Bringing you the world's best cafe racers, trackers, scramblers, bobbers & custom motorcycles.

Yamaha XS650 – Holiday Customs

Posted on March 5, 2012 by Scott in Bobber. 42 comments

One of the most common donor bikes these days is the very versatile Yamaha XS650. In the right hands it can be turned into a number of very cool genres. One of the most common forms that grace these pages is the bobber. So when we received these photos from Jared at Holiday Customs of his latest creation we were genuinely excited about his interpretation. Sure, it’s not too far away from his last bobber which he happened to like so much he couldn’t part with it. “I always end up building bikes I want to keep,” says Jared. “I wanted to make another schwinn inspired motorcycle after getting a nice response from the original XS from a year ago.” Like a lot of personal projects by builders they often start off strong but then customers with their paying jobs take precidence  – usually resulting in their own bikes taking a lot longer to finish than originally planned. “I think it worked out well because it gave me more creative time instead of rushing the build” he says.

The handmade exhaust is one of the most eye-catching features of the bike, and it looks like he’s made this one a little more practical than the last. “The exhaust was probably the most labor intensive. Sliced the tube metal, pie cuts, opened it up and filled in the gap’s with sheet metal. Probably 6 hours on each bell bottom.” When it comes to being handmade, it doesn’t stop at the exhaust. Actually nearly every part of the bike was custome made by Jared. “I would rather make something out of nothing before buying a bolt on part” he says. Jared made the battery rectifier/regulator box, handlebars, fork covers, hard tail, kickstand, lic bracket, headlight mount, front brake stop and the seat – Ginger at New Church Moto did a fine job upholstering the seat with black diamonds and brown thread.

The engine is stock but has been completely rebuilt and Jared says it “runs amazing”. He also tucked the coils up inside the tank tunnel for a nice clean minimal look. The front wheel is a 21” dirt bike wheel with a drum brake that Jared had to modify to fit on the XS forks. “I got the bike done and on the road last summer and then it sat. I started noticing the clear coat started to yellow and would chip very easy so I tore the bike down to the frame, stripped it and re-cleared the frame with a different product.”

Because Jared had to build the bike up again, he thought it would be cool to do a time lapse video of the whole process. You can check out the video here, you’ll also hear the beautiful bark from the old 650cc parallel twin. Jared has decided to sell this unique XS, so if you’re in the market for a one off custom bobber that has been completely hand built then contact Holiday Customs via their blog.

Photographs by Neil Dacosta

  • What a work of art!

    This bike has such a great flow and symmetry, there’s nothing I would alter in any way shape or form.

    Well done Jared.



  • Briton Bees

    it is rare indeed to see this platform (XS650) executed with sure grace ,restraint and classic lines. One of my favorites so far. And Damn those pipes are so sweet. Excellent work !

  • GuitarSlinger

    I dunno . On one hand I kind of like it . On another there’s something a tad out of balance with it and the mechanicals look unfinished . Feels like an attempt at a Shinya style bike , with neither the craftsmanship or the eye just yet of the great master . Damn close mind you …… but not quite there yet . Maybe a bike or two more will refine this builders abilities as well as lead him to a style of his own . 

    I’d give this a 6 out of 10 . e.g . damn good …… but not great .

    • I can see how it has a little “Zero” influence, but if a builder is going to have an influence, that’s a good one to have. Besides, it’s common in any form of art to emulate a master before developing one’s own style. Trust me, I’m an art history teacher 🙂

    • I don’t see a relation to shinya’s style here. It’s something new in my mind.

    • Ryan

      @562f90b7126b9527e53e8ffca8bf9430:disqus “6 out of 10” wow… harsh. Talk is cheap.

  • motoTrooper

    Nice lines, the exhaust grew on me and gives it an art deco type of vibe in conjunction with the rest of the details.  Job well done.

  • Sherpatp

    im modifinn my enfield…thanx fo tips

  • DougDevine

    This bike has style all it’s own and beautiful without all the flash and glitz. Timeless lines and style…

  • AlwaysOnTwo

    It’s got a distinctive style, though timeless just might be over stating things.

    I truly agree with is his outlook to make a part before clamping on something out of a catalog.  Or by having someone else do the real work and then bolting the results together and calling himself a builder… like more than one brand often featured.

    Gotta luv the fabrication talent.

  • Very cool. Love the swoopy lines, and I’m not a swoopy line kind of guy. Pipe ends remind me of a watering can. lol I also like the fact that the builder states he’d rather build a part than buy it. I like that.

