The inspiration for this project came surprisingly from a Bloomingdales catalog with a vintage World War II motorcycle on the cover. Something about the look really appealed to me. After doing some research on the military motorcycles from that era & realistically evaluating my riding environment, I decided I wanted a modern interpretation of a WWII military motorcycle with a more modern power plant and an updated braking system.
“I wanted the bike to be a combination of different elements of the various motorcycles from that era”.
The donor bike chosen was a 1980 Yamaha XS650.
Taking the engine as a basis for the project – partially because it was economical and highly modifiable, also because I liked the more symmetrical look of the engine. After a long search, I settled on the guys at Cycle Service Sales to build this project for me.
Bill Giordano has a lot of experience with very old school motorcycles, and I really needed someone that was familiar with the motorcycles of that era to pull this project off.
We chose certain elements for the project that would make it look more authentic like the Big Twin Harley or WLA style springer fork, a military solo seat and the seat springs from a 741 Indian Scout.
The XS motor in the bike is equipped with a 270 degree re-phased crankshaft and a billet camshaft, plus a high ratio primary gear set and clutch assembly with the machine work being performed by Heiden Tuning from the Netherlands.
The cylinder head porting work was done by Gary Hoos Racing, uses 2mm oversize Inconel Alloy valves.
The motor is also equipped with a Mikes XS 750 big bore kit and myriad of other performance parts from both Heiden Tuning and Mikes XS. Ignition chores are handled by a 270 degree re-phase Pamco Ignition System and a Sparks Three Phase charging system keeps everything running. Various engine parts both internal and external were sent to Performance Coatings for thermal and ceramic engine coatings.
In choosing to make the bike very period correct, most of the sheet metal and the running gear required extensive reworking to fit the custom built XS650 hard-tail frame and motor combination. A set of custom made header pipes was also fabricated for the project that flow into a set of modified Big Twin 36 to 40 style mufflers.
The XSLA project features 18 inch black Big Twin Star Hub wheels with stainless steel spokes, Avon Safety Mileage tires, Edart front and rear Disc Brake conversion kits and Jay Brake master cylinders for both of the front brake and hydraulic clutch controls. The rear brake control assembly is fitted from a 58 to 69 Big Twin FL and the hydraulic clutch conversion uses a slave cylinder assembly from a Honda VFR.
This XSLA is a modern re-creation of yesterday’s and today’s technology blended together to make one’s inspiration a true reality.
Owner: Edward Yuan
Builder: Cycle Service Sales, LLC
High Bridge, NJ
William Giordano – Anthony Livelli
Phil Delano – Performance Welding
Lebanon Boro, NJ
Year/Model: 1980 Yamaha Custom
Powder Coater: Acme Powder Coating
Color: Federal Standard – Olive Green Army
Engine: Yamaha XS650 base
Builder: Cycle Service Sales, LLC
Crankshaft: 270 Re-phase by Heiden Tuning.
Cylinder: Mikes XS 750 Big Bore
Head: Ported & Polished by
Gary Hoos Racing
Carbs: 36 mm Mikuni VM (2)
Exhaust: Custom Fabricated
Ignition: Pamco 270 Re-phase
Coils: Mikes XS
Charging System: Sparks 3-phase
Transmission: Yamaha 5 speed
Primary Gears & Clutch: Heiden Tuning custom High Ratio
Hydraulic Clutch: Custom- Honda VFR slave cylinder
Final Drive: 530 Diamond Chain
Frame: Custom made Hardtail with 28 degree rake
Front Fork: Big Twin Springer
Front wheel: 18” Star Hub Black
Rear wheel: 18” Star Hub Black
Front Brake: 11.5” Edart Disc Kit
Rear Brake: Edart Rear Disc Kit
Tires: 18” Avon Safety Mileage
Front Fender: WLA Reproduction
Rear Fender: WLA Reproduction
Headlight: Springer – Halogen Bulb
Taillight: Modified Military Jeep – with LED lighting
Fuel Tanks: Modified Early Big Twin reproductions
Fuel Petcocks: Pingel
Handlebars: Modified Springer
Hand Controls: Jay Brake – Black
Mirrors: Modified WLA assemblies
Horn: 12 volt Springer with WLA face plate
Speedo: Military WLA Repro
Seat: Replica WLA army
Seat Springs: Indian 741
Floor Boards: Military WLA Repro
Floor Board Mounts: 45 & Big Twin
Rear Brake: 58 to 69 Big Twin Wagner style
Toolbox: Modified Harley Kidney Shaped
Chain Guard: Modified Big Twin Rigid
Enjoy a quick video of the bike: