Yamaha XS650 by Holiday Customs
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.
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.
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.
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.
[Photos by Pierre Robichaud]