How To Build A Cheap Chopper With A XS-650 Yamaha Engine

You loved the cool small chopper built using a Yamaha Xs-650 donor bike that I have featured during this last month. XS-650’s are widely available on eBay and elsewhere, are still relatively cheap and have the same minimalistic cool vibe that you get from the old Triumphs and BSA’s. So, are you ready to build a cheap chopper without breaking the bank? Using the stock front end, wheels, brakes etc., a person can build a super-fine ride for less than $5000 in parts! Follows the list and where to get the parts you will need…

First, a rigid frame made exclusively for Mr Luckys by Paughco. It will house any XS-650 power plant from 1970 to 1981. It features a 30 degree rake, an heavy-duty 1 1/2″  front curved down tube & backbone, 1 1/8″ side rails, all drawn over mandrel for smooth, clean bends. Mig welded for a stronger weld in a secure fixture keeping the frame straight and lined up perfectly during welding and cooling.

Neck cups allow you to either use the stock XS-650 front end as you can see on the brown chopper that I feature, or neck cups to mount Harley-Davidson style front ends with a 1” stem.

You can also buy a full kit including a special 34-Tooth rear sprocket geared for the Yamaha engine that bolts directly onto Harley rear wheels. The custom oil bag on the “Mr Lucky” bike houses the electrics, and the retro styled battery box accommodates the stock Yamaha battery. Both are in production, including the exhaust system and scheduled to be available by the end of this month.

XS650 Rolling Chassis Kit, $2999. Neck Cups to mount OEM XS 650 stock front end, $45. Or Neck Cups to mount HD style front end w/1” stem, $45.  Rear Axle for use with Harley type rear wheels, $95. 34-Tooth Rear Chain Sprocket with Harley wheel style bolt pattern, $95. Oil Tank styled Electrical Box, Concave End Caps, $259. Battery Box with Lid & Threaded Rods for XS-650 batteries, $109. At Mr Luckys

17 Responses to “How To Build A Cheap Chopper With A XS-650 Yamaha Engine”

  1. 1 Jerry Jul 9th, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Very cool. No excuse not to build something. Thanks Cyril.

  2. 2 fuji Jul 9th, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Good to see this engine getting its due, probably one of the best designed and engineered engines of its time with a good following.

  3. 3 Lyle Jul 9th, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    They are cool. But you can build a cool Sportster or Triumph for less than 5K as well.

  4. 4 Bigal Jul 9th, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    That’s exactly the Bottom Line. and you got there before I did, Lyle. Why Fart around with a XS-650 Motor and an old Average Bike at best even in it’s day. It isn’t like everybody that rides or did ride has one of these Bike/Engines around.That Paughco Frame aien’t no bargain at $3 Big Ones. You can buy some pretty cool Sportster Rigs from a bunch of you Guys that are on Cyrill’s Blog. Now If you want to make that Engine and do a design in a 3/4 Bike, like a Ridley, with some real Personality then you really got something especially for $6-$7 G’s, well you Guys figure it out.Mr Lucky, I don’t want you to think I am pissing on your Parade, I’m not. The XS is probably all in all nothing more then a 2 day Blog…………..

  5. 5 golfish Jul 9th, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I don’t care much for that frames down tube….IMO, the stock Yamaha frame with a weld on hard tail looks 10x better.

    You guys talked me into it…I’m going to do a Sporty.

  6. 6 Scot Jul 9th, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    That $3000 looks like a good deal. Take a look at it. That price is for a roller. It appears to include (along with the frame) wheels, tires, springer front end, gas tank, rear fender, brake discs, bars, and a headlight.

    Not a bad deal at all in my book…

    The frame by itself is $999. Still not a bad deal.

    Thanks for the great info Cyril.

  7. 7 baddad Jul 10th, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Very nice bike.

  8. 8 Dr Robert Harms Jul 10th, 2010 at 5:22 am

    I really have to take issue with “cheap” and “build”. 3k for a kit is not “cheap” and its not built , its assembeled.
    Heres cheap: 500 basket case + time+work—–

  9. 9 Heavy Metal Jul 10th, 2010 at 5:51 am

    I like the looks of the Paughco frame but if I was building an XS650 I wouldn’t want to give up the VIN so I would hard tail the original frame. Very nice bike there.

  10. 10 Martin Jul 10th, 2010 at 9:17 am

    It was a good job…………..

  11. 11 Ed Martin Jul 10th, 2010 at 11:44 am

    “Mr Lucky” here…………..Appreciate the input guys. Been doing the custom HD thing for lots of years, and wanted to try my hand at something different. Inspiration came from my buddies in Japan, and this one’s for them. Whatever you ride, enjoy the journey! Later ,Ed

  12. 12 MH Jul 10th, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Dr Robert Harms
    You have to be kidding……………..went to this link saw nothing that looked like a basket case. Get real.
    Riders who put together nice bobbers like this one cannot do it for $500 plus time plus work. Paint materials alone will cost a few hundred dollars unless you used a rattle can. In most cases a used Yamaha 650 will start at about $800 to $1000 if it is running and is a 100% there. No one is going to buy a basket case even for $500 and re-build the motor alone and not have at least $1000 into it before the assembly in a new frame or even a hardtail section and not end up somewhere near $3000. A cup of coffee was $0.10 (ten cents) and now it is $1.50 and no free refills and at Starbuck’s it is $3.95, where do you get your $500 from the 1950’s. Give credit where credit is due…………….and say something positive, like NICE JOB for $3000.00

  13. 13 Darin Maltsberger- Instructor@MTI Jul 11th, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Check out TC bros. choppers on the internet. They offer a weld-on hardtail that allows you to keep the original XS title. this helps in some states for insurance and doesn’t put you through the hassle of titling. It’s also quite a bit cheaper. I don’t remember exactly, but I think it’s around $800. My students did one last year if you want to check it out at They kept their build under$2500.
    The above bike is a cool build. I do like the frame, we had the time, lacked the cash and access to the equipment, so we chose to do the weld on. You did a fine job. Be proud of your bike.

  14. 14 Bigal Jul 11th, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Do you know what the Hell is COOL about Cyrill’s Blog? Normally at the end it usually makes more sense and the answers are greatly appreciated and All who have an open mind, learn a whole lot more of Information.

  15. 15 dhcustomworks Jul 13th, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Dr Robert Harms,
    This was a cobbled mess (…so called basket case) before the resotore. and continues to be a cobbled mess, not to mention ugly as sin!

    It is difficult to build a “cheap” bike… even take into consideration that you can do everything yourself! thats great if you have your own machine shop! but I dont know about everyone else, my time is not cheap!
    to get yourself into something that is fun to ride and is a true to its name… this xs650 hits its mark!

  16. 16 kurt Jul 31st, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I’m not affiliated with them, but G&L Choppers will hardtail your existing 650 frame for $350 + shipping.

  17. 17 Wil Feb 21st, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Awesome bike. I am currently building one also. Do you know where or how I can get a hold of a simplified wiring diagram? I would like to get the wire harness down to bare bones without all the extra stuff like the signals and all the relays for the signals etc. I just want a wire harness setup just to run the motor. thanks

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Cyril Huze