There’s a lot to be said for low-key aesthetics. And this back-to-basics Yamaha XS650 is as subtle as they come.
It’s the fifth build from the Modern Motor Cycle Company, based in Melbourne, Australia. Owner Andrew Cook wanted a custom that was simple and clean, and he’s just taken delivery of the result.
Builder and MMCC boss Christian Condo has strong views on what motorcycles should be like. “By the mid 20th Century, motorcycles had evolved to a point where they were reliable and functional, but still humble and elegant … made of honest materials with a spirit of simplicity and ingenuity. Since then they’ve become increasingly plastic, angular, over-decorated and over-engineered.”
Fighting words, but with more than a grain of truth. Condo has kept this mid-70s XS650 as clean as possible: he’s fitted it with the more graceful tank from a later XS650 Special model and a custom-fabricated black leather seat.
The engine is now fed by a pair of Mk.1 Amal 932 carbs: “They might not be as sophisticated as some after-market Japanese carbs, but they’re a lot prettier in our opinion—and much simpler to tune,” says Condo. “We would have preferred bellmouths as well, but the engine has been overhauled recently. So we thought it best to play safe, and stuck a pair of K&Ns on.”
Condo also installed an SR-spec top yoke from Daytona, and in the spirit of minimalism, instrumentation is restricted to LED warning lights embedded in the gauge mounts. There’s a new hydraulic front brake setup too, with a remote master cylinder and a custom billet aluminum reservoir. (It’s hidden just behind the headlight.)
After a few shakedown rides, owner Andrew Cook is mighty pleased with the result: “Christian is a true artist and he’s done a remarkable job.” Keep an eye on future builds from the Modern Motor Cycle Company here.