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Yamaha XS650 – Holiday Customs


Posted on March 8th, by Scott in Bobber. 41 comments

Jared Johnson from Holiday Customs has certainly got his own distinctive look going on. This is the third generation of his curved, Schwinn inspired XS650. The first one he kept for himself, the second one was sold to Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys, and the third, which we are featuring today was recently built for The One Motorcycle Show. The first one took around three months to build, the second took two months and the third he was able to complete in one month, due to the pressure of finishing it in time for The One Motorcycle Show. Jared picked up the donor XS650 in his home town of Portland. “It wasn’t much” he says. “Just an engine and frame, but I had everything else around the shop.” So with only a month to have it finished, he got wrenching.

Like most builders, Jared wasn’t happy just to keep pumping out the exact same bike, he wanted to evolve this Schwinn style. “ I think we evolve with time wanting a different look with our motorcycles” he says. “With this one I decided to go with a faster thinner look, unlike it’s sisters which have a little more meat on them. No fork covers, high short pipes, and tucking the battery box and electrical in place of the starter motor. Same concept though, every line flowing smoothly.”

The bike is titled as a 1983 Yamaha XS650 but the engine is from a 78″. The engine was in great shape but Jared rebuilt the top end – as he always does.  The rear wheel is a stock 18″ while the front is a 21″ from Honda dirt bike . As usual, the bespoke brown seat was made by Ginger at New Church Moto – who is conveniently located next door to the Holiday Customs garage.

It may look like a silver paint job but it is all bare metal with clear coat. “All chrome was sanded down to give it more of a industrial aircraft look” says Jared. “One of the features on the bike that gets most people talking is the notch out of the pipe for the kickstart, It had to happen, I didn’t have the kickstart on the bike when I was building the highpipes, my bad. I matched the other side with internal back pressure baffle. I have burned a few tanks of gas through this bike and she’s running great, the louder pipes on this one give it a whole new feel.”

The rear brake is also one of Jared’s favorites, the aircraft cable running under a pulley which was designed around a problem area. Instead of trying to match grips to the seat color, this time Jared decided to use the left over fabric from the seat to match it perfectly.

Jared enjoyed the excitement and the pressure of having the One Show deadline looming over his head. He also found himself watching biker build off shows whenever he had any free time. “It kinda motivated me to pull long hours and get it done.” Jared was still working on the bike at 11pm the night before the show, but luckily finished in time to get a good nights sleep – his last for the next few days of partying at the show. “I left the show with a trophy and a big grin on my face”. It doesn’t get much better than that.

If you like what you see, the bike is currently for sale at Holiday Customs. Also, if you haven’t seen this video featuring Jared in his element, hit the jump now.





  • tomn

    I am amazed… But it looks like this seat will cause many troubles to someone… I know that customs are not meant to be most comfortable, but…

  • itsmefool

    Yeah, it’s gorgeous…so how’s it ride with that hardtail? Seems like you’d have to just lay down on top of it and hang on!

  • revdub

    I can stare at the frame alone for hours. Hands down my favorite XS bobber and one of my all time favorite bikes. There is just something special about it. Everything works together perfectly for me. The notched pipe is genius. Even so, I’ll take mine with one of the more raw tanks and the low slung pipes. Still, such an amazing bike. I’ll just say it, I’m a fan.

    • http://ridedualsport.com/ Manxman

      I got nothing to say, revdub. You said it all.

      • http://geokan.tumblr.com/ GeoKan

        Yup, I agree too, and I prefer the low slung pipes for mine also.

    • http://www.pipeburn.com Andrew@Pipeburn

      Ditto

  • Patrick

    slack jaw not much to say.

  • Aaron Richard

    i really love this bike but, your balls must get sore on that seat after a while ..

    • Grendel Medlord

      I know mine were after I got done riding your mo…. eh never mind.

  • taka-tz

    Great looking engine. The seating arrangement looks disfunctional though.

  • Grendel Medlord

    I like the overall bike a lot but more than anything I LOVE the exhaust! I love how the lines follow the curve of the engine case. I love that they hid the seams after welding all the little pie pieces together. And that, as the pipes changed color from the exhaust heat, the welding seams were revealed because they tempered differently than the stock metal!

  • John in Pollock

    My word… I an SO in love right now.

  • arnold

    Excellent presentation, especially the last picture. above average fit and finish. I do not believe, though , I would want to ride it much farther than up to the top of the auction ramp, and coast it back down to the lucky new owner. (not even the 10 miles to the local watering hole)

    • arnold

      Yes, a trophy worthy custom.ald

  • emeglasson

    I was fortunate enough to get to study this bike in detail at the One Show. It looks even more amazing in person. Jared is producing some incredible bikes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Stark/100003079960619 Tony Stark

    Looks like the lines were nicely thought out.

  • Lewn

    This bike looks amazing and has a beautiful simple symmetry which is highly admirable. Sadly it only looks good as some conceptual idea, like a movie prop and if you analyze what it might be like to ride, it is hideously dysfunctional on so many levels. It’s a bit like a fixie bicycle in this respect, saving on a few grams of weight and having a fashionable clean line at the expense of safety and functionality. But it is possible to make an equally beautiful bike with full functionality, but that is where the true master mechanics reside.

