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Yamaha XS650 by Holiday Customs

Posted on May 20, 2015 by Scott in Bobber, Classic. 22 comments


Words by Ian Lee.

If it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would get done. Whether a Pipeburn post, or project bike, there is nothing like the rush of racing that deadline for completion. Just ask Jared Johnson of Holiday Customs. The bike featured here today had the final touches put on it at 10pm on the night before The One Motorcycle Show. Utilising a UJM for his entry into the legendary Portland bike show, Jared gave the 1975 XS650 the Schwinn styled frame that the Holiday workshop is famous for.


Jared decided upon the the build after assessing the various spares taking up real estate in his workshop. A frame, wheels, miscellaneous bike bits were set aside, luckily with a few bikes of this style already behind him Jared knew exactly what was required of the build, but this bike needed highlights that stood out from the previous builds.


At the front end sits a 21″ Honda rim, chosen because it has a “decent size drum brake”. At the rear sits a standard 18″ XS rim, with these two the bike was a roller, and the project could get underway. Mounting the fuel tank, seat, headlight was a breeze, then while out and about, Jared noticed a bicycle with wooden fenders and wondered how he would go with fashioning up a set of wooden fenders for the project.

XS650_7_Rear Fender©PRobichaud

Being a “metal guy”, it took a bit of time and effort for Jared to come up with the right wood for the job. After a making his own jig, he steamed and curved some birch wood to the right dimensions. Rubbing them back, sanding and staining (hardly a regular part of building a custom bike) the final result, within a week the XS had a set of custom guards unlike any other.

XS650_4_Engine Left©PRobichaud

One the new guards had been fitted, the frame was cleaned up of electrical wiring. The starter motor was removed, in it’s place under the engine sits the battery and rectifier. After a dry run ensuring the parts fitted as they should, the frame and wheels were sent off for powder coating. The seat was sent off to Ginger at New Church for a freshen up, the cylinder head and barrel were sent to a machine shop for some “help and cleaning”.


Picking up the engine parts 24 hours later, Jared started building the engine while waiting for the powder coated parts to return. On reassembly of the Yamaha, a set of pod filters have been fitted, and a sweet block-hugging set of exhaust pipes fashioned up and mounted.

XS650_5_Engine Right©PRobichaud

There’s nothing like seeing the final result of all your effort. It’s even better when you beat the deadline you are set even though it looked like you wouldn’t. From pile of parts, to awesome low slung cruiser, this XS650 is proof that even if rushed, quality can still be produced.

This unique XS650 is now up for sale, so if you like what you see and want to own a one of a kind Holiday Custom, get in contact with Jared through his website.

XS650_8_Front Skinny©PRobichaud


[Photos by Pierre Robichaud]

  • John Wanninger

    This to me = Pipeburn.

  • Robert F. Russo

    Is that a Schwinn badge behind the headlight?

    • R_Melaun

      Why yes it is.

      • Robert F. Russo

        Nice touch!

  • Gustavo Gonzalez

    My hat to such mastery.

  • revdub

    I may have written this before, but I’ll repeat it here again: Out of all of hundreds (if not thousands) of custom motorcycles that I have seen, either in person or online, over the past several years, these Holiday Custom XS’s are at the very top of my list of “dream bikes”. I can’t think of another bike I would want more. The entire design is perfection.

    • I agree; it immediately creates desire even without there being need.

  • That’s a sweet little package. Great work!

  • Spyker May

    The seat is bad – but is cool.

    The pipes are cool – but is bad.

    The tires are the latter and the rest are neither.

  • Hardley T Whipsnade

    No second looks needed with this one . Smooth . Flowing design . Well executed . Me likes . To be honest the wood fender thing kind of creeps me out a bit [ the splinter issue ] But other than that . Me likes !

  • Darrick B

    I usually hate those old Firestones on bikes, but I’ll make an exception for this bike, they fit it perfectly. If I had to complain about something, the angle of that seat doesn’t look particularly comfortable.

  • pose pose pose sad as fuck

    • Marlon

      If you pour your heart and soul into building a bike you’re proud of, you’ve more than earned the right to stand next to it, surely?

  • arnold

    Clean dash board, big / little skinnies, good curvy flow on all lines, alternative materials. Looks like a lot of thought , and good execution.

    • arnold

      It never fails for me to be able to fit my size 11 into my mouth. The park that I work at has banned motorcycles on the grounds for 30 years.
      Over the weekend we hosted a Veteran’s event and a small group of riders came in, and was accommodated as a fund raising group, no problem.
      I was shooting the breeze with a Heffe, and said the obvious, that a majority of the Hog riders today were doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs and the days of the 1% ers were long dead. and there should be some thought to changing our motorcycle policy.
      Then Waco.

      • Hardley T Whipsnade III

        arnold – Unfortunately the days of the 1%er’s are anything but dead . With ‘ organizations ( I refuse to call them clubs ) from the Bandidos to the HA’s and right on down to the feeder gangs like the Cossacks memberships on a constant and dramatic rise over the last decade despite increased law enforcement , RICO etc . Worldwide I might add . Waco being an example of the HA’s ( under the guise of the Cossacks ) and Bandidos getting into another turf war with the 99%ers and citizens caught in the middle . Luckily this time none of the 99%er’s or citizens wound up victims of the fracas . On the bike ? Agreed . 100% .

  • Magnificent. So classy and badass all at the same time. Superb work.

  • Lee Scuppers

    Damn that’s pretty. Even the silly wood fenders and hard tail look so good I can’t object. Want.

  • laskonis

    Beauty. The wood fenders, the Scwinn badge. Beauty.

  • Hill_Hudson

    jared is a good dude, very driven and inspirational for a lot of us here in Portland. he builds these bikes with very minimal tools. and does a better job than a lot of people with an entire machine shop. to each their own, but these bikes are always an eye catcher no matter what you’re into. good job dude!

  • Hamish Lamont

    Another beautiful machine in Jared’s inimitable, unique and slightly over-styled fashion. What it loses in outright practicality it vastly compensates for in utter coolness. Love his work.