  • Traviscgardner

    Holiday does it again! Amazing bike!

  • revdub

    Yes, please. I want one!

  • Oddmartini

    Thank you for the lesson, Sensei. Wabi Sabi.

  • vachequipis

    It looks great and if I had the money I would have it displayed in my living room. I just don’t think I could ride it! The riding position looks wrong to me, but hey it wasn’t built for me! This guy has obviously got talent. Keep up the good work.

  • I love it, it looks amazing, maintains its look with the rider on it, sounds sweet. Great build, love the symmetry and arcs. Great bike.

  • T Brave

    Old. Seen it on Return of the Cafe Racers already. You guys ought to communicate better!

    • Lincoln Black

      Do you stop looking at porn because you’ve already seen one naked woman? 😛

    • Yeah, I did notice that but I had already loaded up the pics and story when I saw it. Judging by the comments not everyone had seen it though. 

      • Derek

        A great piece of art and function! He is one to keep an eye on for future builds. And for the record, I see lots of bikes, I hadn’t seen this one before. Sometimes it’s easy to miss even the great ones. Thanks for the posting Scott!

        • Stan

          Honestly i struggle to see the art or the function

  • redrumracer

    i loved the first one and i love this one even more. the flow on this bike is just phenomenal IMO. everything meshes together perfectly and the lines that result are pure sex. great work Jared…

    …….keen eyes will spot a previous incarnation of the seat in the bottom shot

    • Holidaycustoms

      Hey , nice eyes. Yep that pic was of the older seat, had to go back to the same spot to try to trick you’s guy’s hehe. – Holiday

  • Jed

    Real nice.

  • Mgmue mgmu

    Only thing I dont like about it is the seat.  Looks like a ball crusher.  Apart from that, nice lines.  It’s a beauty.

  • David

    Muffler looks like a 70’s bell bottom. 

  • Bigmattie

    Damn that is one cool ride, thats how to build a custom, none of this bolt on RS catalogue cr#p. Got a question, how/why do the pipes change colour three times on the headers? is that some kind of treatment or just the heat discolouration happening neatly at the welds? Such a nice subtle detail if it is intentional.

  • I would kill for one of these bikes!

    •  Well, if you kill the builder, you get the bike AND get to say it was the last one made!

      • Sounds like you gotta plan, Tony! You’re in? 😉 There are at least two bikes.

      • Holidaycustoms

        We have a bb gun range in the shop so we can put up a fight if we have to

        •  I hope none of you boys turn up missing now. There’s a paper trail…

  • PGearbox

    Love the natural bare look of the bike with the flowing exhaust giving it a real flow to finish. Both bikes are great.

  • PGearbox

    What is the treatment on the tank?

  • Davidabl2

    A real work of art..but I do wish the donor had been a BSA, so the engine/trans would have more organic lines
    To match the lines of the rest of the bike.. I’m thinking of the curves on the BSA valve covers and engine cases
    In particular.

    • Davidabl2

      While we’ve seen plenty of flatrrack and Boardtrack- inspired bikes of late, this is the first Speedway- inspired
      Bike I can recall having seen.

    • idomyownstunts

      I second that, good idea.

  • JoCo

    Great Work. Love it.

  • idomyownstunts

    The schwinn styling is a major personal fav.

    The pipes are a work of art, but having them so low, blocks
    all the daylight from under the bike and steals ground clearance. Makes it look
    heavy or for-straight-lines-only rather than swervey-fun-light-as-a-bicycle
    (which it could easily be). Just sorta feels like a mis-match. While there’s a
    minimalist/effect on top with the small diameter tubing + big air gaps = sense
    of feather weight & bicycle likeness…. But down low it will scrape pegs
    or crush those one-off pipes if there is a bump in the turn. Yet, it doesn’t
    seem right to criticize the pipes when they match the frame arc so perfectly…
    I got it, align the bottom of the pipe with the frame (rather than the top). That
    way its above the frame not under it. The end shape would also likely need to
    change, but that’s not impossible to figure out.

    Visually, it would shed 50lbs and add 15+ mph to cornering
    speed – yes?

  • Great Job! they look so simple and I love the sweeping wide exhaust!

  • Richard Brandt

    Think this may be the most beautiful thing I’ve seen on pipeburn yet. I would ride the shit out of that thing, comfortable or no.