Yamaha is on a roll these days. The FZ range has redefined the middleweight sector and sells by the container load. The XJR1300 and SR400 are getting their second winds, attracting buyers looking for simple, old school thrills. And if you fancy customizing an XS650 … well, good luck finding one.
You can spend thousands of dollars on aftermarket tanks and wheels designed to fit an XS650. But the lads from Nozem Amsterdam managed to grab a whole bike—and they’ve done it justice with a custom that’s unusually hard to categorize.
“We thought it was time for something different,” Nozem co-founder Lorenzo explains. “We love café racers, but this one is a mix. A bit of tracker, bobber, and chopper.”
The design might be quirky, but the levels of finish are superlative. Behind the engine, the frame is completely new—and considerably lower than stock.
It’s now supported by a pair of Harley shocks, to ensure the fat rubber leaves no skidmarks on the vestigial tail unit. Tiny custom taillights are integrated in the frame end tubes.
Nozem Amsterdam have re-sprung the forks and fabricated a custom upper triple, which houses the compact speedo. Modified motocross bars add a tracker vibe and keep the clean look.
“The engine required a bit of a tune up,” says Lorenzo, “more than the ordinary paint, polish and shine.” The worn out BS38 carbs were replaced by Keihin 32s, and Nozem have built an intricate stainless exhaust system to match. It’s hooked up to Laser X-Treme mufflers, a Nozem favorite.
New sprockets and a heavy-duty gold chain transmit the power to the back wheel. A completely new wiring loom and compact Ballistic battery keep the electrics humming.
The star of the show is the bodywork, though—painted by Airbrushlab LifeCreations in a lustrous green metalflake with yellow pinstriping. It’s as old school as it gets, and a style that still has masses of appeal.
The tank has been scavenged from an old motocrosser, but the tail unit and front fairing are hand-fabricated. The rear is low and the front is high, which Lorenzo describes as “a dubious but perfect mix.”
Just like Amsterdam itself.