It helps that Tony is the co-owner of Breadwinner Cycles, a handmade bicycle outfit based in Portland. The bike hanging off the back of the Yamaha XS650 is one of Breadwinner’s made-to-order hardtails, Bad Otis. (Read all about it on our pedal-powered sister site, Cycle EXIF.)
“Someone told me about a ’75 XS at a nearby garbage transfer station, with a ‘FREE’ sign hanging from it.”
“So I jumped in my pickup, went over and slid the rusty mess of a bike in on its side, thinking I’d only ever use it as a parts bike.” After a year of pillaging random parts from it, Tony decided to build his first café racer.
“As a lifelong tinkerer who had just learned to weld, I knew that given enough time I could figure out how to make it come to life.”
It was during the project that Tony got the confidence to take a crack at crafting his first mountain bike frame. “I knew I had found my calling,” he says. “Handmade bicycles were just beginning to see a resurgence in popularity and I went all in, building bikes for friends and friends of friends.”
“Ira built a motorcycle bike rack for his BMW R65—something I’d always wanted to do as well. I knew the café bike was a funny choice for such a project, but it was my only bike. And splitting time between the moto and the mountain bike I wasn’t getting enough time on either of them.”
The rack’s removable, and is made from 4130 tubing and some bicycle seat binder braze-ons that Tony had lying around. It went on round about the time that the bike got repainted, with the stunning white and green livery you see here.
Bad Otis recently got the same treatment, so that the guys could show the pair off at their booth at this year’s North America Handmade Bicycle Show.
The rest of the XS650 is worthy of closer inspection too. Tony recently ditched the stock forks and brakes in favor of a 2002-spec Yamaha R6 setup. There’s also a Kawasaki Ninja 250 master cylinder and an EBC rotor.
The frame was stripped, de-tabbed and powder coated. Tony made the seat hump from fiberglass, and even tackled the upholstery himself—which he reckons “remains one of its rougher spots.”
These days, this XS650 rolls on 18-inch DID Akront-style rims: Tony made the switch from the stock 19-inch front wheel to help quicken the handling. The tires are Avon AM26s, and the rear brake drum is a larger unit from an XS750.
The XS is stacked with lovely details—like the hand made clip-ons, drilled cover and selective use of nickel plating. The fender is a Motocarrera TZ-250 item, and the rear-sets are modified Spec II units. Tony also built the exhaust system himself, using parts from Cone Engineering.
A shame, but understandable.