xs650chopper.com Whats up?


It’s days before a New Years.

I thought I’d share with you guys whats going on with my XS projects and the site and cram it all in to one post.

I have mostly been focused on my hardtail project. I cut the bike in half at the end of summer 09 and had plans to get it all put back together and ride it around the block before the snow fell here in Michigan. That was probably unrealistic, considering all the custom work I had planned and other shit I have going on. So, it will be finished by spring of 2010. I keep changing my mind on different parts. I’m on my third gas tank. I really dig the way the Alien tank sits but have been influenced by how sick Joels narrowed sporty tank turned out. I’m trying to keep things super simple and keep the bike profile narrow and Find the lines the bike whats to flow in. I enjoy working on my bikes as much as I do riding.

The electronics are finished. It’s a bare-bones minimalist set up. It’s running a electronic ignition and a banshee permanent magneto hooked up to a R/R combo and a very small gel battery. (I’ve been taking a lot of pictures and intend to write some tutorial at some point) I still need to run some wiring through the frame tubing. I just turned out a set of wheel spacers for the 21 inch aluminum alloy Suzuki front wheel. About a week ago, I built a new table to get my bike off the ground and got a space heater  (It is cold as balls in MI). Next up on the to do list is to rebuild some carbs, build some attack style handlebars and get a plan for the exhaust.


I dig the way it looks from the rear profile. Things are moving forward one part at a time. I should have a really sick bike to bomb around on by spring.


I lowered the front forks to the specs in “THE PROPER WAY TO LOWER YOUR XS650 FORKS” —  then I threw the lower Fork ends on the lathe for a shave and to clean them up a bit.  I think they turned out pretty slick.


The XS650 Chopper project

The XS650 Chopper project has grown pretty fast. It’s already been 13 months since the site launched. It has definitely been cool to talk with guys and see what they’re doing with their bikes as I reengineer and put together my rides. We have been able to do a couple magazine quality posts a month which is pretty cool and fun.  We are pretty close to selling out of the T-shirts. I think there’s like 10 L left. There are plans to do another shirt but not the same style or graphic. Thanks to all the dudes who have picked up shirts it really helps me keep the site going.

Here are some of the site analytics for August.

Picture 4

Picture 2

50,000 is about the reach of a small magazine. Pretty impressive I think for this project. I will have to pay closer attention to my spelling and grammar. (probably not;) There are a bunch of ideas in the works for the site but am still limited by time and money! Can’t print my own money yet and have a lot of projects going on.

Anyway, this Year went by fast as Shit! BIG plans for the Year of 2010!



Here is a good Tune. Tom Waits – Lucinda




  1. Hans from Holland says:

    Hey Ted,
    Hell yeah, it’s been a great year for xs650chopper.com!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You reallyreally did a got job, this site roXS. I would like to thank you for the good work, really appriciate it. This is the site where my heart is as XS 650 lover and customiser. Although i’m also into H-D’s, this is the real ‘no-nonsense, just ride it’ spirit.
    Hope 2010 will bring you lots of joy and happiness !!!! You get my vote, hope to send in lot’s of XS stuff next year in my column.
    Hardest thing is to express myself in the english language, hope you all will understand. Happy newyear from Holland to you all !!!!!

  2. tadd442 says:

    Great job Ted.

  3. Rick says:

    I love this site, makes me wish I still had my XS, currently working on a CB750, once I am done I will be selling it and I am getting another XS. Great Job Ted, I have been following since the get-go and I visit daily. Truly inspires me to keep building.

  4. Josh says:

    thanks ted for the work you put into this site. i’ve been into bikes for a while but until i stumbled upon this site i thought there was no way i would be able to ride something i would be proud of unless i took out a loan. i bought a “69 xs650 a couple of weeks ago for $200 (apparently there’s some controversy over whether they made a bike in ’69 but that’s what’s on the title). it’s mostly there but really rough. i’ll send in some before & after pics once i get it together for spring. i love the site. i drop by here at least once a day. there’s a ton of great information & inspiration on this site. thanks again!

  5. reynoldburton says:

    Many thanks for investing your time on making this site, Ted.
    I wish you all the best for 2010! Keep going on like you did :)

  6. xxxwallyxxx says:

    Hey Ted,

    I’m fairly new to this site but visit like every day when i can.
    Its really one of the best xs650 sites i visited.
    This site has already inspired me to do a xs build.
    already got me a frame that i cut the rear section off and waiting to get a hardtail welded on.
    But more on that when i get more parts,
    and i will be sending some pics.

    And almost 60.000 visits over a period of 13 months is really good.
    Just a thought but how is the idea of making an e-book with a few builders logs from a few ppl,a few tips on a xs650, a few nice ready pics of a xs 650, and a few ads from the t-shirts,lowbro,tcbro and more…

    and maybey a small forum ?

    just some thoughts.

    regards wally

  7. “And almost 60.000 visits over a period of 13 months is really good.”

    very true, but that is just for the month of August from what i am reading.

    you are doing a bang up job Ted! keep up the hard work. 2010 should bring even more success.

  8. eric says:

    great site…quick question, is that a mini mustang 2.2 gallon tank?

  9. Chris says:

    Ted your site is great! I’ve been stalking it for almost the whole time its been up. I bought two XS’s in April of 09 and I’m almost done with the first one. I have found great information from your site. Thanks to you and ALL THE GUYS for putting up info. This was my first bike build and look forward to sending in my pictuers and info.

    One thing missing.. No one is doing any info on custom making exhaust. I think that would be a great avenue to go down.

    Best Wishes,


  10. Ted says:

    @Hans from Holland- I’m glad to have met you. You’re a talented builder and a cool dude. Maybe I can make it out to your part of the world sometime.

    @ Josh – 69 that’s interesting. I know there is a lot of variations on the xs650. At one point Yamaha made a factory xs750. One of my bikes is titled as a 1981, I know for a fact it is a 1980 because of body trim and the numbers stamped on.

    @ xxxwallyxxx – CAPTAIN is right. It is about 54,917 unique visits just for the month of August.

    @ eric – No it is a 2.2 gallon Alien tank. It looks like it could be a mustang split in half and trimmed out but it is not. I can’t remember the guy’s website or I would drop a link, but it’s a complete custom re-pop. I like the way it looks but I’m not sure if it will stay on this bike.

    Thanks Rick, tadd442, reynoldburton, Chris

  11. lil bastard says:

    I love all you do with this site! Its a favorite of mine! I hope 2010 is an awsome year for you,and the xs 650 would!

  12. gareth stehr says:

    just a small comment if your thinking of doing new shirts
    i know you want the website on there and stuff but i know i hate wearing shit that has .com on it
    maybe make that part smaller or on the back or underneath the image
    love the site killing it since day one

  13. Bryan says:


    I’m in Michigan as well. I’m just starting a 75′ xs build. I have a few other projects that needed to be finished first, but they must wait so I can get this bike on the road for summer.
    Do you own that lathe that you used to turn down your forks? Wanna shorten mine and throw them on the lathe, lol?
    Where abouts in MI are you? I’m in the Detroit area.


  14. Willem says:

    If you enjoy working on your bikes, you should get an old Ducati…. Kept me busy whilst I was making attempts to ride it.

  15. Hello Ted, this is Hotrod, You can put me down for two of them tee-shirts, the new ones that are coming in. L-XL, one for myself and one for the “Old Lady” even though she is 20yrs, younger than I. Keep up the outstanding work on your site. There are alot of fanastic people on here with alot of awsome ideas. Nice ride your building there, sweet can’t wait to see it done. Hope you post my ride I’ve been working for the past 6months, “Pure Evil” not much right now but getting there. Also started another project for the Old Lady. Thanks, Steve(Hotrod). Hope to see you take this site to the limits in 2010. “Happy New Year & God-Bless”

  16. Mike says:

    Hey Ted:
    Great to see the site going so well. I visit often :)
    I feel for you about the cold MI weather, my XS work has slowed, I have a cafe build to finish for spring.
    Hopefully We can meet up a a bike show in Mid or West Michigan next summer.
    Never got one of your shirts, maybe the next style. I need another back T-Shirt like I need an other motorcycle.

    *HI Bryan – Ted is near GR, I’m near Lansing, but grew up in the Detroit area.

  17. pete says:

    What Suzuki is the 21″ off of? Are the axle and bearings the same diameter? I’m thinking about doing a similar swap and just wanted to know a few more details.

