Hodgepodge XS flat track death machine

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Where to begin with this contraption? Almost everything on this bike has given me fits in some way or another, but with each problem i learned a lot and the fixes helped get the bike to what was in my head. I bought the seat off egay 4 years ago and knew one day I’d build a bike around it.  It took about 3 years to get the bike to where i’d visualized it and where it’s functional.

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I knew i wanted a flat-track inspired bike.  Having looked at Falcon motorcycles for inspiration I set out to make my own modest version. I have none of Ian’s talents so my own version is a much-paled hommage to his creations. But I am proud nonetheless for working through the challenges and not accepting workarounds.

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Everything but the motor has been worked over some how. The motor ran when i got it so I didn’t do anything to it. Dave Huntress at TanksByTigman.com did the hardtail.  Most know Dave’s work and his talent is undeniable.

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I worked with a guy off of Ebay for the custom length leaf spring front end. Amazingly my measurements weren’t all messed up and the front end slid on with only 1 problem. I had instructed him to make a 7/8 stem which he did, however I couldn’t find the right timken bearings to swap out the stock ball bearings. If i had requested a 1 in stem I’d a been fine lol.  So after a couple weeks of hunting with no luck, I contacted Steve Sheldon at Troy fab. Some people just deserve all the success in the world and Steve is one of those guys.  Steve worked with me to come up with a 1in neck stem that was threaded to 7/8 on both ends so I could run the HD timken neck bearings.

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The bars are more function that form and are the one area i am still considering changing. They were stock sportster bars that I cut and welded 7/8 ends on to run the yamaha controls. They are a bit wide for my taste but they help with the steering. Considering lopping off a few inches in the middle to tighten things up a bit.

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The front brake setup came about pretty quickly after scoring the HD master cylinder at a swap a couple years ago. Using that and my buddy’s donated front ri off his 81 shovel and the 10 in rotors, I used the yammy stock caliper and just had to weld some brackets to the leafer to keep it in place. Shimmed it and all is good.

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The rear brake is a completely different story lol! After literally about 10 days trying to get the rear drum seup to work I thought i had it finally figured out.  Fast forward to bike week this last March and i am cruising to Willies Tropical Tattoo when the ZIP TIES i’d put on to hold the rear brake stay snapped and sent the brake stay around and around slapping me in the back at 30 mph plus! Mental note – brake stays use 2 BOLTS for a reason.

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So got back bummed and agitated at myself for being a dumbass. But scored a brand new 19in rim from a swap. Got a complete rear brake setup inc caliper and master cyl off ebay for a 2004 FLHTCI.  Had to rebuild the MC but it works. Cut my 04 dyna forward control setup down to work as a shifter and made a simple bracket to actuate the pedal.  A bit tricky to get used to due to the angle but i am thinking about remaking the bracket with some holes to allow for some adjustability. Picked up a Yamaha-to-HD rear 32 tooth  sprocket from Mr. Lucky’s and in under 3 hours I had rear disk brakes, a better looking rear wheel setup and much cleaner brake setup to boot.

The headlight is a basic Taiwan Ted one and i made the bracket to keep it held steady. Some might say overkill, and i could have just used a simple bit of metal to keep it in place but wanted to ry something different. The pipes are the stock headers with some cocktail shakers stamped “Made in England” that i got from a dude over at the chop cult. Rear fender is just some front fender flipped over. The taillight is a score from a car swap meet that i rebuilt thhe guts on to get to work. And i hope someone picks up on the pegs!

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Put in a PAMCO ignition which my battery promptly destroyed.  So thanks to PAMCO Pete for sending another one at no cost. The PAMCO is the beesknees!!  1-2 kicks when cold.  had to replace the stator as the chaging system was whacked when i got it.  And swapped in some brand new Mikuni VM 34’s.  She runs and idles great now!

It’s up for sale on egay now to make room for the next one.  If it doesn’t sell now i’ll tear it down for paint and try again later.

Thanks for letting me tell my story – This ones been a long build for sure!

Jason renda

Comments

  1. Jeff says:

    Dude, not sure what I like more … the bike … or your excellent story.
    Good stuff … I hope when I’m done my “Bleeding Knuckles Wife Left Me Death Machine” … that the story of her creation is as good as yours.

  2. Guy says:

    Man you’ve gotta be happy with the over-all look of this bike, you’ve got all the good bits, a little more ” refining ” and GUESS WHAT!!! I’d be keeping this one mate…

  3. Sean from boston says:

    Great bike man looks killer really like the story to boot! Not bad!

  4. Breasts. says:

    Good story. Some nice details, too.

  5. Barney says:

    Don’t know if i’m missing something. You bought the seat four years ago and built the bike around it? The seat looks bent to beat hell. Not really my type of bike but i do know all the trials and tribulations that go to building one of these. At every turn it’s something unforseen.

  6. BigJimmyW13 says:

    Man I love the overall look. I don’t like the rear brake set up or the rear fender, but other than that I think it’s pretty kick ass!

