Bike Of The Week. Custom XS 650









Over a quarter million XS650s in about 40 different variations were produced by Yamaha between 1970 and 1985. The XS650 Big Twin has a worldwide cult following due to its almost indestructible parallel engine. Durability in a classic look and abundance of cheap parts make the XS650 the perfect platform to build a cool Chopper or Bobber. This one called Back 2 Basixs was done (or redone, depending of your custom building philosophy) using a Zodiac frame with a lot of hand made parts and brass ornaments. The Cat who owns and ride it is named Hans and is from the Tulips Country (Holland). More on XS 650 bikes by jumping to this Blog

21 Responses to “Bike Of The Week. Custom XS 650”

  1. 1 The Joker Mar 20th, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Yamaha-It took 27 years-but now we are finally cool.

    No longer will we have to hear the term “rice rocket”

    Now we are proudly known as “sushi bar hoppers”

  2. 2 KC and Mar 20th, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    They have always been “cool” in other countries, for years.
    A lot of people just cant see outside their barbed wire white picket fence.

  3. 3 MadMsk Mar 20th, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    motorcycles based xs650 increasingly gaining popularity

  4. 4 The Joker Mar 20th, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    My Grandpa/Daddy used to drive one till he fell in the green swamp and a gator ate one of his leg stumps.

    He’s stopped drinkin since then too.

  5. 5 FUJI Mar 20th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Very poular flat tracker in its day . Remember the famous Kenny Roberts on a Shell Thuett tuned and engineered xs 650-750 , National champion
    Trivia ” Roberts the guy who inovated the knee down for raod racers as a feeler to how far the bike was leaning and for better balance.”
    The 1982 XS 650 in my garage has 600 original miles. What a great engine.

  6. 6 hans prost Mar 20th, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Great to see my Back2BasiXS here!
    Yes, the XS 650 rules. Although i’m already twenty years a H-D shovelrider, this is the engine for me to go. Cheap,easy,looXS and sound. This bobber is my latest XS project, built for only 1500 buXS! That the fun, money doesn’t buy good taste….
    Check our Dutch XS 650 site (with great gallery!!)
    XSee you, Hans Prost, Holland.

  7. 7 bigbob Mar 20th, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    It’s nice to see a well done Yamaha. All I ever see is the V Twins or triumphs choppers. This bike has a lot of nice detail.

  8. 8 JB Mar 21st, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Non Harley derivitive engine based customs have been very popular over here in Europe for decades. One advantage is a whole bike can be built for the price of a big Vee engine alone.

  9. 9 raycwheeler Mar 21st, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    nice hot rod ..


  10. 10 ian Mar 22nd, 2009 at 5:19 am

    i could even see me having one of these – very nice – particularly all that space in frame – cool bike.

  11. 11 ¿ Mar 22nd, 2009 at 7:06 am

    Very nice!
    For those keeping score; the engine was originally designed & marketed by Kaw in 1965 (in Japan) and was their first 650cc bike, called the W1. It has such a strong resemblance to the British Twins because Kaw had aquired Meguro MCo. in 1960 and Meguro had brought a few Brit bikes into Japan in the early 50s to model off of.

  12. 12 Nicker Mar 22nd, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    “.. Kaw had acquired Meguro MCo. in 1960 …”

    As i recall, it was Meguro who built a stone-identical copy of the BSA A10 before 1965… ???
    Unlike the Yamaha XS, the BSA-copy was a push-rod motor.

    Never will forget looking at that “Fox-A10” …. Which didn’t leak oil…!!!!


  13. 13 FUJI Mar 23rd, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    The big twin’s heritage is older and more interesting than you might think. During the early 1950s, It was during this period that the seed was planted which was to become the XS650 of today. Horex, in Germany, designed a 500cc SOHC vertical twin that was thoroughly modern in concept and execution. The enthusiastic engineer of Hosk in Japan made an Oriental version of the Horex. The Hosk was rather expensive – and fast. It was the only Japanese bike that could challenge the English singles and twins for performance. Eventually Hosk’s constant cash-flow difficulties delivered them to the arms of Showa, which continued to produce an improved version of the Hosk (many of the Hosk engineers went to work for Showa when they took over the Hosk factory).

