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Yamaha XVS650 Dragster


Posted on March 4, 2015 by Scott in Racer. 65 comments

Written by Marlon Slack.

Made Men is a small Danish workshop that specializes in slammed and chopped bastard motorcycles. Their talents are not limited to bikes either – their website features a few early production Volkswagen Beetles dropped on the deck, a brace of BMX cruisers and a matte GMC van marked ‘Kidnapper’ with ‘free candy and stuff inside’ emblazoned on the rear. But their motorcycles are of the most interest to me – they’ve produced a few tidy CB750’s and CX500s but their best work is with their mid-life-crisis-on-a-budget specials like the Honda VLX and Suzuki Intruder. All are distinctive, blacked out and mean looking – and none as striking as this 1997 Yamaha XVS650 Dragster.

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The XVS is interesting choice for a build as it’s a capable bike but nothing particularly special. It’s reliable, forgiving for new riders to bang through the gearbox on and looks enough like a Softail to appease people who are into that kind of thing. Years ago I borrowed one from a friend and I quickly found out the Dragster weighed about the same as a fully laden ox cart and, thanks to its eight ton of chrome-plated steel, hurtled down the road about as quickly. But that’s what makes this particular build interesting – it’s an unusual starting point for a custom bike. But there’s a reason why they put all this effort into a Yamaharley and not something like an old knucklehead – budget.

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“Which bike we build depends very much on what we can afford, but never compromise the quality of the finished result,” the guys from Made Men say. “We are of the opinion that anyone can build a super cool custom bike if the budget is big enough, but not everybody can turn scrap to sought after custom bikes with small means.” And their humble origins are a point of pride with the crew – “We love to be able to prove that it does not require a professional shop with a shitload of expensive tools, but you can build a custom bike just as well if not better with a welding machine, grinder, good ideas and diligent hands.”

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And there’s certainly been a few diligent hands around this XVS650. Around 80% of the frame has been modified – changing it from dual to single backbone and converting the Softail-esque rear suspension to a hard tail. The seat was made in-house and the oil tank isn’t an oil tank at all – it’s where the electrics are stored. The front end has been swapped for a Springer assembly from Three Two Choppers, the standard carburettor switched out for a 40mm Mikuni and it now sports a ‘pancake’ air filter. One of my favourite features on the bike – the fuel tank – is from a one of the disastrous 125cc AMF Harley Davidson ‘Rapidos’ which has found a new lease of life as a feature on this stretched out Yamaharley, still sporting its original livery but with its moniker struck through.

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Set up as a drag bike I have to wonder what times it would run on the quarter mile. Despite this that fat 15” Goodyear Eagle rear looks gorgeous and my ears are bleeding at the mere sight of the brass-tipped short exhausts that sit just proud of the fairing. As far as road use? It’s got no indicators or headlight, and having the world’s smallest drum brake in the middle of that 21” front I can’t imagine it stopping well. But I love it.

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My favourite thing about this bike – aside from the use of a British-style racing fairing and its repurposed fuel tank –is that it’s been built around a largely ignored Yamaha learner bike. I’ve got thousands of photos of modified motorcycles on my computer and this is the first and only one of the Yamaha Dragster. Made Men state “We put all our passion in every bike we’re doing.” And while I can imagine grabbing that front brake with all my passion as I hurtle towards a fast-approaching corner I can’t think a cooler looking bike to be doing it on.








  • Junior Burrell

    I dig it!!

    • revdub

      Me too. I really like those pipes through the fairing.

  • AWLongmeyer

    Why don’t they just call this “Pedophile” to go along with their oh so humorous van?
    Morons.
    Disappointing that Pipeburn should portray these people as cool and include that information.

    • Jonh Doe

      Just read some of your other comments on bikes shown here on Pipeburn, damn you are a angry man 🙂 Relax and smile once in a while, it`s just a van and a bike 🙂

      • AWLongmeyer

        No, JD, I’m not a summarily angry man.
        I’ve just been too far down the road to put up with the kind of shit people think is funny these days.
        You turn your back on casual references like that van and sooner or later it just becomes part of daily life for you.

