Ben and Kev’s XSelent Adventure!
Kevin – Here’s our ’78 XS my friend Ben and I built for the Greasy Dozen contest last year, sponsored by Bear of Old Bike Barn. We got a bunch of free stuff from Lowbrow Customs, Biltwell, Speed Dealer Customs, TC Bros Choppers, Lowside, Wrench, Showclass magazines, and Old Bike Barn. We tried to make the bike look like a 60’s show Triumph- classy but not too over the top. We built the hardtail from scratch including curved top tubes in the seat area, using axle plates from TC Bros.
We built the pipes using bends from Speedway. They are 1 ¾” tubing so we had to custom make the ends that slip into the head. The fork shrouds started as a couple old sets of cut up MCM Triumph fork shrouds that we fused, and made the mounting brackets and brake cable holder as accents. The custom footpeg brackets hold a great set of stainless Sanderson pegs Biltwell gave us.
We made the seat pan and our friend Jay at Pirate Upholstery in Kingston, NY shaped the foam, and covered it in fine Italian leather. The rear fender started out as a Norton Atlas front fender that needed a lot of work. We straightened it, sectioned it and welded it back up. It fits really nice and tight on the rear tire and has a cool little duckbill. We’re running an 18” Coker diamond tread on the stock rear rim, and a ribbed Avon on the 21” front rim.
The front wheel is from an early 80’s Yamaha XT500. The forks were lowered, shaved, and a brake lug welded to them. The bars are a sweet old set off a 70’s CB750 chopper from our friends at Strangedays. The tank is a re-pop Wassell from Lowbrow. We used a PMA from Hugh’s Handbuilt, so the bike starts up and runs reliably without a battery.
Pretty much everything on the bike has been rebuilt, custom made, or replaced with new. I painted the tins and frame, while Ben rebuilt the carbs, tuned the bike and spent countless hours cleaning and polishing the motor and wheels. When we were done putting it back together we stepped back and were pretty amazed- it was like a brand new bike.
The bike is without a doubt the most comfortable custom bike I’ve ever ridden. It has a great neutral riding position, and the seat is a dream. It pushes like a bicycle due to the new bearings, handles great, and stops on a dime with the new brakes. Last fall we took the bike on a 5 hour round trip to NYC for the unveiling from another Greasy Dozen builders, and it handled the distance and NYC traffic flawlessly.
We built this bike to look great, function even better, and be easily ride-able for anyone. We’re really happy with the way it turned out but can’t keep it so it will be for sale soon. If you’re in the area and want to check the bike out in person it will be in the window of Outdated Café in uptown Kingston, and after that in the window of Ben’s new shop Eastside Speed Shop in Ellenville, NY.
A big thanks to Bear from Old Bike Barn for putting the Greasy Dozen contest together and helping us build this bike, and to Ted for the opportunity to showcase the bike on this awesome website!