Ever since I saw the Yamaha built by Frenchman Sonic Seb, I’ve had a thing for slammed XS650s. Granted, they’re not the most practical of customs, but sheesh—they look good.
This one comes from Taiwan, the country best known for giving us Rough Crafts. Builder Mark Huang is based in Taipei, and like most Taiwanese builders, he faced a few challenges—the first being the scarcity of the XS650 in that country. “I had to get this 1982 bike from California,” Mark says, “but it was in great condition. I then spent four months turning it into a Japanese-style street bobber.”
Since 2005, Mark has been running a motorcycle parts company—so he’s seen a lot of bikes, and knows how to get the look he wants. Central to that look is the tank, and in this case it’s from a tiny Honda CB50. Finished with an amazingly intricate paintjob from Air Runner, it’s matched to a custom seat unit with the bare necessity of padding required for rider comfort. A custom-fabricated aluminum fender flows neatly over the 18” rear wheel.
The front suspension is stock XS650 but lowered just over three inches, and Mark fitted 11-inch shocks at the back. The final touch is a hand-made exhaust system, terminated with reverse cone mufflers. The level of finish throughout the XS650 is quite extraordinary.
The XS650 will join Mark’s 1977 Harley-Davidson shovel in his garage. If you’re inspired to build one yourself, check out our Archives for other XS650 builds from around the world.