October 22, 2014 ·

I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog.  Mostly because Blogger has become almost dysfunctional with all other forms of Social Media (for instance, Facebook won’t allow any posts from this blog, etc…) so it’s had to get excited to do a bunch of updates on a poor platform…

So what does that mean?  Well, we are building an entirely NEW website, hoping to have it launched soon.  With that new site, will be a new Blog as well (don’t worry, I’m also going to repost ALL of the posts from this blog to the new blog, so no content will be lost in the transition) – and with that comes a better ability to  market things on other forms of Social Media.

For instance – did you know that we now have NEW 74-UP XS650 Motor Mounts available?

Thats right!  We’ve been working on a few things that most folks don’t have much information about.  It’s been a HUGE time struggle between Emails, Doing new R&D on products, keeping up with the forums, etc…  But we are going full steam ahead…
What else is new?  Hrmmm, we have launched the XS650 Top Motor Mounts as well – not available on our website yet, but you can find them on Facebook or Instagram 

So what else is new?  Well, we did discontinue our popular HHB Hydro Clutch swap kits…  Why?  Well it’s as simple as this…  The parts we were selling allowed the use of a Hydro Clutch you could buy off of ebay, and swap onto your XS650 using our components.  Unfortunately, the quality control of the Chinese made Ebay Hydro Clutch components was soo hit or miss that we couldn’t justify sending folks to buy components that may or may not work properly.  Combine that with all the tech support, emails, etc.. that the swap kit was requiring – it simply took to much of our time to keep it on the shelf.




Don’t Fret though!  In true HHB Style, we are going to give you all you need to know to do the swap yourself, we just won’t be offering the components for sale in our store any longer.   So if you find yourself a complete “Pit Bike Hydraulic Clutch” on Ebay, with roughly 50″ of hose (1270mm) or so, you should be good to go – saving money and getting all of your Hydro Clutch Needs in one stop.  There are several folks selling them on Ebay with a 1200mm hose which should work fine in a stock application.  Shorter or taller bars?  Just find a hose length that works for you.  But by all means, feel free to do some digging on Ebay and I’m sure you’ll find a set that works for you.  And since we are discontinuing this item, make sure you get yourself an M8 Jam Nut, a Plastic Washer and a other hardware pictured above to make the swap.   Just because this component has been discontinued by HHB, doesn’t mean that you folks should go without.  Just do us a favor, and do your googlefu before emailing us for any tech support and such – so we can focus on bringing new and cool products to you folks.

What else is new?  How about our Speedster Bars! 

Inspired by my very first build, these have been a HIT!  Allowing for a better fit than clubmans, clip-ons, or drag bars – the HHB Speedster Bars just work a charm for making the bike look AND feel proper, without cramping riding position.  Check out the store for more details on those!

Oh yeah, we’ve kicked out some KILLER Fork Braces for the XS650 while we were in the mood for making cool new stuff – they fit both 34 and 35mm forks (34mm needing some very minor clearancing of the mounting bosses on the fork) and area available in Black Powdercoat, Raw Unfinished Steel, and Nickle Plated finishes.  These came out of necessity – Tevan’s Resto-Mod XS2 handled pretty badly, even after a 35mm fork swap, so we built these and magically he’s now dragging a knee in the curves. This fork brace doesn’t come with those kinds of skills, but it sure helps instill some confidence in the front of these old bikes again…

There are a few other things I haven’t listed here, like our Neck Gusset Kits, Slimline Master Cylinder, Headlight Mount, Stainless Triple Tree Hardware, and more available on the website – www.HughsHandBuilt.com

So yeah, we aren’t going anywhere…  In Fact – we just picked up another XS650 for an HHB Test Mule – check out our 1975 XS650 as we beat on it like a red-headed step child.  Because it doesn’t leave the shop unless it is “Hugh Approved” – and that involves lots of miles, wheelies, and the occasional mishap in the twisties – all in the name of Quality.  You deserve the best, and we do our best to make that happen.

Thanks for your continued support folks!  Stay tuned to the website, Facebook, and Instagram for other happenings with HHB.


Pin It
July 22, 2014 ·

Well folks, We’ve been busy as can be, but that won’t stop us from getting out and seeing some of ya’ll..

MountainFest in Morgantown WV this weekend will be a great time!  Hope to see some of ya’ll there..  Cycle Source Magazine and a ton of your other favorite motorcycle hooligans will be there, you should be too…

This is a great show, lots of good vendors and custom bikes…  PLUS – If you wanna save some coin on HHB Goodies, we’ll be offering some cash priced discounts at the show!

More details on the event are here – Click Clicky…. 

Plan on us being gone through next Monday, so any emails and orders not received by mid day today will likely not be handled until we get back…  Thanks for your support folks!


February 20, 2014 ·

It’s been long in the tooth, so to say, but as with ALL HHB products, we test, abuse, test, abuse some more, and test again.  It’s just how we do things.  We may not release a new product as fast as we would like, but when we do, you know it’s our best!

So with that said, welcome to the HHB Product Line, the Bolt-On XS650 Oil Cooler.

 *Shown Polished, currently available in Brushed Finish ONLY

This 100% Bolt-On design is designed, tested, tested again, and redesigned for the ultimate in Bolt-On oil cooler performance.

This is the largest Bolt-On Oil Cooler on the market for the XS650 Side Cover.

  • *Large Surface Area Increases Cooling Abilities
  • *120cc Oil Capacity Increas
  • *Unique 6 Fin Design
  • *Uses OEM Oil Filter – No restrictive paper elements here!
  • *Brushed Alloy Finish
  • *Includes Stainless Hardware, Gaskets and Copper Sealing Washers.

If you know Hugh’s HandBuilt, then you know we don’t offer ANYTHING
to the public that we don’t fully test ourselves.  This new oil cooler
is keeping with that tradition, having been 2 years in the making.

We have the largest surface area of any Bolt-On oil cooler on the
market, while increasing oil capacity by 120cc’s.  More oil and more
cooling surface = Cooler Running XS650 Engine!

We’ve tested various filter combinations, checking for oil pressure
losses and restriction, and found the OEM style filter works best with
the XS650 Oil Pump to keep flow and pressure at a maximum.

Hugh’s HandBuilt Tested and APPROVED!

Where to buy?  Why right at our store of course!  Click Click On This Link

As always, thank you for your support – we’ll keep doing what we do, you keep doing what you do.


Hugh’s HandBuilt

February 17, 2014 ·

This is a fairly rare opportunity for someone NOT on the Current HHB Engine Building backlog to get an engine for this year.

This is out of my PERSONAL bike, I’ll be doing something else with the chassis soon (email me if interested in the rolling chassis) and has less than 25 miles on it since it was first built.

*This is JUST for the engine, NOT the entire bike*

  • 750cc JE High Compression Pistons (10:1)
  • NEW Big Bore Liners
  • 277 Rephase by HHB
  • 256 Camshaft
  • Ported Head
  • NOS Valves
  • NEW Valve Guides
  • NEW Valve Springs
  • NEW Rocker Arms
  • Stainless Rocker Plugs
  • 277 Ignition by Pamcopete
  • Hugh’s HandBuilt PMA Charging System (NEW)
  • 5th Gear OD
  • Polished Shift Rails
  • EBC Clutch Plates
  • NEW Steel Clutch Plates
  • EBC Clutch Springs
  • HD Throwout Bearing
  • 7 into 6 HHB Modded Clutch Pack
  • NEW 447 Crankshaft Rods
  • New Gaskets
  • New Oil Seals
  • New Oil Pump
  • New Sump Filter
  • Polished Engine Covers
  • Re-Chromed Cam Covers
  • Polished Valve Covers
  • Stainless Hardware
  • Kick-Only (no Electric start provision)
  • Foot Operated Clutch (easily converted to hand clutch if desired)
  • New Shift Shaft
  • Aqua Blasted Cases
  • Aqua Blasted Head and Cylinders
  • New Oil Tube Base Fitting
  • New Oil Tube
  • New Copper Oil Seals
  • New Camchain
  • New Cam Guides
  • Brass Head Washers
  • New Clutch Worm Gear
  • 1 Piece Clutch Rod
  • Custom Drilled Side Cover

This engine has 205 lbs of compression, is as fresh as they get, and is available for $6350 (plus your free spinning core)   This is slightly below retail for the full cost of the build.

Contact Hughshandbuilt@gmail.com for purchasing information.

*If interested in the Rolling Chassis, make an offer.  Will include EVERYTHING except the engine, carbs, charging system, etc…


February 3, 2014 ·

Well folks,  it’s February!  And with February normally comes the call for engine builds to come in.  But this year it just isn’t happening…  We are still going full steam on engines from last year, and our focus will be on completing all of our current customer builds before taking any more engine builds in…

“Hey Hugh, I read that you aren’t taking in any more engine builds, but what about Rephased Crank and Cams?  Are you taking those in at this time?”

The answer is YES!  Always taking in 277 Degree Rephase Work…  So don’t hesistate, ship them on in.  Current waiting time is still about 2-3 from the time we get them in the door, so there is still plenty of time to get your hands on your own 277 Engine this season – “Some Assembly Required”

And Rebecca, our Official Shop Toddler, Says:


  “Dad!  There’s something wrong with this one, it’s not Rephased!”
We are really looking forward to all that 2014 has in store for us, thanks as always for your support.
Hugh’s HandBuilt
November 25, 2013 ·

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving – we want to show our thanks for all of your support!  

We haven’t had a good sale in a long while, so this coming Wednesday through Friday we are offering a 10% Discount on ALL Items in our webstore that are in-stock.

Use Coupon Code – Thank You!

*Items not in stock or on Backorder will be excluded from sale, sale will not apply to shipping costs.  10% Applies to any and all Items in Stock during the sale dates ONLY.

From our little HHB Family to yours, Thank-You for your support!
Hugh’s HandBuilt


October 28, 2013 ·

This one is SIMPLE folks…

We all know that the XS650 Vibes are pretty tough on brackets, tabs, etc…  We’ve been using this style headlight mount since our very first XS650 Project, and never had a single failure.  PLUS, it looks killer and is as clean as it gets – No Bolt On brackets here…

Normally, my How-To’s are super in depth, but this one is gonna be sweet and to the point.

You’ll need these tools:

  • Angle Grinder w/Flap Wheel and Grinding Wheels
  • Welding Equipment

Dang!!  That’s Easy!   Yes is it…

Im not gonna show you how to remove your lower tree (it’s not 100% required, but probably a good idea to get in there, repack your bearings, repaint, etc..) but I will show you the simple steps to installing the New HHB Weld-ON Headlight Bracket.

1.  See those ugly mounts on your Lower Tree?  I marked them in Yellow Paint Pen, but those have got to go…

2. Grind off all of those mounts flush with the body of the lower tree, you may need to blend out a few areas but you get the idea.

3.  The HHB Weld-On Headlight Mount has a “notch” in it, line it up with the casting rib on the bottom of the tree.  *This pic was taken AFTER welding, but should be able to help you through this step just fine

4.  Weld that sucker on there.  After locating the bracket how you want, I typically add a tack weld or two to hold it in place.  Final welding was done with a TIG in this pic, but MIG is just fine as well.  In the past, I’ve even built the weld up enough and blended it out – making for a really nice finished piece.

5. Go grab a cold one, because you are DONE!  Well kinda, but that cold refreshment will make the mundane task of reassembling the front end a bit more enjoyable.  Bolt up your headlight and call it done…

*The HHB Weld-On Headlight Mount is designed for use with BOTTOM MOUNT Headlights, and has 2 mounting holes to allow you to custom tailor where the headlight sits on your bike.  We think ahead like that, so you don’t have to…

“Hugh, Where do I buy this?”

In Our Store of course…  Make sure to keep an eye on the store and the blog, as we have plans for lots of new products in the works.  

Thanks so much for your business and support folks – we love our job, and you folks make it a blast to come to work each day…


October 23, 2013 ·

First off, yes I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted any DIY or Tech Articles…  If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been a tad bit busy this year with a “few” setbacks…  But in order to get back into the groove, we’ve decided to do what we do best, and give you fine XS650 Gearheads a new Tech Article from  HHB…

Stick Out Your Neck!  And Show It Off!! 

Our New HHB “Goose” Neck Gusset Kit
We haven’t done any tech articles requiring welding, grinding, blending and other methods of torturing steel before, so lets cover all the bases…
Q:  “Hey Hugh, what tools will I need for this mod?”
A:  “Listen up, ALL MEN need the following tools, just because – And grow out a beard while you are at it.”
If you budget is tighter than *Hipster Jeans, then you might wanna do some shopping around at Harbor Freight or the Pawn Shops – you’d be surprised at just how cheap you can own some of these power tools…  And if you end up killing them, upgrade as you go…   A man can never have too many tools…  Period.
Compile the Following:
From Top Left:
  • Grab a Handful of Cut-Off Wheels
  • 120 Grit Flap Disk
  • “Medium” 3M Type Polishing Pads
  • 90 Degree Die Grinder (not required, but makes for a nicer finish)
  • Welding Helmet – Because Flash Burn SUCKS
  • A Good Pair of Locking Pliers – I found these in the middle of the road – true story…
  • Angle Grinder – **You probably already have this, or at least you should
  • Paint Pen or some kind of good marker
  • Welding Equipment – I use both TIG and MIG, but MIG is just fine for this job
  • NOT SHOWN – Face Mask/Shield, because getting your eyeballs drilled also sucks – SAFETY FIRST
  • ALSO NOT SHOWN – Wire Wheel for Grinder – AKA The Nut Grinder

Q:  “What Exactly Are We Doing Here? “

A:   “Removing Ugly from the Custom Bike Scene!”
If you have an XS650 (who am I kidding, if you are reading this, you already have the disease, and “An XS650″ is probably the least of your worries – it’s ok, we call it a hoard of Japanese Excellence) then you already know just how ugly the stock neck gusset is…
 Thats a whole lotta ugly goin’ on!
I just can’t stand it, and I know you can’t either…  Go to the next big bike event, and look at the custom XS650′s around – and you’ll see more than a fair share of them rocking this ugly gusset for all the world to see – Have They No Shame!
Now, to remove this offensive pile of soon-to-be-scrapmetal.  And lets do it proper..  I’ve done more than a few of these, and learned some tricks along the way to share with you folks.
Do you have something like this on your Angle Grinder?
 These are only used by cavemen, trust me.
 If you do, then TOSS THAT MOFO ASIDE! You’ll often see me talking about “The Details Matter” – and this particular style of grinding wheels is NOT used to make anything nice – ever…
This is more like it:
I can’t tell you how amazing is was to “Discover” these may years ago
changed my life forever
I prefer to use a 120 Grit Flap Wheel, it’s aggressive enough to do the job, but smooth enough to not eat up your work too fast…    You can get them in different grits, but 120 is just fine for now.
You are going to use the flap wheel on your angle grinder, and lightly blend off the top weld of the OEM Neck Gusset.  Do NOT grind into the tubing, you don’t need to go that far just yet.  Always wear eye protection – please…
You want to see something like this, no need to go further.

Take your paint pen, and make a line just outside of this weld…  Like so…

Don’t try to cut too close to the weld, or you’ll hit the neck tube…
Use the Cut-Off wheel and do some damage…  Just be careful not to cut into the tubing, focus on the gusset only…


Next move – Cut the OEM Reflector Mount off…
Removing that stud will allow you better access to move on, so move on we shall…
Use the paint pen to mark just above the weld all the way along the downtube.
Let the sparks fly, and it should look something like this when you are done…

This is where we just made your job WAY easy…  Grab those locking pliers, grab this sucker by the gusset of it’s neck, and twist until it pops right off…



That was easy, and clean..  Plus, we haven’t harmed the OEM tubing at all.

Such and appealing design huh?  Ummmm…. NO
Repeat steps 1 through whatever on the other side…  If you needed a “Paint by numbers” description more detailed than this for the other side, I suggest you put down the tools and go back to playing video games in your mom’s basement…
Ok, so maybe you just crawled out of the basement and still want to finish this thing, it should look something like this at this point…
Next comes a little finesse on your part.  Take it nice and slow, using the flap wheel, and take the welds down to the tubing, blending in and looking as if nothing was ever there.  I prefer to take long sweeping passes over just staying in one spot too long.  It’s ok to take your time on this part, as the time you put in now will pay off – and again, take a look around the next bike show – you can see who did and who did not pay attention to these minor details.



Take your time, and work both sides evenly until you are satisfied with the results.  Remove as little as needed to make it looks smooth and even.  You’ll likely go ahead and cut off the tachometer cable guide, and blend out the welds on the downtubes where the frame is sleeved.  Don’t take too much, you can always spot weld the low spots and re-work them as needed.

Now that you have all of the welds blended away with the 120 Grit, I like to go over the frame with a wire wheel.  Beware, while it may appear that this tool is the best at removing paint and rust, that is a ploy – it’s #1 job is to stick little stainless wires as deep into your skin as possible, and remove fingerprints faster than acid if you hit yourself with this…  I also have a story about a friend using one of these while wearing a pair of Umbro Shorts years ago – ask me sometime, it’s hilarious…  DO NOT do what he did…  Wear protection for your face AND your junk…  Just sayin’


Believe it or not, but these wire wheels will help blend out the sanding marks from the 120 grit flap wheel – and create an even smoother surface than you had with just the flap disk.  If you get really bored, look up “Metal Finishing” sometime online, you can learn a TON of tricks and tips to apply to your build.  Again, these details matter in the end.  If you can’t tell you’ve done anything to the neck, you’ve done a great job.
After the wire wheel, I fire up my 90 degree Die Grinder with a 3M type “Medium” pad, and just about polish the tubing with it…  The cleaner you get your materials, the better they will weld up.  Clean and smooth is the name of the game.  This step isn’t required, but I like to go above and beyond sometimes to show you just how nice a job you can do.


Dude, I’m with you – this looks KILLER already…  But now something new seems to stand out…  And not in a good way…


Now I don’t know about you, but cleaning the brackets off of this tube looks like a fairly daunting task – or at least to do it nice and clean just like you did your frame already…  I’ve seen plenty really nice looking bikes where this tube looked like a ride at Six Flag Theme Park after all the grinding and blending – so lets do this right…
Get to town removing this sucker!  A little time with the grinder and cut-off wheel and you should be looking at something bout’ like this..


Now the next steps might confuse ya, but hang with me a bit.  Sometimes “looking stock” is not a bad thing, so we are going to fit the new tubing (supplied with your HHB Gusset Kit) into the frame just as if it always belonged there…  And it will be a nice touch that no-one will notice, and again – that’s a good thing…  The focus should be on the overall design and style of your build, not the grinding marks and welding – but thats just me…
Use your paint pen, and mark the OEM welds on the upper motor mount.
Now you are not going to try and remove the tubing entirely from this joint, you just want to cut and blend enough that when you install the new tubing it looks just like stock…
Follow along, take your time with the grinder, flap wheel, cut-off wheel, etc…



Up front, you’ve probably found a bit of rust (don’t stress, almost ALL XS650′s have this rust behind the neck) so don’t freak out.  If you are planning on having the frame powdercoated, they’ll probably sandblast it nice and clean.  If not, take the time to blend out all of the rust as the pits will show in your paintwork unless you do some bondo/filler over it all.  Just a heads up, as I know if you’ve done all this effort, you want it to be top notch…  And I don’t blame ya…
Blend that tubing down the best you can, it’s a tough spot to get to, but I got faith in ya…
Not Perfect, but this’ll do – get that rust cleaned up the best you can though.
Next up, fitting the new tube into place…  You’ll earn your man-card on this minor piece.  You’ll learn to notch tubing, and fit up a totally oddball fit on the other end…
Q:  “Hugh, did you say we’d have to notch that tubing?  I don’t see a tube notcher in the tools list.”
A:  “Exactly, I’m teaching you how to do this on a budget, and get some skills under your belt.  I bet you didn’t know it, but I’m a fiddler player too…   ***So sit right in that chair right there and let me show you how it’s done… “
Oh wait, there I go singing along and writing tech articles again….
Back on track – here is an AWESOME write-up on how to notch tubing using nothing more than the tools you already have…  (Substitute the Chop Saw with your angle grinder, and you are in business) – and you’ll learn all about some other stuff that you may use – hey, you never know… 
You can easily notch tubing with your grinder.  I mark my tubing like so, make the cuts with a cut-off wheel, and blend out the sharp edges with the flap disk…








Believe it or not, this method is faster than dragging out a notcher, setting it up, and cutting the notch.  When I worked for an off-road fabrication shop, we put it to the test and it wins everytime unless you are doing the same notch over and over again – then the notcher winds…  It’s not always about having the best tools.
Now with the front end notched and fitted up, mark the outline of the cut for the motor mount bracket.  This may take you a few minutes, but take your time..  Grandpa* always said “Measure 2X and Cut Once” – it took me a great many years to grasp the importance of that…


Take your time, cut slowly and fit this up as nice as you can…


The motor mount is wider than the tubing, and thats the way we want it, just like OEM…
Now, before you do ANY welding, PREP PREP PREP the surfaces.  Clean the paint, grinder dust, rust, etc…  The better you clean it, the nicer the final weld will be.
Now, some folks might wonder why I didn’t TIG weld this joint.  I MIG welded this particular joint because I wanted it to look like a stock fit piece of tubing.  I don’t plan to blend out the weld, I like to leave it just like this.  To each their own, there is no right or wrong here, so feel free to be creative..




Sooo much better
Now, I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of frames with the gussets cut completely out – and they look pretty slick for sure.  But I’m here to tell ya, after abusing some of these old bikes, anything to stiffen up the front end can’t hurt.  So let’s add the Gussets…
You may need to notch around the OEM welds a minor bit – but if you just accomplished installing that tube brace above, then you are feeling mighty confident enough to handle this tall task – haha…
HHB Neck Gusset “The Goose” – Inspired by Vintage BMX Neck Gussets
Fit it up, and lightly tack the gusset in…   Don’t fully weld just yet…
These Dimpled Gussets and new frame tube are a full One Lb lighter than OEM, and will be plenty rigid while looking a bit nicer than what the factory gave ya.  Lighter = faster, and if you know HHB, then you know Fast XS650′s is Kinda Our Thing…
Get both sides tacked in, and you are ready for final welding.  (I did not final weld these, as I plan to use this frame to mockup a few other gusset designs we have coming out VERY soon)
 Our HHB Gussets are Designed to Clear Most Aftermarket
Fuel Tanks while providing rigidity to the frame. 

Folks, I hope this tech article gives you faith in your abilities.  If you aren’t afraid of picking up a grinder and making the sparks fly, this is a great modification to do to your bike.  It will stand out among the crowd, and it’s always important to make a good first impression.

As always, thanks so much for your support!  These new gusset kits will be available soon on the website store – CLICKY CLICKY!  Our New Store has a TON of great new products we’ve been working hard to bring to you fine folks.   Check it out, give us feedback, order parts, live long and prosper… 
* Bonus Hipster points if you have tools in your garage that your friends have never heard of.
**   Triple Bonus Points if you have one grinder for each type of wheel, seriously you can’t have too many angle grinders…
*** If you aren’t listening to some damn good music in the shop, you are doing it wrong.  PS – If it’s on the Top40 – or if the “Band” doesn’t use real instruments, you are probably doing it wrong.
**** Call your Grandfolks, they’d probably love to hear from you…  After all, without them, you wouldn’t exist…
October 16, 2013 ·

There have been many many people interested in buying this bike over the years – but the times they are a changing, and along with those changes, we are putting the ol’ gal up for sale.

Wait – is this for real?  Yeah, beyond all of the April Fools Jokes, and playing around with the idea of selling this fine machine – we have pulled the trigger and put this amazing bike on Ebay.

“I can’t Believe My Eyes! It’s True, the Original Hugh’s HandBuilt XS650 is FOR SALE!!!!”

You know the bike, you know the history, and surely you know the details of the build.  I am normally a very humble man, but this bike just has something about it that still charms me to this day.  It’s been the inspiration of MANY XS650 builds, often imitated but never exactly replicated.  There is just something about the real deal, that makes the others fall slightly short.

So here are all the details and specs from the eBay add:

This is THE XS650 to own.  This XS650 is THE Motorcycle that helped kick
XS650′s into the mainstream and raise their value and recognition

Built by Hugh’s HandBuilt, this bike features an
entirely REBUILT engine, the specs alone on the engine are all top notch.
The engine has less than 25 miles on it since the rebuild.

chassis is powdercoated, as is all Black Components on the bike.  The
Paint is NEW on the tank/fender combo.  This bike has all NEW Hardware
when it was possible, chromed components and nothing left untouched in
the build.

