Strange as it may be, we’ve never featured a Yamaha XS500 before. So it’s a pleasure to show this lovely home-made custom, built by Philadelphia-based Ted Cichocki, that’s caused a stir on the Do The Ton café racer forum. “This whole journey began after owning a Yamaha V-Star 650 custom,” says Ted. “I realized I enjoyed working on bikes more then riding them, and was inspired by the vintage race bike look. I knew I wanted to build one for myself one day. So I sold the V-Star and began searching for my first complete bike build.” Ted discovered a crippled Yamaha XS500 only a few miles from his house, and bought it for $200. “I did literally everything on the bike myself, except for the chrome plating and the powder coating of the frame.” The bike’s performance has been upgraded with a steering damper, pod filters and a re-jet, but it’s impossible to list everything else that’s been done: it’s loaded with custom parts from fork ears to clubman bars to a Rocket Four seat from Carpy.
Ted took advice from his father and Do The Ton members throughout the build, and after procuring semi-professional equipment, did all the paint himself. The tank is an original XS500 item, but Ted hammered the sides in to reshape it.“I’ve invested about two years into the bike—just weekend work—and about $3,000,” he says. “The investment probably won’t yield any return, but this is a bike I am going to hold on to and cherish forever—just because it means so much to me.”