. You can put just as much time and money into a project thats all wrong as one thats bitchin’ and well thought out.

        The builder definitely has skills and thats very commenable. But he needs someone with some experience looking over his shoulder during the design phase. A project manager of sorts.

    • rollhorse

      Are you even a Biker or a a builder? Do you even hear yourself? WOW..

      • Paddy

        who you talking at rollhorse?

  • Has a lot of cool 70’s style from the color right down to some things just not making much sense. But then 70’s aesthetics didn’t always make sense anyway, so you nailed it. Love how the lines follow the drop from the boxy tank down to the bottom of the boxy frame. Love it!

  • Paddy, the pictures have a lot of post production work from the photographer. From 10 or so feet, the bike simply looks gray and burgundy. 

    • Paddy

      That’s a shame because burgundy is my favourite colour and those photos don’t even hint at it.

  • Anton

    I love it, really great build! Been meaning to attempt something close to this for a while.
    Doesn’t appear to have anything to cushion the ride, definitely will feel the road in your ass.
    The color is out there but I like it. The fender, seat and tank match, and the rest has its purple thing. Almost like a racing stripe. Idk it’s just a “cool” bike.

  • Cliff Overton

    I am into it, it’s one of those well executed ‘one off’ creations that is not just another of a particular style. I would love to ride it to see how the seat feels.

  • Cballs01

    Good God.  Have you ever watched a motorcycle chain at speed, particularly when shifting from accelerating to engine braking?  They don’t stay still.  Say goodbye to that pipe wrap, eventually your pipes and ultimately your chain.  Please don’t sell that commercially; you’re liable to find yourself staring at a lawsuit.  And for anyone with a slight interest in performance…note the unequal pipe lengths.  It appears this builder should keep it to four wheels…

    • Anton

      If you look closer it looks like he has something on the pipe to keep the chain from ripping it apart, but good point on the pipe lengths

  • Switchum

    I personally like bikes that well-balanced.   Just like any other Japanese bobbers and choppers, which have strong tendency to get the top heavy feel, this one also got the same effect. I would like a smaller tank and shortened front fork to compensate the low rear end if I was building this bike. But again, this is not my bike and if the builder is happy about it, that is just fine and dandy. I hope to see next build solve the problem.

  • Hats off for something different. Simply doing what he wanted and not going with the norm. Isn’t that what custom is all about? I get sick of the same old stuff so this is a breath of fresh air in my opinion.

  • AlwaysOnTwo

    That IS different, from the base donor bike to the final custom.  I like different.  The comments would be non stop where ever it was parked.  But I’d get so bored with 360cc of whimpyness that it would be parked in the one place never to draw a crowd; the back of my garage.  I know, I know, not his intent or within the budget of a first attempt.  It seems I’m getting jaded at the seeming trend of puny-ass motored bikes, mopeds, and other slowmo metal being treated to tons of time and epoxy paint.  Not just here, everywhere and anywhere. I see these small motor’d customs and just want to throw them across the room.  Should I back off the ‘roid shots, or anyone else feeling it? 

    • Paddy

      I’m feeling it too but maybe not as intensely. And I’d like to repeat myself in saying that hardtails suck .  Another reason why it won’t get ridden. 

      • AlwaysOnTwo

        Yeah, even on a big bore and proper bobber with a springer seat, the ride gets old faster than the gas tank can go dry.  With a rigid seat sporting less padding than a training bra, it’ll  shorten the rider’s expectancy for breeding any offspring to a minimum before the chain starts singing against the pipes.

        Now that I know I’m not alone, I’ll go shoot up another ‘roid dose and watch my balls shrink so that it won’t matter if it has rear shocks or not. It worked for Ahrnoold.

        • Paddy

          Good one!

  • Kieron ST

    Thats fuckin’ sweet man!

  • rollhorse

    Awesome bike man.. couldn’t have done it better cant wait to see it in the horse..

  • Heywood

    Yuck.  Simply awful.  It’s a complete failure as a motorcycle unless the goal to create something even more useless than a hard tail chopper.

  • 1armedmotorider

    I like the the criticism of this bike. Doesn’t customizing mean building it the way you like it.  Unique, different. Nice work. Only thing totally wrong with it is its not in my garage

  • Adrian Balls

    Not entirely to my taste , but an interesting diversion from countless Brat and WrenchMonkee copies.

  • Davidabl2

    Lots of new ideas here. And comes as no surprise that they don’t all work. Sometimes new ideas just are
    that way. Makes me look forward to further efforts from this guy.

    While I don’t like to sound negative. I do hope that wandering exhaust pipes does not become the next big
    thing. As a practical matter on this set maybe there could be a hidden cross-over somewhere to nullify
    the effects of unequal  pipe lengths?

  • Cmartins


    • Mjsenz

      As I say to my second graders in my class, “Is your comment a contribution or a disruption?”. Take a note from a seven-year-old and make your criticism more constructive.

  • BWatts

    Love the creativity of this build!

  • butterbeancastro

    I hope at least part of the point of the custom work is to disrupt the normal design flow.  I like that it violates some of the rules and would like to see more discordant design attempts out there.