Engine Build Specs :

  • 1981 With Matching Cases (matching ID number to frame)
  • 750cc JE High Compression Pistons (10:1)
  • NEW Big Bore Liners
  • 277 Rephase by HHB
  • 256 Camshaft
  • Ported Head
  • NOS Valves
  • NEW Valve Guides
  • NEW Valve Springs
  • NEW Rocker Arms
  • Stainless Rocker Plugs
  • 277 Ignition by Pamcopete
  • Hugh’s HandBuilt PMA Charging System (NEW)
  • 5th Gear OD
  • Polished Shift Rails
  • EBC Clutch Plates
  • NEW Steel Clutch Plates
  • EBC Clutch Springs
  • HD Throwout Bearing
  • 7 into 6 HHB Modded Clutch Pack
  • NEW 447 Crankshaft Rods
  • New Gaskets
  • New Oil Seals
  • New Oil Pump
  • New Sump Filter
  • Polished Engine Covers
  • Re-Chromed Cam Covers
  • Polished Valve Covers
  • Stainless Hardware
  • Custom made HHB Tuned Length Intake Manifolds
  • Kick-Only (no Electric start provision)
  • Foot Operated Clutch (easily converted to hand clutch if desired)
  • New Shift Shaft
  • Aqua Blasted Cases
  • Aqua Blasted Head and Cylinders
  • New Oil Tube Base Fitting
  • New Oil Tube
  • New Copper Oil Seals
  • New Camchain
  • New Cam Guides
  • Brass Head Washers
  • New Clutch Worm Gear
  • 1 Piece Clutch Rod

Chassis (all built by HHB)

  • “Zero” Stretch Custom Built Hardtail
  • New Nickel Plated 520 Chain
  • New Sprockets
  • Custom Built Rearset Controls
  • Custom Seatpan and Cover
  • Biltwell Seat Hinge
  • 2″ Seat Springs
  • 18″ Akront Rear Rim, Laced to modified XS650 Hub
  • 21″ Akront Front Rim, Buchanans Spokes, Laced to shaved and modded XS650 Hub
  • Avon Speedmaster Tires
  • Powdercoating by “Brewdude” at Brew Racing Frames in North Carolina
  • NEW Fork Tubes
  • Lowered, Shaved and Polished Forks by HHB
  • NEW Front Caliper, Pads, Brake Line, Master Cylinder
  • Custom Drilled and Lightened Rotor HHB
  • Custom Drilled and Lightened brake backing plate
  • NEW Brake Shoes
  • Custom HHB Speedster Handlebars
  • Custom Aluminum Grips
  • Shaved and Lightened Triple Trees
  • Custom Headlight Mount
  • Extremely RARE James Fuel Tank
  • Custom HHB Fuel Cap
  • NEW Petcocks ‘
  • NEW Carburators from MikesXS
  • HHB Speedo Delete
  • NEW Axles and Hardware
  • Timken Steering Stem bearing Upgrade
  • Custom Shifter and Shift Knob
  • Chrome Plated Fender Struts
  • Chrome Plated Controls
  • NEW Battery
  • New Throttle Cable
  • Vintage BSA Throttle
  • Custom Taillight and Tag Mount
  • Bates Style Headlight
  • 100% New Wiring Harness

Features and Accolades:

  • Cycle Source Magazine
  • The Horse Magazine
  • Knuckle Buster
  • XS650.com Calender Cover Bike
  • XS650 Feature Bike
  • ChopCult “Favorite”
  • Appalachian Alumni Magazine
  • Frank Bott Photography
  • Michael Lichter Photography
  • “Pirate 4×4 – Punkskalar Builds a Bike/Chopperthing” with over 250K Views
  • Lots
    and Lots more, many blogs and websites have featured this bike over the
    years – Just Google “XS650″ And you can find this bike all over the

Selling to US Residents or Shipping Agents ONLY.
Shipping is to be arranged by the seller.  Crating or other Transport
will be billed Time and Materials and only upon prior approval.  If
Overseas and wanting to bid/purchase, please make sure you have a
shipping company who can handle any and all paperwork dealing with
transport.  Buyer/Winner is to pay in FULL within 4 business days of
Auction Close.  Motorcycle must be picked up with 2 weeks of Payment
(unless otherwise arranged) from Asheville NC.  

$500 Deposit is non-refundable!  Do NOT bid on this motorcycle unless you fully intend to finish the transaction.  


This bike has been a HUGE part of Hugh’s HandBuilt’s Success, I know it will be dearly missed.  She treated us really well, and I hope the new owner treats her just the same.  So thanks for looking, and take this gal home with ya!
Thank you for your support folks – without amazing customers such as yourself, we couldn’t do what we do – and we love you for that.  So keep it coming, keep challenging and inspiring us to do the “Next Big Thing” for these bikes – and Long Live The Mighty XS650!
October 14, 2013 ·

Its not a common occurrence, but here we have a beautiful and great running freshly rebuilt Rephased XS650 Engine for sale.

This engine has it ALL!


“Hey Hugh, does that Rephased Engine you have for sale have blah blah blah and such and such?

Boom!  -  Build Sheet…

  • JE 700CC Pistons/Cylinders
  • New Camchain Guide
  • New Camchain
  • New Stainless Rocker Shaft Plugs
  • New Pamcopete 277 Ignition complete with Coils
  • New Engine Gasket Set
  • New Brass Head Bolt Washers
  • New Copper Sealing Washers
  • New Oil Seals
  • New 1 Piece Clutch Rod
  • New HD EBC Clutch Plates
  • New Steel Clutch Plates
  • New HD Clutch Throwout Bearing/Thrust Washer
  • New EBC Clutch Springs
  • New HD Clutch Hardware Set
  • New Sump Filter
  • New Side Cover Filter
  • New Oil Tube Base Fitting
  • New Stainless Engine Hardware Set
  • New Intake and Exhaust Valves Guides
  • New Intake Valves
  • 5th Gear OD
  • New Oil Tube
  • Polished Engine Covers
  • Starter Delete (kick-Only)
  • HHB PMA Charging System Installed
  • Joker Machine Engine Covers
  • 256 Cylinder Head
  • New Rocker Arms
  • 277 Degree Rephased Crank, Fully Welded Race Crank
  • 277  Degree Rephased Camshaft, 256 Grind
  • Silver Painted Cases
  • Aqua Blasted Head/Cylinder Cover

This engine was test fired on a very COLD day in December last year, so pardon the cold running engine in the video.

Rephased 700 Engine – Youtube Video

This is a steal at $5500, and NO WAITING.

As you may know, we are not taking in engine builds for a good long while – as we are simply overbooked on engine builds.  So cut the wait (upwards of 1.5 years right now due to current build que) – and get this one for yourself!  This is READY TO RUN!  Add your Carbs and Exhaust, and fire it right up!

Get it now, the last 3 engines we listed here sold within 24 hours!!
So if you have been waiting for a genuine HHB 277 Engine, don’t

Bring us your rebuildable core, (core charge is $350 if you do not have a rebuildable core) or buy outright.  This is probably the LAST complete engine we will offer until late 2014, as we are committed to existing customer builds until then.

*We will NOT ship outside of the US – if you want this engine and are out of the country, please make arrangements through a shipping agency to crate/handle/etc…  Shipping in the US is up the purchaser to arrange, we will gladly crate (if needed) for cost of materials/time. 

Contact Hugh at:  HughsHandBuilt@gmail.com


October 3, 2013 ·

We’ve had a wild year here at the Hugh’s HandBuilt shop.  If you’ve kept up, you’ve seen just how much we’ve been dealing with this season.  It’s been rough for sure, but complaining isn’t our strong suit, so we’ll just celebrate the strife and struggle with – wait – can this be real?  NEW PRODUCTS!!!

Thats right – we’ve been hustling to build up some inventory and rework a few things around here to bring you fine 2 wheeled fiends some new goodies for your XS650.

How about those fancy new HHB Fork Braces – we’ve been selling those like hotcakes!

We’ve been selling these nearly as fast as we can make them, but we knew you folks demand more from us – and demands like that are something we can dig.

So how about new finishes?  Nickel Plating like seen on Tevan’s Resto-Mod Cafe’ bike?  Yeah, we can do that….

Nickel Plated HHB Fork Braces -
A Touch of Class reminiscent of vintage race bikes.
“But I only like Black, all bikes should be BLACK!” – yeah yeah, we hear that alot too, and while you won’t see alot of Black Bikes coming from the HHB shop – we can certainly appreciate a well done black machine – so these new 60% Gloss Black HHB Fork Braces are just the perfect shade of doom and gloom for your XS650 Death Machine.
Black – A Classic
Ok, so we’ve got you covered up front – the stiffest front fork brace on the market, but what about go?  GO? Yeah, Go is what HHB is all about.  So we have been busting hump to bring you some new HHB Speedster Pipes in 3 New Finishes.
“AHHH – MY Brain will explode!  How will I ever Pick?” – 3 Finishes are now Available in our Speedster Pipes – BLACK, SILVER and for those of us who tend to like a bit of RAW attitude on our rides, RAW Uncoated pipes as well.
 Just like Momma used to make us eat Hot Dogs – RAW!
Silver – This Hi-Temp Finish is tough to beat
Black? We got that covered too.  Hi-Temp finish
We’ve been doing our best to bring you only the best. As you already know, if it’s not HHB Approved (and we FULLY beat the snot out of our products – to ensure you get something we are proud of) – then you won’t find it from us.
As always, thanks so much for your continued support – we will be bringing more products to you as soon as we can, but in the meantime – enjoy that XS650 for all its worth, and we’ll see ya folks around soon hopefully.
You can find all of the above products and more at our Online Store – Clicky Clicky for a direct link to our Website Store
August 15, 2013 ·

This is the tale of a rather swell feller, who I happened to meet in Baltimore this year at the Lowside Syndicate show at Timonium.  Ok, maybe not so much about the dude, the bike, or anything really, but just a fun story…

First off – have you SEEN this beautiful bike??

This is “Willow” – an absolutely stunning Honda CB360 and this is it’s 3rd of 4th reincarnation…  I don’t recall exactly, as I was too busy enjoying conversation with the owner – a feller named Troy…

So I stole these pics off the good ol’ internet because I forgot to take my own…  No harm, no foul, just wanting to share this with you folks…

Now I had briefly talked with Troy in Baltimore, but at Mountain Fest a few weekends ago, I saw Troy ride into the show with this killer little ride…  Thats right, I said RIDE IN – not like those folks who unload the trailer at the Walmart parking lot and get all dressed up for the event and ride 4-5 miles, but actually RODE this sweet little buzzer all the way from his home to the show…

I knew the bike was cool, but my love for the machine and the owner grew two-fold seeing that in person…

Turns out, Troy is just like the rest of us.  A normal dude, with minimal tools, who just likes to make stuff.  A farmer always has a good set of wrenches, a welder, and a few hammers around, and Troy basically built this little ripper out of his barn…  I can dig it…

Now, whats all this got to do with a Trophy you ask?  Well, long story short – This bike placed “BEST OF SHOW” at MountainFest this year.  BEST OF MOTHER FREAKING SHOW!!!!  I couldn’t have been any more excited.  You see, Troy and I had talked for a bit – and he mentioned following my work for the last 4-5 years or so.  I told him he builds a nicer bike than I ever thought of building -and it’s true…  My sense of minimalism would keep me from building something as beautifully detailed and thought our as this machine…  I know when a bike has just killed it – which this one did…

Did I mention that this was the smallest bike at the event?  Both in stature, cc’s, and probably cash too…  So yes, it won amidst a sea of HD Big Twins, Choppers, Bobbers, Cafe’s and other professionally built bikes…  The competition was TOUGH – none of my bikes even placed…  That’s how awesome it was to see him WIN this show…

So in the end, Troy didn’t have much space to haul his trophy back home with him…  This bike is not setup to haul around all that glory, just a humble and nimble little machine.  So we took it upon ourselves to take the trophy home for him, and later ship it to him…

A trophy hardly tells a story of just how fine a creation Troy’s bike is, so we decided to give the trophy it’s own story….

So we took the Trophy on a few excursions to earn it’s keep…

A little “illegal” camping – why not…  Brian has been hard up for a date lately
 Roy (owner of the Tennessee Rose XS650) took it hiking…
I found a nice swimming hole on the way home, and couldn’t help myself…  Some of you folks may wish for some “Eye Bleach” after seeing this…  Don’t worry, it can’t be unseen – hahahaha….
 Troy, that trophy started getting a little frisky, and wanted to see more…  Don’t worry, we won’t show those pics – unless we have to….

I’m not sure how in the world we found a Burger King crown, but we did manage to get the trophy down some class 3 rapids…  It wasn’t much of a paddler, I can tell ya that much…
We made Bryan take it caving, he said there was snakes and spiders in there, but we didn’t care, and the trophy don’t take no lip’ son…
We stumbled upon these funky looking mushrooms, and while I wanted no part of it, the trophy just had to try em out…  Took us 2 days to revive it, must have been some good stuff!!
There are truely some beautiful sights in WV, the trophy led us to this sweet waterfall…
After a few hours, the trophy started feeling lucky, so we bought it a lottery ticket…  Good luck Troy, if you win a million bucks I expect your next bike to be sweet!
Rumor has it, that this bike stopped leaking oil after being told what’s up by the trophy…
We took the trophy out for some of Asheville’s finest pizza, at Asheville Pizza and Brewery Company…  PS, it spits out the olives…
I’m terrified of heights, but just being around this drug crazed, pizza eating, gambling trophy can make you do some silly things…  PS – this is WAY up this mountain…
 Trophy is a terrible driver BTW, just ask that WV State Trooper….
Ever carried a trophy into an Adult Store? Well let me tell ya, you’ll get some crazy looks….  And that’s all I got to say bout’ that…
Best of Show – Knows some good reading materials too.  Cycle Source Magazine – if you don’t read it, you should…  Trophy says so…
Laying in the shade with a good cold Cheerwine Soda – an NC tradition…
So yeah, we had a blast with this Troy, and I hope you do too…  Sorry it took so long to get it back to ya, but you should find 1 lottery ticket, a North Carolina Mix a Six of good Brew, a Cheerwine and who knows what else in your box…
What’s all this got to do with Motorcycles?  Someone is bound to ask, and here it is…  Life is awesome, its about the journey and the ride, and the people you meet.  Take time to enjoy those around you, you never know where you might end up.  As for the HHB Crew – if it weren’t for this trophy (that we didn’t even earn) we may have never had such a good time coming home from West Virginia.  So stop, take some time out from the shop and go live life to the fullest.  And next time you have a chance, take a random object with ya and document it, you may find it to be a blast…
And if you see this man or this bike, make friends with him – he’s a rad dude in our book, and builds a wicked ride… Congrats on the win Troy – Willow is a fantastic bike!
July 22, 2013 ·

Well folks, we are on the road again. This Wednesday we take off for Cycle Source Magazines – MountainFest Motorcycle Rally.  We’ll be there, with our bikes and HHB Goodies – so come see us, hang out, bring us a cold brew (or two) and lets have a good time.

We’ve never been to Morgantown West Virginia, so it will be a new experience for us, and it’s a region we haven’t stopped at for an event, so if you are semi-local to the area, come see us…  Plus, I have a surprise for you folks:

I just finished rebuilding “the XS650 that started it all” !
Thats right, my very first build is back in action, so come out and check it out, she’s been in hiding for about 3 years now.
We’ll have Slight Hell with us and Tevan’s Resto-Mod Cafe’ also…
And being that we are out of town for a few days, any orders placed after we leave will not be able to ship out until we get back.  We will be diligent in shipping out orders between now and then of course.
Thanks so much, and see you there!
July 17, 2013 ·

Ever since I started this business over 3 years ago, we’ve offered free shipping on all of our products.  Shipping rates have continued to climb and climb, but we’ve stayed the course.  Unfortunately the time has come, the time to get with the times so to speak

We do our best to offer only the finest products, tech and services here at HHB – and shipping needs to be on par with that as well.  We are now working with UPS as much as possible (can vary depending on rates and location), as USPS has been very lackluster in performance these past few months.

From now on – Anything ordered from HHB with a total of $250 or more will be Shipped FREE (in the continental US) – this mean that PMA’s and other items will still be the same old price as always.  Some of the smaller items and smaller orders will now be charged a nominal shipping fee based on your location.

Hugh Says – “Buy lots, and save!”

We’ve started tossing in Free Stickers with each item ordered, and have revamped out packaging completely (I know you folks really liked the oily rags, last weeks newpaper, zip lock baggies and random stuff we mailed ya) to keep your products from HHB safe and sound on their journey to you.  Plus, we’ll be tossing in a New Super Secret freebie with all future orders!    You are still getting more for your dollar…

As we are still working out the bugs on the shipping calculator, if something seems off – email us and we’ll handle the order personally.  Overseas, Canada and Hawaii/Alaska orders will need to email us for a proper shipping quote and invoice.

The new shipping methods will also allow us to properly price and bring new products to our website’s store.  Go check out the store and see for yourself.  Bringing new products to the market it very important to us – and bringing the best to you fine folks is equally as important.

Hugh’s HandBuilt – New Store with NEW GOODIES!! 

Check out the store, feel free to give us feedback via email at HughsHandBuilt@gmail.com -we are working hard to bring you the best.

As always, thanks so much for your support.

On a personal note:  The shop flooding, rebuilding, it flooding again, and then finally moving has really been a TON of work.  We are getting back into action at the new shop.  I can’t thank you folks enough.  You have encouraged us, sent your thoughts, prayers, funds, bought us a brew (or two) and really warmed my heart during all of this stress…  I hope that it comes back to you fine folks with all of our continued efforts here at HHB.  We simply couldn’t do it without ya – Hugh

July 8, 2013 ·

Well folks, it pains me to do it, but my obligations to my home and family life are forcing the sale of Slight Hell.

Build Details here:  Slight Hell Build

Instead of waiting a year (or sometimes more) for one of our amazing 277 Engines - you can now purchase an entire bike from HHB with all the goodies already done.  This bike is a BLAST – it begs to be ridden like a dirtbike, yet can still handle 400-500 mile days in the twisties.

My friends call it the “Swiss Army XS” – because it does it all…

Flat Track?  Yeah, we got this – haha

This bike has been featured in The Horse Backstreet Choppers, Cycle Source Magazine, Covered in Wrench Magazine from the Bama Swap and Drags, and had a great piece in the last issue of Lowside Syndicate Magazine.

Wrench Magazine

Cycle Source Magazine

Lowside Syndicate Magazine

The Horse Backstreet Choppers

Is it fast you ask?  Well, only the modern sportbikes were beating it at the Bama Swap and Drags this year – so yeah, it’s a quick little bugger…

Can it haul a trailer???  Uh – yeah…  *trailer not included, but negotiable

So thats the gist of it.  I love this bike, and won’t part with it easily.  It has ALL NEW everything.  Bearings, seals, framework, suspension, etc… Nothing on this bike has been left untouched.

Seeing as how this engine would be a $6800 build without the carbs and pipes – this isnt your typical lowbuck XS build…

Email questions/offers to Hugh’s HandBuilt -Hughshandbuilt@gmail.com

We will sell to overseas customers – although shipping arrangements, customs, etc.. will have to be handled by the purchaser.

277 Degree Rephased Engine By HHB
Ported Head
Web 59 Camshaft
Pamcopete 277 Ignition
Wiseco 750cc Pistons
5th Gear Overdrive
Shell Racing type Intakes
Modified HHB Speedster Pipes
16″ 1981 XS650 Rear Wheel
Duro Rear Tire
23″ Honda Front Wheel
Chen Shin Front Tire
Shaved and Polished XS650 35mm Forks
Custom HHB Stainless Lane Splitter Bars
HHB Solid Riser Bushings
Custom HHB framework – 2″ up, 1.5″ out, 1.5″ Swingarm Stretch
HHB PMA Charging System
Custom Seat Pan – HHB
Seat Cover – Unknown
Headlight – Side Mount Bates Style
Tail Light – HD style LED
Batteryless Setup with a Sparx Capacitor
Mikuni VM34 Carbs
Tapered Steering Bearings
Bronze Swingarm Bushings
Custom HHB Stretched Swingarm
KZ Rear Fender
HHB Brass Foot Pegs
Kick Only
Lots of other mods of course, but that gets you close..
July 3, 2013 ·

Well folks, I’ve been breaking bad on the tubing bender this week.  I’ll tell ya, manually bending tube is NOT the best way to get into shape, but it won’t hurt thats for sure…

So lets get to the meat and potatoes here…  We love XS’s, we love em all…  Bobbers, Choppers, Cafe’s, Brats, Resto-Mods, you name it…  We do our best to find the weak points in these old bikes, and make them better.  When we built Tevan’s Resto-Mod XS2 – we found out the hard way that the front forks needed some beefing up…  It was just a bit squirelly in the corners are speed, and that to us is unacceptable.

The OEM fender acts as a “brace” of sorts, but it’s flimsy and you can flex it with your hands – so that wasn’t the answer either.

We looked around the forums, talked to some of our racing customers, and found a serious lack for a proper fork brace.  So off to the shop we went, after about 7 different designs and tests , the final HHB Fork Brace was born out of steel, sweat and even a little blood (careful folks, those metal ‘burrs’ are sharper than you think!  haha)

Behold, the HHB Fork Brace!  Made from 100% USA Made Steel, fabricated entirely in house and fully TIG welded – it doesn’t get much better than this!

This limited run is designed to work on the 19″ front wheel and tire combo that is OEM on 1975ish and up XS650′s with 35mm Forks.  Not sure what forks you have?  Well, now is the time to invest in a cheap set of calipers so you’ll have all of the answers to the worlds problems in the future – or something like that.

Tried and true on several race, these have been a LONG time in the making, but we are proud to announce these for sale (*limited quanity available, so act fast).

HHB Fork Braces are shipped with Stainless installation hardware and a fancy HHB Sticker!!  But wait, act now and we’ll toss in the shipping box for free!  $79.50 plus shipping, for a limited time only – literally, we only have 10 sets of these made up right now…


****Available only in RAW finish currently.  For custom sizes, (18″ or 21″ wheels) contact us and we’ll make one custom just for ya! Current pricing is based on shipping in the US Only – all other countries contact us for a shipping quote.


1.  Secure Bike and Remove Front Wheel, Axle, Spacers, Etc

2.  Remove Front Fender (if you haven’t ditched that bulky sucker already!)

3.   Slide Fork Brace into place, bolting with supplied hardware to the OEM fender mounts on the forks.  You may have to twist the fork to clear the brake master (removal not required) when sliding the HHB Fork Brace into place.  I prefer the slotted mount holes on the HHB Fork Brace to be towards the back of the bike.

4.  The fit is TIGHT for a reason – we designed these to be functional and great looking.  An ill fitting fork brace would be a cosmetic item, but we expect more from our products.  Loosely install ALL hardware with Anti-Sieze before tightening down any of the bolts.  *If you paint or finish the HHB Fork Brace, you may have to remove the paint from the ID of the bolt holes

5.  Once all hardware is loosely installed, finish the install by torquing the hardware to OEM spec, and reinstall your wheel and brakes components.  Ride on


June 19, 2013 ·

Folks, It’s hotter than a ballsack in a burlap bag..  It’s soo damn hot, might as well go sit in the worst part of North Carolina and die of heat exhaustion right??  Well, apparently we agree – because we are headed to the Smokeout East this weekend!  But hey, at least there is zero shade, and no chance of a breeze!!!

We will be down with The Monstercraftsman Crew, doing some How-To’s with those folks…  So come on out, bring us a cold bottle of water and hang out.  We’ll be there all weekend long, playing on the drag strip, making fools of ourselves due to heat stroke, and generally having a pretty good time…

For those of you who are interested in riding a RePhased XS650, we’ll have our Slight Hell bike on hand and if you talk real nice to us (and bring that bottle of water!!!) we’ll let you take her for a spin…

We are also on schedule to install a Hugh’s HandBuilt PMA system, so drop in and make that happen with us…  And bring water – haha…

So come see us, and bring us a tasty cold beverage (or two really, we won’t mind a bit)

*We are NOT bringing merchandise, but if you want us to bring you some HHB parts, let us know in advance and we’ll try to make that happen.  Tomorrow night is when we’ll have the trailer packed, so hit us up before then…

June 10, 2013 ·

If you read through our previous post on the Pay It Forward Chopper Build, then you saw that we were moving…  Thats right folks, a fresh start for Hugh’s HandBuilt after the flooding and other issues at our old locations is gonna be a very welcome thing in our lives…

We have all 4 bays, 2100 Sq Ft including some office space and a shipping area!  We are stoked to be moving along like this – new territory for HHB means we can do more than ever.  New products, new services, and faster operations (hopefully – haha)

But, it also means we’ll  be having a small amount of downtime.  As I type this, we just got a running computer up at the new shop.  Internet is hooked up, and we are hoping to get back into the swing of things.  We started moving last week, trying not to interrupt the daily happenings at the shop, but who are we kidding?  We’ve been off schedule since the flood of the shop – so be patient if you can.  I know I am about 4-5 days behind on emails, and about the same on shipping.

I am working as fast as possible to bring your not only the best in services and products, but soon new products will hit the streets as well from HHB.  Thanks as always for your support and encouragement as we venture into this new chapter.  We can’t wait to be back up and running full speed.


May 29, 2013 ·

So it’s been nearly a Month since our shop flooded.  Tons and tons of support poured into the shop via funds, positive thoughts, phone calls, etc…  I can’t thank Lisa Ballard enough for setting up a “Gofundme” account to which many folks made donations to help us get back on our feet.  Lowbrow Customs, ChopCult, Biltwell, Monstercraftsman and many many others all jumped in to help out.  And we can’t be thankful enough for that…

I was even all packed up and ready to leave for the Ramble Tamble the morning of the flood.  You can see all my gear on Slight Hell’s trailer…

I was supposed to be in Kentucky for the Ramble Tamble while our shop was flooding.  While I missed that trip, it seems all my friends and folks I knew going had a blast.

Now I’m cleaning up my shop, dealing with all the flood mess, rebuild, etc..  And I get a text message from a customer.  He says “Man, I totalled my bike at Ramble Tamble – but it still charges!!”

I was bummed, you see I don’t really know Daniel that well.  He bought a PMA from us for his chopper, and I got hang out with him a bit at The Bama Swap and Drags a while back.  Cool dude with a cool bike.

The more I thought about it, the more I knew what had to be done.  You see, I am not the type of dude who openly accepts help, it’s just damn hard for a guy like me to do.  And knowing that the Chopper Gods had smiled down upon Hugh’s HandBuilt – I had to Pay It Forward.  So Eddie (he’s new around here, but you’ll be seeing more of him) and I talked it over and made a plan to help get Daniels sweet XS650 chopper back on the road…

So a plan was made.. I ordered materials, parts, and made sure the shop was in good enough shape to go about rebuilding this chopper in a weekend…   This past weekend we really killed it.  My great friend Dino was there with camera in hand to capture it all…

“And on the first day, the Chopper Gods sent forth a man.  A man from Birmingham.  A man with a chopper in need.  A chopper in need of…… EVERYTHING”

Daniel showed up from Birmingham Alabama with his wrecked choppy.
Took a few minutes to assess the damages…


Scratching my head, yeah it’s that bad…
“Well you see, it used to be like this, but it now its like that”
Oof – that hardtail looks like it’s gone limp…


Bent Frame?  Check…  Ruined Bars?  Check…  Smashed fender and sissybar?  Check…

This thing by all practical means was completely totalled….

Off the truck and into the shop…
“”Take a good look folks, cuz it’s only getting better from here”
Daniel overlooking the cutdown of whats left of his poor old chopper..


“Wait a minute, this is Daniel’s bike – make him earn it” – haha…


I can see the Craigslist Add Now:  “Weld on Hardtail Kit, complete with Fender, Brake Mounts, Sissybar – needs minor work but would be a killer start on your bobber/chopper/cafe/brat/chubber/brubber “

Bars?  Yeah, they toast too…
“Bro Wave” on the pile of scrap…  I think Daniel has it down…


“Dude, this things gonna need some more cutting” -
Agreed.  Check out the lower backbone bracing.
Saving what we could, but even the lower rails were fully tweaked…


Removing the frame slugs from the previous hardtail took some creativity but we finally got em out…
Eddie went to town cutting, blending, grinding and prepping the frame for a rebuild


Daniel Prepping our Mock-Up Motor for the rebuild.
Daniel Says “Safety First” while Eddie says “Son, you aint’ seen nothing yet”
Bryan and Daniel bending up some new Pullback bars.  A special focus was given to proper ergonomics on the rebuild.
“Into the fold” – I rarely every build a frame or hardtail for customers or friends.
We got Jiggy Wit It
Daniel – “The Thinker”
Hugh – “The Brains”
Eddie – “The guy with the seriously stanky feet”
Lower Frame rails going back in.  Wait what?  Yeah thats right, we were putting parts back ON in the first day.  Those OEM lower frame rails took some major massaging to get to this point.
Daniel fitting the upper frame rails.  We chose to shorten up the tail section from it’s previous incarnation. Zero Drop and 3″ Stretch would look killer, so we went with that.



