First time flat tracker - Yamaha XS650 Custom

[nggallery id=45] After browsing their website over and over again, drooling over the beautiful eye candy before his eyes, Michael Christiansen realized it was time to stop spying and actually visit the Wrenchmonkees in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“I started hanging out once in awhile in their workshop discovering the world of custom bike building in a completely new sense. Their simple, stylish and rough bikes with attitude really impressed me and it was then that I decided to start to build my own bike.”

Since he was a little kid he’d been working as a mechanic on all sorts of things, from bicycles to cars to boats and now it was time to turn his attention to motorcycles. When it came to the decision as to the style of bike to build he explains, “I liked the rough tyres that Wrenchmonkees were using on some of their builds and I couldn’t let go of the thought of being able to take the bike to some gravel roads and trails. That, and then coming across the blog Sideburn, it all came together - I was going to build a flat tracker.”

He found a 1977 XS 650 that had been built into what he describes as a horrible looking chopper but it was in decent shape and would provide a good foundation to begin with.

Worked diligently, night and day, it took some three months for him to complete the build. Along the way he ran into some clearance issues due to the R6 front fork (that he found on Ebay) as the spokes interfered with the calibers. Christiansen then decided to contact Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles for some help.  He explains, “From the very beginning of our email correspondence, Richard was very helpful and we went through the different options for my little wheel project. He suggested using hubs from an early Harley Sportster as these were the most narrow hubs available.”

After checking all of the specs he realized that those hubs were not going to give the desired clearance either. Back to the drawing board, another round of emails and they settled upon a solution.

“Mr. Pollock then informed me of a type of wheel that was originally found on Kawasaki KZ 400 in the 1970’s and that a widening of the rear wheel was necessary to fit the desired Maxxis tire sizes. The rear wheel was to be cut into three pieces and welded back together in a slightly wider form. Mr. Pollock told me that a lot of companies are specialized in doing this exact job and he convinced me that the result would be good, as he had done it himself many times before. I ordered a set of wheels with the golden powder coating that Pollock is using on some of his bikes as a sort of trademark to make his influence on this little wheel project visible. The wheels arrived and the result was brilliant. I went to my PC and made the spacers to fit on the wheels for the brake discs and sprocket in a CAD program and sent the drawings for manufacturing. Shortly after, the bike was on its feet with the new setup and it all turned out to fit together very well."

Michael describes the first time he rode it, “It was an early summer evening, with the last bits of sun in my eyes in the evening. What a thrill it was to ride - firm and powerful feeling with a deep roaring sound from the 2 into1 pipes. Great ride on a great bike!”

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