Freshly lifted from Trevor Franklin’s fabulous Facebook feed, this very tasty Yamaha XS650-based custom. Apart from what the engine is, we have zero information other than if Trevor thinks it’s cool, so do we.

Trevor was a stalwart of the British bike magazine industry for years, before recently going to the dark side and becoming Harley-Davidson’s British press officer. (Update, 28 Sept.: Unfortunately, this FB friend is an entirely different Trevor Franklin, one from Vancouver, BC.) The youth who built this bike, one Jay Donovan, showed up with it at a recent vintage rally Trev sponsored at Action Motorcycles in Vancouver.

It doesn’t look like much of this is XS650 other than the engine and maybe the fork. The rest of it’s exquisitely bent, burnished and bolted together. Thanks for sharing, Trevor.


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  • Lynchenstein

    Those photos were taken at Action Motorcycles in Victoria, British Columbia. Great bike shop with a bunch of great guys and gals on staff.


    Wow! talk about poetry in motion! Kinetic sculpture!

  • Relayer

    Simply beautiful, I love it! I started on twins and always had a soft spot for them which eventually led to the salvage of a Norton 850 Commando at one point. Wish I had the skills to make one just like this with that Norton motor in it, sigh. Awesome styling, and that piiipe…

    • Lynchenstein

      it’s for sale…

  • Tod Rafferty
  • Don Orton

    Let me preface this comment by saying I am NOT an engineer, but to me, the rear shock angle looks wrong. As the attachment point for the shock on the swingarm moves forward, it would move the shock to an angle that would decrease (?) the effective spring rate – I think. Shouldn’t the shock angle stay more or less the same as it moves through it’s travel?

    • Cami

      On any fixed point single pivot suspension system, the shock end will move in an arc. However the other side (non swing arm side) allows for this arc. Even if the shock was mounted in a more perpendicular fashion, the shock will move. This single shock is very common on mountain bikes. I don’t see an issue with the angle.

  • RMP52

    Well to each their own; but to my eye, that is one ugly bike. Not my cup of tea.