“It wasn’t me, I’ve been Framed!”



Daniel inspecting the welding process with his Patended “Weld inspection tube”





HHB PMA?  Yes sir…  And we pulled the points to install a Pamco ignition as well.



The Rear Wheel Bearings were toast, so we inspected the wheel, trued it up and popped new one in…  Made for a long day, but we were making some killer progress on a Saturday…
“And on the 2nd Day, the Chopper Gods looked down upon the HHB shop.  The Gods were pleased – so they gave the men a 2nd wind to continue the good works.”
Now it should be mentioned, that Daniels chopper was the average amalgamation of all things horrid.  When it came to the shop, it had every type of bolt, screw, ziptie and butt connector you could find at the hardware store.  Metric, Standard and I’m pretty sure we even found some whitworth bolts on there too…
I expect more from our shop, and in the conquest to make a great chopper for Daniel – only Metric hardware was used in the rebuild.  Bungs were installed instead of through holes in the frame, and all this would mean a more reliable and trusty steed.  I mean, the bike LOOKS killer, but it’s got a duty to Daniel to be a good one too.  Having proper hardware, fabrication, wiring and such will make for a much more enjoyable ride (and a smaller tool bag as well!)


Daniels springer was straight and good to go, but it needed proper bearings and spacers to be machined for a perfect fit.  Eddie made that happen on the lathe and things moved along smoothly.
Brian – “The Overthinker”
Measure twice, cut once…  (Also know as “Fawk, thats way off”)



Beautifully crafted Pullback Bars – I gotta give Bryan credit for those.  He and Daniel made sure they were comfortable and had the proper ergonomics.  This bike will be better than ever when it leaves the shop.
Bryan – Making bungholes…  He has alot of experience being one – haha.
There must have been 4 different holes in this section of frame from previous tank mounts.  We filled and smoothed them out the best we could (This pic was before final smoothing)



A new chain…  What new build uses an old cruddy chain?  Details like this make for a more enjoyable ride.  Spend the extra cash on wear items up front, and less time on the side of the road later..


Daniel “I’m really liking this 2×4 Pine seat, will this be in the HHB catalog soon?”


Eddie “I’m not on Instagram, I promise” – you can follow him under username “Shreddie” – just make sure to ask “How much over stock is them there forks” everytime he posts up a pic of his shovelhead choppy.  He loves that…
The look of a man who smokes while fondling a tank full of gas…  Serious business folks…



“Damn, this thing is looking like a bike again”
One of Daniels biggest concerns was his rear brake.  Being a rear brake only chopper, his old setup was pretty bad.  I let him test ride my Slight Hell bike at the Bama Swap and Drags and he knew we could set him up with a killer XS650 rear drum that actually worked.
This is the HHB Rear Brake Pivot Kit, welded and ready to be fitted to the frame.
Simple and effective, just the way we like it.



Fabbed up all new linkage for the rear brake.  No cobbled mess of old OEM junk here, all new and working proper.



Fully Adjustable Pivot Stop and a return spring- I’m a big fan of adjustability.  Little details like this make it easy to dial in the bike to the rider when it comes time to hit the road.
We used the OEM brake pivot, lever and return spring.  Sometimes reinventing the wheel isn’t necessary.  But I can say, I’m really proud of this brake setup.  We rebuilt the rear drum using all new hardware, springs and EBC Brake Shoes.  It’s a killer setup now..


Eddie donated a rear fender he had laying around.  It’s the perfect size for the OEM 18″ rear wheel.  Some filling of old holes was needed, but it fit just right.
We used the old chain doubled up for proper spacing.  This style of bike doesn’t need a tire hugging fender, but one that looks like it came off of a dirt bike probably won’t do either…  Just right..
Carbs?  Motor?  Pegs? Kickstart?  Is this thing coming back together or are you just happy to see me…  I’m pretty sure Daniel was pitching a tent all weekend…
“A Man and His Machine” – I love this shot…


“After a bit more R&D on the 2×4 seat, I think we are ready to go to market” Now begs the question, will the customers prefer Pine or Oak?
What a sissy…  Some 5/8″ Cold Rolled stock was pulled from the shelf to create the perfect sissybar for this chop.  And like any good weekend build, we ran out of Acetylene so we had to use a Mapp Gas torch to bend it all…  I’m betting Daniel spent no less than 4 hours holding that torch this weekend…
PMA Regulator Mount.  Nice and tidy.


“And the Chopper Gods sent another gift from the heavens.”
We wanted to hook Daniel up with a Sparx capacitor instead of the battery he was using.  He was already running kick only, so why not…



3 Hours later…………… Or was it 4?


Yeah, it’s dark outside…  We put in some LONG hours on Sunday building this thing.


“You know, I think this 2×4 seat is really gonna be the next big craze” – Just wait until you see the price of “Period Correct” lumber on Ebay in the next few weeks…  Just remember where it all started.
Day 3
“And on the 3rd Day, the Chopper Gods knew that the ascension unto the highways was near”
I’m not gonna kid you, if you think this was the ONLY brew we drank on this build, then feel free to feel sorry for us and send us a care package of your favorite brews (Seriously, we LOVE care packages – haha)



Dino had to take off and get back to school (he’s studying Industrial Design, I’m soo proud of him – haha) , so we got a few less pics on the 3rd day.  But the boys and I put in a TON of hours into this thing.  It left the HHB shop needing nothing more than a new seatpan and foam, and some minor wiring to be on the road.  We cleaned the carbs, installed the Pamco and fired up the engine on the first kick.  Eddie put in some major hours and made sure a killer set of pipes got built along with help from Bryan.

You can still see the remnants of the HHB flood in the background.

I honestly cannot be more thankful for the guys I work with.  Dino, Bryan, Tevan, and Eddie really make this place feel more like home and less like work all the time.  And they all came together to help make this project happen and it happened in a hell of a blur.  We basically built an entire chopper in 3 days…

All in all, we were all very pleased with the outcome.  This build is probably one of the best things we’ve ever done in the shop.  You see, so many people came out and helped us rebuild the shop and get back on our feet after the flood, and we wanted to pay it forward.

All of the guys who helped out donated their time and energy to the build, and HHB donated all of the materials, parts, and even some food and brew to the cause.  All Daniel had to do was get here, put in some sweat equity and have a good attitude – And boy did he ever…   Pay It Forward whenever you get a chance folks, it really does feel good…

And this is the LAST build to ever come out of this shop, because we just signed the lease on the next big thing….

So you’ll be seeing MORE of HHB goodness soon, and I can’t wait…  Thanks so much for all your support.  Without a killer network of customers, friends and family – we’d never be able to live this little part of the American Dream.




May 6, 2013 ·

Well folks, we’ve had a LONG weekend…  I had planned to ride out to Kentucky on Friday morning for the Ramble Tamble.  Instead I was awoken from my sleep at 2:45am to a call from the Fire Department. Apparently one of the very old sprinkler pipes had ruptured in the shop.

So I got to the shop as fast as I could…


Thats not good. not good at all.  Apparently the pipe had ruptured, and the shutoff valve could not be found for a good 30-45 minutes or so once the Asheville Fire Department got there.  (BTW, thanks to ALL of the AFD who were there that night, it was a sigh of relief to be surrounded by some great folks in such a stressful moment)

The best part?  The pipe that burst, filled the office ceiling with water until my office caved in…

Looking into the office from the shop.
I was soo overwhelmed, that all I could do for a few minutes was grab a few pics of the damages, then start pushing bikes outside.  I opened the shop door and literally watched parts and packages float out of the office.  Everything in the office is 100% loss at this point…
Here are some shots, just to give you an idea of the damages we have sustained this past weekend..

Man, you would never think 4-5″ of water could do soo much damage…

I know it’s strange, but this is somehow my favorite picture of this disaster…
And this picture truly breaks my heart.

It filled the office ceiling with water
until it couldn’t handle the weight, and collapsed – ruining all of our
office computers, printers, about 50% of our inventory and all of my
baby girl (Rebecca) stuff that I keep at the shop. You see, without my
office and without the things for her, I cannot work at the shop. I
bring my baby girl to the shop everyday, and keep her safe and sound in
the office as I work.

We have always been a small operation, and as such – I do Daddy Daycare each day while my wife goes to work.The
office is a total loss, we are hoping to strip all of the drywall this
week and insulation, and start the rebuilding process. We could use
building materials or funds to help get those as well.

We lost a
ton of inventory, as well as all of our packing/shipping supplies and
other stuff that comes with running our business.

To make
matters worse, we tried to get flood insurance about a year ago, but
since we are in the flood plain, it was astronomically high. Fast
forward to today, and now the river is rising and rising FAST!

I will be having a “flood sale” on the blog (as soon as
I can find a computer that will let me upload images from my phone,
mine is trashed of course) in order to help raise money ourselves as
well. I will have lots of bikes, parts, frames, and other stuff for

If you are local, and have a Pack and Play (baby crib), a
decent laptop/computer, or other supplies we can use – feel free to
contact us.

So as you can imagine, we are a bit overwhelmed right now.  With our lost inventory, lost office, and the time it will take to clean up this mess, we are going to be a bit backlogged with orders and emails.  Please be patient with us, and we will move forward as best we can to make sure that you get the best from Hugh’s HandBuilt – just as always.
And as always, thank you soo much for your continued support.  Even in times like this, I am overwhelmed with the postive vibes and support you folks have sent in via Facebook, Instagram, etc..
 And for those of you who have asked how to help?  Lisa Ballard has set up a nice “GoFundMe” site.  It humbles me to even think of asking for help or donations, but Lisa set this up for us knowing as much.  For those of you who have reaped the benefits of our Tech, Support, Products and Services, and would like to give back – I’ll not turn it down at this point.  I’m a bit overwhelmed with everything that is happening, but we’ll take it one step at a time and come back stronger.
Instagram username – Hughshandbuilt
If you have pending orders, services, emails, etc… with us – please be patient and we will have everything squared away as soon as possible.


April 30, 2013 ·

This past weekend was a KILLER vintage event – The Meltdown.  It was held at the Southern Appalachian Brewery and we had a blast.  We rode down in wonderful 60 degree weather, but that was as good as it got.

The weather was pure crap, which was nice in all reality.  I had the following conversation with my friend (and an amazing photographer) Frank Bott

Frank: In this crappy weather, only the really tough bikers show up

Hugh: No way dude, all the “tough” guys are at home watching Sons of Anarchy re-runs.  The people that actually showed up today at the people that genuinely LOVE this stuff.  

Frank:  Thats a great way to put it. 

(Some of that is paraphrased, I had a “Few” of those wonderful brews that day – haha)

You see, for me it’s all about the love of two wheels (and sometimes just one, if it’s a really gnarly wheelie!) and the folks that rode out in the 50 degree rain and stood in the rain talking motorbikes, drinking great brew, and having a blast – those are my kind of folks…  Diehards, and not “tough” at all really – just in love with 2 wheels.

Another great friend of mine came down, and took an amazing amount of photos – so I’ll let the photo’s do most of the talking.  Enjoy it folks, this is what it’s REALLY all about.


Setting up before the rain


All Smiles
Sam made it there with his freshly built XS (black)


“Shreddie” Cleveland hanging back with his Shovel, he was on guard with that many cool XS’s around – ha!!
Tevan Morgan made the ride down on his XS2






Tevan entered his bike into the show, so we gave it a quick wipedown







A really strong showing of cool vintage bikes, not as big as last year due to the weather, but some great bikes for sure.




This 55′ Pan took “Best American” in the show and I know for a fact that he rode it in…  That’s the only way to roll in my book.



















And then the rain came down.  And damn did it come down!!





Roy Vance made a showing with “The Tennessee Rose” – nothing says “I LOVE riding like coming into a show in the 50 degree rain…  This bike gathers a crowd everywhere it goes, and being Rephased it sounds amazing too!





Tevan being himself.  I love this dude!
If you aren’t bringing your baby out to motorcycle events, you probably aren’t raising them proper.  But seriously, those who follow us on the blog/facebook/instagram know that my lovely Courtney and Rebecca are very integral parts of my life at HHB.  The shop is always full of family time.  I LOVE my job!!!



My lovely ladies


Just a bit wet you say??














And of course none of us had raingear, because who thinks ahead like that??






THIS Man – you should know him…  This Frank J Bott, he is an amazing photographer and someone I’m glad to call a friend.  Google him, check out his work, and bring your bikes to him to shoot.
When not killing groundhogs, Creature prefers a life of luxury.



Nothing says “lets roll” like a bunch of soaked to the bone helmets…  Kinda like putting on wet underwear, but worse…
Tevan’s XS2 Resto-Mod Cafe’ ended up taking home “Best Japanese” in the show, and then we packed up and hit the road home.  I’d say it was miserable riding, but everywhere I looked was a rider smiling like he’d never ridden before…  So yeah, get in love with 2 wheels – rain or shine!!
April 22, 2013 ·

YES! We’ve tested and used a TON of master cylinders on all of our various builds, and these were such a favorite that we’ve decided to bring them directly to you folks!


HHB Slimline Brake Master Cylinder Specs:

12.9mm Bore

6″ Long Lever

Front View Level Window

Mirror Mount

Dot 3 / Dot 4 Compatible

7/8″ Bar Mount

Comes with New Banjo Fitting

Twin Post Brake Switch (hidden under the lever, very clean)

You can now ditch that ugly OEM master cylinder on your XS650 (or most any other bike with 7/8″ bars, we’ve had great luck with the master cylinder on almost all vintage Japanese bikes with a single caliper) and clean up the bars on your vintage restomod, cafe, brat, chopper, etc…  With a 6″ long lever, it’s short enough for even the narrowest bars while still putting the clamp on that front brake.  And brakes are smart, so why not get smart with a good looking and slim new master cylinder for your old bike.  It probably needs a new one anyhow if its original.

Whats it look like you say?  Well, here are a few shots…

Now available for only $68.50 shipped in the US or $15 extra shipping worldwide.  

Shipping Options

As always, thank you soo much for your continued support of Hugh’s HandBuilt.  Without great customers and friends like you folks, we couldn’t continue to do this.  We strive to bring only the best to you folks, and will continue to do so as time allows.  Thanks soo much.



April 22, 2013 ·

Our all so popular XS650 Hydraulic Clutch Conversions were a HUGE hit.  So huge in fact, that we couldn’t keep up with demand.  Most folks have noticed that we have discontinued HHB Hydraulic Clutch Conversion.  With the time and energy we were putting into these kits, we decided we needed to revamp this product.

 *The master cylinder and slave cylinder shown above are NOT included, just an example of what to look for on eBay.

Revamp the product you ask?  Well it’s simple really.  All this time we had been sourcing the master cylinder and slave cylinders, getting hoses made, assembling and pre-bleeding the entire system and then assembling it with hardware to swap onto the XS650 chassis.  Meanwhile, someone on XS650.com pointed out that the “Ebay Pit Bike Clutch” was almost identical to the kits we were offering. So sure enough, I ordered 4-5 of them from eBay and found out they were 90% identical to what we were offering.  We found that the hoses were too short, and the hardware was a bit lackluster, but the main components are identical, and at a much more cost effective price point…  Hrmmm….  Revamping was needed.

So what we have now, is a Complete XS650 Hydraulic Clutch Swap Kit!  This kit will allow you to purchase a Pit Bike Clutch from eBay and then use our Hose, Hardware and Instructions to install your very own HHB Hydraulic Clutch.  We’ve tested this on lots of XS650′s and found this to be a much more cost effective solution to installing a Hydro Clutch on an XS650, and keep my sanity in check (building hundreds upon hundreds of those systems will really take a toll on ya – haha)

Here is the NEW HHB Hydraulic Clutch Swap Kit - order yourself a “Pit Bike Clutch” on eBay, modify the hardware a bit as per the install instructions listed here:  How To Install Your XS650 Hydraulic Clutch Conversion and you are up and running!

This new kit will include a brand new DOT SAE Approved hydraulic hose, and hardware needed to upgrade the pivot on the master cylinder as well as hardware to mount the slave cylinder to the side cover on your XS650.  And the best part?  This swap kit is VERY cost effective!  At $58.50 shipped in the US (All other Countries are $14.00 more) you can have a simple and effective Hydraulic Clutch Conversion on your XS650, and save money over what we previously offered.

Why go Hydraulic??  What, have you not been riding your XS650 with the OEM cable setup?  If you have, then you know why… 



Nonetheless, here are a few good reasons to swap over:

You can now find Neutral…  

You can now find Neutral when the bike is cold…

You can now find Neutral when the bike is hot…

No more extreme hand fatigue from the super stiff clutch pull…

Self adjusting…  Set it and forget it…  

You can now run those extra stiff clutch springs you’ve always wanted, without fear of too stiff of a clutch.  

smooth engagement and disengagement…  No more stalling in traffic
(which if you are like me, is a royal PITA because I run Kick-Only, and I
only stall on the steepest of hills – haha)

Limited Quantities available, so purchase now! I will do my best to keep manufacturing these kits, but as usual, we are still a small shop with limited time resources

.And as always, thank you SOOO much for your support of Hugh’s HandBuilt – your continued support and praises keep us motivated to continually bring you nothing but the best in HHB goodies…



Shipping Details


March 28, 2013 ·

I’m not gonna go into too much detail here, just that I had read this many years ago, and in recent years was not able to find it online.  Luckily, someone email this to me just this week!  Enjoy folks!

Letters from Bill Denton to the Yamaha 650 list

Dear YAM650 List,
Since several of you have asked me to elucidate on my “Quartered”, or 270 degree crankshaft project, here it is.  By the way, I plan to eventually add this engine to a fully “Mintonized” XS-650.  A well deserved “Thank you” and warm regards go out to Mr. Joe Minton for writing his (now somewhat infamous) article on improving the XS650, which has become a standard reference article of sorts for the International 650 Society.

It all started when I read an article in Cycle World entitled “TRX Tech,,, Motorcycle or Myth Maker?” (June 1995) about the engine in the Yamaha TRX 850.  This engine, an 850cc upright twin, is built with 270 degree crankshaft timing (see following discussion about 90 vs 270 degree timing). This idea made way too much sense to ignore, offering all the advantages of a V-twin; a wider, flatter torque curve, and less (destructive) vibration by minimizing both secondary imbalances and rocking couple forces, while maintaining the small,compact engine profile of an upright twin.  In addition, the sound of the engine note would be too unique to ignore, especially coming from an XS!  I thought, would it work in an engine without balance shafts? I had no idea.

So, I set out on the information trail to get some opinions on whether it would work or not.  I started by writing a letter to everyone listed in the Int’l 650 Society Newsletter as a 650 rebuilder, thinking that their opinions might have just a little more weight.  The responses I received ranged from “it will vibrate apart, don’t do it”, to “It will have (much) less vibration than the stock engine, and I’d be glad to help you build one.”  I also became aware of two gentlemen in particular who had already done 360 > 270 deg crankshaft conversions; one on a 500cc Triumph (Dick Cookson in England), and the other an XS-650 (Dave Rayner in Australia).  I wrote letters to them as well, telling them of my interest and asking for information.  Both responded by mail (send me a message if your interest runs deep enough to read these letters, and I’ll snail you photocopies of them).

I also discovered along the way that the original idea for a 270 deg crank in an upright twin came from an Australian fellow named Phil Irving (co-creator of the pre-war Vincent engine design) in his musings in a series of articles he wrote in the 1940′s.  Apparently, he initially tried to convince Triumph of the virtues of this crank arrangement, but they would not have anything to do with it, choosing to stick with the 360 degree design.  Apparently, there was a bias or prejudice against uneven firing engine designs that stuck with BSA, Triumph and Norton until their respective bitter ends.

As you know, in the XS-650, both pistons move up and down together (aka 360 deg crankshaft), with plugs firing left and right on alternate strokes.  In this arrangement, both piston/conrod combos achieve maximum velocity TOGETHER twice per revolution (once on the way up and once on the way down). In addition, they both come to a complete stop TOGETHER twice per revolution (once at TDC and once at BDC).  As you can imagine, as RPM increases, so does the vibration coming from this Primary Force Imbalance (PFI).  This phenomenon is made worse by the laws of Physics, which dictate that doubling the RPM quadruples the forces (and thus the associated vibrations) involved. Flywheel weighting added opposite the throw of the crankpin minimizes PFI, but a compromise has to be achieved between cancelling out PFI and exacerbating a Secondary Force Imbalance (SFI). This is the centrifugal force of the weighted portion of the flywheel trying to move the entire engine fore and aft as it spins.

Now then, the basic idea with a “quartered” crank engine (and design advantages associated with it) is to never have both pistons at maximum or minimum velocity at the SAME time (as you know, this is exactly what DOES happen in a 360 degree upright twin).  More specifically, the idea is to have one piston moving at MAX velocity while the other one is at MIN (zero) velocity, in order that inertia about the crankshaft is preserved.  In other words, the first swiftly moving piston/conrod combination helps “pull” the second piston/conrod combo through it’s deceleration & change in direction, a point at which it has little or no inertia.  In effect, the quickly moving half acts as a inertial flywheel for the other, and visa versa several times per revolution, resulting in relatively constant inertia (stored or potential energy) in the rotating parts in the big end of the engine.  See the URL http://www.interlog.com/~lcl/tdm/tdmpower.html for more info on crankshaft inertial torque and it’s effect on perceived torque feel in a 270 degree crankshaft engine design. (or copy of same graph on local site)

This “inertial torque smoothing” effect is achieved by separating the crankpin throws.  Maximum velocity occurs at 74.1 degrees  before & after TDC in an XS-650 with a 74mm stroke and a connecting rod length of 130mm (#447 rods).  This is the point at which the crankpin throw and the conrod are at right angles.

However, at a 90 (or 270) degree angle, the piston/conrod assembly is still pretty close to maximum velocity, so a high degree of inertial torque is still achieved.  But (and this is a big “but”) at 90 degrees, the PFI is less than at 74.1 deg, and the Secondary Forces, which have a frequency twice crankshaft speed will have a phase difference of 180 deg., thus cancelling each other out entirely (credit to Brian Woolley; The Classic Motorcycle, 2/92).  According to Woolley, this should result in a 43.5% improvement in the balance of forces within a 90 degree engine, when compared to a conventional 360 degree upright twin.

Because of a combination of better balance and conservation of momentum (inertia),  the “flywheel” portion of the crankshaft may now be lightened, further improving balance by reducing rotational weight while increasing throttle response without sacrificing drivability (a common problem when “race” engines with lightened flywheels are driven on the street).

So there you have it.  An engine with more torque, more perceived “pull” at lower revs, quicker throttle response, less vibration, and with an “Italian” exhaust note.  What more could a man want out of his mid-life crisis project!

Bill in Yardley, PA

90 vs 270 degree crankshaft timing

I have been trying to figure this out on paper, and there are two distinctly different scenarios available when crankpins are separated by 90 degrees on the crankshaft.  Participants in this thread may have been assuming that 90 and 270 degree cranks are just two ways of saying the same thing, but really, they are two entirely different setups.  The difference is really not in the separation of the crankpins, so much as the timing of the valve train, which results in power strokes that are separated by either 270/450 degrees, or 90/630 degrees.  Here’s why:
The true 270 degree crank defines power strokes that are separated from each other by 270, then 450 degrees.  Imagine the #1 piston @ TDC at the beginning of the power stroke, while the #2 piston is 270 degrees behind it, halfway through it’s own intake stroke.  Follow this thing around, and 270 degrees later, the #2 piston is @ TDC at the beginning of it’s power stroke. Following the progression of the #1 piston, we find it is now halfway through it’s exhaust stroke, a full 450 degrees away from the beginning of it’s next power stroke.

Now, take the same crank, and change the valve timing setup so that when the #1 piston is @ TDC at the beginning of the power stroke, the #2 piston is not far behind, halfway through it’s compression stroke.  Only 90 degrees later, the #2 piston is experiencing the beginning of it’s own power stroke, while the #1 piston is only halfway through it’s power stroke.  Overlapping power strokes, the beginnings of which are only separated by 90 degrees this time.  The next one comes 630 later, as you previously suggested.  Same crank, really, only different orientation of SSBB from #1 cylinder to #2 cylinder.

As far as your balance question, you’re right again, the primary balance in a 180 degree crank engine is perfect, but at the cost of a violently malevolent rocking couple, torquing the engine first to the left, then to the right, as separate pistons reach TDC and BDC simultaneously.  Whereas, in the 90 or 270 degree crank configuration, you can maintain higher inertial momentum (flywheel effect) about the crankshaft by having one piston always at or near max velocity while the other one comes to a complete stop and then changes direction.  They are never both dead in the water at the same time.  Since secondary imbalance is at a minimum, additional counterweighting on the crankshaft can be reduced, allowing a better compromise of Primary:Secondary imbalance percentages, while reducing reciprocating weight.  Also, the flywheel effect allows the use of smaller actual flywheels, further reducing reciprocating weight.  Cool.

Having said all this, I wonder if Kevin Cameron, Technical Editor for Cycle World, really meant 270, or 90 degrees when he wrote the article about the Yamaha TRX-850 in the June 1995 edition of Cycle World?  The more I think about it, the more I believe that it’s really a 90 degree separation of power pulses in the TRX engine design, especially if they were trying to emulate the successful big bang power pulses of the race-bred Ducatis.  I wonder if someone in the technical development department at Yamaha could shed some light on this?  Anyone have any connections?

“If you build it, they will come (sic)”

Offset Crank using factory splines

There are actually 13 splines on the crankshaft (damn it Yamaha!  You could have made it so easy but for one extra spline!).  So, to move it 3 splines is to displace one of the crankthrows by 360/13*3= 83.077 degrees.  It then follows (got that phrase from a mathbook about 25 years ago and it just stuck) that 360-83.077 = 276.923 degrees of separation between the throws when you’re all done.  Not exactly 270, but close enough to warrant saving several hundred dollars (or more) of specialized machining required to achieve exactly 270 degrees like Dave Rayner has done in Oz.
Also, IMO anything between 270 and 285.9 is totally acceptable, because of the following salient points.  270 is a good design point, because it minimizes reciprocating vs rotating force imbalances (see Blaine’s webpage torque.html for a more complete explanation as to why).  However, 285.9 is also a good design point, because it maximizes conservation of inertia about the crankshaft  (in an XS650 engine equipped with 447 rods, the stroke is 74mm and the rod length is 130mm.  Therefore, maximum piston/rod mass velocity is achieved at 74.1 degrees B&ATDC.  This is the point where the rod and the crankthrow are at right angles to each other, so at that moment in time, the piston rod combo and the crankshaft are running at identical (and maximum) linear velocity).  Each design point maximizes it’s own advantages in the modified engine.  Fortunately, both points are also relatively close to one another mathematically.  So, bracketing the eventual design with these two end points would only minimize either effect very slightly, while retaining the majority of both effective advantages (sounds good, eh?).

