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XS650


‘75 Yamaha XS650 – Maccomotors

Posted on February 9th, by Andrew in Brat. 4 comments

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If you’ve got any lingering doubts about the 21st Century custom motorcycle scene not being a truly global affair, then prepare to have them squashed like the model buildings in a Godzilla movie. This, the 4th Maccomotors bike to feature on Pipeburn, is the product of no less than four different countries; namely Spain, Mexico, the UK and Japan. And although you might assume that such an international affair might end up looking like a poster child for design-by-committee, we’re here to tell you it’s turned out quite the opposite. Say ‘hola’ to ‘The Mexican’.

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1977 Yamaha XS650 – ‘Escape Machine’

Posted on December 20th, by Scott in Bobber. 40 comments

Hill Hudson is a talented young illustrator studying at the Pacific Northwest College Of Art in Portland, Oregon. This year he had to complete his senior thesis, which usually involves doing an illustration. But Hill wanted to do something a little different and build a motorcycle. “I guess I’m the first to ever do this in the history of the 100 plus years the school as been running” he says. “This thesis will be documented and stored in the library here in Portland and will go down as the first art school breakdown and construction of a motorcycle in a gallery setting at this school”. Hill’s project started by searching for a suitable low cost donor. He eventually found a 1977 XS650 that was the perfect ‘blank canvas’ for his art project and got to work. 


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Yamaha XS650 – Kott Motorcycles

Posted on August 15th, by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. No Comments

Written by the builder, Dustin Kott from Kott Motorcycles.

Years ago I rode a 1972 XS650, also known as the XS2 from Los Angeles, California to Sturgis, South Dakota. I was wearing a cheap rain suit from Walmart in the pouring rain going at least 100 MPH to dodge the inclement weather. When I stopped at a gas station some locals took one look at me and said “you were going so fast that your damn clothes are tearing off! You passed us like we were standing still!” These are my memories of the infamous XS650 made famous by the legendary Kenny Roberts


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Yamaha XS650 – ‘YABSA’

Posted on April 25th, by Scott in Café Racer. No Comments

Written by Ian Lee.

Some bike builders are like magicians. They take particular props, put them together and ‘hey presto’, produce something you didn’t think was possible. A mixture of new and old componentry on a bike build is an example of this. If you lean too far one way, or the other, you can ruin the concept of a build. Or at the very least, while trying to put a new image on an bygone concept, you have the motorcycle equivalent of David Hasselhoff. Roberto Totti and the team at Hook Motors have what it takes to mix new with old, and with over thirty years of experience in Robert alone, you can see the professionalism put into their builds. The Yabsa is one such bike, with a few different motorcycles, from a few different eras donating componentry, and the end result is magic.


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

Posted on March 16th, by Andrew in Bobber. 2 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.


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Yamaha XS650 – Holiday Customs

Posted on March 8th, by Scott in Bobber. No 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.


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Desert Motorcycle Company’s ’81 Yamaha XS650 – “Golden Spike”

Posted on August 19th, by Andrew in Bobber, Classic. No Comments

Yamaha’s XS650. It seems like there’s not a single style or genre that it can’t morph itself into. Chopper, bobber, rat, brat, cafe, tracker – hell, I’ve even seen it do a decent board tracker. It’s like some Japanese designers in the 1960s locked themselves in a room with a load of bad drugs, a Swiss Army Knife, a rubber mask from mission impossible, Optimus Prime, a doppelganger, the liquid metal robot from Terminator 2 and one of their mates who liked to wear his wife’s underwear on the weekends and exploded out three weeks later with blueprints that would transform the way the world thought of Japanese bikes and the way we think about a custom bike platform. Of course, this one is no different. It’s the retro brainchild of one Greg Hebard from Salt Lake City, Utah, and as you can see it looks about as close to the original bike as night looks like day.


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1982 Yamaha XS650 – Stout 33

Posted on August 1st, by Scott in Bobber. No Comments

Like most brothers, the Chappell Brothers have different tastes. Rob prefers to live in Ontario, Canada while Chris chooses to live in Los Angeles. Their taste in bikes is different as well. Rob’s style leans more towards racing and café racers while Chris loves bobbers and choppers. So when they decided to build their latest project they chose (after much debate) to build a bike in the middle – a board track influenced bike that would have a custom frame, traditional girder front end and tall skinny wheels. If time allowed they would also tackle their first custom gas tank! (which they did). They found the perfect donor bike in the form of a 1982 XS650 Heritage Special and got to work on this project that was really going to challenge these part time bike builders.


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Maria Motorcycles ’80 XS 650E – ‘Eva’

Posted on June 14th, by Andrew in Brat. No Comments

Anyone who’s ever attempted a custom bike build will know just how much work a seemingly simple little “tidy-up” can amount to. Something that looks like it’ll take two weeks tops ends up being an 18 month project with more dead ends, u-turns, and detours than a Sunday drive with Stevie Wonder. So imagine the work involved in starting a bike shop “a few months ago” and then going public with not one, not two, but three killer bikes. At very best that’s a bike every three weeks. Now I can’t speak for you guys, but if I had three weeks to build a bike the results would be humble at best. A few rattle cans, and angle grinder – hell, even a custom seat would take that long to throw together. But it seems as if the guys at Maria Motorcycles in Lisbon, Portugal have either worked their asses off these last few months or they’ve invented time travel and brought these bike back from the future. And the real icing on the cake? Both EXIF and little ol’ us are doing features in the same week on their stuff. Take your stinky hats off and give a little nod to Luis Correis and his latest bending of space and time, the beautiful “Eva.”


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Yamaha XS650 – Holiday Customs

Posted on March 5th, by Scott in Bobber. No 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.


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