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Busch & Busch’s ‘79 Yamaha XS650 – “The Ridgit”

Posted on March 16, 2013 by Andrew in Bobber. 29 comments

For many of us, families are like French truffles. They cost you all your cash, they are hard to find when you need them, and they are a very acquired taste. But for a lucky few, they turn out to be friends, inspiration, and trustworthy business partners all in one. The kind of relationship most bike builders who find themselves going it alone could only dream about. But for Danny and Lance Busch of Busch & Busch in Reno, Nevada, it’s an everyday reality. Since dreaming up the idea of a custom shop in High School and even printing t-shirts for it in art class, they’ve progressed to, well, to what you see here. Because what I see here is one of my all-time favourite XS’s. And that’s no Busch.

Here’s Danny. “I got this bike as a total pile, basically because it had clean papers. We started chopping it up on Christmas Eve, 2009. It took about three years, in between other projects and interstate moves, to get it to this ‘almost done’ state. Shinya Kimura is my number one bike hero, and that will be obvious to anyone even slightly familiar with his amazing style. This bike is a humble tribute to him, but also influenced a bit by vintage sports cars, art deco and Lance’s iron will.”


 “Shinya Kimura is my number one bike hero”


“We kept only enough of the frame to give us the stock motor mounts, and the neck, but the rest is ours. We made just about everything on the bike, and the stuff that we didn’t make had to be modified. Harley wires, DNA springer, 5.00X16’s, SR caliper on a shaved down HD rotor. I rebuilt the motor, which was actually pretty clean considering how it looked on the outside. I probably could’ve gotten away with some Marvel Mystery Oil and just fired it up. Just kidding.”

“I put some Mikuni round slides on because the original carbs were stripped, and I switched to a PMA kit because the stock charging system’s gremlins finally wore me out. It runs a lot better now. We ditched the starter and put a small battery where it used to go.

The seat and grips are leather, tooled and stitched by hand, on my own seat pan. Lance made the pipes and gas tank, and did a killer job on both. He did the paint in our garage, tented up like E.T. The paint looks like melted raspberries in the sun. I smile every time I see it. He also did the headlight and mount. My favorite part on the bike is the rear fender, because I learned so much while making it. Everything we do is a lesson for us, and I was very pleased at how it came out.”

“All the machined aluminum on the bike was done by us. I really dig the oil filter cover, which holds a tiny bit more oil than the stock one, with cooling fins as well. I also put our logo on the alternator cover, which took several days of machining work on my little mill.”

“Now that the bike is on the road, I’m very happy with it. It is the first bike I have ridden that actually fits me. I think we may have gotten a bit lucky, but ergonomically, I fit it like a glove. Lance always says that every picture he has taken of me riding it, I am grinning like an idiot. This is a clear indication that we definitely got this one right!

Big thanks to Lance for all his help on the bike, it really was a 50/50 effort. And thanks to him for the killer photo work as well!”

  • Ronald van Mil

    Nice one! I have one rusting in the shed.

  • arnold

    I can’t say that I am well traveled anymore, or even well informed, but there are many elements here that are unique to the Buschs. Headlight, frame style, forks, and tank catch my eye. Looking at their site, the variety astounds me. Well done Busch and Busch. Unique eye catchers.ald

    • arnold

      Rear fender, beautiful looking and in the right place going forward. 2 to 3 .as much as 6 inches more over the tire would be better, in my opinion , to reduce tire spray and better show your fine rear light.

  • Jacob Speis

    I absolutely loved this bike ever since I saw it a few months back on The Shinya tribute aspect of the build is very evident, as are the additional Japanese custom elements, but the finished product remains decidedly unique. The build especially noteworthy, given how saturated the XS custom community has become in the last decade, it’s very hard to build something that not only really stands out from the rest, but looks great doing so. On a side note, I’m really glad the mid controls were kept, as one aspect of Shinya builds I can never reconcile is how uncomfortable the riding position looks with the combination of forward controls and low-rise bars he usually uses.

    • Davidabl2

      Having met Mr. Kimura briefly once or twice I have the impression that he’s just about my own height 5′ 5 1/2″ but probably longer in the inseam than my 29″ His controls/bars combination probably make less sense for people who are sized differently.

  • Davidabl2

    btw, the 2 photos on the Bros. Busch site show the “Samurai” spirit of the bike more than the ones chosen by Pburn.

  • This hardtail looks just right! I really like the oil filter and alternator covers. Where did the tank come from? Nice change from the normal peanut or mustang tank. The rubber fits the style and stance of the bike. I wouldn’t change a thing.

    • Danny Busch

      The tank was made by Lance. He used to have a TY175, and one day we were playing around and I put the TY tank on my frame (he’ll tell you that HE put the tank on, but anyway) and it blew our minds! But when we got another tank on ebay it was totally full of holes, and I wanted a bigger tunnel so that I could put all my electricals under it. So he just got out the flat sheet and started pounding…

      • Props for building your own tank!

  • Danny Busch

    Thanks, guys, for the nice comments! They really stoked me and Lance. The thoughts on the forward controls caught my eye, since I originally wanted to do forward controls. However, I’m 6’4″, and forward controls looked awkward and felt awkward for my size. I think the difference is that on Harleys, esp. the big twins with a separate transmission, you have a much longer drivetrain than with the XS’s parallel twin, so it puts the rider further back on the frame. In the end, I’m glad we went with the mids (and not the rearsets that Lance was pushing for, lol) because it really works with my height, even though I may look a bit big for it 🙂

    • Jacob Speis

      As a 6’2 dude with a small displacement Yamaha myself, I can certainly understand that all too well haha. Great work on the bike looking forward to seeing more builds from you guys.

  • Lewn

    I really appreciate the style of these guy’s work, their bikes just ooze their own style aesthetic.

  • It’s the headlight that really does it for me. That and the tank.

    • nathas909

      The headlight is such a small detail, but so effective. i love it…

  • Hodge

    Love the stance and rake. I like the fact that it doesn’t look like you made this thing for a show or a museum. I also like the less than perfect welds. Humans made it, not a machine, would love to go for a ride on it. Thanks for the pics and post!
    Cheers and beers!

  • Yup, that's one of these perfect bikes!

  • barney

    Good looking bike indeed. Couldn’t ride here though….the roads are pothole city.

  • Nice bike. I’m curious what you (or anyone who’d like to jump in) considers an art deco influence?

    • Danny Busch

      Art Deco is a term that gets thrown around a lot, and abused a lot, so I get where you’re coming from. Overall, I wanted a bike that roughly looked like it came from that era, which I understand to be between the two world wars. The flowing lines, the headlight, the exhaust shield, I would argue those are very Deco. It is also the term that many people who’ve talked to me about my bike have used. But I’m just an craftsman, not an art history major, so if I’m mistaken, it’s not on purpose 😉

      • I getcha. An influence doesn’t have to be a literal translation. I actually am an art history so I was just curious.

        • Danny Busch

          No worries, and I certainly wasn’t making a dig at art history students, just pointing out that I’m not as versed in art as I am in machining metal or in grindhouse movies, lol. I was talking with Lance, and he pointed out that any art deco influence came more from the architectural style of deco, than deco art. But in all fairness, streamline modern probably would be a more technically accurate art designation, we think 🙂

          • I think the last pic captures the spirit of this bike better than the others.

        • history=historian

    • arnold
      • arnold

        Good taste? yes.

  • taka-tz

    Looks like it would be a Harley, when it grows up.

  • Motoshag

    Great job guys!

  • It’s all in the details. This is a great-looking bike. I’m sure it looks even better in person, out in that bright sun.

  • tich

    cool headlight