Like in most engines (or any equipment design which ever gets reduced to practice) my proposed method of design implementation is a compromise, but one which I am willing to accept.  So there.

Bill in slushy Yardley, PA


I was sent the previous information just this week, and as I always like to do with any awesome information on our beloved XS650′s – I’ve put it up for you folks to read and enjoy.



March 19, 2013 ·

Well folks, the time has come for a new T-Shirt Design.  I’ve sold out of the old design, and while I want to print more shirts, a new design would be sweet.

Past T-Shirt Designs for Hugh’s HandBuilt:

This one was designed by a very talented tattoo artist – cool dude, and loved this shirt!

Before that, we had a VERY limited run of these shirts -again, customer generated…

I’m personally soo swamped with emails, product development, tech and then getting into the shop, that I call on you – my amazing customers and friends to help me out with some new designs for T-Shirts and Stickers.

The old design was awesome, a good feller did it for us, and we’d like to keep the tradition of having your input on how we do things. So break out those sketch pads, computers and get to creating!  We love our customers, and are always proud to wear your artwork.

AND, it’s not all for free – anything we decide to print will be justly rewarded with an HHB grab bag of goodies, store credit or anything you might need to finish that build (if we have it of course, we have TONS of good used XS650 parts as well)

Design Specifications: Single or 2 Color at most for T-Shirts, I want to keep the prints cost effective.  Sticker designs can be multi-colored though, and we encourage that as well.  The rest is on you – freedom of design.  Enter as often as you would like, submit designs to HughsHandBuilt@gmail.com

Here are a few of the designs already submitted – we’d like to keep this open until April 1st – to give everyone a chance at getting in on this.   We will be updating this post as more submissions are made.  Thanks so much


February 27, 2013 ·

I talk about the details of a build, and how they matter all the time…  Then someone takes the time to add a small little bit of art to an envelope – and it really makes my day…

We’ve been swamped with orders, getting engine builds quoted and built, and keeping up with the day to day life that is Hugh’s HandBuilt…  Thanks for being the Best Customers in the World!  it makes my job one of the best as well.


February 12, 2013 ·

This is a short tale of how 3 Hugh’s HandBuilt Hoodlums traveled to Timonium this past weekend, on a whim…

I got a call from John at Monstercraftsman early last week and it went something like this “Hey Hugh, wanna come to Baltimore this weekend for a show at Timonium sponsored by Lowside Syndicate Magazine?” and I said something like this “Well ummm, hrmmm, lemme think, I’ll call ya back…”

Ok, but who is Lowside Syndicate you ask?  Well, they are doing some kickass work for the underground chop scene, and all for the love of chops…  Check em out here…   Lowside Syndicate Magazine

So after some hemming and hawing, I decided we had to go…  Doesn’t sound like much, but when was the last time you saw Hugh’s HandBuilt out and about at these events?  Rarely – we spend way too much time in the shop or stuck behind the computer doing tech/answering emails/etc… So this was a great excuse to get away and go meet some new folks…

So we frantically finished up Tevan’s 1972 XS2 Resto-Mod Cafe, packed the trailer and headed north…  Tevan’s bike had never been seen before, so we wanted to make sure he had an opportunity to get it out there…

So with the trailer packed, we hit the road…

Keep the above pic in mind – because we still had to stop off and get my friend Roy’s XS650 – the Tennessee Rose…  Roy wanted to go with us, but he got a case of the crud – we we kicked him to the curb and stole his bike…  Just kidding (kinda)

This bike totally rocks, and it has just about every part and service we offer on it..  But in the end, Roy built this bad boy, we just helped him along a little bit…  More pics you say?  Sure thing – go here! 

Now remember, we don’t travel that much with the truck, we typically ride to the shows/events and just spectate…  That means I’ve never had my little truck hauling this heavy ass trailer that far…

First fillup?  154 miles…  Bummer…

Surely my eyes were crossed or I did something wrong with my math skills (Mrs. Jaker taught me well in 2nd grade, it couldn’t be my math skills!)  8.2 MPG – this was gonna get expensive…  Oh well, places to be and people to meet…  5 more fillups and we would be there…

We got there, and somehow Brian Managed to find the only Hair Dresser in the place, I mean, who the hell finds a hair dresser at a bike show?  Brian, that’s who….  I guess when you don’t show up with a bike, you should show up lookin’ good huh?  Someone kick this boy in the sack and tell him to get his Bike done!

Anyhow, the good folks from Monstercraftsman gave us some of their prized real estate at the show. Very cool – and something we were very grateful for…  Can’t say it enough, these dudes treated us right…

Don’t let Tevan fool you.  This dude might only be 19, but he can build a bike and talk crap with the best of them…  And he’s got a sense of humor to boot…  We made sure to set his bike up where it would get a good bit of visual attention…



It was real cool to people watch.  Folks would come around the corner and just stop in their tracks…  Cameras and phones whipped out and taking as many pics as they could.  This bike was very well received.  And I can honestly say that Tevan just basked in it, look at that pic above…  Warms my heart to see a young man get so much praise and attention for his hard work.  He drug this thing out of the Kudzu at John Dills house about 2 years ago, and created this masterpiece…  I’d like to take some credit, but the credit is all his…
I can’t even say how many times we were asked if it was for sale, or how much it would take to sell it…  Tevan held his ground though – they say never sell your first build, and I’m pretty sure he’s made room for it next to his bed.  I still have my first build, and I expect he’ll hold onto this one for a good long while as well
fighting off checkbooks and credit cards from Tevan’s Bike wasn’t bad
enough, we had our hands full with Roy’s Bike…  This thing was
practically a jaw dropper.  My favorite were the HD Tough Guys (you know
the type…) that couldn’t believe a Yamaha could be this cool…  I
just wish Roy had come with us, he could have sold this thing and
lightened the load on the way home (just kidding Roy – kinda)
What about my latest bike you ask??  Well, it was well received among the builders – but the general public just couldn’t figure it out – haha…  I’m gonna call that a win…


 What about the rest of the bikes at the show?  Yeah, they rocked too!  This is just an example to the bikes…  The place was soo packed, it was hard to get good shots in…











The bikes of this show rocked it man…  I mean, sure, there was a “big show” next door in a much snazzier building with lots of glam, lights, scantilly clad middle aged women, bikes that were roped off, and neon everywhere – but it seems the best builds and coolest folks were on the LowSide…  I’ll take bearded dudes, chics with a bit of grease under their nails, and the friendships we built any day over the shine and glam of the average bike show…

I personally want to express a HUGE amount of thanks to the folks from Lowside Syndicate who put on a killer show, Monstercraftsman who gave us the real estate to setup out humble booth and then let us crash on their hotel floor (I’ll try and remember my sleeping bag next time!), The Mufflers who were some of the most down to earth gals I’ve ever met in the Motorcycle Industry who treated up like locals and gave us a floor to crash on…

And as usual, I don’t typically get many photos of myself – I stole this one from Monstercraftsman’s facebook…
John (Monstercrafstman) and Hugh
Jillian from the Mufflers
Tevan and Bryan (HHB)
Lowside Sydnicate put on a great show, and the after party wasn’t to be missed either.  There were alot of great folks who put this show together, and we genuinely had a blast.  I’m pretty bad with names, but faces I never forget…  If you met us at the show, shoot us an email at HughsHandBuilt@gmail.com so we can have your contact information, or add us to your mailing list for any upcoming events – we’d love to be apart of more great events like this one…
And somehow I forgot to take pics of the Swap Meet…  Hell, I practically lost my voice talking to soo many folks at the event.  We met a TON of our great customers who came out to meet us – without you folks, we’d never be able to live this small piece of the American Dream – Thank You!!
And yes, I did score something at the swap meet.  A nice unmolested 1200S Sportster for some HHB Product Development….  What did I say about that trailer being a tight fit???


It took us 12 hours in the truck to get there, and another 13 or so to get home…  We averaged 7.2 MPG over 1200 Miles…  My brain already hurts thinking about the fuel bill…  But you know why things like this are expensive?  Because they are worth it!!   The good people of Baltimore treated us like locals – so we’ll be back soon enough…

Had some rough weather coming home, lots of high winds, rain, and even a downed tree slowed us down a bit.

Home sweet home…

As always – thank you soo much for your continued support of Hugh’s HandBuilt.   We love our job!


January 31, 2013 ·

That’s right folks, a new product for the XS650 Enthusiasts out there!  And while it has been long in the making, a fully developed set of HHB Speedster Pipes is now ready for pre-order.

Inspired by our very first build:

The newly developed HHB Signature Speedster Pipes are a 2-2 design,utilizing 1.5″ mandrel bent tubing.  The exit under the chassis, for added bank angle when hitting the twisties.


Loss of ground clearance is minimal, while allowing for harder cornering – due to the unique design of the pipes and keeping the exhaust system inboard of the frame rails.

Available in Raw Steel, Hi-Temp Silver or Hi-Temp textured Matte Black – and will include all hardware and new exhaust gaskets needed for the install.  100% true bolt on, as you’ve come to expect from HHB.

Matte Black Finish:

Hi-Temp Silver Finish

(bad pic, I know…  But the silver finish is NICE!)

These have been test fitted on ALL XS650 models; including XS1, XS2, TX650 and Standards as well as Specials.

Ok, so we know they look cool, but what do they sound like???  Matte Black Textured Finish shown, without Baffles installed…

We are doing a limited run of these, pre-order below.  Please allow time for final production, proper finishes to be applied, and shipping…  All new stainless hardware, new exhaust gaskets and instructions will be included.  (Once the pre-run quota has been met, we will remove the “Buy It Now” link)  Shipping is only $10.00 in the US, contact me for overseas shipping options after purchase and we will provide a seperate Paypal invoice.

Pre-Orders are expected to start shipping early February.

Click Here to pre order

As always, thanks so much for your continued support of Hugh’s HandBuilt – we will continue our efforts to bring you only the best products and services for your XS650.


(Bottom view, these pipes are slightly modified Speedster Pipes, I added a short tail section that will not fit OEM frames, but you can get an idea what they look like from there..)

January 23, 2013 ·

Those of you who watch the forums, or facebook, know that we just finished a new build.  So lets get to it, and give you all the low down and dirty details of this latest project…

This bike is one of those long term projects that seemed to stretch on forever and ever…  Before Hugh’s HandBuilt was even started, I started building this bike with a friend of mine.  He had purchased several frames/engines/forks/wheels and such as a basket case – and wanted to try and build a bike out of the mess.

Now if you are a motorhead like I am, you can see a pile scrap metal like this, and envision a bike – right?

Well, we did too!  Luckily, the score had some good stuff in it.  A titled frame, a few engines, and lots of other goodies this thing would need.  And, a brand new Wiseco 750 set of pistons that hadn’t even been installed!  Sweet!

So we did a quick mock-up to see where we wanted everything to be on the final build…  Since the plan was for this to be my friend Cain’s bike -we fitted him to it…   High Bar Lane Splitter – yeah man…

This basket case he had purchased was originally intended to be a Cafe’ build – and the previous owner had done a number on the frame.  Some places were ground so thin that the tubing would flex poking at it with a screwdriver – total bummer…  So with a good title in hand, and a crappy frame – we did the proper thing.  We cut that sucker into a million pieces!

I talked him into doing a subtle gooseneck, single downtube frame and reworking the entire seating area and shock mounts.  So out came the sawzall and cutting wheels and into the frame jig we went!  Speaking of frame jig – I didn’t even have one until Cain offered to purchase the materials to build it if I’d mod this frame… So the very early and humble beginnings of a shop were coming to be – and I had no clue it was even happening…  I spent many many hours in the machine shop at the University making the frame jig in order to build this frame.

Once the frame was built – we needed to build an engine for it.  In the timeframe we had, we opted to just install the 750cc top end on the bottom end we already had.  New seals, gaskets and a Pamcopete ignition would round it off pretty good.  Top it with some Mikuni VM carbs and it should have been good to go.

I decided to bend up some funky lane splitter bars out of some 7/8″ stainless we had laying around the shop.  Mounted to the stock risers and lowered the forks about 3″.  (If you look in the background, you’ll see a trimmer less bearded Hugh circa summer 2009 – time has not been good to this ugly feller!)

Keep in mind, I was still in college at Appalachian State University back then, studying Product Design and tinkerin’ on motersickles our of my apartment’s basement…  Man, them were the days!  We’d open the shop door, get some wood and make a fire in the parking lot, and generally have a blast at that place…  Times have changed for sure…

The tank was a funky old NOS dirtbike tank that he had found on the Ebay if i recall correctly.  I convinced him we needed to high mount this sucker!  I cut the tunnel out of it, flat bottomed it, and then split an old Ford Driveshaft longways for the new tunnel and welded it all together.  I removed the OEM filler location, used another chunk of random tubing and relocated the filler cap frisco style.  This as the first tank I ever got to modify more than changing a bung or a tab…  I had alot of fun reworking this old tank…

We mixed up some resin and made a sweet fiberglass seatpan that fit the frame like a glove.  Cain had a buddy of his cover it, and it turned out killer…

Lastly, we added an aluminum rear fender…  It was narrow and funky..

Then the bike kinda languished in this state for what seems like years (it probably was really!)…  The idea was that we’d build this thing together, hang out, have fun – you know the drill…  Well, I graduated college, moved 2 hours away, got a day job (which sucks, I don’t recommend it!) and it really made getting together to build this thing kinda tough.  It sat in the back of my shop gathering dust, and generally looking pretty sad…   Cain and I would get together when we had time, and we’d make a small bracket, tab, etc…  But if you have built a bike, you know those little details can really eat up some time in a build…  And time was something the two of us just didn’t seem to have at the same time…  Total bummer…

In the meantime, I had quit my dayjob (you should too, building bikes is much more fun!) and started Hugh’s HandBuilt with the last paycheck from my old job…  Long story short, we got busy FAST!  I would have never seen it coming…

That didn’t help this build along at all…  So after the years passed along, the bike garnered more and more dust and it was starting to look like this thing would never come to life.   The economy was tanking, both the owner and myself really couldn’t afford to finish it.  Cain debated selling it off, but I didn’t want it to slip away after all these years, so a deal was struck and about 2.5 months ago – I became the owner of yet another XS – go figure!

So I instantly dusted her off, and put her up on the lift.  I installed one our HHB PMA Systems, Red-Koted the tank, swapped out the headlight and fender for something more my style and started tidying it up to get it fired for the first time ever…   Running the PMA would also mean I could run the bike without a battery…  And no battery makes for a super clean, kick-only ride…  Just my style…

I made sure to bleed a little bit while working on it..  These old bikes simply won’t run proper if you don’t bleed on em…  No seriously…


With a Mac 2-1 on it, and a little bit of blood in the oil – she fired right up on the first kick!  No brakes, no lights, but hey – at least it was up and running.

So I swapped out the disk rear wheel for a 1 year only Drum Mag wheel, fabbed up some brake linkage and headed out for the road for a bit of testing…   I did find that the cheapo replacement brake arm hardware was not up to the task of holding the brake drum in place – BOOOM!!!

The swingarm/brake arm hardware had sheared while I was on I-40 after I gave the rear brake a good stompin’ – and of course I didn’t have the front brake hooked up…  The linkage tore loose, hitting me in the hip and doing a bit of damage to the narrowed fender I had mocked up…

Shake down runs tend to really shake you up sometimes…  I rode it the 3-4 miles back to the shop with no breaks.  Compression braking to the rescue!

Pulled the rear fender, found some OEM hardware and built new linkage for the brake arms and I was back in business.  I did quite a bit of riding locally as you see it below.  The handling on this bike was spot-on, and that big 23″ front wheel just begged to go off-roading and jumping the stairs.   I can’t say that none of that happened…  So yeah, I fully abused her in the “testing and tuning” stage of the build.

I’m pretty hard on my bikes – I can’t lie…  I figure if they’ll handle the abuse I give them, then it should be good to go.  In the meantime, there is a makeshift skate park behind my shop, and I started jumping the box jump a few too many times, and broke the frame.  I thought it was getting a bit squirrely on the landings – haha…

The shock mounts needed some serious beefing up, so I cut off the tail section and refabbed it using a bit stronger tubing and more solid shock mounts.  I added a short section of a KZ fender and we were back in business…

So I got it all back together, and for the life of me could not get the Mikuni VM34′s to work well with the Mac 2-1 Pipe.  I tried baffles, rejetting, swapping different 2-1 pipes and nothing was fixing the terrible flat spot I had in the middle of the rpm range…  I eventually tossed on some Yo Mama pipes from Pandemonium and the bike instantly ran better…  I was kinda bummed, because I really liked the look of the 2-1 pipe…

You’ll notice that the front end is higher as well.  The way I was riding this thing, it just begged for more fork travel, so I found another set of OEM 35mm Forks and installed them.  Oh yeah, I fabbed up some bracketry to make the 23″ drum front brake actually work – good thinking….
Once I had the flat spot out of the tune thanks to the 2-2 pipes, I could really ride this thing!  I rode it about 50 miles until I realized what had to be done…  That vibrating 360 big bore engine was just not gonna cut it…  I like to ride, and ride hard…  And the vibes from the stock firing pattern in the big bore engine were enough to rattle your teeth out at highway speeds.  I tried everything, different gearing, filling the bars with silicone, but there was just no way around it…   As much as it pained me, I pulled a freshly built good running big bore engine out of the chassis and tore it back down to the bare cases…  A 277 Rephase was in order…
I got the engine back together, fired it up on the run stand – when a new engine build fires up on the first kick, you know it’s gonna be a good build!
So with the chassis sorted out, and a freshly built 277 engine – It was time to finally finish the bike properly….  I added a few finishing touches to the neck of the frame, a new couple of gussets and an internal wiring tube for the headlight wiring…
After fabbing up new coil mounts (the rephase requires 2 coils) and all the little tabs/brackets/switch mounts, etc – it was time for the final finish.   I spent about 8 hours grinding and blending all of the OEM ugly off of this frame…  Tabs, brackets, holes, etc.. all had to be cleaned up.  I always love when someone is like “Dude, that bike is soo clean and simple” – as if unicorns just flew into the shop and made it happen.  Simple and clean takes time…
I had always wanted to have a “raw” bike, but I really can’t get into the rusty half-assed look.  No offense to those folks that do, but it’s just not my nature to neglect something I’ve worked so hard on…  But, to keep the raw look, I had the entire frame sandblasted for a nice even finish on the frame.  Then I painstakingly reblued all of the welds on the frame for 12 hours or so…  Being extremely careful not to touch the frame (freshly sandblasted steel will flash rust in a hurry, especially with oils from your hands) and using gloves during the whole process.
I had seen some really cool BMX bikes done like this years ago, and since this thing rides like a BMX and spends some time in the air, it seemed like the perfect fit…
Into the powdercoating oven for a coat of clear…  My direct neighbor at the shop is a powdercoater, so I had an inside bit of help for this process…  It was pretty cool though, because he even let me spray the powder myself.  I like having as much hands-on experience as I can in a build…   From the time I had the frame blasted, it was less than 20 hours to get into the oven..  Any longer and I would have risked having flash rust form on the chassis…
Final assembly was long and slow…  Just like all of my builds… I make sure each bolt is clean, all the threads are chased, each little thing takes time…
We shaved and polished the front forks – they ended up looking sweet!  We do alot of forks for customers, but it’s rare we get to see them go on the bike.  Seeing them come together makes it all the better..  New seals and oil, new tapered steering bearings, new wheel bearings, new tires, new brakes, new bronze swingarm bushings, new cables, new chain, new wiring – I replace it all…  A good new build should be just that – new…
Clean clean clean…  That’s the name of the game for a new build…  I might be a bit too picky…
Speaking of being picky – I have only a few folks I use for paint…  John Dills of Dills Paintworks is the man with a plan, and for this bike – we made a killer plan for the paint…
John and I had been scratching our heads on how to paint the tank on this thing for a few months…  But after riding, jumping, pulling wheelies and being a total terror on this bike, we had our inspiration…
Enter Pure Hell – “One of the most fearsome, and feared AA/Fuel Altereds of the 1960′s”
Hell yeah, that’ll do it!  I know this bike will never be the terror and fame that Pure Hell is – so we’ll just call it “Slight Hell” – how bout that….
So with an inspiration for the paint, John and I both decided the flames needed to go backwards…  I mean, the whole bike is funky as it gets – so why the hell not.  That’s what I like about John, he’s an amazingly talented award winning painter, and he’s cool enough to do some funky stuff for us from time to time…  Spend money with John, he’s HHB Approved – and that’s saying alot!
Love it or hate it?  Don’t care…  Because it straight up rules!
Topped off the bike with the only bit of actual paint it has…
A little bit of color was needed in the lower part of the chassis, so I spun up some brass pegs and got em fitted up…
It’s not always bike building in the shop.  I have a 5 month old little girl, and she comes to the shop everyday for Daddy Daycare…  Can you image what kind of little terror she’s gonna be – being raising in a motorcycle shop like this???  The boy’s won’t know what to think…  And they better not be thinking anything if they know whats good for em’
I am always very proud of my works, but I am an even more Proud Daddy…  Having her in the shop everyday really puts things into perspective…  It’s why we work as hard as we do, so she can have a great future – and maybe she’ll be the next greatest thing on 2 wheels on day? Who knows, all I know  is that she is the greatest thing I have ever been a part of…
We had a few long days and late nights finishing this bike up…
 We installed a modified set of our soon to be released Speedster pipes onto the bike, wired it up, installed the tail light (almost forgot that little detail) and it was ready to rock!  But not before we had it photographed over at Frank Bott’s studio..
Frank is a real cool cat, he’s done some amazing photography of some really sweet bikes.  Being that his studio is less than a mile away from my shop – it was a no brainer.  So before we even put fuel in the new build, we took it over to Frank and had a great time in the studio getting some great shots of the bike..
Here are a few shots from the shoot…  Dude can really capture the spirit of a build…
Frank has shot many of our customers bikes as well, so make sure to head over to his site and check out his work…  I think you’ll be surprised how many kick ass XS650s he’s shot…
I think we nailed the lane-splitter feel we wanted, she’s skinny….
Pretty awesome huh? I’m not talking about the bike, but Frank’s Photography…  We spent 4 hours in the studio taking pics of this bike…  He had a great time shooting it, and we had an even better time sharing stories and getting to know one of our neighbors a bit better…
Ok, so it looks pretty sweet… I mean, it’s been almost 4 years in the making….  Jeeeeze, I hope I never have another build last that long.  The original owner and I differed on a few ideas (which is totally normal when two creative minds collaborate on something) but once it was in my hands, I think I was able to add all the perfect Hughstyle touches to the bike to help make it completely mine.
But did it pay a good tribute to “Pure Hell” – well, it’s still cold here in North Carolina, but we had another shoot the other day to get some action shots… I think she’s doing all she can to live up to it…
So until I get more pics from the other photoshoot, this’ll have to do it for now…
I can see the emails now “Hey Hugh, what did you do to xxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxx  on that bike….”
So here’s the specs:
1975 XS650
277 Degree Rephased Engine By HHB
Ported Head
Web 59 Camshaft
Pamcopete 277 Ignition
Wiseco 750cc Pistons
5th Gear Overdrive
Shell Racing type Intakes
Modified HHB Speedster Pipes
16″ 1981 XS650 Rear Wheel
Duro Rear Tire
23″ Honda Front Wheel
Chen Shin Front Tire
Shaved and Polished XS650 35mm Forks
Custom HHB Stainless Lane Splitter Bars
HHB Solid Riser Bushings
Custom HHB framework – 2″ up, 1.5″ out, 1.5″ Swingarm Stretch
HHB PMA Charging System
Custom Seat Pan – HHB
Seat Cover – Unknown
Headlight – Side Mount Bates Style
Tail Light – Cheapo HD style LED
Batteryless Setup with a Sparx Capacitor
Mikuni VM34 Carbs
Tapered Steering Bearings
Bronze Swingarm Bushings
KZ Rear Fender
HHB Brass Foot Pegs
Kick Only
And for those wondering about running with no battery?  Well here ya go…
January 22, 2013 ·

I remember “Alfredo” on the forums – he had a really kick ass bike.  I mean this thing just looked amazing…  And he’d spent a good amount of time building, rebuilding, tuning and making it just “perfect”….

I read and watched as Alfredo tried and tried to make this bike run “smooth” – and I think he did a good job for the most part.  Tuning and syncing the carbs, making sure everything was sung and up to spec, etc… Hell, I think he even rebuild the engine once (maybe even 2X) to make sure it was right!

But in the end, on a stripped down chassis with solid mounted bars – the vibes of the OEM 360 engine were just too much and he never felt really at peace with the bike.  I’ve seen alot of folks abandon the XS650 because of the vibes, but he stuck it out…  And decided to go for a 277 Rephase

Now it should be said, that I don’t know Alfredo at all – just watched his build online, answered a few tech questions, etc…  Like most of my customers, I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to him in person at all.  So his account of the Benefit of Rephasing below is honest and straight from the horses mouth…

Straight from XS650.com – this is Alfredo’s account of how the Rephase has completely transformed his bike…

Some of you might know that I have spent some time rebuilding my motor, running my motor, rebuilding my motor, running my motor and rebuilding my motor over again. It’s been a few years since I jumped on here knowing absolutely nothing (haven’t come far from that btw) and really made an effort to dive in. I won’t say much about the community that Travis built (xs650.com) because I know everyone here gets tremendous benefit from it. Wheter you just browse and never post, are an active asshat to everyone or an active contributor. You all get value here. No question.

What I do want to take a second and talk about is vibration. There are a lot of things that you can do to your xs that make it more reliable, sleek, sexy and fast. Most of these things are very well covered in other posts, but the one thing that I personally feel is understated is the RePhase. I have had the fortunate, and unfortunate, pleasure of experiencing the very same xs motor in various states and configurations. Now, if you are a professional racer or motor builder then I am sure this luxury is afforded to you all the time. I just don’t think thats what makes up 80-90% of this community. I think there a lot of guys and gals like myself who are budget and time conscious and really want to get it right out of the gate. No time to test and test and just want to cruise.