  7. Dan says:

    Great looking bike, the seat don’t look that comfy thou…

    Still great thou

  8. El Gaucho says:

    Loving the front end. How much was it if you don’t mind me asking?

  9. jason says:

    thanks for the comments all! this one has been a challenge. to reply to a couple posts: yep i bought the seat about 4 years ago and you’re right it has its rips and a couple not so perfect bits but its an old 30’s bicycle/motorbike seat with twisted springs that i just loved. It’s actually more solid than i expected it to be and handles smaller bumps fine. bigger bumps – eh its still a rigid lol!

    The brake setup was first and foremost an aspect of function before form. I spent way too long and too much aggravation on the drum setup so finally I decided on the HD conversion. It’s def a bit odd from what is normally on an XS but it really helped solidify the look i wanted. I have always liked same-size wheels on bikes. Lol i just realized that 3 bikes i’ve done were done like that (16s, then 21s, now 19s!).

    Bike didnt sell for what i needed and i am sort of glad. Tore it down last week and spending some time cleaning up the frame, rewelding and touching up things and getting ready for paint.

    As for the leafer I worked out a deal and had it for under 5 bills.
    thanks again all.

  10. Great bike. nice write-up with lots of gory details. Thanks for sharing. You definitely stayed true to your seat. I love bikes that get built around one really cool part.

  11. Piute says:

    Great story.You’ve been around,myself also,just starting on the metrics (customizing) like stk.when running in town,now ready to build a show me bike (moved to Mo.)choosing a xs650, THX BRO.

  12. Christopher says:

    What’s the tank from?

  13. tadd442 says:

    The caliber of builds showing up here lately is incredible.

  14. jason says:

    thanks again all i truly appreciate all of the feedback. the tank was billed as a 70’s AMF but i dont think HD ever ran dual Brit petcocks or a brit gas cap lol! . I actually think it’s some sort of wassell style but not definite. Had TigMan go over my mount welds and now its geting blasted for paint. Not sure if i want to go simple and clean or maybe try and fuse flat tracker with funk?

  15. Capt_Zoom says:

    Cool bike…really cool but that is the most fugly rear master cylinder setup i’ve ever seen. WTF! Love the front end.

  16. jason says:

    heh i actually like the front master setup – minus the crap tack welds. it will be blasted and hopefully painted to blend in a bit. im much more of a “see everything” fan but i can also appreciate that certain things dont work for everyone. the majority of the rear setup is because of wanting to run stock headers. i could have saved a ton of time by cutting and running them along the sides, etc but i wanted to go a different route. ironically the rear setup is the thing i am most proud of lol! saul good, i appreciate both sides of the view.

  17. speedandnoise says:

    Cool bike but I’m not sure what’s going on with the front caliper mount. If it’s welded to the rear leg of the girder doesn’t soemthing funny happen then the rockers pivot with wheel travel? I’d think either the rotor would get jammed up into the caliper or the axle would hit the lower brake stay. It’s hard to see from the pix though.

  18. jason says:

    thats actually a very good point. my bud at work just pointed out the same thing. his thought is that the amount of “binding” for lack of the best word, shouldn’t amount to too much of an issue. I am trying to rethink how to do it short of going to a drum brake wheel. I have a drum brake setting at the house tho its a 21. May look into getting some axle sleeves made as it’s a 5/8 and the rockers on the leafer are 3/4. Or I could just pull the front off and run rear only though ive never een a huge fan of that. if anyone can add any info on the pitfalls of the setup as-is, i’d appreciate it. Always good to learn esp with regard to safety.

  19. cmb9er says:

    Don’t paint it! Looks awesome as is! Just clean up the little stuff you were talkin’ about.

  20. speedandnoise says:

    Unfortunately I think the downfalls would be 1 of 3 things:
    A. you have no front end travel,
    B. your brake tabs and/ or your brake snaps off,
    C. something way worse happens.

    You need a floating axle mounted caliper like on a DNA front end with a pivoting rod connecting it to the rear leg.

  21. tom says:

    heh. v-twin.

  22. Shane Ryans says:

    Wow, the bike does look nice but there are a few thing i am not so sure about.

  23. jason says:

    like what Shane? not being sarcastic – truthfully asking. i am going to swap over to a drum front brake using an old sportster front wheel. that will alleviate the whole front end brake stuff. having my welds redone by a pro now and its getting powdercoated this week. prob going to run diff bars as much as i like the look it was just too painful to ride. also will be adjusting the angle of the rear brake pedal to make it easier to actuate. last thing is a better wheel spacer for the rear sprocket. just need to get the frame bac so it can all go together. all input is welcomed – pos or negative. thanks all
    – jason

  24. jason says:

    got the powder done and bike 90% reassembled. have to reclean the carbs yet again and still fiddling with the rear brake but its closer. pics are here as i dont know how to add them to the site:

    http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12134

  25. norm younger says:

    I like the front end and the seat.