        Please do explain what is so amusing about a van emblazoned with those words?

        • Jonh Doe

          Damn! if you are so angry and offended by someone writes “kidnapper” on an old Astro Van, then you should never go to a stand-up show, you will be surprised what they joke about. Ease up, it´s STILL just a van, no one is getting raped 🙂

          • MF

            No they’re not, but if they did we could make a cracking joke about it, couldn’t we?!?! It’s horrendous taste, not funny in the least, and worthy of being put to ridicule.

    • John Wanninger

      Glass half empty this morning?

    • Marlon

      I bet you’re fun at parties.

      • AWLongmeyer

        I’ve partied harder than you’ve ever thought of sonny.
        Back when it was legal! 😉

        But you guys think referencing luring children is in ANY form amusing?
        Perhaps you need to visit with someone whose family was negatively affected by a pedophile.
        Go…tell some parent who’s lost a child what you think is funny.

        • Jonh Doe

          WOW! Waving the pedophile card, cause some writting on a old Astro Van! Really?? You must be in a shitty place in your life with all that anger and bad arguments. Sit down, count to 10 and ease the fuck up buddy.

          • Pedophilia annoys some people. Especially those with a grasp of reality. If you think that’s an acceptable practice, please stay the fuck out of my city. We’ve lost enough kids already.

          • Jonh Doe

            Well pedophilia annoys also the fuck out of me and must not be tolerated, give me a sharp instrument and a pedophile and I will happily cut off his balls. Regarding a grasp of reality, ease up about all this with pedophileis, it`s not the discussion topic here, we’re talking about an old black Astro Van that has “kidnapper” & “fun stuff” graffiti on the fender, nothing about kids!!… So this picture will also offend you?

          • AWLongmeyer

            “Nothing about kids” !?
            If you think all the “fun” business emblazoned on an Astro van references mature adults only you are wicked in denial.
            Grow up.

          • Jonh Doe

            Yup, I need to grow up, and maybe in the meantime you could report the Van to the police and to http://www.nsopw.gov

          • AWLongmeyer

            And explain how you find that amusing please.
            Where is the humor?

          • i don’t care

            it’s amusing because it get’s people like you to boil in record time. Mission accomplished i guess.

          • AWLongmeyer

            naah…I’m cool.
            Let’s see, I think I’ll use a Lazy Ike next time.
            Or spoons and squid.
            ;p

          • Jonh Doe

            Okay, we are far from unanimous, and has not the same sense of humor, I see nothing reprehensible in some graffiti on the side of a Astro Van and my opinion is that it`s sheer fun and games and I really do not see that it may offend someone ,and you are strongly distance to it and refers it into clean pedophilia, which I think is nonsense, but you are entitled to your opinion and I to my

          • Marlon

            Hey AWL – honestly, I see the humor not in the abhorrent acts that you’re claiming but it’s in the vehicle itself. The writing is taking the mickey out of what the vehicle – all matte black, tinted windows etc – looks to be.

    • good post, appalling that this should be condoned

      • Jonh Doe

        Appalling?? IT´S GRAFITTI ON A ASTRO VAN SAYING “KIDNAPPER”! Fuck it, I give up

        • AWLongmeyer

          Don’t editorialize. It says “Kidnapper” and “free candy and stuff inside”.
          Answer up; what do you suppose that is in reference to?
          Senior citizens?
          Let’s take age out of it.
          WHAT is so amusing about kidnapping?
          Read what rattyxjr posted.
          Would you mind if your daughter got in to that Astro van?

    • David Gustavsson

      Longmeyer… what the fuck?
      Get that broom out your ass immediately.
      And quit trying to understand the Danish sense of humor, if you dont get it, move along. Read a hagar strip or something.
      These guys built a cool but useless slow ass dragbike, maybe if they slapped on a turbo and nitrous system it would have any justification!

      • AWLongmeyer

        “Danish sense of humor.”?
        Relative to this offense that is the most inane statement I’ve read yet.

        I think what you’re referring to is a FEW Danes perception of what represents to them a sociopathic, bad ass biker pose.
        I can imagine these guys acting like Beavis & Butthead now: “Heh…heh, heh…heh..you said “Kidnapper”! You’re such a badass…heh, heh!”

        • David Gustavsson

          How old are you if i may ask?
          My guess is you’re 50-60 something, and pretty much feel disdain over everything the least immature and youthful in expression.
          I’m sorry that times flew you by and left you bitter and angry, mostly because I’m headed that way myself i think..
          But i still think beavis and butthead are awesome in their own retarded way, and much of this humor is just a way of dealing with how fucked we let our society become, at least it is for me.
          I dont know about you but pedophile jokes annoy me a hell of a lot less than say, public executions, the very real threat of all out world war, greedy capitalist motherfuckers, you name it.
          but you go on, get all mad about a fucking joke about a dodgy looking van.

          • Blake Proudfoot

            I’m 30, it’s still idiotic.

          • David Gustavsson

            You’re a hobbit, your words dont count, or maybe half of them.
            Like this:

            Dildo Proudfoot
            – I’m idiotic

            You guys are as easily offended as the radicals trying to shut the sane (if somewhat imbecile) good natured people of earth up.
            We won’t have it. I say what the fuck i want. So does these danish wankers.
            You have the right to express your sincere feelings of deep butthurt,
            We have the right to pull stupid fucking pedophile jokes.
            You cant do shit about it.
            Live with it.

          • arnold

            Just because you can say it, doesn’t mean you should.

          • Blake Proudfoot

            Well, I guess you just confirmed the type of person you are. Well done haha. Real class act.

          • David Gustavsson

            Oh well i think all the bad language will be edited away soon.
            Im just very happy i dont know you dry as fuck officers of political correctness personally.
            it would dry out my juicy mangina permanently!

          • Blake Proudfoot

            A self proclaimed badass. Your so cool, man I wish I could swear and go on incoherent rants. I hear that’s what makes you a real man.

            I guess I’ll just be a lame half hobbit and settle for being an asset to society instead.

          • David Gustavsson

            You do that sir.
            The world could do with more people who act correctly and do what they’re told.

    • I have 2 daughters and I would prefer a van driving around with that said that on the side because I know a real pedo wouldn’t drive a van that said that. But your point is taken. Let’s get back to what we are all here for… Motorcycles!

      • am sure you are right but you don’t know

  • Kevin

    I think you have some room on your fingers for some more tattoos

  • Lemmy

    This is awesome. Those 3-2 front ends are so nice.

    Isn’t the XVS650 a Dragstar, though, not a Dragster?

    • Marlon

      Well, yes. But this is trying to be a dragster – so I thought it would be funny to rename it. (Did you believe that?)

      • Lemmy

        Sounds plausible to me!

        • Marlon

          Right, lets run with that and pretend it never happened.

      • guvnor67

        Is funny Senor, reading the above. Take the Harley Fat Boy, named after Fat Man & Little Boy, the nukes dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki, because Harley D were havin their bottoms spanked by the Japanese cruiser bike invasion n cracked the shitss!! I kno pedos are sick Pricks & deserve nasty painful deaths, but nuking hundreds of thousands of civilians isn’t exactly nice, or celebrating it by naming a big ugly heavy bike after the 2 WOMD. OK, I’ll breathe now!!! Kool bike btw!!!

        • Blake Proudfoot

          That’s never been confirmed, and even if it was true, what’s your argument? If it is, both are examples of stupidity.

          • guvnor67

            Exactly sir!! That’s just it, just stupidity. Or simply bad taste, humour that not everyone gets, or likes. 🙂 At the end of the day, Pipeburn has featured a cracking little bike that, has probably got a lot of people goin to Made Men’s site for a look.

          • Blake Proudfoot

            True. I personally don’t equivocate bad taste to something particularly humorous. I didn’t mean stupidity as in a goofy slapstick form of humor. I meant stupidity as ignorance. For the record, the bike isn’t exactly practical, but I do quite like it and would be undoubtedly fun to have a go on it.