    • http://www.pipeburn.com Andrew@Pipeburn

      “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” – Matthew Henry

  • http://www.pipeburn.com Andrew@Pipeburn

    I [heart] Jared Johnson. Awesome.

  • http://www.pipeburn.com Andrew@Pipeburn

    Notice the notch taken out of the exhaust for the kickstart? That’s art that is…

  • baug

    awesome bike- except for the lack of decent brakes, lack of turn signals, lack of rear suspension, lack of fork brace, and hot exhaust dumping out on both shins- other than all that, its an awesome bike. Sure as hell wouldn’t want to drive this death trap though.

    • baug

      forgot to mention looks like a lack of an upper engine mount too.

    • http://ridedualsport.com/ Manxman

      To answer your objections, I’ll qoute Butch Cassidy: “Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you.”

    • http://www.pipeburn.com Andrew@Pipeburn

      Unless yr parents were grasshoppers, I’m not sure an exhaust set 12″ up and back from the foot pegs would dump on any part of your body at all…

      • holiday customs

        Hahahha, andrew ,your comeback was the best me and my buds have heard in a while, we have been laughing about it for day’s.We were wondering about that guy’s legs as well.

  • http://tinywarmachine.blogspot.com/ Nicholas W

    A bobber I like? Never thought that would happen. Bravo Holiday Customs.

  • Swagger

    Oh man…..I know this won’t go over well…..but it’s pretty. However I wouldn’t ever ride it. If you’ve ever ridden a well designed hard tail then you know that it flexes just a little under the stresses of road irregularities. This is not to imply that it’s ANYTHING comparable to actual rear suspension but you can tell it’s not 2×4 rigid. I haven’t ridden this or the previous two, but looking at it I imagine every miniscule pebble on the road surface will generate spine jarring impact forces directed…well….right at your spine.

    No thank you.

    As well, while the cutout in the exhaust is neato…..unless there’s a similar obstruction added to the other side, it’ll never tune out for anything other than idling (poorly) in front of the local coffee shop.Structurally the frame is pretty suspect as well, note the neck braces that…aren’t. Abbreviation to clear the tank is bot a good idea. A talented sheet metal artist could have modified the tank to snuggle down over them thus leaving some rigidity in the primary loop of the frame. Dollars to donuts that ‘bike’ wobbles like a hobby horse at anything over 20mph.

    Also note the rear frame stays that end bluntly at the rear of the tank, hopefully they’ve been welded to very strong tabs but somehow I doubt it. Remember all that force from the rear wheel ratcheting over bumps in the road? Doesn’t look like it’d last more than and hour (or 20 miles).

    I too saw this art exercise at the one show and got a good look up close and personal.

    Park it in your artful mancave or if you have a particularly indulgent lady your living room.

    Stand around it with your similarly arty pals and chat about who knew of what band first.
    It’s well suited for that.

    It is pretty.

    • Swagger

      ps: flame proof undies ready for action!

    • prostate exam

      you kinda have to see jared cruising around town all the time (looking stoked) on his to realize that it’s perfectly functional.

      • Swagger

        Haha….I’m sure i do, but with a screen nic like yours I’ll just take your word for it.

    • Holiday customs

      Every motorcycle is dangerous, If you want to be safe and comfortable buy a Volvo and meet us down at the coffee shop Dad.

      • http://ridedualsport.com/ Manxman

        Ditto!

      • Swagger

        That’s the best you have….junior? Pull up your skinny jeans and be a man you effing pansy. ;) If you can’t take honestly given criticism (and praise) then you’ve got far more to worry about than this.

        …but flame on superchunk!

        • Holiday customs

          Easy now… it’s only a motorcycle , were not trying to cure the worlds problems or anything. You ride what you want and I will do the same

    • Adam Santella

      forgive me if the article was edited after you mentioned it, but it says that he added an equal baffle to the left side pipe. That being said, I am 20 years old, a bit of a smart ass, and the less practical and comfortable a bike is the more I like it. I ran my 1970 CB350 with just header pipes for months after my muffler fell off. putting it back on just seemed too, how would I say it… tame. adjusted the carb a bit richer, new jets, prayed the valves wouldn’t burn up, and had more fun than I ever would have with the cans on. Right up until the day a header fell off doing (what my speedo said was) 100mph… she went down doing the ton! and got right back up a few months later after funding for a proper 2-1 exhaust came in. that being said… I did spend two hours looking for the damn thing on the side of the road.

  • Andreas G.

    Weeeell…you could also alter the shape of the kickstarter…

  • $52244477

    u got to love it!!!! ;)

  • james

    beautiful re creation, I want one

  • Hamish Lamont

    Another beautiful creation from Jared. His bikes have a style and level of artistry which at the very pinnacle of the custom building scene. Once again I LOVE the look, and once again Jared is getting panned for tipping the scales towards form over function. Jared commented that the last build that appeared on Pipeburn was more practical than many thought, and while he hasn’t as much as said so again, someone who creates a rideable motorcycle which is also rolling art shouldn’t need to justify himself to anyone. It’s compromised due to its intended function. So is a Ducati 916! Get over it.

  • TC

    Crazy simple.

  • Derrick

    I really like everything about it…