Retrospeed Yamaha XS650 Chopper Project

1Rretrospeed2Rretrospeed3Rretrospeed5Rretrospeed6RretrospeedBelieve it or not, this ground up custom project may be the first and the last one of Wisconsin motorcycle shop Retrospeed. The reason? Young owner Brady Ingelse never wanted to be a custom builder per say. His business specializes only in vintage repairs and restorations, not in custom building. And even after the success received by this Yamaha XS650 chopper project – it was sold after its first public apparition and Snap-On Tools featured it in its calendar as a great example of craftsmanship – Brady still swears he will not build again a full blown project…Hope he will change his mind…

7Rretrospeed8Rretrospeed9RretrospeedThere are not many shops left where technicians are trained to service 50’s to 80’s motorcycles from multiple brands. Retrospeed in one of them. Brady Inglese got involved with bikes while in high school, fully restoring a Honda CB750 SOHC and having so much fun doing it that he decided to attend the Daytona Beach American Motorcycle Institute where he graduated in 2000 of the final class offered to students wishing to be trained in the unique aspects of vintage motorcycle tuning. Back in his native Wisconsin, Brady found his professional niche, realizing that no shop were offering vintage motorcycle services in the Milwaukee, Port Washington, Plymouth, Elkhart Lake, and Sheboygan areas.

Back to this 1976 custom Yamaha XS650, and although affirming its own unique personality, it is evidently inspired and modeled after the board trackers of the 1910’s and 1920’s. Rebuilding engine, carb, tranny, etc belongs to the daily grind of Retrospeed and didn’t create any particular issues. Fabrication was more of a challenge for a shop specializing in vintage restorations. After several cardboard mockups, a series of trials and errors, gas tank pieces were hammered from sheet metal and tig-welded together. Rear fender is not steel or aluminum, but was formed using sheets of copper, making it much more valuable than just copper plating. The crew agreed that black should be the only color to complement the bodywork and wheels copper theme. And of course I will tell you when Retrospeed has completed its new and “last” full blown custom project…(photos courtesy Retrospeed)

17 Responses to “Retrospeed Yamaha XS650 Chopper Project”

  1. 1 Dante's 9th Jun 19th, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Thats definitely more ‘ Bobber ‘ than ‘ Chopper ‘ but regardless theres quite the bit of creativity and craftsmanship on display considering the donor bike they started with . Truly a fine example of making a very fine silk purse out of a ragged old sows ears

  2. 2 domino Jun 19th, 2017 at 8:16 am

    I have a weak spot for Yamaha 650’s …. one of the best, reliable bikes ever built … This custom is beautiful!! Great job Brady …

    …………………………….. Domino Dave …………………………………

  3. 3 richards Jun 19th, 2017 at 9:50 am

    I rode about 38 K on a ’76 650 yam…overall very good reliable bike. I won’t talk about the vibration and painfully hard seat. I wish i would have kept it. On the other hand, I don’t care for ANYTHING gold, brass, or bronze colored on ANY bike…something about seems out of place to me on a bike. Personal bias I guess.

  4. 4 P. Hamilton Jun 19th, 2017 at 10:41 am

    It’s extremely well done.

  5. 5 Kerry Jun 19th, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Not my style, but very good work.

  6. 6 BobS Jun 19th, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Not my thing. All that hardwork, and yes craftsmanship, put into a shitty riding bike. The whole point of a Bobber is to make a stock bike better by means of reduced weight. Custom builders here’s my plea: quit making stuff that’s all show and no go! There’s a word that rhymes with “closer” that the PC crowd prevents us from using but describes one who pretends to be something it’s not. Please, this bike is an excellent example of what skill and imagination is capable of. So in the spirit of the original Bobbers how about some customs that have more power, outhandle, out brake, are more comfortable than stock…and still showcase talent, skill, and craftsmanship?

  7. 7 Big'olMo Jun 19th, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    This bike is

    BobS is super butthurt about the semantics in this article.
    Find another hobby keyboard warrior.

  8. 8 seymour Jun 19th, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    “Brady still swears he will not build again a full blown project”

  9. 9 hacksaw Jun 19th, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    bob s. is right on the issue of bobbers. thats not a bobber nor a chopper since i don’t see anything stock bobbed nor chopped. its a custom bike with a board tracker like theme. I don’t find it particularly good looking. yamaha made into a harley does neither brand justice.

  10. 10 Charles from MA Jun 20th, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Café racer?

  11. 11 Charles from MA Jun 20th, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Yamaharley maybe?

  12. 12 chris Jun 20th, 2017 at 8:44 am

    YUK!!!….I’m a big XS650 fan having owned lots, but this think is a real eyesore!

  13. 13 Mikea Jun 20th, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Technically a pretty impressive pile of parts and work. But as a motorcycle? You can tell when people who aren’t bikers do a build. It comes out looking like a car that shrunk in the wash.

  14. 14 highrpm Jun 20th, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    what kind of a statement is the builder trying to make with that tank?! can’t get past it.

  15. 15 Rob S Jun 20th, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Uh, no thanks. While I can appreciate the work that went into the bike, that tank wrecks the bike’s appeal for me.
    Frankly, I’d rather have the original, unmodded bike.

  16. 16 rebel Jun 23rd, 2017 at 12:15 am

    i can’t get past the square tank either

  17. 17 bigalyts Jun 23rd, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    i wonder how much he got for this Piece of Art that Rides? What a Dynamite Bike! Great work.

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