Not every custom built chopper has to have a Harley or Triumph engine. There’s a cheaper and just as cool alternative popular among garage builders.

I got an email from Ted who’s totally dedicated to XS650 choppers. Here’s what he had to say.

“Seriously. The Yamaha XS 650 is a great bike to build your first chopper. Parts for the bike are cheap which is good in the current economic environment. There were over a quarter million XS650s in 40 different variation produced by Yamaha between 1970 and 1985. The XS650 big twin, in America and worldwide has developed a cult following. Check out The XS650 engine is indestructible which is probably why they were produced for so long. A abundance of cheap parts make the XS650 a great platform to build your first chopper.”

Here’s a few examples of some bloody sweet bikes sporting XS650 drive trains. Check out Ted’s site for more.



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20 Responses to “The cult of XS650 choppers”

  1. Matt  February 1st

    I had a xs650 as a first bike, what a great ride. Wish I had it back now, as I’m looking for a bobber project. Thanks for the post and link.

  2. Drew  February 5th

    No doubt some very wicked cool bikes. I might even do one myself (busy rebuilding a Triumph and CB400F). Gotta love the reliability as well. HOWEVER, I find it funny they decide to use an engine that mimicks the Triumph. Similar to the other bikes at the that mimic Harley.
    I wish there were more original Jap engines used in chopper/ bobber designs.

  3. Jesper  February 6th

    You’re sorta right, Drew. Back in the 70’s they used a lot of in-line fours in choppers.

    Personally I think a chopper/bobber (what ever you want to call it) style bike. Needs the sound of a twin engine.

    If it’s an original or “mimic” engine doesn’t matter that much to me. What matters is people building what ever bike they want and can afford.

  4. Ted @  February 6th

    WORD UP..

  5. Joe  February 7th

    Cool bike, my father and I chopped out a xs 650. A friend entered it into a couple shows, it won, the entire bike was built on a budget under $500. Cool post.

  6. Ted @  February 8th

    Cool Joe. There’s a couple posts on my site with XS650’s built by father and son which I think is pretty neat..
    Built on a budge to..

  7. lwatcdr  February 10th

    XS650s also make great Cafe bikes as well. Wish I could find one cheap around here.

  8. Gijs  February 18th

    Now this engine in a seventies style classic road racer…

  9. JR  February 18th

    The media has bombarded everyone with the almighty v-twin but I have an awsome v4 by honda that I am currently working on that is a beast of an engine. It is a 750 with a massive amount of torque, I would personally take a Jap engine over a v-twin any day.

  10. JohnnyTremendous.  February 24th

    I love the xs650s, although I’ve never owned one. I’ve been partial to the Honda CB’s of the 70’s, but I’m sure someday I’ll stumble across an XS at the right time & place.

  11. Sam  March 2nd

    I’d love to have one of these engines in a Unity Featherbed Frame! I still think the old brit bikes looked cooler, why not have the best of both worlds?

  12. Voodoo  March 12th

    I recently picked up an 81 xs650 as my first bobber project. I’ve wanted to build a bike for so long and I can honestly say I have no experience with working on bikes much less building one, and the XS has been the easiest thing to work on. I’m extremely happy with it and cant wait to finish it.

  13. Kustomking13  April 1st

    Hi guys, i’m in the uk and I’ve just purchased my 1st xs650 chop/bob. It’s an ol’skool bobber with pro built hardtail frame, cherry red spoked wheels, and many one off parts (like hand turned wooden grips). I pick it up this weekend, and I can’t wait! 😉 all I can say is “I love you Ebay!”. Great article, and riteous rides.

  14. Jesper  April 1st

    Sounds wicked Kustomking13. You have to send over some pics.

  15. mike  April 22nd

    Hey enjoyed looking at your bike like the old school ideas you are using, looking for ideas on inline4 4cylinder 850 to 1000 cc chopper project if you know of any websites that have information i’d appreceate the help thanks mike

  16. chuck  April 4th

    Just started an xs650 long bike with a twisted chrome springer front end and hand built frame with coffin angle bends and a coffin tank and a harley back rest (which resembles a tombstone). total projections are 1000 to 1200 dollars and the bike will be about 12 feet long with a 24 inch seat height. suicide shift and screaming eagle II slash-cut tips top off a wicked ride for a fraction of what it takes to chop a harley… 🙂

  17. Jimb  August 22nd

    Hi I was wondering if anyone could give me some advise. I’ve got an xs chopper had her for years and been doing bits and pieces to her since. The problem is that when I go for any length of a ride she cuts out on me when ever I have to drop revs, I.e going round corners or stopping at lights. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks

  18. Gijs  August 22nd

    Hi Jimb, sounds like an electrical problem. I would check batttery, generator, ignition condensors.

  19. Jimb  August 22nd

    Thanks Gijs will I’ve it a good look and hopefully resolve the problem.

  20. Troy Young  May 6th

    Great bikes!!! This is my first time to the site. I will be returning. Keep it coming.

    Troy Young

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