Classified Moto is the side project of Virginia-based John Ryland who, like me, works in an ad agency during the day. “I’ve always been into vehicles, but never paid much attention to motorcycles until a few years ago,” he says. “My buddy left me his bike when he was out of town. I got my license and fell in love. I started modding bikes about a year and a half ago, and I can’t stop!” This Yamaha XS650 custom is one of Ryland’s creations; he already has a handful of bikes under his belt. He’s under no illusions about the business, though. “Clearly, my bikes aren’t perfect. My welds aren’t very pretty and I don’t mind a little rust. But I love taking something that was neglected or under appreciated and bringing it back to life with a whole new character. I’m a fan of transforming the more mundane bikes, as opposed to something that’s already special or collectible.”
If Ryland has a signature, it’s putting modern sportbike or dirtbike front ends on older bikes. (“The machine shop I use is owned by riders, who make sure everything is rock solid.”) And why the ‘Classified Moto’ name? “When people can’t tell what the bike used to be, my garage mates and I joke that ‘it’s Classified’. That’s the working name of our pipe dream of a bike shop/café. One of these days…” Check out more of John’s classy bikes on the Classified Moto website. [Thanks to Cindy Hicks. Images by Adam Ewing.]
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III | 1/200 sec | f/10 | ISO 160 | 45mm
Bike: 1982 Yamaha XS650 Heritage Special
Carbs: Mikunis, jetted with pods
Exhaust: Open at the moment with recycled pipes. (“Ordered Supertrapps in August. They just arrived and both are for the left side. Haha.”)
Front end: Modified 2004 Suzuki RMZ450 forks, triples and brakes with Warp 9 supermoto wheel.
Bars: Woodcraft adjustable clip-ons
Tires: Kenda K761 Dual Sport in front, Bridgestone TW in the rear.
Touches: Custom battery tray with Autometer voltmeter mounted behind custom perforated metal sidecovers. (“When I looked through the side covers, it reminded me of an old tube guitar amp. I wanted something to glow from behind the screen at night. The gauge casts a nice glow and serves a purpose.”)
Touches: “I stripped the old ratty paint off the tank, but left a stripe of the former non-stock red. It’s cracked and weathered and gives a hint of the bike’s past life.”
Owner: Adam Ewing. A great photographer from Richmond, VA. “I worked with him when I was on the BFGoodrich account.”