If you’re a motorcycle builder in the States and you need a custom seat, you know who to call: Ginger McCabe.
Ginger runs Portland, Oregon-based New Church Moto. She’s the go-to girl for workshops like Revival Cycles and Crowe Customs, plus top-flight restorers like New York’s Moto Borgotaro. So we were curious to see what she rides, when she’s not working on other people’s bikes.
Turns out it’s this very sharp-looking 1977 Yamaha XS400, which has survived two big crashes. “It’s been through hell and back with me the last six years,” says Ginger. “Started out as bone stock, but now the original owner would hardly recognize it.”
Ginger bought the XS400 from a co-worker, when she was cutting her teeth at Langlitz Leathers. She promptly stripped the bike back to basics, and rode it around for two summers until she got hit by a car. That accident bent the swingarm, so a rebuild was called for.
Then Ginger got T-boned again, this time from the other side—and much harder. The bike was wrecked.
Most folks would have given up at this point, but not Ginger. “I got pretty smashed up and couldn’t walk for about six months. Sad to say, the bike sat out in my yard because I had no money to rebuild it and couldn’t even ride. It was pretty much a bummer year.”
“When I was back on my feet and working, I managed to get it out of the yard and into a few different garages. It finally ended up in G & H Cycles.” Casey at G & H set to work, and the result is the little cracker we see here—which has already proven its worth on the flat track.
It’s now sporting Progressive Suspension shocks, a vintage aluminum fork brace, and custom drilled brake rotors hooked up to stainless lines. The headlight is from a Honda Elsinore MR250, with a neat cage, and the rubber is classic Dunlop K70—“the perfect highway-and-backroad riding combo,” says Ginger.
Casey also bumped up the racebike vibe with a 2-into-1 exhaust from Jones Racing and Development, and Tommaselli bars with a slight rise. He’s reshaped the rear end with a custom hoop and fender, and made a new seat pan.
The highlight is that beautifully painted tank, a deep gold sparkle set off with Euro style graphics—and matched to equally sparkly gold grips. The pleated seat looks pretty good too, with discreet gold stitching.
No prizes for guessing who made that, though.