    Showa sold to Yamaha in 1960 and the old Horex-inspired 500 twin went with it. Before the sale, the same engineers who had copied the Horex designed a 650cc version of the Hosk which incorporated all that they had learned during the ten years of production of the 500cc version. The 650 promised to be simple and cheap to manufacture – and very strong. After a six-year hiatus Yamaha built a similar bike and has been doing so ever since. XS650 can be traced, directly, back to a design of the early 1950s, almost 30 years.

  14. 14 Nicker Mar 24th, 2009 at 12:19 am


    “…XS650 can be traced, directly, back to a design of the early 1950s, almost 30 years…”

    Interesting, thanks


  15. 15 ¿ Mar 25th, 2009 at 10:06 am

    FUJI-Are Meguro and Hosk the same company? Meguro was making bikes in the ’30s and was the oldest maker in japan at one time. Seems a heck of a coincidence that Meguro was aquired by Yamaha (I typed Kaw by mistake earlier-sorry for any confusion) in 1960 when you say Hosk was. Thanks.

  16. 16 FUJI Mar 26th, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    From Mar 25th, 2009 at 10:06 am

    I ‘am not a history buff but I had a friend who put all into a Kawasaki franchise back in the early days . I can remember some of his first bikes with Kawasaki logos and either the letter W or MW were in the logo , symbol for Meguro or Meguro Works.

    You are correct about Meguro being an old or early manufacturer of motorcycles. I can remember seeing Meguro and Rikuo motorcycles being used by the police back in the early sixtys in the far east., all white in color.
    Funny part , when I saw my first Rikuo badge on a Harley I walked around the bike and was totally confused as to how much it looked like a Harley. Little did I know !

    I don’t know of any connection between Meguro and Hosk not to say that there wasn’t .
    From what I remember Hosk eventually ended up in the hands Showa then was purchased by Yamaha .
    Meguro merged into the hands of Kawasaki Heavy Industries or Kawasaki Aircraft . Then became Kawasaki Motors or Motor Sales.

    Do you remember the Mark lll H1 500 and the Mark lll H2 750 two strokes. I think that the 750 mark lll H2 is still one of the fastest 750 production bikes of all time. ring ding ding and smoke lol

  17. 17 FUJI Mar 27th, 2009 at 7:34 am


    Even old farts have brain farts . Mach lll is the proper designation not Mark . I had to LOL this bike was not a Lincoln Mark lll

  18. 18 ¿ Mar 27th, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Thanks, good info! Yeah, I remember the H2 riiiiiiiiinnnng riiiiiiiiinnnng, blue haze & a padded ironing board shaped seat.

  19. 19 Travis Oct 22nd, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Hans does great work!

    check out the xs650 website

  20. 20 Chichille8 Jan 7th, 2010 at 11:39 am

    As far as I know, Meguro got an agreement with BSA to build the Model A (twin, 500cc, pushrod) in the fiftty’s (around 1955). I’m not sure, but I think Rikuo did too, with H-D. Hosk never got any agreement: as many other motorcycles makers of the area, they had not the money to do that way(nor the japanese gov’t OK!). They simply bought the motorcycle (Horex 500) and make the copy. I guess that after 2 or 3 years, the copy was better than the original!. So, the logical next step is 650cc: but when Yamaha took the lead, 2-strokes motors was the top and the 650cc project had to wait. In fact, 6 years in waiting, before the launch… and the glory!

    And Horex? Ceased in 1960… Seems that Sach Group take over, but I’m not sure.

  21. 21 Billy Jones Mar 13th, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    1/4 Million you say… And I’ve got 13 of them. Looks like I’m going to have to step up the pace if I’m going to corner the market…

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Cyril Huze