When I first started riding the first rebuild (360°) it vibrated like a wild angry animal at speeds of 60+. If I tried to go up to 70+ the vibration was REALLY bad, sometimes I could barely keep my hands on the bars. I actually felt like it might shake loose, despite others saying it was normal. I was able, through the help of loads of forum members, to tune out some of this. The problem was it was still there. Lots of suggestions that would certainly do the trick to tone it down; squishier grips, bar snake, etc., but nothing that made a huge difference without a good amount of kit/add-ons. The vibration always felt wrong to me. I mean, I get the mechanics and why it does it, but it never really felt like something I could look forward to experiencing when riding the bike. And to me, I wanted to look forward to riding the bike. Enter the rephase. I read a ton about it and it seemed like the holy grail. So, I did the hard thing to do after spending all that time and cash on rebuilding the motor and tore it down again for the winter to do the rephase.

Saving the money and the time took awhile. I went all out this time. PMA, 5th overdrive, rephase crank/cam, but kept my bore from the original rebuild. No 750 kit in the budget and from all of what I could read the 750 just gets you to the max speed quicker. Doesn’t really do too much for you unless you are racing or are really interested in getting to your cruising speed a little quicker. Neither of which are my interest or worth the $$$ to me personally.

To start to shorten this story up, I put the motor together twice with all the newly worked parts. First time I had the cam off one tooth and the base gasket was seeping. Once it was all together I ran it for about 50 miles, but even then I could tell the dramatic reduction in vibration. I never got it above 65, because of my past experience with the bike starting to vibrate like crazy before. Because the bike still vibrates a little more around that range, so naturally when it started to vibrate a little more I got scared and thought it was going to be as bad as the first rebuild.

Enter this past sunday. I was meeting up with some friends to take a ride to Nags Head (about 110 miles one way) to give the bike a proper shake down. This meant getting on the interstate which in my area means a posted speed limit of 70mph. Needless to say I clinched my butthole and went. The bike ran incredible the entire way. There is a spot where the vibration gets a hair more around 60mph (I am assuming its about 4.5k, but have no tach hooked up) but its an incredibly smooth vibration compared to the 360° phase. All went well barring some slight clutch cable adjustment needed. Even at speeds of 85-100 it barely vibrates more than a subtle hum. I have solid grips, solid mounted bars and also have all motor mounts hooked up and tightened down. I never maxed it out, but it certainly felt like it wanted to keep pulling even at 100mph. I was scared and impressed at the same time. My little xs was pulling away from a 70s ironhead and a 2000s harley 883. There were a few times when I just rolled on the throttle for a few minutes and got up to around 100+ and would look back and those guys were gone. They were right beside/behind me pulling and then they just vanished. None of us could really fathom that they couldn’t keep up. Both of those bikes will get to 60+ faster than mine, but neither can keep up. I never maxed it out, but it always felt like it would go more and more and more.

So, long story short; While there is a lot that you can do to remove the vibration from the stock configuration, there is nothing you can bolt on that gives you as much of a dramatic improvement as doing a rephase does. Also, the 5th gear overdrive is an absolute MUST if you are doing a rephase. The benefit of the rephase, I feel, is dramatically understated on this forum. From my personal experience. I don’t want to start an argument, just state what my experience has been.

Lots of thanks to Hugh and Pete for teaming up to offer such a great/painless upgrade available for this motor. If it’s within your means to do this now or in the future. Do it. And give Hugh and Pete your money. Others may be able to do it, but these guys are certainly the top shelf.”

And the best part?  He’s back in the saddle again, and a life behind bars ain’t so bad after all!

Alfredo – If you ever make it over this way, or we see each other at a show, the first brew is on me…  take care dude, and ride on!


Thread on XS650 for those interested…  http://www.xs650.com/forum/showthread.php?p=243430#post243430

January 17, 2013 ·

I’ll let the video do a little talking this time… I’m sure you folks get tired of reading my stuff anyhow… 

It’s taken me a few years to finally build a 270 engine.  I have built several cranks for them in the past, but shipped all but 1 overseas.   The other 1 I built I know has not been run as of yet.  This could very well be the only 270 XS650 Engine in the USA that is alive and running. 

Thanks for checking in folks


January 8, 2013 ·

I tore down my “brat” bike this past week, spent several hours with a grinder, file, and sander removing all the OEM ugly from it – and man was it UGLY!!! 

Then I treated the neck to a nice few details… 

Stay tuned for more details as this old build finally comes to life – it’s only been about 4-5 years!  Jeeze, I need more personal time in the shop….

December 31, 2012 ·
Have a great new year folks…  Thanks so much for your support in 2012.  We look forward to offering more products and services to you in the 2013…  

And what?  Oh yeah, we’ll be taking in Engines starting the first of next week.  Stay tuned for a new blog post!

Hugh’s HandBuilt

December 11, 2012 ·

Top Dead Center – something most XS650 folks are probably taking for granted.  But there are times when it’s good to know EXACTLY where TDC is…  Like when you swap on a PMA and need to make a new timing mark, or if you are rebuilding the engine and need to degree the camshaft…

I’m gonna show you how to make your own piston stop tool, AND how to find TDC in this little tutorial.  Yes, I know Piston Stops are commercially available, but I always enjoy showing someone how to make their own tools, and sometimes you just don’t have a choice…

Pull one of your old spark plugs, or get one out of the engine itself…  It’s probably a good time to change them anyhow…

Now smash that sucker with a hammer!!!  *Use some safety glasses – it’s the cool kid thing to do.

You are basically trying to remove as much porcelain as possible from the plug.  Grind off the end of the plug (the part you normally gap to the electrode) and use a chisel/punch to knock out some of that porcelain… 

Now go get a scrap of round rod from the corner, or something round like a bolt…  I had some 5/16″ round stock laying around, so I used that (Don’t go any larger, smaller is ok, but larger may not work out so well – something about the valves getting in the way or whatnot – rocket science maybe??)

Cut off a short section and chuck it up in your favorite drill…  This particular drill SUCKS, and is not my favorite…  Do yourself a favor and work with tools that make your job easier…

I cut off about 1.25″ or so and chucked it up…

This is a cool trick – and you can use it to round of almost anything that you can chuck into a drill…  With the drill spinning full speed, you can work the round stock with your belt sander…  It’ll make a nice concentric ball on the end of your material – and it only takes a few seconds to get the swing of it…

Works really well, you can use it for all kinds of stuff – bar ends, sissybars, frame bungs, etc..  I like this trick…

The faster your drill spins, and finer grit you have on your belt sander, the nicer the finish will be on the end of your material.  In this case, my drill is a giant chunk of garbage, but hey – at least my belt on the sander was nearly worn out!

Either way, since we are going to be using this inside the engine, take the time to polish the end of the round stock – you don’t want any burrs or sharp edges…  I used my polishing wheel and some black compound..

Polished and nice…

Now you wanna figure out a way to center up the rod into the threaded part of the spark plug.  This isn’t super critical, but the closer the better.  I’m a big fan of using what you have…  I happen to have a lathe, so I used that to center up everything..

I didn’t get an action shot of me welding it, kinda hard to do all that and take a picture at the same time..  But I welded it, being careful not to damage the threads..  
So there, you now have a really inexpensive piston stop.  Making this literally took me less than 10 minutes, and when you need a tool, it’s always nice to be able to make one.  Ordering a tool can usually take 3-5 days or more for it to show up…  Winter is here – I’d rather be wrenching than be sitting by the mailbox waiting on a simple tool.  Plus, it’s always good to get in the habit of problem solving when in the shop – it’ll make problem solving on the side of the road that much easier…  And I don’t recall Macgyver mail ordering his stuff…  Be cool, make a tool!
Now that you have your piston stop, you’ll want a degree wheel.  
Wait just a minute!!!  This dude really just told us how to make a piston stop, but he has a store bought degree wheel???  LAME!!!  Ok, you win…  I use a degree wheel so often, a store bought one is nice…  But here’s a good way to make one yourself – go to http://www.tavia.com/free_degree_wheel.html and print one off.  Then glue it onto a good piece of cardstock or thin aluminum, and you now have a free and easy to make degree wheel…  Cool
So yeah, basically you can do all of this for FREE- and free is just the right price!  
So now pull the spark plug, shine a flashlight in there and turn the crank until the piston is at the top of the stroke…  Don’t overthink this, get it close and go from there…

Turn the crank on the clutch side, I like to use my Crescent/Hammer/Bolt-Rounder-Off’r in a situation like this… 

When you think you are close to TDC (Top Dead Center in gearhead speak) – then you’ll wanna see about mounting up the degree wheel to the crank.  I had to drill out the center of my degree wheel, get it close to the right size and on center, and this job will be alot easier…  
On the crank side, I usually have the Charging System Removed.  If it’s not removed, you’ll have to get a bit more creative in mounting the degree wheel – but it’s not impossible…
Put a nut all the way down on the threads of the crankshaft.  (the OEM nut from the charging system will work just fine)
Fit the degree wheel to the crankshaft…
Now before you bolt the degree wheel down, you’ll wanna rig up a pointer.  I’ve used sharpened TIG rod and vice grips before to hold it to the cases..  Really, you just want a good firm pointer that won’t bounce around – you want to be accurate with this part.  My degree wheel happened to be the perfect size that i could use a bolt from the junk drawer to make a pointer with…  
I made my pointer on the belt sander using an old socket head bolt…  
Took that sucker to the belt sander and made it all sharp and pointy…  I could go hunting with this thing…
All sharp, so I slapped some yellow paint on it so it will stand out against the blue degree wheel – you don’t have to do this…  I do this stuff so that folks can get a clearer idea of what’s going on in the pics..  You also won’t have to wait around for the paint to dry – like I did…  Doh!
I threaded my new pointy bolt into one of the holes in the cases…  Perfect alignment for this job!
Don’t worry what degree it points at just yet, because you still haven’t tightened up the degree wheel right?
So now you’ll wanna use another nut, and a washer to lock down the degree wheel.  The washer is important, it will keep the degree wheel from spinning while you lock down the 2 nuts against each other on the crank…  
Set the dial to “0″ TDC and gently lock it down…
 Go ahead and turn the crank to BDC and thread the piston stop into the spark plug hole.  You’ll want the piston at the bottom of it’s travel so that you don’t take a chance to damage the piston when installing the piston stop.  If you feel any resistance at all when installing the piston stop – STOP!  It should not hit valves or pistons…
Thread the piston stop into the spark plug hole…  No need to get crazy torquing this thing down, just lightly snug it up…
Stupid blog – can’t flip this pic – Oh Well, you get the idea…
With the piston stop installed, gently rotate the crank (using the clutch side of the crank to do so!  Do not rotate using the degree wheel side) until you feel the piston come to a stop against the – yes you guessed it – the piston stop.  It doesn’t matter which way you rotate it…  
Then look at the degree on the pointer and make a note of it…  
I was right at 34 Degrees, took a note of it, then turned the crank the opposite direction until the piston stopped again, and checked the measurement.
I was at 26 degrees on this measurement.  So I took 26 from 34 and the difference was 8.  Divide the difference by 2, and that is the amount of degrees you need to change your degree wheel to the pointer.  In my case, I was off by 4 degrees.  So I rotated the degree wheel on the crank (being careful not to turn the crank) and locked it back down.  
Repeat turning the crank back and forth until the degree wheel reads the same measurement on both sides of “0″ at the pointer.  You may have to readjust the degree wheel on the crank a few times.   When you have both sides of “0″ at the same measurement, you will know your degree wheel is in perfect timing with your crank and pointer.  You can now use “TDC” and can then use that reference point for other things (like cam timing, making new timing marks, valve adjustment timing, etc.. ) 
 I’ll hopefully do another “How-To” on cam timing and how to degree if perfectly to your crankshaft.  Until then, thanks for checking in.
I hope you find this How-To useful – and as always, thanks or your support of Hugh’s HandBuilt

December 11, 2012 ·

Well folks, it’s nearing the end of the year, and we figured we’d give you an idea of whats been happening in the shop lately.

We’ve been kicking out a TON of our Rephased XS650 Engines.  I think we’ve fired up and test run about 7 engines in the last 2 months or so…   I know you guys like videos – so here is a few of the latest engines we’ve fired up.

I’ve been working overtime getting these engines built – not that I’m complaining… Long hours and long days have been getting these out the door faster than ever… 

Tevan has been making some great progress on his Resto-Mod Cafe’ 72 XS2 Project – it’s gonna be a sweet machine!  He’s really worked hard building his first bike, and he’s only 19 – this one should be completed and on the streets very soon! 

I have been slowly bringing my Black and White Bike back up to snuff.  I had a little bit of a meltdown from all the abuse I’ve given the thing, so it’s got a newly rebuilt and even better engine just waiting for the chassis to get freshened up..

Yep, fried a piston – given the abuse and neglect I’ve shown this engine, I’m not uspet in the least…

 The old Black and White bike has basically been the test mule for almost all of our HHB products and services.  As much as it is an Iconic XS650, I also beat the living daylights outta that thing in order to ensure that I only bring the best XS650 Parts and Services to you folks…  Built to ride! 

New 750cc Engine just waiting for some more abuse!  (I have a bad habit of building an engine for myself, and then selling it…  Not letting this one go – for once….)

Speaking of engine work, we’ve been reworking a few things around the shop so I can offer Clutch Exchanges in the future.  We’ve been getting lots of requests to machine our 8 Pack Clutches – and we’ve finally figured out a good way to machine them and build them in a timely manner…  Look for that service to be announced in January sometime…

8 Pack Clutch into an OEM 7 Pack Basket

And for those of you with an OEM 6 Pack Clutch Basket, we’ve also found a way to upgrade you to 7 Disks – and it’s gonna be a very cost effective upgrade!  
We always get questions “How do you get your engines/parts/stuff so clean???” Well, we used to do a TON of beadblasting to get our components as clean and fresh as possible.  Bead blasting required a TON of effort, and even more time cleaning and ensuring all of the glass bead was thoroughly  removed from any engine components.  
Then we discovered Aqua Blasting!  Johnathan is the owner of Rice Relics and has been doing some great work for us…   (PS – You can mail him your parts, and he’ll make sure you get the very best service and mail em’ back to you – very cool!)
This will give you an idea of the amount of work we’ve been doing lately, and without someone doing the Aqau Blasting for us, we’d be stuck at the blast cabinet all day…

And when parts are this clean, I can find/fix any damages much easier…  I’ve had several sets of cases come in with this area of the engine damaged.  A little bit of AC power and we are back in business…

Ok, but back to bikes right?  I had been helping a friend build this “Brat” bike for a LONG time, it was actually the 2nd bike I ever started to customize.  Well, several years later, and it sitting in the corner of the shop neglected, a deal was struck with the owner and now I have been beating on this bike as bad or worse than the Black and White bike ever had it… 

I’ve made a few changes from the previous owners doing – mostly cosmetic.  I’ve been taking it over to the skate park and hitting the ramps with it…  Sooo dumb…  But, this thing with it’s super narrow bars and gnarly tires just wants to be in the air – I can’t help it… 

It’ll get some upgrades this winter, a 750cc Rephased, cammed, ported and carbed engine should do nicely….  And maybe I’ll quit breaking it – that box jump at the skate park is hell on a frame I tell ya – haha….  Nothing some new tubing and beefier shock mounts can’t handle…

So we hopefully will have our Resto-Mod Cafe’ Project, the Black and White Bike, My funky Brat Lansplitter Dirtbike Thing, My Digger Project (long been on hold…) and a Street Tracker done this spring to bring to shows, events, etc… 

Street Tracker you say???  Oh yeah, I’ve started on the head for that project too!  I’m thinking 270 Degree Rephase, 750 CC, and all the trimmings… 


So we’ve got a LONG busy winter ahead of us…  I think we have our hands full, and we still plan to bring 3-4 new products to market in the next few months – so stay tuned! 

PS – find us on Facebook – we tend to put alot of random updates on Facebook, and sometimes you can get a jump on the sale of random parts too…  So go “Like” us, if you don’t already

And since 2013 is practically upon us, go get your XS650.com calendar!  We made the cover!!! 

Buy your 2013 Calendar here – http://www.morandesignco.com/shop.html – and no, we aren’t making any money off of this, we just thought it was cool… 

As always, thanks so much for your continued support of Hugh’s HandBuilt – when you support a small business like HHB, you can see exactly where your money goes.  We have 2 fulltime employees, and I have a wife and 4 month old child who all appreciate your business.  Thanks again folks for allowing us to be a small part of the American Dream


December 1, 2012 ·

JASON H – Step right up and collect your prize!!!

Thanks so much to the folks who entered, shared and really took part in what this giveaway was all about…  It has been inspiring to more folks than you can imagine, lots of people have emailed or called and talked about this giveaway.

I’m proud to see so many of you fine folks getting out in the shop and spending time with your families…  Keep it up..

Jason H -

“Here you go brother.
Thanks for doing this man we all appreciate it.

This is my two year old daughter Aberdeen. She’s my one and and only and definitely mine and my wife’s best friend. On top of skateboards and Dora she loves all things loud and fast…. Out of all of the sweet tools in my shop she has been the greatest addition.

Thanks again man.”

His email response is the best

 ”Your kidding! Your effing kidding! I have literally never won anything literally….not even two bucks on a lotto ticket!!!!! I’m gonna scream!!! This is bad ass!!!!

That’s was so hard to type!!!! Thanks so much man!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Glad to be a small part of your build Jason!

And all the other submissions?  Well, here they are!

Our Holiday Giveaway Submissions.  Get out there, get your family involved in wrenching on these old bikes – win big!!  

More information on the Giveaway here:  http://hughshandbuilt.blogspot.com/2012/11/holiday-giveaway-dont-miss-out-on-this.html

2012 Holiday Giveaway Picture Submissions:

“Here is a pic of myself and son with my xs winter project that is now going on to it’s 3rd year ;) Although he’s not old enough to help out yet, I am very thankful for his appreciation of anything with wheels and his enthusiasm for all bikes. My biggest thing to thankful for is a wife who will put up with the endless working in the garage, buying parts and direction changes.

The bike started as a pile of parts that once where a 77 xs650 with just 1800 miles that was left in a bake yard.

The motor is a 71 that will eventually be a rephased motor with my 77 bottom end mated to the 71 top end. My goal at this time is to have is on the road for spring….. Of 2013 and no later ;) Thanks for the work you do for the community and all of your blood sweat and tears.”

Jeff C


“This is me and the neighbor kid that’s always coming by checking out what I’m doing, he’s the only one besides my kid that shows interest so I put him to work and showed him how I clean up the covers on these motors”

“This is my boy Eli helping out, he’s getting good with the Scotchbrite and likes to get his hands on my wrenches and anything that plugs in the wall! My little girl is more “monkey see, monkey do” but she’s got the idea. The grey fella is my Dad, over 30 years as a fabricator and never once showed me how to do anything. All I ever heard as a kid was “no boy of mine is gonna work in a dirty old shop all day like I have to!”. Little did we know all these years later it would be all I want to do, and after my wife bought me a welder, the old man came down and showed me some of his tricks… one of the best days ever”

“Monkey See, Monkey Do!” – haha 

“My wife changing out my jets before I get home from work”

I work 50+ hours a week at night so I don’t get to see my kids that much during the school year, and they know I love being in my garage. That said, it’s really cool that they like to get into what I’m doing and show interest. You’re doing a lot of great things Hugh, keep it up man!

Jeremy V


 ”I’m a 32-year old software engineer, who absolutely loves XS650′s! Bet you don’t hear that often, ha. I went out last year and grabbed a beater, pulled out from the woods, no tank, not much of anything really. After a lot of research, I rebuilt the carbs and got it wired (oh yeah, that was also missing). Getting the bike fired up was one of the coolest things ever, given my experience. The other coolest thing ever is the little guy in the pic, who loves these things as much as I do. We sit on my laptop and browse xs650chopper.com, xs650.com, etc. and are just amazed at how awesome these bikes are. He’s obsessed with tanks, every one he sees is like the first tank he’s ever seen, love it! Either way, I’m blessed to spend time with him doing what I love to do, even if it’s for an hour or so every week given my busy schedule. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and please don’t stop making these awesome products! Take care!”

Marco A

 ”This is a picture of me and my son (Noah) work on my bike.  It is a 79′ XS650.  I have been working on the bike for about a year.  It is a drop seat, hardtail (7 inches longer), the front end has been raked out several degrees.  I plan on stripping the frame and stain clear coating it.  The engine will go black with highlighting the fins on the jugs.  I will be running clip-ons with internal throttle and clutch.  I am looking forward to having it done in the spring.” 

Troy Y


” About 1980 or so my then at the time 5 year old brother decided he and a friend would “fix daddies bike”. They managed to pull every screw they could and cut wiring and drain fork oil…long story short, when my father tried to fix this, he and my grandfather never got her to run again,,, So it sat in a damp dingy basement garage for the next 32 years.
This began the long strange trip…
My father bought the bike in NY, rode it to Oregon, and back to NY then it was dead. in that time he met my mother in Oregon and they rode it everywhere, for my whole life my mother was mad at my brother about wrecking that bike, and always brought it up.
My mother passed away and the bike sat…
I moved to Portland OR and met my lovely wife Aubrey. We went to NY got the bike out of that basement at my grandfathers and had it shipped out to Oregon… I had decided that I would do a complete restoration, not having a clue where to begin or how to…
Lucky for me, and the point of this contest, my wife who had no idea what a torque wrench was, has now dived in full out to help me and has learned everything about the bike inside and out…
here are some pics,
before, during, and after, and of course my lovely girlie non mechanic ( at all) wife, working away…
she now also goes to get her oil changed when she should, all because of our beloved xs. “

Gordon L


Here’s a pic of my shop helper getting his hands dirty during the initial teardown of our first project. My name is Jesse and the this is my son james. the bike is a 78 special that I bought last march. the other pic is it as it sits now. Its been a bit of a slow project since I’ve been learning as I go. ultimately it will run a pma and pamco with no battery/kick only.fake oil bag for electronics and fake battery box converted to tool box to fill the giant void behind the motor. pretty basic build as I’m doing it all myself other that the hardtail weld which I didn’t think was a good Idea with my limited skills and flux core harbor freight mig. my son hangs out with me pretty much every day in the garage and he is convinced its his bike. he’s also forcing me to paint it blue. Thanks for the help that you have unknowingly provided from your site, xs650.com, and chopcult. 

Jesse G

“Here is 6 year old Joey wearing an old lab coat from my office, helping me get Yamabond spread out so I can get the case back together.  This was a complete teardown of a 1980 xs650 engine that I built back up (and now have in my running bike).”

“This is 9 year old Lucy giving me a hand getting the HHB Clutch mod all buttoned up on my 1980 xs650  Special

Steven S

“Here’s a pic of my dad , my niece, my dog and I on a cold desert night. The bike is an 81 with tcbros hardtail  and gordonscott pipes. We just finished the paint . Other then that  I’d just like it to be a daily driver before summer so I can ride it again before I deploy . I’m so thankful for the support of my family ( my dads plethora of tools) haha my nice and my dog helping as much as they can . And my moms home cooked meals . I think this is a great idea and good luck to everyone .”

Semper Fi

 “This bike started out as a 73 TX650. I bought it with a locked up motor and in boxes. If you asked me what a bobber was a year ago, I couldn’t tell you. 

 I seen an ad in the local classifieds (wasn’t even looking for a bike) for a bobbed out harley and ever since than knew I had to have one.
 Joined up on XS650.com and started chopping.
  It’s been a blast building this bike, not even close to being finished.
Bike has a T.C hardtail, later model 35mm front end which will eventually be lowered 3 inches up front with a 21 inch wheel. I like the low slammed bikes. It’s been consuming me to get mine built that way. Motor will stay stock for now as it is not in the budget. Just want to get it rolling.
 Here’s a pic of my boy Seth. Not able to turn wrenches yet but will be a helper in the garage soon enough. He likes anything with wheels and I think that’s a good thing.”
Kevin M 

 ”Here is a pic of me and my son (JD) in the garage with my 79 xs650 Special. I am in the process of stripping it down to turn it into a minimalist bobber with rigid frame and rephased motor. I hope to do all the work myself with the exception of building the hardtail and having Hugh’s HandBuilt split my cam. She should look good when done with flat black paint and Lucifera on the seat from an old Danzig song. My son is only 18 months old but I hope he grows up wanting to hang out in the garage with his ol’ man.” 

Josh M


“What a great idea to highlight how a garage can bring a family memories.  Attached is a photo of my oldest daughter in her pink leotard helping me rewire a XS650 after the installation of the HHB PMA, Pamco and new coil.  It’s only appropriate that she helps since the XS650 was a Father’s Day present.  I have started to build a hard tail with hopes of 21″ wheels and a HHB re-phase.

Thanks for the opportunity to showcase what the typical weekend looks like in my garage.

Keep up the Great Work and here to success in the upcoming New Year!”
Johnathan M

“Very generous contest you are hosting!

So, I have a 1981 XS 650 SH that I got last Christmas with an idea to have a historical bike to a) play around on, b) make my son think I was cool, anc c) learn how to work on bikes as he is a car/bike freak and I’ll have to fix his someday.

The ultimate goal for this bike and one in the future is to leave something to my sons that they can appreciate from a historical standpoint, and also know that their Dad put it back together for them. This bike will be a Cafe Racer style and I hope to spend the majority of this winter getting it all pretty like.

My name is Ryan and my xs650 handle is ‘rlauchard’. These are my two sons Connor (redhead, age 4) and Finn (blonde, age 2). My wife and I are thankful for them everyday and since I travel…well…absence certainly makes you aware of how much they mean to you.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and a Merry Christmas to boot!”

Ryan L

This is a picture I snapped of my old man, Roger.  Him and I had been at odds for nearly two decades and when my interest in chopping bikes was sparked it seemed as if that was just the catalyst we needed to bury some hatchets.  He is now my go-to guy for info/advice and one of my best friends.  The bike he is standing next to is my 1980 xs650 that we just got done putting the first coat of primer on.  I picked up the brat-kit from monster craftsman, welded it up and plan to build the bike up in a very simple fashion to cruise around town.  I picked up a 2″ lowering kit from you guys and a wassell replica and swapped out the stock front wheel with one from an xs400 with the drum brake.  Happy holidays!
Cody K

 ”These are pictures of my son Austin. He is 8 years old, and this is his first project ever. My dad passed away last April, and we did a lot together. So I picked up this 72 xs as a father son project to try and redirect my son from video games and t.v. The change in him has been phenomenal! He loves getting out in the garage and finding out all what all the tools do. The time I used to spend in the garage alone, has now turned into passing on what little I know, and learning a few things in the process. Austin has Aspergers, and I have been trying to find something that he enjoys doing. Once they get an interest, they focus on it with laser like intensity, and I think we hit the mother load with the xs project. Hardware and tool runs to the store that used to be a trial with him, have suddenly taken on a whole new direction. Let’s just say this has been a pivotal moment for us, and I couldn’t be happier with the direction this is headed!! We have decided to do a scrambler/tracker type bike, with the understanding that when he can kick start her, the bike is officially his. We will be posting progress pics on instagram under the name strattoad. Thanks’ to Hugh and everyone else in the xs community for providing the products and info to keep this going.