  18. Ted says:

    @ gareth – I hear you on the over branding.
    @ Steven (Hotrod) cool. Thanks man.
    @ Bryan – I on the other side of the state. Shortening your fork legs is pretty easy. Get them apart and take the lower end to a tool and die shop. $20 to 50 bucks and they will probably polish them for you to. If not let me know.
    @ Mike- The back T-Shirt is my everyday uniform. We will Definitely have to meet up this summer for a show or something.
    @ pete- The outer diameter of the bearings for (most) vintage Suzukis dirt bikes are the same. The one I’m using came off an 81.. So you can pick one up and then put the correct bearing size in. You can pick up bearings on eBay for $6 a set with the correct inside diameter for the front axle. If you want exact measurements do a Google search on the wheel you’re looking at. Hope that helps.

  19. Duane says:

    Thanks for the site Ted looking forward to the new shirts.I got a 78 xs i’m working on will post some pic’s soon.

  20. RoyalChuter says:

    Where in Michigan do you live? I’d like to look at one of these bikes to decide if this is something I want to get myself into!

  21. Billybobba says:

    Heya Ted, great work and I enjoy the site. Any chance of actual shop shirts (button up type) and a few xxl’s for us fellas that are built like brick shithouses.

  22. Billybobba says:

    Heya mate just listened to Tom Waits tune, cool, try listening to Sea Sick Steve.

  23. Ted says:

    RoyalChuter- Sorry, don’t have any for sale.

    Billybobba -I’ll make sure to order a few xxl’s when we get around to it. Sea Sick Steve is pretty raw. I remember seeing a documentary on him a while back.

  24. RoyalChuter says:

    Ted, I wasn’t thinking of buying, I am more interested in seeing one in person, maybe sitting on it.

  25. slothy says:

    Ted – do you know anyone in Michigan that does hardtailing?

  26. Ted says:

    slothy- http://www.finchscustoms.com/ is in Michigan. I don’t know man, there are really endless options. Probably cheapest would be to find someone local. There are a boatload of tool/die shop in MI. Check out some of the ads in the sidebar.

  27. jessie says:


    congrats dude – i cant believe this is going so well – youre an inspiration, serious. we should chat soon – ive got at least 2 projects on the table i think youd get a kick out of. maybe ill see you this summer. leave your house haha.


  28. Bill says:

    Hey guys. New here and love the site. I am in grand rapids Michigan and just got started on my 81 xs 650. This is my first bike build and I def have a ton to learn. Been building custom crap for 25 years but never a bike.

  29. Ted says:

    HI Bill,
    How is your XS coming along. What type of 650 are you plan to build. “Been building custom crap for 25 years” What type of custom stuff are you into; hot rods, muscle cars, four wheeling?

    You should send in some pics. I have been taking a lot of pics of my 1977 and 79 I am working on and should be posting some update pics soon.

  30. Bill says:

    Well in my late teens/early 20’s I was into the lowrider/
    minitruck scene. Then I started building and racing stadium lite buggies. For the past 7 years my son has been racing motox so that pretty much took all my spare time and money. He has decided to take break from racing for awhile so now i get to do something I have wanted to for a long time, Build a bike. I am working out of town so I am only home on the weekend so the build may take a bit. I just bought the bike last weekend and got it stripped down the same night. Tonight I am going to get started on welding my TC hardtail on. I also have a set of curved drag pipes from scott’s on the way. I am still tring to learn this site and I love it but I wish it had more typical forum. I have so many questions and ideas but don’t know where to go with them.

  31. Ted says:

    HI Bill,
    “I am working out of town so I am only home on the weekend so the build may take a bit.” Taking more time and more money is usually the norm. I’m on my third version of this bike here; currently waiting on a different tank and a longer hard tail. “started on welding my TC hardtail on” Cool, What type of welder are you using?

    “curved drag pipes from scott’s on the way.” He makes really nice exhaust systems. I’ve seen his work on a couple bikes.

    “I am still tring to learn this site and I love it but I wish it had more typical forum. I have so many questions and ideas but don’t know where to go with them.” I’ve got tons of literature/PDF full of info and I can pretty much find any info I don’t have. There is tons of info on the xs650 online. Check out our links section for some other sites. If you have any questions or anything just ask.


  32. anthony says:

    any current progress pics?