          • guvnor67

            Agreed!!! That front brake would have u turning religious pretty quick!!! As you would probably agree, a lot of customs or even stock bikes aren’t particularly practical but its good that people push the envolope, Express themselves and keep motorcycling abuzz with fresh and clever ideas!!!!

  • whytaylorwhy

    That is wild looking. Always like to see a shop have fun and get creative with a sort of “diamond in the rough” kinda bike. even better if it brings some angry trolls out

  • Harrison Fiddis

    Anybody know what kind of fairing that is?

    • blackbird

      Right! i really love it as a design element also. With the pipes pushing through….soooo nice!

      • Fred

        The van is really off! Extremely bad taste. Anybody who can write that stuff on a van does not deserve any promotion. And pipeburn shows a complete lack of proper understanding. Pipeburn should apologise for the article. Fred.

        • Bonnie Boy

          I don’t see any astro van in any of these pictures .
          But I do see an awesome looking Dragster..
          Love the tank ( I thought it was off an MZ ts 150 at 1st look )
          And that fairing is cool too .dare to be different I say .
          Fuck the astro van where ever it is lurking ….

          • Fred

            I see the van in the pipeburn article. Does pipeburn think this van thing is ok? I see a bike builder who apparently thinks it ok. Hard to respect either party. Pipeburn could help those affended to apologise. How about it guys? Fred.

          • Darkbrador

            Freedom of speech, Fred. You have the right to dislike the content of a post, or even feel legitimately offended, but that doesn’t mean the website or editor should apologize. Remember Charlie …
            Worst case, you are offended, you boycott this site.

          • my post saying quality of harleys is crap gets deleted but subliminal pedophilia is allowed, the power of corporate sponsorship stifling free speech, guess this post won’t last long?

          • arnold

            And still you remain a modern marvel.

          • arnold
        • Fred

          Thank you. Then I shall ask all known contacts . Sponsors . And others . To boycott pipeburn. It would be interesting to know if pipeburn would take down a comment similar to theirs. Still I don’t hear any editorial comments. The power of the Internet verses the normal media here in Australia. Which govt agency do l lodge a formal complaint? Fred.

    • arnold

      These guys carry something similar. http://www.airtech-streamlining.com/ I’ve been looking for quite some time for a fairing of this style for a 441 project I’ve been playing around with. I give the usual excuse. cost prohibitive at the moment.

      • Blake Proudfoot

        Amen to that. Junior does fine, fine work.

  • R_Melaun

    In another vein, I am pretty sure Volkswagen made Beetles, not The Fab Four machines.

    • Marlon

      You’re quite right. I’ll Ringo up Scott and get him to change it. Getting it right will Please Please Me.

  • matt orrr

    Well this escalated quickly. 0.o
    I like the bike and you could put flat LED bar end signals in and a headlight pretty quick to get legal. Plus a japanese bike can make such small gas reserves last a bit, my hi perf 1000cc ironhead would slam drink that tankfull like it were a shot glass full. Looks good there too. Plus its a relief nowadays to see and be around the non OCC/ West Coast flash a ramma. ( that bs is over…ammirite? I’m right, right? Please?) I relate to the make do not do rag ethos it shines a bit more clearly. For the record none of my vehicles have “trigger” words and I keep my hands to myself.that last bit sounds odd when i read that. Cheers.

  • Steve Bolin

    Dude, props. Nice bike. But…. Altho bold and sexy, it’s a cafe racer with no rear suspension, marginal front suspension, and drum brakes. Hey tho, none of that matters cause it’s your creation and is everything you want it to be. I would soo rock that bike. You killed it.

  • and forgot to say the bike is just another all show and no go, this is proper DIY drag racing, ride wot ya brung at santa pod, mine is the white one, only lost to a bored out blackbird last time

    will be back in a couple of months, leaner and meaner lol, come along and bring it on

  • Steve Mox

    I refuse to weigh in on the “van issue”, however…
    This is the second cruiser I’ve seen with a road race fairing and I really dig the style. I like the fact this bike was built using what was available/affordable at the time, and the finish/presentation is sublime. I’m hoping that the next wave of custom motorcycles follow a similar theme.
    Loving your work, keep it up 🙂