Glenn Q

“This is a picture of my 7 year old daughter Keri Elizabeth. She is my shop helper constantly helping me work on my cars and now my new XS650 bobber build. As you can see in the picture she was so excited to work on the bike she didn’t even take the time to change out of her “fancy” clothes to start wrenching. She took apart the rear fender, signals, tank, front fender and side covers all on her own, from finding the correct tool to knowing which nut or screws to wrench on.

The goal of the build is two fold.
First goal is to be able to share another project with my daughters and teach them as much as I can as we learn how to build a bobber together. I want them to be self sufficient and be able to handle any obstacle thrown at them including make their own car/bike repairs. Hopefully one day she will let me be her helper when she wants to build her own motorcycle/show car.

Second goal is to build a super clean, super sleek hardtail. Clean lines, crisp paint. less is more approach.  Something I can be proud to cruise around town and say I built it myself.”

Jason W 

Heres a shot of my wife, our soon to be son, Jackson, our dog Axl Garbage, and I working on my 81 XS650 Heritage.  I’m planning on streching it 3′ and dropping it 2′, with a sportster tank( in the top corner of my pic).  My idea is to give it a real sweaty look, I’ve always like primer grey, and raw steel.  I’m working on a kick stand, made out of an 1 1/8 wrench heated and bent, and a custom taillight cover made from the top of an old time juicer.  I found your contest looking for an alternative for the crappy riser bushings in my stock XS, I’ll be ordering those from you real soon !
A little backstory on my family….  I bought my fist motorycyle, 71 cb750 barn find, last spring with a small amount of cash I had laid away.  No more then a week later, my wife and I found out she was pregnant with our first child !!!  We are so pumped!  Funny how life works, I would have never spent the money on a bike for myself if I knew we had a baby on the way.  So I made the most of it… Spent all summer fixing up the CB got it running and put a few thousand miles on it.  I loved it !  Wrenching, crusin, and learnin about these old bikes has been awesome.  So in the fall I sold my CB, made a few bucks and got an 81 heritage that had sat for 15 years on the cheap and now its my winter project.  As you can see I dont have a garage, I made up my porch as my Choppin Shop, and I’m set up for the winter.  I cant wait until my son gets here so I can pass my love for two wheels on to him,  Plus then my wife wont have to keep holdin a flashight for me too!!!  
See you on the open road !
Mike F
Me and my son Mike are building a xs cafe for my wife Mary.I Stripped and powder coated the frame. We plan to use a permanent magnet alternator and a pamco ignition. And relace the wheels with new spokes. We hand built the tail section , seat pan and are now working on the foam and vinyl now. Hoping to have it done by spring. 
Mary P 

 ”My grandson helping Papa in the garage. Working on my tracker. He just asked “What you doin now Papa” when I snapped the first pic. Caught him a little by surprise This was Thanksgiving Day. Second pic is a year or so old. He asked “What drawer Papa” When I told him to bring me wrench. Racerdave on XS650.com”

Dave S

Hey Hugh,
Super cool thing to give back.
Anywho…here’s my kid, Tobias, having helped me rebuild and polish the front forks. I have a ’77 xs650 swingarm bobber i’m building…(some call it brat, I don’t think mine is). All the frame mods (none to the neck) should be done soon and then onto the torn apart motor…rephase, clean, blah, blah, rebuild. should be fun. He has a ball taking my tools and working on his little 4×4 battery powered truck while I work on the scooter. Ultimate goal for the bike…to ride the piss out of her all the time. Would love to ride down to Mexico to see one of my closest friends.

Thanks for all you do Hugh.”


I was in the garage with my dad working on the bike befor thanks giveing dinner and the wife found me I got yelled at lol cuz i was in my nice clothes. my plan is to hard tail it and a nice simple pant job and some ape hanger I’m hoping to have it done for the riding season coming up I’m on an extreme budget for this bike it will be a rat rod chopper/bobber. The next one I build I will go all out and hopefully my son will be old anuf to help a little he’s only a month old”


 “Here is my 3 year old son Eli who is a natural when it comes to wrenching and working with his hands. Anytime I am working on any project he is there to help. This is my 1981 Special that was pretty neglected when I got it. Last winter was spent getting it into shape so I could be riding it by spring. Replaced fuses with blade type, fixed all leaks, new swingarm bushings, steering bearings, tune up, polished engine covers, new chain, sprockets, etc, etc. Spring came around and I road it every day to work and back and on weekends with no issues. This winter is now upon me and I am ready to spend time in the garage (I do concrete construction so my job is seasonal).  What I have planned next is; new bars 12 inch black, mustang tank, all new lights, speedo, solo seat, brat style (gonna keep the suspension), new rear fender, pipes etc, etc. Here are a couple of pics.”

Paul K
“Hi Hugh
This is me with the kids spending some family time together.
I do shift work so its hard to balance work, family, and a bike.
But its nice that my boy is willing to learn how to fix/fabricate,
and my little girl likes to ham it up and give us some laughs 
The bike is a ’79 650 came with the hard tail, but it needs some updates, PMA,Pamco,fender,tank… it runs good but i know it will run great when we’re done with it
thx Steve, Mas, and Nicole”



“This is the bike my neighbor Mike and I built last winter, runs and rides great it’s apart for paint,polish and rechrome and a seat cover, I’d like this bike to look new and turn alot of heads, we had alot of good times in the garage with build, have 2 more to build and maybe a couple of street trackers too.  Happy Holidays”

Mark F

“Wanted to say thanks in advance – not cuz I expect to win, but because you are doing a great job of supporting our community. I expect I’ll be a customer soon enough. My bike is an ’82 which I bought as a ratty already hardtailed bike.

The welding was horrid on this bike, and the cam chain rattled like hell. I’ve now had this bike completely apart and have re-welded the frame, tore down the top end of the engine and am now working on rewiring. It’s getting beautiful and can’t wait to ride it.

This is my daughter Raye. She’s handy with a ratchet and keeps me young. She’s usually riding in the driveway on my old skateboard while I’m wrenching the bike.

She and I ride together on the ‘other’ bike – with the sidecar.

PS: this pic is the day I got the bike. the 2up seat is gone, as is the huge rear fender and dragging mufflers. I’ve got some drag bars on it, small headlight and gauges. I’m keeping the monster harley tanks cuz I like how they look and can’t wait to get something like 300 miles per fill up.

PPS: I’ve been keeping a blog at http://xs650bobber.tumblr.com   haven’t updated lately cuz I can’t get on tumblr at work LOL.

Well, that’s it. Thanks Hugh.”

David S


” Startin’ ‘im out young!

Been working on this bike for about 2 years now with amazing help from Hugh and others enlisted in the xs650.com website…Huge thanks to all! I started out with the idea of a drop seat, hard-tailed chopper. The little man helped by inserting sockets into the exhaust and putting screwdrivers in any hole that they would fit in. Making “tools” to fish out small things from every hole on the bike was a bit of a set back but completely worth the time together. He loves being in the garage helping with all our projects.
The bike evolved into the second picture with more to go before next summer. All custom parts (excluding the SWEET! rephased crank and cam by Hugh’s Handbuilt) including the hardtail, gooseneck, fenders, powder coating and more were fabricated with long hours of grinding and welding in the garage of tools that I acquired mostly for this project. Despite the glares from the wife on a few long nights, the bike has made it this far. Funny thing is, when I took her on a ride around the block for one of the maiden voyages, her outlook turned 180 degrees and talk of in town date nights began…Moral of the story; hold out ’til the bikes are done guys! They will like it in the end.”

Jeff W 

“My  father in law gave me this bike in exchange for getting his Harley running and taking a motorcycle safety course. Both bikes sat over 10yrs. It was a stock 1977 XS650D as soon as i got the bike home I tore it completely apart and started cutting away. My wife helped me and I saw a tear as memory’s came back as she rode on the tank as a little girl. So I painted the tank with the lace from her wedding dress as tribute. My 2 daughters were so exicited to see it riding they wanted to ride something. So I found a 1970 shrike mini bike they are helping me with.”


“The attached picture is the best pit crew I could ever ask for sporting some of their favorite shirts!  Xavier on the far left is my mini me, the others are my ex wifes kids.  They all love hangn out with me in the garage, Xavier claims everything in the garage is his, so aparently i dont have any motorcycles.  Hugh, you are an amazing man and what you are doing with the old Yamahas is awesome!!  Keep it up!  BMR 2013!!!!”

Ben Hall


“This is a picture of my girlfriend of six years as we got started on my xs650. We were stripping it and looking over reusable parts, I plan on having her help out over the whole process.
The plan is to hardtail the frame, build a springer front end, go over the engine and have a nimble reliable bike with a handful of one off handmade parts all by spring. Being young and broke, I’m planning out the entire build and building as many parts myself while keeping safety and reliability in mind.”

Greg P
“Here is a pic of 3 of my students who are part of our “Kids Cafe” club at my school in Minnedosa, Manitoba, Canada.  This is my first crack at a motorcycle project involving students to this degree — I did have 2-3 students help rebuild my supermono racer at my last High School.  I have 13 kids signed up, but using the auto shop at the high school and only having 1 bike to work on, I had to get creative in order to keep all students busy.  I have 3 students come to each after school session, to work on the bike for a couple of hours.  This pic sorta represents the frenetic nature of the junior high brain, and the fact that during this session, all three guys were busy!  Two are working on rearsets while another works on an engine cover.  The bike is a 1975 I purchased from a roadracing buddy for $500, partly restored.  Our hope is to finish it as a Cafe Racer in time for next spring and raffle it off, with the proceeds going to fund next year’s project.  I hope to make in an annual club.

* We gladly sponsor these young folks in their efforts to wrench and learn about old motorcycles.  Check out their blog - http://tcskidscafe.blogspot.com/

James S 

“This is my daughter Peyton… She’s always eager to help out on my projects, though always seems to get distracted by one shiny object or another and ends up off in the corner beating on something with a hammer or building some architectural masterpiece that defies gravity out of every spare nut, bolt, piece of scrap metal, and electrical tape she can find.

Growing up spending hours in the shop with my dad I know what it can do for our relationship, so when I can’t find that missing bolt… I don’t sweat it when I find it on the 15th floor of her masterpiece…

My barn owl special XS is coming along very slowly…since cleaning the owl poop off from the years sitting in the farmers barn it keeps changing forms, and has currently changed direction to end up hardtailed, re-phased, and built in a nice clean vintage looking chopper style. Low and tight.

Jason J

“Here you go brother. 
Thanks for doing this man we all appreciate it.
This is my two year old daughter Aberdeen. She’s my one and and only and definitely mine and my wife’s best friend. On top of skateboards and Dora she loves all things loud and fast…. Out of all of the sweet tools in my shop she has been the greatest addition.
Thanks again man.”

Jason H

“This is a picture of my 4 year old Grandson, Dakota helping me break down a tire off my 75 XS650 Standard. You can see the project in the background. This is my “XS Build-Off” project. I am planning a fully custom frame, basically all that will be left of the original bike is the neck, engine, rear wheel, and front hub. I have designed a very industrial frame and frontend for this build.

 I was given this XS, my first bike, by my Uncle Jerry. he had it in his back yard for about 10 years. He finally realized that he was never gonna get around to doing anything with it, so he gave it to me, along with a 73 CB500 chop that he gave to my younger brother, Brandon. The Honda has already garnered 2 trophies (rat class) and it the center of attention where ever it goes. My brother and I are trying to start a small custom car & bike shop called “$pare Change Custom$” and we are hoping that my XS and his CB will be the best advertisement for our little shop.

 My Grandson loves being around my motorcycles, and has always tried to “help”, so today he joined me in removing a 20+ year old tire so I can clean up the rim, true the spokes and mock up the rear half of my project. It is very important to me to spend as much quality time with my Grandbabies as possible. I am 40 years old, and my family has a history of either living well into the 90′s or passing on very early… I  lost my Dad 10 years ago when he was only 51, I dont want to risk missing a chance to have “Kota & Tampa” time… we never know when we will be out of time.

 I think this is a great way to “pay it forward” that you have decided to do, THANK YOU!”

Chris M


“Here I am with my little helpers! Isabella (6), Tristan (4), and Kellan (2), and, of course, the 77 XS650! I’m still tearing down, grinding and accumulating goodies. Plans call for a loud, hard tailed, bare bones death machine! My kids, especially Kellan, LOVE motorcycles, and we’re having a great time playing with it. It’s my first chopper build, and to say I’m on a tight budget would be a huge understatement! After selling stock “garbage” that I don’t need, I”ve broke even. Not one dime out of pocket (yet)! Our first build together was a YZ250 dirt bike that, with some little helping hands, turned out great! I had a nasty wipeout and decided I should just stay on the street, so I traded it for the 650 and never looked back. Thank you for running this contest. Your work is amazing and I hope I win!!!”
Marcus H 
 ”I have an 83 special. The plan for the bike at the time the pictures were taken was to just get it running. My daughter was almost three at the time these pictures were taken so she couldn’t really do much but she certainly “helped”. The picture of her sitting on it is her enjoying the fruits of her “labor” :) Now that she has spent so much time around tearing down the bike and getting it running I now catch her “wrenching” on her scooter and bicycle, never mind the fact that she’s using a screwdriver to do so :) She turned 4 this past sunday. 

The future of the bike is to brat it out, finally put on the new carbs I picked up and I had been planning on getting a pma kit. The bike in the background of the pic of her sitting on the floor actually has one of your kits in it, belongs to a friend of mine. Anyway I figured you’d enjoy the pics, keep up the good work.”
Trevor K
    “This is how we relax in the evenings working on my 81 XS650 Short Chop. Shown in the picture is daughter Jane age 4, and Son Michael age 7. 2012 was a tough year for our family. Being a Newly Full-Time single dad, with a very full work schedule, spending time with my family working on a hobby we all love is our inexpensive form of recreation. Being on a really tight budget the affordability of the XS650 has allowed me to build a cool bike on a limted income. The kids truly love spending time with me working on the bike.
    This is how the bike was this past year at the Smoke Out. We are currently adding a rear fender and “sissy bar” and calling this project “DONE”!
Thanks Hugh for making cool products for the everyday garage builder!”
Tim A

Here are some pictures for your giveaway contest. That is very generous of you to give back to the motorcycling community like this. You make some great looking parts and I hope to be able to incorporate some of those parts into my xs650 build seen below.
As you know, family is a very important thing. For me, my daughter Allison has been my inspiration for my build. I have done several other cafe builds in the past, but this is the first build where my daughter is actually old enough to contribute. Earlier this summer, I picked up this xs650, 1981 special, that you see below. While my wife and father both thought it was a “piece of crap”, my daughter saw potential and said “we can work with that dad!”. She is a little too young to be able to get really dirty on this project, but she knows my tools and and parts that I need and makes an excellent assistant. If I ask her to get me the metric open ended wrenches, she knows where they are and what they are, which is very helpful. She picked out my tires by the way the looked (Avon Safety Mileage MKII), and she picked the powder coating color on the forks, swing arm, wheels, engine cases, etc (P7 Iron Glimmer). I am really excited to have the tank and bodywork painted when I get to that stage because she picked lime green metal flake! Should be awesome.

As for other plans with the bike, I have Tarozzi clip-ons and Durgam’s rear sets on the way (he’s a xs650 member). I am using an xs750 tank as seen. The engine was recently “vapor blasted” for a better than new finish. Pipes will be high pipes from Gordon Scott (another xs650.com member). As for the engine, I plan on upgrading the charging system and ignition as my budget allows. It would be great to win this contest so that I could put those beautiful parts you make to good use.”

Steve B 

“Hi my name is josh. my sons name is Sid and he is 5 and already wants to anything that involves a wrench and getting greasy. the pic is us riding back from the garage (he wanted to hold the engine so it didnt fall) where he helped me cut the rear section off my 81 xs and install an ardcore hardtail. the plan is alien tank, matte black tins, gloss black frame, jockey shift, and a ton of your parts. hopefully if i win the drawing we will have lots to do for the cold minnesota winter. thanks for doing this giveaway, it shows that you really care about your customers!”

Josh L

“Hugh, Thanks for this great giveaway opportunity you have going on. Slow going project started on easter. My wife and I are foster parents and took in a 6 year old with type 1 diabetes, so project got put on hold for almost 6 months. Learned alot and had more time to look for parts and ideas.
    Here’s a few picture of of me and my daughter Katelyn on current build. She’s the one that glass beaded the cylinder head.
 I’m now using this 1980 frame and swing arm because it has a title. 1978 engine and wheels.
Project started with a 1978 I bought, got it running but was rough and no title. Bought another 1971. (only wanted from drum). Ended up finding yet another 1971. Both were rough and rusty all over. But sold almost everything but frame and front wheels to fund this project.
Plan on this bike being funded from others as I plan on keeping it.
Ok… direction bike it going is a Jap Brat Gravel crew style with matching 18″ takasago alum. rims. Fat tire setup. Simple is more. No extra stuff and no FAKE oil bags. All hidden wires and a special something Fuel tank with a secret under It. Motorcycle will be simple black and polished aluminum bits. Hope to get done by spring for ridding seasons.

Thanks again on a great giveaway and contratulation on being a father. Good luck with all you do for the xs650 community, and should I not win I still plan on buying more from you in the near future.”

Joe A 

 Here are a few pictures of my ’74 tx650 I’m hard tailing and choppin’ out.
This is my beautiful daughter Veda, she loves hanging in the garage
with me and scattering all my tools, i finally just got a bucket for her
to put them in. Since I’m using all metric i let her have all the
standard stuff to scatter ha ha! This is gunna be a pure stripped and
hand made chopper, everything Veda and I have made for the bike are home made, bent, fabbed and welded. When V is bigger we’ll start one for
her, pure budget built and the only things bought are raw materials.
Finished pics will be up in the spring (I hope)  

Damon S

“Hey Hugh,

Really dig your work! My friend told me that you are a family man too and you were having a contest for fellow XS enthusiast. I thought that I would send along a quick shot of my new son Elliot and I on my 2nd XS project.

Keep cranking out the parts and we will keep wanting them.


Phil M

“I am entering this contest as a surprise for my husband! I didn’t want to spam your email with a bunch of pictures, and your blog said to send in “a pic” so I took one group picture of all of us instead. He has a 79 SX650 special that he plans on making a softtail chopper out of, aka brat style and his goal was to have it done by this spring so that he can ride it to Born Free 5.  Unfortunately, we are both recently unemployed and with 4 kids money is tight so he won’t be able to finish it any time soon. Now that he finally has a bike to work on after all these years, I know it breaks his heart to have to put it on hold so soon.  Right now it is sitting out at his mom and dad’s shop with several other project bikes. A little about us: My husband Shauncey is a very talented floor and tile installer of 20+ years. He grew up around bikes, and worked on them with his dad for many years, but wasn’t able to get  one of his own until finally this last summer when he was 33, 3 years after his dad passed away.  Our oldest son Chance is 13 and although he would much rather be playing sports or listening to music, he does appreciate a lesson in mechanics here and there and I appreciate the time they get to spend together. Breckan, 11 really just loves to be as helpful as possible, it doesn’t matter what it is, he’s ready and willing to pitch in. Adian will be 9 in a couple of weeks and he loves everything about it. He wants to know every detail, wants to be the one to take it apart and put it back together. He wants to be an inventor and a builder someday and is always coming up with new ideas and improvements. He jumps at the chance to go to the shop with Dad. Now, Briella is the only girl and the youngest of the bunch, but she is definately a princess AND a tomboy. She loves to tell Dad everything he is doing wrong (because she knows all) and is very adamant that his bike needs to be pink. As for me, I really am much happier than I look in the picture! I don’t ride because frankly, I am a big scaredycat, but after being married for 10 years, it warms my heart to see the sparkle in Shauncey’s eyes when he talks about working on or riding his bike. He spends a lot of his free time just going and breaking down and rebuilding or refining or readjusting, etc. what he has already done several times because he isn’t able to move forward. He loves your website and stares at motorcycle parts on the internet all of the time! If he won, this would be the best Christmas present I have given him in years!! Thank you for all of your hard work and thank you for putting on this contest and giving us a chance to make his dream come true!”


 (Sorry Ryan, your pic imported sideways, and the blog wouldn’t let me rotate it)

“Here’s my submission for the contest….

I picked my XS back in 2006. I had originally been looking for an old British twin to restore, but most of what I found was overpriced and incomplete (or both). I couldn’t find anything locally and after half a year of chasing leads, I was beginning to get discouraged.

During this same time, my Mom & Dad’s neighbor was going through a divorce and needed to sell an old Yamaha he had tarped up under his deck. Upon inquiring, a deal was struck for $500 and I pushed the bike the 20 some yards to my parent’s garage.

The bike turned out to be a 1979 Special II with only 12,056 km on the clock. It was ugly, yet complete, and the engine wasn’t locked up.

I managed to get about three quarters through the ‘restification’ when I met my future wife.  Marriage, home ownership, and children followed, and the bike project was put on the back burner.  

I don’t have as much time to get out to the garage and wrench as I used to, however I’ve recently discovered that my daughter seems to share the same joy and enthusiasm for old motorcycles as her dad.”

Ryan S

 “Hey Hugh, I got my boys out in the garage, and we knocked out a couple items on my XS project.”

Justin had a WHOLE series of photos of him and the boys making some new brackets and such for their project…  Very cool…  This is just one of them..

Justin P

This is me and my daughter working on the Wicked Soul.Changed the bars,put on some BS38′s redone by OldSchoolCarbs,added a HHB hyd. clutch.Told her once she masters the dirt bike she can hop on one of my street rides.”

Brian T

My name is Kennedy, I’m 16, I live in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, and for the past month I have been building a bike with my dad. After my Dad bought his Softail, I became even more interested in motorcycles than I already was, and eventually he offered to build me one of my own. We entered a contest online, and have been going at it ever since. I have shelled all of the cash I made over the summer into this bike and can’t wait for the product we come up with. The plan is for both of us to ride up to Ohio in the summer to show off our creation, each of us on our own bike.”

Kennedy C
November 26, 2012 ·

My friend Roy built this bike, and it kicks ass…  We did a rephased crank and cam for him, he built the engine out…  We hardtailed the frame, made the brass pegs, turned the forks and I’m pretty sure he has bought almost everything we sell…  But as much as I’d like to take some credit on this thing, Roy simply built an amazing machine with a TON of nice features. 

He dropped in today, and I prompted him into a quick photoshoot at the shop…  The buildings surrounding my shop have some amazing Graphiti/Artwork on them, so we took advantage of it today.   Enjoy the pics…

Pretty rad machine, and it was a nice treat to see a customers bike totally finished.  We do so much work all over the world that we rarely see the finished projects in person…  Thanks for dropping in Roy…  

November 19, 2012 ·

I’ve been sitting around, thinking of all the things I am thankful for this past few weeks.  I have a wonderful family, and great shop helpers that make life pretty good.   I also have a pretty cool shop dog too – haha…

Then I sat around thinking about those who are lucky enough to spend some time in the garage/kitchen/shed wrenching with their loved ones, and I though to myself “People need to do more family based wrenching” – and the idea for this giveaway was born…

Jeremy V’s boy helping him in the shop.
Most folks might know that my parents have both passed on.  What I wouldn’t give to spend some time working on motorcycles with them now.  Even just to have the memory of doing it would be awesome. 
So what has this all got to do with an Awesome Hugh’s HandBuilt Giveaway?  I want you to get in the shop with your family, make some memories this season, and get your families more involved in your passions/hobbies/lifestyle if they aren’t already. 
So get your son/daughter/cousin/neighbor’s kid – whoever and get in the shop working on an XS650 based project.  Even if you don’t have children of your own, get your own father/mom out there with ya or go get that random kid who is always peeking into the shop to see whats going on and have some fun. 
How to enter?  
1.  Send in a pic like above, even better if you have yourself in it.  
2. Email Pics to: HughsHandBuilt@gmail.com and make the Subject “Holiday Giveaway”
3.  Give us a brief description of what your project is and what the ultimate goals are for the project.  
4.  Let us publish the pic on our Blog – to further inspire more folks to get out in the shop with their kids/family/friends.
It’s that easy!  A single winner will be randomly selected and will receive an AWESOME package of our Parts.
Prizes you ask?  I’ve never done such a significant giveaway – The ONE winning Prize Package will include:
Hugh’s HandBuilt PMA System – a $319.00 Value
Hugh’s HandBuilt Solid Riser Bushings – a $75.00 Value
8 Metric DIY Tank/Fender Bungs – a $55.00 Value
Brake Pivot Kit - a $23.50 Value
2″ 35mm Fork Lowering Kit – a $45.00 Value
Speedometer Eliminator - a $42.50 Value
$560 worth of prizes!  All for getting in the shop and enjoying life just a little bit.  I’d say that’s a good trade!  

I’d like to have this package shipped out in time to be sitting under your Christmas Tree – so let’s get those pics sent in before December 1st.  Winner will be announced shortly thereafter.
And thanks to all of you who have made Hugh’s HandBuilt the small success that it is.  When you purchase from Hugh’s HandBuilt, you are directly supporting our part of the American Dream. My Wife (Courtney) and Child (3 Month Old Rebecca), and my 2 workers (Tevan and Bryan) are very grateful for your business.   And as always, I’m very thankful for the amazing customers who make my job the best in the world…   This is just our way of saying thanks – so get those entries in!


*Winner will be selected randomly.  Winner is responsible for shipping if out of the US.  Any substitutions/store credit are negotiable after winner is selected. Hugh’s HandBuilt reserves the right to modify the terms/conditions/prizes/etc/ of this giveaway at anytime.
November 14, 2012 ·

SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD!!!!  This thing was gone in less than 4 hours of posting it up for sale!!

Well folks, I’m finally getting into the middle of the road for you XS650 fans…  Middle of the road?

Most of you know that we offer our exchange crank and cam services so you can build your own engine using our 277 Rephased Goodies.  Plenty of folks are capable of building their own engine, but not all are comfortable doing so.  This is quick and cost effective for the customer willing to disassemble and reassemble their own engine.

