Maxwell’s XS650


Max – I always wanted to do an XS based bike, I found a pristine ’83 xs650 in the Bronx, pulled the motor and rear hub and eBayed the rest of the bike.  I wanted to build the bike from scratch and everything besides the tank was handmade or found at the salvage store down the street (shifter is a porcelain door knob, foot controls are sewing machine parts…).  I didn’t have any particular design in mind when I started, just tried to make the simplest, cleanest bike that I could and let it go wherever the design took me (on a tight budget).

I have a habit of getting carried away with things, this build started from me staring at my beach cruiser bicycle sitting on the shelf in my apt. above the couch that I was stuck in for 4 months following an off road accident with a badly broken leg. The cruiser became motorized, went 70 and it became apparent that bicycle parts weren’t enough and I was once again back to building motorcycles…

I always start with a motor that I like and build the rest from scratch… I love the XS 650, possibly the most aseptically pleasing motor from Japan to date…I put a 4 “ block of wood under the motor on the table (ride height) and made the rest from.16 ga. 1”  tubing and whatever else I could find to use from the local junk & culinary stores. I did not have a particular goal in mind, I love motorcycles…choppers, bobbers and clean café bikes, I just let the build go wherever it takes me, I just try to keep it clean, light and functional with natural lines.


I basically left the engine alone, re-jettet the stock carbs with150 jets and ran it wide open in and out.  I got rid of the front brake and made a shifting system out of sewing machine parts for the clutch and a porcelain door knob for the shifter (I went through a half dozen variations before settling on this simple setup)

I wasn’t’ shooting for comfort  but there is a spring…It’s hard to see between the velocity stacks but there is a bearing/spring suspension for the seat. I have been running unmarked MX rims lately on my bikes because they are dirt cheap on eBay and are bulletproof with flat sidewalls…Buchanan spokes knows them well making it easy to got sets made quick. I had some oil burning issues that lead me to change the rings and valve seals followed by a test. trying to seat the rings I realized this is a rocket and the motor sound f-ing money….another XS build is a guarantee! Thanks to Scott Weinmann for the beautiful Images from

Maxwell Hazan


  1. ghostryder says:


  2. Christopher says:

    Damn. Love that front end.

  3. JSC says:

    christ man…

  4. visimpact says:


  5. pjbii says:

    WOW, absolutely beautiful. Stunning.

  6. Tebo says:

    Congratulations! Absolutely spectacular! THAT’S a motored-cycle! I need a thesaurus…

  7. dex82 says:

    i’d have to rate this as possibly the best i’ve seen on this site, seems to be a bit of the old zero choppers (before they went all commercial looking) influence in there. definitely in the top three and sexy as hell

  8. GUY says:


  9. Deweychop says:

    PURE ART!!!!

  10. Lance Boyle says:

    Holy cow you’re way up there with the building skills.

  11. Lance Boyle says:

    FYI this bike is free of pathogenic microorganisms

  12. El Gaucho says:

    One of the most gorgeous bikes I’ve ever laid eyes on. Love the front end, very unique springer system with no rebound springs. Probably clacks on a hard rebound, but it looks killer. That being said, I’m nervous for you if you actually plan on riding that much. The thin walled tube you made the frame from may not be up to the task, and if you get that rear tire spinning fast enough, it WILL grab that fender and tear it off like a piece of tin foil.

  13. For almost three decades addicted to the XS 650, i’ve seen it all.
    Project from ..nice to …stunning.
    This is very close to the top of my rankinglist !!!! Absolute gorgeous Maxwell!!!!

  14. El Gaucho says:

    Foot clutch, no hand brake, jockey shift. What do you do if you have to stop on a hill? I’ve built bikes with hand clutch and jockey shift and people thought THAT was a weird setup, lol.

  15. Junglebiker says:

    I’d say more Chicara influence than Shinya Kimura’s. Nice work, dude!

  16. Uncle Bear says:

    Very Cool!

  17. As a work of art it is a well balanced, successful execution. Tasteful and timeless. O.K.,,, proportionally it compliments the engine and drive line but it appears to me to be smaller than most xs650s rigids. I see still images of ‘Zero Engineering’ and ‘Walz Hardcore’ bikes and they look equally as cool as yours but some, not all, look small, awkward and less impressive when pictured/videoed ridden. We are almost done with a 650 project and proportion and ergonomics was a major factor, more so than styling. It is on our Rigid page w/site Regardless, I build mostly Harley junk and our 650 project along with yours and many others on this site continue to showcase the amazing XS650 as a alternative choice in customs.

  18. Tyrant66 says:

    So when is this bike going up for sale?

  19. Cameron says:

    Bookmarked for future reference. What an amazing looking bike. Really outstanding work.

  20. pickles says:

    Effin beautiful.

  21. DENNI$ says:

    as many have pointed out, the bike looks absolutely gorgeous. however, it is somewhat frustrating that most pics are of the right side, most of the pics are overly dark, and all the pics are from so far away that it’s virtually impossible to see the little custom details that you mention in the write up. Seat spring? Let’s see it. shifting system out of sewing machine parts? Howabout a closeup? Regardless, nice work.

  22. Great Dane says:

    Truly a thing of beauty. Very well done!

  23. 14 Kustom Motorcycles says:

    I love it. . . . And I think “this” bike its a “Boardtracker” ; )

  24. Fatbob says:

    Everybody else already said it, but I’ll say it’s the finest I’ve seen in my 65 years. A true milestone.

  25. CruzBoos says:

    Simply exquisite!! Her lines roll and flow! Would love to see her in the tin.
    Max is the man with a plan.

  26. Rod Thruster says:

    To quote The Dread Pirate Roberts,” I have never seen its equal.”

  27. -Mr. B. says:

    Maxwell’s Silver Hammer!


    You out did yourself man good luck topping that one

  29. NinoWang says:


  30. Bike looks sick! Saw this on the street at the Brooklyn Invitational… should have been in the show! Top work!

  31. Max says:

    I just saw this post tonight, thank you for all of your (flattering) feedback, I really had fun making this and will be making more bikes with the same approach to building the best bikes i can build within the means i have. Moving to a bigger shop next week with bigger tools…better bikes to come, I’ll update the progress at this bike will be in an issue of Iron & Air magazine in a couple months, looking forward to it, Happy holidays


  32. Matt says:

    What a fantastic design aesthetic. You have a lot of nicely done photos, and I can’t find a single angle where this bike looks anything less than stunning.