Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jason Harrill’s XS650

IMG 2002 587x265 Jason Harrills XS650

Craigslist find for 500 bucks.

It was a stock 79 frame with an 81 motor. My original plan was to have the frame hardtailed and go from there. I learned how quickly plans change. Now is where my bike really got started.

Ran in to a guy from my area that I kinda knew but not really well. He had built a couple bikes for himself and I started telling him plans for my bike. He gave me my first cool piece of the bike-my Unity headlight that was brass under the chrome. Long story short, if it wasn’t for this guy, I would still be staring at my stock frame wondering where to start. His name is Brian Blanton and he is one for the books.

IMG 1953 587x331 Jason Harrills XS650

IMG 1967 587x385 Jason Harrills XS650

Everybody needs a best friend like this. I owe him a lot for everything he did for me to get this bike built. He did all the welding and most of the fab work on this bike and he is DAMN GOOD at it (especially not to do this type of thing for a living). I cut out brackets, bent some round stock, drilled and tapped holes, and did what he told me to do but he did most of the hard work.

IMG 1977 Jason Harrills XS650

OK, OK, back to the build. I fell in love with the Ardcore frame and took that route. Had to wait a while on the frame, but it was worth it. I picked up an Indian Larry tank on Craigslist. The front wheel is a 21″ Accel rim with a Flyrite spool hub. Got me a rear 16″ Harley wheel at a swap meet. Off to the powdercoaters. I laced and trued both wheels with stainless spokes from Buchanans.

IMG 1983 587x366 Jason Harrills XS650

Lacing and truing a wheel is something everybody should do at least once ( I hope I never have to do it again). Front tire is an Avon Speedmaster and the rear is a Firestone Deluxe Champion. Front end is from a Sporty and my buddy shaved the lowers for me.

IMG 1986 587x425 Jason Harrills XS650
About this time in my build is when I started thinking about the motor. I knew I wanted a reliable heart so I got on the www and did a little research.

Come to find out, there is a dude that lives about an hour from me whose name comes up every time you mention an XS650. Hugh Owings of Hugh’s Handbuilt. Did a little emailing back and forth with him and took the motor to him.

IMG 1988 587x411 Jason Harrills XS650

IMG 1989 587x426 Jason Harrills XS650

Went with a basic rebuild and—-wait for it—A REPHASE. I went with the permanent magnet alternator swap and got him to install everything during the teardown. Hugh also installed the 5th gear overdrive. I went with a capacitor and no battery. Hugh is one cool dude and very knowledgeable about these motors. This is another great friend I made while working with the bike. He did a great job on my everything for me.

IMG 1994 Jason Harrills XS650

I know I am rambling so I will finish this up. Here is a list of things we (mostly Brian) made for the bike—handlebars, brass grips, top motor mounts, struts, rear fender, mids, brass pegs, exhaust, exhaust brackets, seat mount, headlight mount, microphone taillight, taillight bracket, rear brake setup, rear axle, wheel spacers, coil mounts, made a new bung and neck for the gas cap, frisco style petcock bung, changed mounts on gas tank, and installed a sight glass on the gas tank.

I am probably forgetting some stuff but you get the point that this bike was built by hand.

The finishing touch was the pinstriping. Jeremy Kemp from Spartanburg, SC did the work for me. He did a great job and it gave my tins the look I wanted.

IMG 1999 587x419 Jason Harrills XS650
This bike turned out better than I ever imagined. Sites like are great for guys like me to look at cool rides and get great ideas.

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