Then we started offering full engine building services – being very time consuming and costly for the customer…  We love building them, but have been backlogged on engine builds for a while, and sadly have been turning customers away almost everyday for engine builds.

So whats the middle of the road?

A Completely Rebuilt and Rephased Short Block XS650 Engine from Hugh’s HandBuilt!  Now anyone who is comfortable installing a top end on these engines can have all the hard work done and done correctly.  This Bottom End has all the tricks and components we put in our full builds, and is ready for any top end you can throw at it.  It has the build quality and components to handle anything from a daily rider to a race bike.

These will be offered only when we have one pre-built and ready to go.
So what do you get? The Following Comes Pre-Assembled for you.

A Rare Bird you say?  Well folks, I’ve had this bottom end in my personal collection for a quite a while.  I scored this several years ago, and it came out of a Factory Sponsored Race Bike.  It originally came with the all-so rare Factory 750cc Pistons and Cylinders and (which I sold off long ago) and was in a Flat Track race bike.  When I got it, it was still left side shift too! (it is now standard shift)

So this engine block has some Race History, which is pretty cool.  Then you add in the fact that this engine was never stamped with an ID number, which verifies it to have never been in a production street bike and the cool factor goes way up.

I have very carefully and lovingly added only the best of the best into this Bottom End, and now it’s time to part with it.

Some of the awesome things I have done to this engine include Polishing the Shift Shaft, Shift Drum, Crankshaft Flywheels and then adding in the normal goodies that we do to a Hugh’s HandBuilt engine build.

This Build Sheet includes:

Rephased and Fully Welded Crankshaft (Mildly polished)
Polished Shift Drum
New 447 Rods
New Rod Bearings
New Rod Thrust Washers
New Rod Crank Pins
Fully Polished Bearing Surfaces
Late Model Transmission
5th Gear Overdrive Installed
Cases are Aqua Blasted and Fully Cleaned (Unpainted, Beautiful Natural Finish)
New Sump Filter
New Stainless Hardware
New HP Clutch Disks
New HP Clutch Springs
New HP Throwout Bearing
New HP Clutch Hardware
New 1 Piece Clutch Rod
New Camchain Pre-Installed (includes Master Link)
Refurbished Camchain Tensioner Installed
New Starter Gear Fix
New Bottom End Oil Seals
New Gaskets
New Shift Shaft Assembly (polished)
New Shift Springs
Electric Starter and all gears pre-installed.
7 Pack Cluch Basket

What else is included in the purchase?

Matching 447 Rephased Camshaft
Base gasket
Head gasket
All Misc. Gaskets Needed for rebuild
All Oil Seals Needed for rebuild
Stainless Hardware Kit
New Side Cover Oil Filter

This is easily the nicest bottom end I’ve ever built, and with the special attention to the shifting mechanisms this thing should be a dream on the road.  It will also easily handle any top end you can throw at it. 

So basically, here is how this works…   You send us your bottom end and camshaft as a core.  You will remove the entire top end, pistons, cylinders, head studs, etc..  Keep your engine side covers, cam chain tensioner and, charging system, kickstart lever, chain sprocket and nut.  We prefer you ship the bottom end to us on an engine stand (TC Bros makes a nice one) and in a well protected crate/box.  The only thing we ask is that your bottom end is not seized or damaged.

We will then ship you our Bottom End as soon as we verify your core as rebuildable.   And all you have to do is reinstall your top end and go.  This can easily happen in a weekend for most of you folks.

If you prefer to have our bottom end in hand before shipping us your bottom end, we charge a $500 core charge which is refundable after we receive your core.  We are happy to work with you as best we can.

The above listed XS650 Bottom End is available today for $1890.00 plus your core charge.  We accept Check/Mo/Cash and interesting trades.  Paypal can be accepted under certain conditions, and Paypal fees will be added to the purchase.

We can easily add a Hugh’s HandBuilt Permanent Magnet Alternator to this unit for no extra labor costs if you so choose, just let us know.

Contact HughsHandBuilt@gmail.com if interested

PS – UPS can ship these in a crate, they are well under the weight limits

November 7, 2012 ·

Ok, so we don’t have any sponsors, but we are taking a short break from now until next Monday. 

As most of you know, Sandy put a good hurting on most of the East Coast, which has severely slowed down shipping and even the production of some parts/components that HHB uses.  That has kept us from shipping a few things, unfortunately.  We are working really hard with our suppliers to see them back up and running as soon as possible. 

And, this weekend is my Family’s annual hunting trip up to Missouri.  We’ll only be gone for a few days, but I like to let you folks know as I know you are used to getting extremely fast email responses, but I will be away from the computer until next Monday.

We are hoping to give our shop dog Roxxy a few more treats this season, and as always thanks for being patient with us as we take a small break. 

Emails, Shipping, Etc… will all start back up as normal on Monday.  Thanks so much for your continued support of Hugh’s HandBuilt – we couldn’t do it without ya…


November 1, 2012 ·

I have a friend who went and bought a Craigslist special…  You know the one – “XS650, Rat Rod Black, Harley Hardtail runs great won’t charge a battery” or something along those lines in the ad… 

I have seen some aweful work come through here in the last few weeks…  Just plain aweful, but this one was “Running and Riding” and it’s amazing it didn’t just fall apart loading it on the truck…

What it looked like when it was purchased… 

Now, I’m not attacking the purchaser – this is his first bike build, and he didn’t know what to look for..  But once the bike came to the shop, I knew we were gonna have to hack that hardtail off completely and start all over…  So we stripped the bike completely down to nothing and had a good look at it.

Lower Frame Rail – Butt Welded, no sleeve/slug and not the finest of welding either..

One of my favorite parts…  The tubes meeting the OEM backbone (notice the cracked tubing, nothing was actually attached here)

Pretty rough huh…  I know I feel safe on a motorcycle when it has a frame full of holes, and this guy must have agreed.  I’ve seen less holes on a sheet of target paper at the shooting range.

These holes are all the way through, BOTH tubes on the frame, not just 1 side… 


And just in case riding a Holy Terror or Hardtail Holes isn’t scary enough of a thrill, lets go ahead and add some quality welding into the formula to completely round out the build… 

Say farwell to this tail section, there is just too much bad work to even try to save it… 

I counted 31 holes in the tubing of this hardtail section…  Someone needed to step away from the drill…

Into the scrap pile where it belongs… 

The owner opted for a New TC Bros Hardtail section, so we tossed the frame into the jig and made that happen.  A fresh start for a bike that should have never seen the road in it’s previous state… 

Now this isn’t to rant on Backyard Builders, I actually want to see more backyard/kitchen/shed builds coming out of the woodwork this winter…  Not everything needs to be done in a professional shop, just make sure it’s done properly and if in doubt, find a friend to help…  I’m hoping his will educate some of you folks on what to look for, and what simply isn’t acceptable…  
And you’d have thought that just 1 terrible frame was enough for this week, but I actually got to see 3 terrible frames come through the doors this week…  
This thing, what a MESS it was…  
Rear wheel was off center by at least 1″, and the mess of welding/bondo/”fixes” and such were just unbearable… Note, there is no backbone behind the engine either…  I bet this thing rode like a wet noodle going down the road…  And yes, this was at one point a riding/running motorcycle in this state.
We pulled the motor, and I’ve never in my life seen so much All-Thread and washers holding an engine into a chassis…  Not a single properly graded bolt, and at least 1lb of washers were stacked into this thing…
Ultimately, the frame was deemed a complete waste, so it met it’s fate in the scrap pile as well…

I mentioned 3 Frames right?  Well, the last frame is from a fairly famous bike, and let’s just say I’m not going there…  But if you drop into the shop sometime, I’ll be glad to show you what to look for and what isn’t acceptable in person… 

Until next time folks, have fun and make cool stuff…  Just make SAFE cool stuff


October 30, 2012 ·

Well folks, as most of you know, we are under a pretty heavy storm.  I have found in the past, that during times of large natural disasters, that lots of packages and shipments get lost in the mail.  After calling my local USPS Branch (they know us quite well, haha) – it has been suggested that we hold off on shipping until the weather has cleared up a bit. 

As always, I thank you soo much for your business and know that we are doing everything we can to treat our customers with only the best customer service.  We will announce here on the blog when we start shipping again. 

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

October 16, 2012 ·


Well folks, I’m finally getting into the middle of the road for you XS650 fans…  Middle of the road?

Most of you know that we offer our exchange crank and cam services so you can build your own engine using our 277 Rephased Goodies.  Plenty of folks are capable of building their own engine, but not all are comfortable doing so.  This is quick and cost effective for the customer willing to disassemble and reassemble their own engine.

Then we started offering full engine building services – being very time consuming and costly for the customer…  We love building them, but have been backlogged on engine builds for a while, and sadly have been turning customers away almost everyday for engine builds.

So whats the middle of the road?

A Completely Rebuilt and Rephased Short Block XS650 Engine from Hugh’s HandBuilt!  Now anyone who is comfortable installing a top end on these engines can have all the hard work done and done correctly.  This Bottom End has all the tricks and components we put in our full builds, and is ready for any top end you can throw at it.  It has the build quality and components to handle anything from a daily rider to a race bike.

These will be offered only when we have one pre-built and ready to go.
So what do you get? The Following Comes Pre-Assembled for you.

Low Mileage XS650 Bottom End
Rephased and Fully Welded Crankshaft
447 Rods
Fully Polished Bearings
5th Gear Overdrive Installed
Cases are Aqua Blasted and Fully Cleaned (Unpainted, Beautiful Natural Finish)
New Sump Filter
New Stainless Hardware
New HP Clutch Disks
New HP Clutch Springs
New HP Throwout Bearing
New HP Clutch Hardware
New 1 Piece Clutch Rod
New Camchain Pre-Installed (includes Master Link)
New Starter Gear Fix
New Bottom End Oil Seals
New Gaskets
New Shift Shaft Assembly
Electric Starter and all gears pre-installed.

What else is included in the purchase?

Matching 447 Rephased Camshaft
Base gasket
Head gasket
All Misc. Gaskets Needed for rebuild
All Oil Seals Needed for rebuild
Stainless Hardware Kit
New Side Cover Oil Filter

So basically, here is how this works…   You send us your bottom end as a core.  You will remove the entire top end, pistons, cylinders, head studs, etc..  Keep your engine side covers, cam chain tensioner and tension arm, charging system, chain sprocket and nut.  We prefer you ship the bottom end to us on an engine stand (TC Bros makes a nice one) and in a well protected crate/box.  The only thing we ask is that your bottom end is not seized or damaged.

We will then ship you our Bottom End as soon as we verify your core as rebuildable.   And all you have to do is reinstall your top end and go.  This can easily happen in a weekend for most of you folks.

If you prefer to have our bottom end in hand before shipping us your bottom end, we charge a $500 core charge which is refundable after we receive your core.  We are happy to work with you as best we can.

The above listed XS650 Bottom End is available today for $1760.00 plus your core charge.  We accept Check/Mo/Cash and interesting trades.  Paypal can be accepted under certain conditions, and Paypal fees will be added to the purchase.

We can easily add a Hugh’s HandBuilt Permanent Magnet Alternator to this unit for no extra labor costs if you so choose, just let us know.

Contact HughsHandBuilt@gmail.com if interested

September 25, 2012 ·
 *Not my photo, stolen from Pipeburn.com – cool site, check it out…

Don’t pull our your hair, use our Tech Articles and How-To’s to help you get through that XS650 Build…  I just compiled a list of some of the more popular Articles we have written, to make your wrenching and garage time a bit more fun… 

Hugh’s HandBuilt Tips, Tricks, Secrets and Stuff….

So grow out those beards, winter is coming, and that means it’s time to get in the shop and make some cool motorcycle stuff happen! 

And if you have any suggestions for new How-To’s, Tips, Articles, etc… let me know


September 25, 2012 ·

Thats right folks, our ever popular PMA systems have been selling like hot cakes, and rightfully so, because they are they best on the market!

So how do we make something this good even better?  Why not toss in a FREE Rotor Puller with all new purchases of our PMA systems (sorry folks, this is not retroactive to past orders)
*While Supplies Last, Subject to Availability

This is a $19.00 Value, and we will include it absolutely FREE with all new PMA Purchases.

 *Note – This puller works on PMA Flywheels ONLY – Not for use on OEM Charging Rotor
As always, we will continue to provide only the finest customer support and services, along with our excellent warranty and tech support.   
Want to Purchase one of our PMA Systems?  Click here!  
Want to purchase a PMA Rotor Puller by itself?  We’ve added that option to our “PMA Parts List” at the bottom of the page. 
We thank you for your continued support – we pride ourselves on having the worlds best customers.

September 19, 2012 ·

Thats right folks, we’ve got the goods once again…  

We are busy assembling new PMA Kits to ship out, and have plenty in stock.  Get em while we got em!  How and where to buy you ask?  Clicky Clicky Right Here…. 

September 19, 2012 ·

A picture is worth a thousand words…


September 12, 2012 ·

Well folks, as you already know, I’m a new Dad – and life is grand!  I’ve been able to get in the shop during the mornings and then play Daddy Daycare in the afternoons.  We are back into the full swing of things. 

We had some setbacks, our Miller Dynasty 200DX Welder died on us, but we were able to scrounge around and get a new one to get back up and running… 

We put it to work as soon as it was out of the crate…  277 Goodness for some lucky folks out there who are building their own hot rod engines using our Rephased Goodies...

We outsold our ourselves for the 2nd time this year on PMA Systems…  I take great pride in knowing that our PMA systems are in such high demand that our suppliers can’t even keep up with us.  Luckily though, we should have more in stock by the end of the week, and should be able to ship as early as the first-mid of next week…

Cranks and cams are going out the door, and the rest of our parts are keeping us plenty busy with shipping. 

And for those of you who keep asking when we’ll be taking in new engine builds?  Well, we are well on our way to making a ton of progress on the engines we have had for other customers, so in the near future we will be making some engine builds available again to ya’ll.
AND – let me know if you folks would be interested in Rebuilt Bottom Ends only, something we could exchange easily (shipping would be sooo much cheaper) and then you just swap on your top end…  I’ve got a line of bottom ends to assemble and thought it might make your builds go a bit smoother and faster, while being easier on the ol’ checkbook…  I’m always looking for ways to treat you folks better – so let me know if that sounds of interest.  
As always, thanks for your continued support of Hugh’s HandBuilt…  We are a small shop – and your support helps to continue a little bit of the American Dream – all while working on Jap bikes!  
August 8, 2012 ·

Well folks, we just had a HUGE project come in, and we’ll be taking a little bit of time away from the shop to focus on it for a bit… 

This is Rebecca Genevieve, the newest addition to Hugh’s HandBuilt…  You’ll understand if we take a few moments to enjoy our newest addition, as it’s gonna be lots of excitement and learning around here in the next few days…

But not all is lost, keep those orders coming in!  We will have Bryan and Tevan working the shop, keeping orders flowing out the door just as always.  Emails and Tech may be a bit slower as I do all that myself, and some exchange services may get a bit slower. 

Just moments after her birth…  Yeah, I’m a proud Dad, so let me show off a bit :)  

As always, thanks for patience with Emails and Tech support, and your continued support of Hugh’s HandBuilt…  Bryan and Tevan will be in the shop to keep orders flowing and I’ll be working on the computer when possible to keep up with Tech and Support.  Thanks sooo much!

Hugh – Hugh’s HandBuilt

July 27, 2012 ·

Completely Rebuilt from Top To Bottom.  I built this engine for my own personal bike this season.  However, I have decided to offer it up to you folks.

This is the exact engine, minus carburetors:

Rephased XS650 Engine
700CC Big Bore with JE Pistons and Total Power Rings
New Heavy Duty 447 Rods
Rephased, welded and trued Crankshaft
5th Gear Overdrive
Late Model Transmission
CUSTOM 8 Pack Cluch (never before offered from HHB!)
New HP Clutch Disks
New Clutch Harware
HD Clutch Springs
1 Piece Clutch Rod
Heavy Duty Throwout Bearing
D-Shaped Ported Head (The ONLY 1 I have ever completed to date)
3 Angle Valve Grind
New Valve Guides
Stainless Rocker Shaft Covers
Hughs HandBuilt PMA
Complete 277 Pamcopete Ignition with new Advance Unit, Rod, etc..
Green Monster Coils
Rephased 256 Camshaft
Polished Side Covers
Polished Valve Covers
Kick Only (electric can still be added if necessary)
100% New Gaskets and Seals

There is over $5169 in labor, parts and services in this engine.

I will accept $4800 plus your rebuildable core.  First Come, First Serve.

Take advantage of this, as it is RARE that I can offer someone an engine on exchange so quickly.  Our Engine Rebuilding services typically take 7-9 months…


July 20, 2012 ·

So most folks know that we’ve had to turn away engine builds, we just have too many to do right now…  That should change this fall/early winter…

But that brings up another valid concern when it comes to our favorite vintage Yamahas…  We have had about 4-5 engines come in that have never been run, previously assembled at other “reputable” shops but they could never get them running.  In desperation, customers have brought us these engines to “get right”…

No, I won’t divulge the shop names, or individuals who have built these engines.  But I will say this, do your homework when you have a shop take in so much of your hard earned money…

This is the latest engine to tear down, from a “Fresh” rebuild from a very prominent XS650 engine builder…  The builder had the engine for 18 months…  After installing the engine, new ignition, etc… the owner and even a few shops could not get it fired.  So we got a look at it, and found the cam 90 degrees off of time.  Simple mistake, could happen to anyone…  But we had to tear it down to fix that, might was well look into the engine more..

It is plainly obvious that someone cut corners here. Look how dirty these pistons are!  A bit of blending on the piston crowns shows that someone has been in this engine, and it hasn’t run since then… 

In the above pic, you can see OEM sized pistons…  The customer was told that 750 pistons has been installed.  750′s are usually 80-81mm…

Aside from not getting what the customer wanted, at a very minimum these pistons should have been cleaned….  Caked on carbon, old oily varnish deposits, and other things like this are simply not acceptable when you’ve paid good money for a rebuild.

Just to show you, some of this dirt and grime could have been washed away easily with a bit of spray cleaner, or even a quick bath in the parts cleaner…

The grime on my fingers shows you that just a small amount of effort could have at the very minimum got rid of all the loose dirt/grime…

The one of the piston pins was seized, as it had been installed without cleaning the old varnish off.  If this engine had been run, it would have ruined the crank rod…   I guess a cam being 90 degrees off is a blessing in disguise…

Now, I’m gonna go on a small rant here…  If you are an engine builder with any gumption, you should CLEAN ALL THE PARTS BEFORE REASSEMBLY!

The biggest giveaway to a poorly rebuilt engine in my opinion is a lack of cleanliness…

I know the bottom of these engines cane be pretty nasty, but this sump plate was obviously not cleaned before reinstalling it… 

This is a cam cover from the same engine.  Gnarly….

Just to compare, this is what one of ours looks like before being installed.  Details make all the difference in a build, especially engine builds…

Now back to hardware…  I don’t see any reason a good shop would reuse old crusty hardware…  At the very least, send it through the parts washer…

This right behind the sprocket cover.  I little bit of oil from the new chain is still on the sprocket, but none on the engine covers.  Everyone with an XS650 knows this is the nastiest part of your engine, so it’s a dead giveaway that this engine was never run, as it would be gross under here in under 5 miles… But look at that case nut!  The engine cases are nice and clean, why install nasty cruddy hardware back on them?  Gross….

Now, I would assume that even the least vain people in the motorcycle world still like to keep up appearance?  On an XS650 engine, one of the quickest way to ID the engine is the valve covers and cam covers…  They are seen instantly, and that’s usually all it takes to ID one of these critters, even from a distance…  So you’d think the builder would have taken pride in at least the areas people can see easily right?  Wrong…

Ok, enough ranting on that, you folks probably get the point by now….

But what about the insides?  I mean, I judge a book by its cover when it comes to rebuilt engines.  The cleaner the outside, the more likely the inside is good to go…  That’s not a steadfast rule of course, because I’ve seen some NASTY engines running in race bikes…  But they are running, and being abused they way the should be…  On a newly rebuilt engine, that is not the case…

Ok, back to the insides…  XS650 head gaskets are meant to be installed dry…  No need for half a tube of sealer…  

Used gasket?  Who knows, I’ve never seen a new gasket come apart like this, but there was a TON of sealer on it. Give the state of the rest of the engine, we’ll just call this another cut corner…

Ok, well the rest of it should be ok right?  Hrmmm….  I mean, how could you really mess up a camchain tensioner??

This is a shot to show you how it was before we removed it…  (PS – Customer was told this was a new part as well…. Sad…)

I know it is common practice to grind this pin, so as to install an “endless chain”, but at the very least it should be rewelded before reinstalling….  (BTW, this is not a practice we make use of, we install quality chains with new links…)

Once I removed the camchain tensioner, it sprung out…  Just another disaster waiting to happen…

It looks as though they used an angry beaver to open this thing up…

I haven’t even torn into the rest of the bottom end yet…  I look forward to it….

So what does all this mean?  Well, I wanted to point out some very obvious, yet common problems with vintage engine rebuilds…  Here at HHB, we do not claim to be perfect…  Far from it, we are still human beings after all, and mistakes happen.  But, when we give timelines for our engine builds, and fall behind, it is for a reason.  Each and every engine that comes out of HHB’s shop has had the utmost in care and assembly.  Each engine is test run before leaving the shop.  All this cleaning, preparation, and attention to detail takes time…

While we will continue to kick out the best work possible, know that we won’t cut corners in any of the work we supply.  We may never be the fastest, we will mostly likely not meet any major deadlines, but it will be done proper.  The engine abovewas in the care of the “builder” for 18 months…  It should have been perfect for that amount of time to be spent on it… 

Remember folks, clean is good…  You should expect that much from any engine builder, not just HHB…

Thanks for your continued support folks.


June 25, 2012 ·

I don’t do alot of bike write-ups, but this one just makes sense.  The owner is a customer of ours, and a friend.  I often see more of the owners input into their machines, and it makes me like their bikes that much more.  But I wanted to show you this bike, as it just won at The Horse Magazines “SmokeOut” in Rockingham NC this past weekend.

The owner has put alot of time and soul into this fine machine.  And he had the foresight to pick some great help along the way.  A line up of Dills Paintworks for the paint, Pandemonium for the E-Bomb, Exhaust Pipes and Gas Tank, Brew Racing Frames for the Powdercoating and a whole slew of Hugh’s HandBuilt Goodies such as the Custom Hardtail, PMA, Rephased Crank and Cam, Speedo Delete, Hydraulic Clutch Conversion and some custom Brass Pegs; this bike was bound for success…

I’m proud to call the owner of this bike one of my friends, he’s a real cool dude, with a great attitude about building motersickles…   Congrats on the win at Smokeout, and keep an eye out for this bike, as I’m sure you won’t be seeing that last of it…

Stay tuned for other Customer Writeups…  I’ve got a few backlogged…

June 13, 2012 ·

First off, let me say that I think the David Bird Hardtail design is one of the best on the market.  It has smoother lines, and looks just right if you ask me.  The fit is spot on, and the notches where the upper frame meets the hardtail sections are perfect (unlike some “other” tails where it isn’t even notched, requiring a fat ugly MIG weld to fill in the gaps…)

One of the best parts of a DB tail, is that most users can install it without a frame jig, due to the unique fit against the OEM Frame Lowers…  This unique fit, does require some extra plating and “boxing” of the joint.  you can see below, where the factory frame meets the DB tail section how that all works out (I stole this pic off of the intarwebs…)

This is NOT a David Bird bash, or critique…  His products are perfectly fine as is…  However, we had a customer who wanted the lines of the DB tail, but not the Triangular plates.  So off to the frame jig and we modded the frame to look more “factory” and without the triangular plates… 

The owner had brought us the frame pre-cut for a standard style weld on hardtail, so we had to mod the DB tail to fit.  No sweat.  A little bit of bending, some new tubing, a few slugs, and a new lower frame crossbrace and we were in business… 

Ignore the lack of finish welding…  I’m planning to do that this afternoon…

As you can see, the lines of the DB tail are perfect (in my opinion) and cleaning up that lower frame section only adds to the appeal of his work… 

So keep on chopping, and remember – there is nothing that you can’t change to suit your own build..  That’s the beauty of it all…  We can change, modify, create and adapt to our suit our our style… 

May 30, 2012 ·

Ok folks, lets do this….

As you know, I recommend Pamcopete ignitions for ALL XS650′s – and for good reason: They are the most reliable and simplistic systems on the market.  I’m not here to start an argument about TCI Vs. Points Vs. Boyer Vs. Pamco etc; I’m here to show you how to install your Pamcopete 277 Ignition system on your Rephased XS650 Engine… 

So first things first, lets see what Pete himself has to say about this install: 

“There are at least 4 ways to install the advance mechanism and two ways to build a cam for the 277 conversion so that means that there are at least 8 ways to install the ignition system times the two ways to install the PAMCO rotor, so that makes 16 ways to install the ignition system, and only one of them is correct for your engine. The best way to ensure success is to methodically “walk” the crank shaft around for at least 720 degrees and check that each cylinder will get it’s spark at the correct time.”

 So we are looking at 15 WRONG ways to install a 277 Ignition, and only 1 correct way…  No wonder I get so many emails about this!  Pete and I are friends, so I’m gonna help both of us and show you how to do this on the first try…

First – Lay out your Pamco Ignition in a clean and orderly manner…  

  *Keen eyes will note that not all of this kit is new, I assembled this from random bits laying about the shop…  But the install will be the same, so no worries…  And yes, I HATE those fugly “Green Monster” coils supplied by MikesXS….  

I’m not gonna show you how to pull the cam covers off of your engine, you should be that adept already.  If not, put down the tools and walk away… I digress… Once the cam covers are off of the engine, you should see this on the Right Hand Side – as if you were sitting on the bike (from now on, the “right” side will ALWAYS be this side, the side with the threaded end of the camshaft protruding from the oil seal) 

If you’ve pulled the right hand cam cover off and found NO Threads at all, some diptard of a mechanic has likely installed your camshaft backwards in your engine…  You’ll wanna pull the engine and remedy that situation.  And YES, it is more common than you would think…

Sharp eyes will not that this cam already has advance rod bushings installed.  If not, install 2 of the supplied bushings into the end of the cam.  And no, they really do not matter which goes first, or if they look just like the OEM bushings you see already installed…  Just make sure you have them.  1980-1984 Model Engines did not have the bushings installed from the Factory.

