So this is what happens when two old surf dudes get together. Richard Pollock, our favorite street-tracker builder, was a semi-pro surfer in his youth. Motocross was a way to pass time when the waves were flat, which led to a gig as a bike shop mechanic, which led to a 30-year career as an aerospace fabricator, which then led back to motorcycles, specifically Mule Motorcycles. To date, about 140 machines, almost all street-trackers, have left the refitted suburban San Diego two-car garage that serves as Mule’s build facility.
This British Racing Green Yamaha XS 650 is one of his latest, commissioned by another surfer, Fred Snyder, a northern Californian whose favorite spot for shooting curls is Moss Landing north of Monterey. Discreet MLAV lettering, for “Moss Landing Assault Vehicle,” just below the Mule logo on the Storz aluminum gas tank is an in-joke between Pollock and Snyder.
About the only items that remain from the original XS are the engine castings and the footpegs. Everything else had been replaced, rebuilt or thoroughly massaged, starting with the motor, which gets a big-bore 750 kit, hotter cam, large valves, porting and an electronic ignition from Powerdynamo in Czechoslovakia. The smaller sparking system allowed Pollock to trim the alternator bulge on the primary cover and weld on a flatter aluminum piece for more of a race bike look.
All buttoned up, the rebuilt twin was slotted into a new chromoly-steel frame built to Pollock’s specs. The design does away with the bottom frame cradles. Wheels at both ends are Morris-lookalike 18-inchers originally fitted to 1970s Kawasakis. Mule acquires these inexpensively on eBay, then sends them to Kosman Specialties to be widened so modern rubber—Bridgestone BT45s in this case – can be used.
Pollock’s uncanny ability to mix-n-match parts is evident on the front end, where his own billet triple-clamps house 45mm conventional forks taken from a Honda CBR900RR. Nissin calipers from the 900RR remain, putting the bite on rotors that consist on custom carriers and trimmed, thinned XS650 discs, the latter drilled with a series of holes to resemble TZ750 roadracing items. A new Triumph Bonneville headlight bucket, tiny Acewell multi-function instrument pod, Woods Racing stainless-steel handlebars and Brembo front master cylinder complete the fork assembly.
The tailsection is a Mule part, traditionally flat-track in shape but crafted out of carbon-fiber. Snyder, over the moon about all other aspects of the MLAV, has requested that the seat’s skimpy slab of foam padding be doubled in thickness. Hey, even old surfers can appreciate a little more comfort…