Twist Chopper 650XS

When you build custom motorcycles and get your size and first name written all over the bike press written in a solid word as a Brand, it must means that you are getting recognition, appreciation and respect… I met Jacques Masson, known as GrandJack, during the latest Daytona Bike Week, like me strolling the Boardwalk Show for the best new bike creations. Yes, he is very tall (more than me…), and promised t let me know about his new creative creation in his native country of France,

It’s already 3 decades ago that GrandJack got the Harley riding bug, giving it to his wife, each modifying his own bike at home in a condo space, then progressively making new friends at improving what they rode. Working on all types of 2 wheelers, learning the tricks of the trade and discovering/imagining what he could do if he would own and master the right fabrication tools. And as all builders I know around the world who did it one way or the other, GrandJack ended up with his own fully equipped dream custom motorcycle shop. Interesting to mention, Grandjack is also specialized in the conception and fabrication of custom handlebars, and it’s frequent in Europe to see him exhibit 100’s of them in the big bike rallies.

This Twist Project 650XS is a job started 2 1/2 years ago on the challenge he gave to himself to build a bike not looking like any you could see in catalogues and magazines. Starting point had to be a great looking motor with an old school flair that he would rebuild to mechanical and aesthetic perfection. When the Yamaha XS 650 was launched in 1968 it had one of the most advanced engines in its class of large parallel twin motorcycles. The engine and gearbox are unit construction with the crankcase split horizontally for ease of assembly whereas almost all contemporaries in its class in 1968 are either unit construction with a vertically split crankcase or pre-unit construction with separate engine and gearbox.

The XS650’s engine was used in AMA Professional Dirt Track Racing by national champion Kenny Roberts. In 1968 only the Laverda 750S, and the Honda CB350, also launched that year, matched the XS 650’s modernity of unit construction and SOHC valve operation. After a perfection restoration and tuning on the bench, polissage, addition of an S&S carburetor, of a Morris magneto and routing simplification of the electric system, GrandJack imagined the frame which would proudly cradle it. Rigid, of course, raked and skinny to look agile and elegant and ready to be integrated in with other accessories in some Japanese art dressing

For Invader design inspired wheels (21” front, 16” rear), the Springer type front end, sissy bar, etc simplicity was a must but with one constant turns regular the “Indian Larry” classic style twist, a long fabrication job requiring regular twists and munitious execution to not end with tacky weird shapes. Wheels were cut from blanks with custom turn hubs. Not front brake and a rear drum brake.

Then Grandjack fabricated 2 wood half gas tanks as templates of what could look the best, and when satisfied, created the sheet aluminum version. Rear fender was sourced at Lowbro Customs. Sparrow Kustom Tattoo was given the mission of engraving the Japanese culture all over the bike, Patrick at Skinass to shape and upholster the thin tall chop seat.  Final twist of this story. Jacques Masson just entered his Twist 650XS Chop in Pecquencourt, a major event in France. And he won… GrandJack Customs (photos courtesy Chris Bobber for Cyril Huze)


18 Responses to “Twist Chopper 650XS”

  1. 1 HistoryFirst May 1st, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Its a bit much and a little over the top but heck its a classic chopper in the best of ways with an unconventional choice of motors and brother does this ever bring back the memories 😎

  2. 2 Tracy May 1st, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Deserves a bigger gas tank. Looking too thin, fragile.

  3. 3 P. Hamilton May 1st, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Merit is the detail/engraving work.

  4. 4 Drake May 1st, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Even a Yamaha can become desirable….

  5. 5 Greeko May 1st, 2017 at 8:39 am

    One bike you want to keep to look at it in your garage or living room.

  6. 6 Jay Horton's Private Shop May 1st, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Beautiful! Later Jay

  7. 7 domino May 1st, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    …………………… Ed Roth like …………………………..

    ………………….. Domino Dave ………………………….

  8. 8 Don May 1st, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Indian Larry would be proud

  9. 9 rcupp May 1st, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    Nice scoot!

  10. 10 burnout May 1st, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Cool ass bike!! peace

  11. 11 calif phil May 2nd, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Luv it. I would rather see these type of bikes than big wheel baggers.

  12. 12 Dale Ianni May 2nd, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Top notch craftsmanship. Very cool.

  13. 13 Sukoshi Fahey May 2nd, 2017 at 10:07 am

    What tires does It have on it?

  14. 14 Gym May 2nd, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Coon tail…

  15. 15 JohnnySpeed May 3rd, 2017 at 5:36 am

    Very pretty and some incredible craftsmanship on display

  16. 16 Charles Erickson May 5th, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Nice. Almost too nice to ride. Imagine the cost of a spill?

  17. 17 bigalyts May 8th, 2017 at 10:05 am

    What a piece of Art. This is a Life Size creation of a Chopper that the Builder has spent the money and time on that is not kept in records The reason that records are not kep is because whatever it has become is so worth it after looking at the finished product. This is what everyone before me has described and said. I am just looking it from another perspective and that it is a work of Art. .

  18. 18 takehikes May 17th, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    jesus, ugly as sin. Ed Roth like? Oh hell no. I met Ed more than once and saw his bikes. Oh, hell no.

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