June 2011 Readers’ Rides Winner

June 10, 2011 | By: Bud Milza

Editor’s Note: We know some of you are creatures of habit and hate change, but don’t go ballistic when you get to the end of this post and don’t find a list of parts that correspond with this prize ride. Truth of the matter is, this bike’s just a bit different. There are so many custom parts on this ride that we decided to forego the parts list this month. But we think you’ll get a kick reading about the customization that went into this 35-year-old Yamaha. Enjoy!

Customization to the Extreme

By: Bud Milza

Back in January, my fellow J&P blogger Lowell Anderson told you about the joys and challenges associated with finding and restoring a Bobber (see: Building a Cheap Metric Bobber for Fun and — Eventually — for Profit). While scrolling through the pictures sent in for this month’s Reader’s Ride, we came across this 1977 Yamaha XS650 belonging to Joe Petersen of Wilmington, N.C, which looks like it could have been featured in Lowell’s post. By handmaking the majority of the parts on this bike and calling in a few favors, Joe achieved his goal of building a truly one-off custom for very little money.

As opposed to purchasing an aftermarket hardtail, Joe modified the stock frame and utilized a pair of heim joints for axle plates and adjusters. A Harley Sportster gas tank was then Frisco’d, dished and topped off with a recessed sight gauge. Some of the other handmade parts on this bike include a hand grenade for the kicker pedal, a pinion gear for the brake pedal, a piston for the rear view mirror, and a wrench for the rear brake stay.

As far as performance goes, a pair of Mikuni carburetors feed the fuel, and a Boyer Bransden electronic ignition lights the fire in this otherwise stock motor. Store-bought parts include a Sparto taillight, clip-on bars, grips and footpegs from Pingel, as well as Magura controls. Here’s what Joe had to say about his handcrafted bike:

“I work primarily on Harleys, but a few years back one of my co-workers turned me on to these little parallel twins. I wanted to do a true backyard low-budget build and this XS was the perfect platform for my side project. I used whatever I could find in the garage, out in my utility shed, or at my local hardware store before spending money on parts. I’d like to thank Pamco Pete for his electrical expertise, Woody’s Wheel Works for lacing up the fat spokes and sealing them to run tubeless, and Matt Legwin for the paint.  The green is for the money and the gold is for the honeys.  Of course, I would also like to thank J&P for selecting my bike for Readers’ Rides.”

Remember, we’re always taking entries for Reader’s Ride, so if you’ll just send us a crisp, in-focus photo or jpg, we’ll take a look at it. In addition, we’d also like to encourage readers to submit videos of their bikes. If this sounds like a do-able plan, post your video to YouTube and then email a link to the video to: blogmemberservices [at] jpcycles [dot] com.

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