Bushings installed and all happy?  Cool, lets keep moving…  You’ll wanna locate the hole in the cam, and position it to the 12:00 Position by rotating the engine by the crank, kickstarter, etc..  This is not for timing purposes, this is to ensure that you can see what you are doing, and not drop the dowel into the cylinder while working on a wonky position.  So get the hole in the cam into the 12:00 Position and this will make like easier…  

Find the tiny dowel supplied with your Pamcopete Ignition Kit (only if the complete kit came from MikesXS – if not, then you’ll wanna order one…) – on engines that came with points originally, this dowel would have been installed.  It likely was removed to disassemble the engine for the rephasing, so make sure you have one that fits properly.  DO NOT use a trimmed down nail and think it will work…  My Father In Law thought it would work, and it left me stranded on the side of the road when the advance unit exploded in the middle of Nowheresville… Don’t cut corners, you’ll regret it later, and it will be more expensive to remedy down the road…  

Install the dowel in the camshaft.  

It may require a slight bit of persuasion, use some pliers and be careful not to damage the cam.  

Now, onto the Mechanical Advance Unit.  Check it over for damage prior to install.  If in doubt, toss it in the trash and get another one.  If using a used one, get new advance springs for it before you finish this install.  

On the backside of the unit, you’ll see a pin and a notch.  This will line up with the dowel you just installed in the camshaft…  

I found a crack near the notch on this unit, so I disassembled it, scavenged through my pile of spare parts, and found a better backing plate to use…  PS – When disassembling the unit, be careful with the snap rings, they will fly into orbit, never to be seen again until NASA starts space travel again… 

For the purposes of this How-To, I am using a but of yellow paint to highlight important markings and such…

Line up the notch on the backing plate with the dowel in the camshaft.  Slide the backing plate onto the cam, making sure that everything is seated properly, and sits evenly.

This funky looking nut holds the Mechanical Advance Unit onto the camshaft end.  You will notice a shoulder near the threads, this shoulder should face OUT when you install the nut.  This will ensure proper fit, and keep the Advance Unit tight on the camshaft.  

Use a dab of Blue Locktite on the camshaft threads, and hand tighten the nut onto the camshaft.  Doing this by hand will keep you from fubar’ing the threads on the cam, causing major strife in your build.  Take your time, do things right, and you’ll have a nicer final product.  Follow this on ALL things related to your motorcycle build, and you’ll have a machine that you love…  

Once you have the nut hand tightened on the cam, you can tighten it up using a flat ended punch and a small hammer.  I have a special tool for this job, but this works just as well, and I like to show folks how to do things without special tools…  Take special care not to damage the backing plate while doing this…

I like to use a bit of this stuff to lube up the flyweight pivots.  Use something similar if you have it…

Reassembly of the Mechanical Advance Unit.  Install the flyweights and the springs.

Those pesky snap rings/ E-Clips can be a nightmare…  Here is a simple trick to make these very easy to install. Get yourself a deep socket (easier to hold) that will just barely slip over the flyweight pivot on the advance unit. Line it up and simply “push” the snap rings onto the shafts to hold the flyweights on…

Now for another little trick I like to use.  Centrifugal force can put the test on those little clips, so I like to orient the “open” part of the clips outwards, so instead of slinging the clips off, they are forced on… Like so…

Now that the Advance Unit is installed, and ready to go, you’ll wanna get this part out.  You’ll notice I have a yellow mark on it as well.

Most people screw this part up, complicating the ever loving crap out of this install.  Make sure you can see the arrow and dash (highlighted in yellow) when you bolt it to the Advance Rod. The Advance rod has a pin in it, which indexes the above part properly. 

Use a bit of Blue again…

Do NOT overtighten this nut, it only needs a good snug fit… (sorry for the blurry pic, but you can still see the yellow paint, and thats a good thing…)

Spray some more of that white lithium grease onto the bushings inside the cam, and then install the Advance Rod..

Line up the marks you see here in yellow, this is often overlooked, causing way too many complications…  

Now that you have the Advance Unit installed, manually pull the flyweights out and make sure the Advance Unit “snaps” back into place…  If not, then you need to clean the Advance Rod and the Cam Bushings.  If it “snaps” back into place easily, move forward…  

Now, lets set the engine to TDC on the #1 Cylinder.  The #1 Cylinder on ANY XS650 Engine, regardless of rephase or not, is the Cylinder closest to the Alternator (or left cylinder if you are sitting on the bike)

If using an OEM Charging System, you will want to set the mark on the Rotor to “T” on the alternator, like below:

If using one of our Permanent Magnet Alternators, you will use the reference marks you made when you installed it, and set to “TDC” like below…

From there, you can now install the Electric parts of the Pamco.  Unroll the wiring and get it fairly loose from the unit.  Be careful not to damage the components on the board whenever handling any part of the Pamco…  

Install it on the LEFT side of the engine, behind the cam cover.  For initial firing, I always set my 277 Pamcopete to this particular location in the cam cover…  Note the Blue Allen Wrench is pointed to my starting point…  

Should look like this before you bolt it down…  Be careful not to damage any of the wires while positioning the unit…
Let’s talk bolts – and why each and every single XS650 that comes to my shop with a Pamco doesn’t have washers under these bolts….  I don’t know if the universe conspires against me at times, but start using washers under these bolts PLEASE?!?!?!  Why?  Because I said so….  And because then you can actually time the engine, and not lose time when tightening the plate, as well as not damaging the plate when doing so…  And because I said so…  It worked when you were 5 years old and Momma said it…
You can go ahead and snug these up lightly, just snug enough that they won’t come loose when  you fire up the engine.  You’ll be loosening them again later to actually time the engine, more on that later…  

Route your wires cleanly, I like mine about like this:

Onto the Pamco Rotor.  I love Pete, but he complicates this part of the install too much.  Follow my directions, and you won’t have a thing in the world to worry about…  

Take note of the 2 trigger magnets on the face of the rotor…  These are important…  Make sure they are both installed.

Now flip the rotor over, there should be 2 key positions.  One is for a machined and modified camshaft (like you get from HHB) and the other is for a ground and rewelded camshaft that has not been machined.  Which is which?  It doesn’t matter, because we are gonna simplify this for you…

Ok, so long as you haven’t messed with the engine too much, you should still be at TDC on the #1 Cylinder.  If you are, then you can align the Pamco rotor onto the Advance Rod to where the 2 Trigger Magnets are horizontal to the engine cases…  (If the rotor is snug on the shaft, it is ok to use the outside nut to pull it onto the shaft.  Just don’t overtighten it…)

“What if my magnets are horizontal, but below the center line of the advance rod?” – It does NOT matter.  Why?  Because the camshaft turns 1/2 of a revolution to 1 full revolution of the crank. So if you were to spin the crank 1 full revolution, it would look like the picture above.  Simply put, it does not matter and you are still doing it correctly, so don’t fret…  Anthing other than horizontal is wrong, and you need to find out why.  Cam installed incorrectly?  Wrong notch on the back of the Pamco Rotor?  Didn’t align the Mechanical Advance Unit properly?  Check each and every single one of these items FIRST if you can’t get the magnets horizontal… 

Now, put the large flat washer over the Pamco Rotor.  This keeps the magnets from coming loose and getting lost, should the rare moment that the magnets are loose in the rotor.  Not likely, but install it anyway…

Another small dab of Blue Locktite and tighten the nut onto the advance rod.  


Lightly try to twist the Pamco Rotor Clockwise and make sure the Advance Unit “snaps” back into place…  If not, then you need to clean the Advance Rod and the Cam Bushings.  If it “snaps” back into place easily, move forward…  

You just installed the Pamco without any issue – take a small break…  It wasn’t that hard, but trust me I get more emails about this than anything I sell…  And I DON’T Sell these, so you folks should be nice to me – haha…  

Now that you’ve had a break, lets go to the wiring.  I’m NOT going to show you how to mount the coils, or how to wire your bike.  That is up to you, no two bikes are alike.  Plus I hate wiring, and sometimes you just need to do your own research.  There are a TON of good wiring diagrams on XS650.com for your bike.  I can’t go into every detail here.  

The next thing that confuses people, is which wires go to which coil?  Well, let’s make that simple too while we are at it…  Get your sharpie out, and mark the inside came cover just like so…

The grey wire directly under the “L” is going to hook to the left coil and fire the left cylinder…  The same goes for the “R” marked side.  To make your life easier, you should mount your coils “L” and “R” on the bike as well, so you don’t get confused down the road…  

Hook the green wire from each circuit board to the proper coil.  They are color matched for your pleasure…   (I stole this pic from Pete) – Then make up your spark plug wires to whatever length you desire and you are done! 

As per Pete from Pamcopete, wire up the coils and Pamco just like this:  

“The green wire is negative and goes to the green wire on the PAMCO. The red wire goes to your source of switched battery (kill switch) and it is positive.” 

As for timing the engine, get a timing light, and with the engine running at idle, you should adjust the Pamco plate so that your timing marks are on “Fire” if using our PMA, or between the dashes to the left of “T” on the OEM Charging System.

TIPS:  Loosen the bottom bolt on the Pamco plate before you try to adjust the plate, as the wire gets in the way and makes it hard to do on a running engine.  use the top bolt to set timing, then shut the engine off and tighten the bottom bolt.  
Always use a timing light, they are cheap and a surefire way to make sure your engine is running properly.   

Well folks, thanks for taking time to read this install.  I spend alot of time making these, so you can have more fun working on your bikes…  If you have any issues at all with your Pamco, please contact Pamcopete directly, as I do not warranty or sell these.  

As always, thank you for your continued support – now get into the garage/shop/kitchen/front porch and do some wrenching! 


May 17, 2012 ·

We have a genuine Voodoo Vintage Roller for sale, with a Clean SC Title ready to go!

From Voodoo Vintage’s Sigh:

“The MK5 (Lone Wolf) frame features clean lines and soft radius bends along the upper struts and backbone providing one of the lowest profile frames offered in our current line up” Frame Retail is $845 – Not Including a Clean/Clear Title (which this one has!)

This Roller includes NEW Excel 21″ Rims, Laced to Drum hubs using NEW Stainless Buchanan’s Spokes.  NEW Avon SpeedMaster Tires are installed on the rims.  The forks are XS650, shaved and lowered.  Includes handlebars, headlight, levers, throttle and what you see here…

Retail Prices for new parts:
 - Frame without Title:                  $845.00
 - 2 NEW Avon Tires and Tubes   $250.00
 - NEW Excel Rims                       $250.00
 - Buchanans Stainless Spokes      $320.00
TOTAL:                                       $1665.00

Not including the extras like a set of nice shaved and lowered forks, good hubs, labor to lace the wheels and mount the tires, handlebars, headlight, etc.. and you still wouldn’t have a clean and clear title. This one has an OEM XS650 Headtube welded onto the frame by Voodoo Vintage, and is ready to go.  Titled headtubes alone are running $250 lately…

Willing to let ALL of this go for $1500.  Take a look below for more pics…

Specs and details on this frame:


May 17, 2012 ·
May 14, 2012 ·

Well the time has finally come, that I got a few spare moments to create Metric Bungs for you Jap Bike Builders out there!

That’s Right – we realized that keeping a random SAE tool in your roadside repair kit doesn’t make any sense, so we are now releasing our DIY Metric Bungs for mounting fenders, tanks, brackets, etc.. on your custom motoscoot.

These are the exact same as our other DIY Bungs – only these are available in M8x1.25 thread pitch.  These are machined from 1018 Steel, and are 100% USA MADE right here in North Carolina!

Why settle for mix-matched hardware when you can keep it all Metric? 

And as always with Hugh’s HandBuilt products, free shipping in the US!


May 14, 2012 ·

We have a very limited number of these available right now, so get em quick!

34mm Lectron Fuel Metering System, complete with Adjustable PowerJets, specific left and right application for your XS650.  These come pre-tuned to a baseline, and adjustments are simple to make from there.  These are some of the nicest flatslides you will ever run.

These work very well using your OEM 34mm Intake Boots (or JBM Replacements) or using a long runner intake manifold like Shell or TCBros sells.  We do not currently supply these with filters of cables, so you can custom fit them to your bike.  Contact Motion Pro with the cable length your want and they’ll make you a nice set!

$675.00 a pair, plus shipping.  While Supplies Last! (Supplies didn’t last – haha… More to come soon)


May 2, 2012 ·

Well folks, we’ve been SLAMMED this spring – and we aren’t complaining.  We’ve been working out hind ends off to make sure your parts and services happen in a timely fashion.  A few things are behind schedule, mostly complete engine builds and other labor intensive jobs such as fork shaving and rebuilding.  I apologize for not keeping more updates on the Blog, but more on that later…

Things are going very well in the shop, we’ve been rephasing cranks and cams daily, machining tons of lowering spacers and bungs, keeping up with PMA Orders and Tech, as well as making sure we keep plenty of Solid Riser Bushings in stock while staying plenty busy with our newest creation – the Hydraulic Clutch Conversion

But, the best thing happening at Hugh’s HandBuilt, is the addition of a new family member in the next few months…

That’s right!  My lovely wife and I are expecting out first child late August, and we can’t be more excited… We like surprises, so we won’t know the sex of this lil’ one until the birthday…  Kinda cool huh! 

We have newer product plans in the works, and lots of things happening in the shop that we are excited about as we get the time to make them happen. 

On another note, we will be out of the shop all of Next Week – We will continue to answer emails, but all products purchased will be delayed until the following Monday.  

Thanks so much for your continued support and encouragement as we bring the best in Tech and Products to the DIY Motorcycle Building Scene…   This company is built solely on the quality of our products and our great customers, and we could never thank you enough. 

Hugh’s HandBuilt

PS – Stay tuned in the next few weeks as we bring you a Pamco 277 Install How-To, Updated Bungs, and a few other cool builder goodies and articles to make life withe the XS650 that much more fun… 

April 19, 2012 ·

Well folks, we’ve done our best to keep these in stock, but we just can’t make them up fast enough…  I have been inundated with emails asking when these will be available again – so we have a small run available..

Go here to purchase:  http://hughshandbuilt.blogspot.com/p/xs650-hydraulic-clutch-conversion.html

When these sell out (and they will) we will remove the paypal button, and for those who order and we run out of stock, we will offer a full refund.  We are expecting a much larger order of components in the very near future.  2-3 weeks at most…

As always, thanks for your continued support of Hugh’s HandBuilt.


April 12, 2012 ·

2nd Annual “It’s Hugh’s Birthday” Sale! Last year we did a 10% off sale on 4-12 in celebration of Hugh’s Birthday… It was a hit, so we are doing it again! Any orders placed today over $100 via paypal with “Happy Birthday Hugh” in the note of the order will recieve a 10% discount… Discounts will be refunded after purchase within 24-48 hours of placing the order. So get over here and celebrate with us, buy some goodies for your XS650!

If you want the big ticket items like a Rephased Crank / Cam – post mark them today, and the discount will still apply.  All other items must be regular in stock items.

Thanks for the continued support – I like to celebrate the good times, by passing on the good discounts to you folks…

1 DAY ONLY! Get your order in today!

March 18, 2012 ·

Completely Rebuilt from Top To Bottom.  I built this engine for my own personal bike this season.  However, I have decided to offer it up to you folks. 

This is the exact engine, minus carburetors:

Rephased XS650 Engine
700CC Big Bore with JE Pistons and Total Power Rings
New Heavy Duty 447 Rods
Rephased, welded and trued Crankshaft
5th Gear Overdrive
Late Model Transmission
CUSTOM 8 Pack Cluch (never before offered from HHB!)
New HP Clutch Disks
New Clutch Harware
HD Clutch Springs
1 Piece Clutch Rod
Heavy Duty Throwout Bearing
D-Shaped Ported Head (The ONLY 1 I have ever completed to date)
3 Angle Valve Grind
New Valve Guides
Stainless Rocker Shaft Covers
Hughs HandBuilt PMA
Complete 277 Pamcopete Ignition with new Advance Unit, Rod, etc..
Green Monster Coils
Rephased 256 Camshaft
Polished Side Covers
Polished Valve Covers
Kick Only (electric can still be added if necessary)
100% New Gaskets and Seals

There is over $5169 in labor, parts and services in this engine.

I will accept $4800 plus your rebuildable core.  First Come, First Serve.  

Take advantage of this, as it is RARE that I can offer someone an engine on exchange so quickly.  Our Engine Rebuilding services typically take 3-4 months…

If you are interested, please send an email to:


March 14, 2012 ·

The time has come!  And it’s been a good long while at that…  I have been developing this for just over a year now, and with all the intentions of keeping it cost effective, simple to install, and easy to use…  After a full year of R&D, Hugh’s HandBuilt is proud to release the XS650 Hydraulic Clutch Conversion.

Install is simple…  Like on a scale of “I know how to push the start button” to “I Am a Wizard and Have No Use For a Motorcycle”  this falls in the Category of “Rides and can fix a Chain” simple…

What kinda tools will you need?  Well, you own an XS650, so you already have 99% of what you need if you have even worked on it just once…

Allen wrenches, a few open end wrenches (some standards in there just to throw you off too – such is life….) and a the other goodies you see below…

Now, lets get started!  Lay out a good clean work place for working on your motorscoot.  This will make it easy to keep track of all the hardware and parts you remove, as well as keep you from sitting on the cold damp ground that is your dirt floored shed or gravel driveway…  Hey, I’ve been there for more years than not!  A little something like this makes life all the better…

As you can see, we will be installing this one the worlds UGLIEST XS650…  No offense to all you Special Lovers our there, but this thing looks like the aftermarket XS650 catalog from 1983 threw up all over it!  Sissybar, luggage rack, highway bars, highway pegs, king and queen seat, and the like…  But it’s ok, we are reviving this ol’ gal and gonna ride her as is… 

*Note, the carbs are already off of this bike, and being rebuilt.  I do not believe you will need to remove them for the Hyd. Clutch Swap… 

Remove the left side peg and shifter lever.

You are roughly 22.65% finished already…  Seriously…

When you pull the side cover, it will probably look like pure oily death under the cover…  That’s because it is…

Leave the cover attached to the clutch cable, until you have measured the distance between the cover and the end of the clutch actuator cable housing.

*Note:  If you are building a bike from scratch, or have already ditched the OEM components, don’t sweat this measurement…  The HHB Hyd. Clutch is designed to be a fairly forgiving install.  Just use somewhere between 2.5″ and 3″ as a starting reference.

Go ahead and remove the cable from the side cover.  There is a small “tab” keeping the cable from releasing from the actuator.  Just bend it back and pop the cable out.

Now is a good time to think about upgrading a few components of your clutch system.  A 1 Piece Clutch Rod, and a new HD Throwout Bearing are nice upgrades while you are beefing up your clutch system.  you’ll have to remove the left side cover and clutch basket to do them, but it’s a worthwhile upgrade.  You can purchase those items from most popular XS650 Supply Houses.  Might as well toss in a new seal while you are at it, seeing as how this is the cruddiest location of most XS650′s.

Now to the bars, remove the left side control pod, clutch lever and grip…

Line up the adjuster nut on the clutch lever with the slot on the lever itself.  This will allow the cable to release from the lever…  Or, you could just use some wire cutters and snip that sucker…  You aren’t going back to a cable after this, and that thing has been cramping your hand and making neutral impossible to find for your entire ownership of this bike!  Get a little revenge if it makes you feel more in tune with your machine…

Discard the cable…  Now follow the clutch safety switch wiring into the headlight bucket.  We’ll be deleting this part with the conversion as well.  I’ve typically found most of them were broken to start with…  Unplug the green connector inside the bucket, and route the end of the plug out of the headlight…

What a rats nest!  I personally ditch all the OEM wiring, set up a PMA for the charging system, and run a Pamco for ignition.  Then delete the control pods and turn signals, and you’ll have the worlds simplest XS650 wiring..   But that’s just me, and I like to cover all the bases.

Undo the green plug, and remove the wiring with the clutch lever…

*Note:  If you fully intend on keeping all of the OEM wiring, you may need to create a jumper connection here if the bike will not start when you are finished.  A jumper is just a simple wire with two ends that plug into the original plug.  If the bike will start without doing so, then don’t sweat it..  Every bike is a bit different.  Plug colors may change, and some models don’t even have a safety switch to start with…

Now, time for the new goodies.  You’ll notice that the new Hugh’s HandBuilt Hydraulic Clutch Conversion comes fully assembled.  It is also pre-bled for your convenience, so take care not to loosen any of the fittings when handling the unit.

Go ahead and remove the tank and seat.

Slip the clutch handle onto your bars.  Then route the slave cylinder through the chassis along with the hose to your preference.  All installs are a bit different, this is just a guideline…  Again, take caution not to break the seal between the hose and the slave cylinder. 

Route the cable and cylinder…

Ok, so I am going to use a cleaner side cover we had laying around the shop instead of spending 3 days cleaning that gunky nasty original cover…  So just imagine you can do the same – haha…

Go get yourself an M8 x 1.25 tap and handle…  This is the only “Special Tool” you really need for the conversion. 

Then using a bit of tapping fluid (or any kind of oil really) cut new threads into the side cover where the original cable mounted.  There is no need to drill out the hole, it is the proper size for the tap already (see, we were really trying to make this as easy as possible for you folks!)

Tap all the way through the hole…

Now you need to clean up the clutch worm gear mechanism…  Check it for being overly worn, but most are in good shape.  If it is worn out, source a replacement.  This bike was purely neglected and has about 15K on it, and the worm gear was in great shape…

I swapped the mechanism over from the original cover, but you don’t have to do that – just make sure it is clean and lube it up with some bearing grease and you are set.

Now it gets a little awkward.  Since the Slave Cylinder is already installed on the clutch hose, you will need to “spin” the clutch cover onto the Slave Cylinder.  Do not try and wind up the hose, it won’t like you.  Spin the cover until the slave cylinder is positioned like below.  Make sure the nylon washer is below the jam nut.

You may need to rotate the cylinder around the hose fitting so that the hose routes “UP” while doing this.  Keep an allen wrench handy, and keep it lightly snug while doing so.  Try not to break the seal on the hose/slave cylinder connection.

Now, you want to replicate the original dimensions of the clutch cable mechanism.  You may need to grab the end of the Slave Cylinder Rod with a pair of pliers and pull it out fully, especially if you got all happy with the lever and pulled it a few times…  It’s ok, I do it too…

 Once you have the height where you like it.  Bend the “tab” back into position, keeping the rod from coming loose from the mechanism.

Then lock in the jam nut against the side cover.  The Nylon washer protects any painted, powdercoated or polished finish you have have on your parts.  Again, thinking ahead to make your bike that much nicer…

Route the hose where it suits you.  I just happened to run this one between the carb boots, but wherever you choose will work just fine.  Make sure to keep it away from sharp edges (think gas tank seams, frame tabs, etc..) but just in case you can’t, there is a rubber grommet on the cable that you can use to keep the cable safe.

Make sure the banjo bolt is still snugged down from all the movement during the install.

IF you are keeping the control pods on your bike, then reinstall them now.  Along with the hand grip.  If not, just disregard some of this…

The lever is adjustable, which is an nice feature.  So get the lever positioned where you like it, and then trim down the bolt.  I use a dremel tool for this, but a hacksaw or other tool of destruction may suffice.  Use your best judgement.

Position the lever where it is most comfortable.

Tighten down the locking nut.

Then using my dremel tool, I trimmed the head of the bolt off.  The bolt is stainless, so you don’t have to worry about it rusting and looking bad…  It’s the little things that count…  (If you are ditching the OEM Control Pods for a “clean” look on your bars, disregard this)

Something like this, and you should be good to go…

Now test to make sure the lever clears the pods at all points of travel.  Good to go!

Now, with the OEM Pods, the lever will feel a tad short.  To remedy this, trim down the area I have marked in yellow until the lever is as close to the pod as possible.  (again, disregard if not keeping the OEM control pods).  As with any modification, make sure to take your time, and fit up the parts a few times until you have it just the way you want…  Try not to remove any more material than needed.

I used my belt sander, but the dremel tool or a file would do the same job… (PS – I removed a bit too much, but this one works just fine.  So don’t do like I did, and rush the job -haha…)

You can now slide the lever as close to the control pods as possible.  Just don’t compress the plunger on the clutch lever against the control pod, and you are just about done…

Now, button up the rest of the install by reinstalling your seat, fuel tank, peg and shifter lever.  Then crank up the bike and see how the clutch feels bike engaging and disengaging it.  Put the bike into first gear, and while idling, let the clutch out slowly and see how it engages.  Go for a test ride, in a controlled location (parking lot, field, somewhere safe..) and see if you need adjustments.  If not, then you are DONE!  If so, keep on reading

The HHB Hydraulic Clutch Conversion is self adjusting, but some initial settings will need to be achieved manually.

To adjust the clutch, loosen the jam nut, and turn the screw clockwise until you feel it “bottom out”.  Then back off an 1/8 or a turn or so, and tighten the jam nut.


This should give you an initial setting to work with.  From here you can fine tune the clutch engagement/disengagement just as you would stock.  The beauty of this system, is that it will never change once you have it set.  No more “Hot” or “Cold” adjustments to try and find Neutral, and no more stalling in traffic due to clutch drag…

IF you are putting the bike into gear, while holding the clutch lever in, and the bike creeps forward or eventually stalls – you have air in your system.  To bleed the system, you simply remove the side cover from the bike.  Leave the slave cylinder in place on the side cover.

Then remove the red cap.

You can pull the lever on the clutch until the cylinder is near the top of the bore.  Hold your thumb over the cylinder, and slowly pressurize the clutch lever.

When you see the black seal, you are close to relieving pressure on the cylinder.   You may need to hold the rod from the inside to keep the cylinder from retreating in the bore when pumping the clutch lever.  Find a friend to help ya if needed.

You will want to wear eye protection and some old work clothes, because the brake fluid almost ALWAYS shoots at your general direction…  Something about the stars aligning and the cosmos, I dunno, it’s just the way it is.

When you are certain that you have the air out of the system, then button it all back up, go through the adjustment procedures, and you are set…

To purchase the Hugh’s HandBuilt Hydraulic Clutch Conversion, click here! 

As always, thank you for your support of Hugh’s HandBuilt, as we continue to bring your the latest and greatest of XS650 products and services…

March 14, 2012 ·

That’s right folks!  After more than a full year of R&D, we are launching the HHB Hydraulic Clutch Conversion for your XS650!  

Why go Hydraulic??  What, have you not been riding your XS650 with the OEM cable setup?  If you have, then you know why… 

Nonetheless, here are a few good reasons to swap over:

You can now find Neutral…  

You can now find Neutral when the bike is cold…

You can now find Neutral when the bike is hot…

No more extreme hand fatigue from the super stiff clutch pull…

Self adjusting…  Set it and forget it…  

You can now run those extra stiff clutch springs you’ve always wanted, without fear of too stiff of a clutch.  

Super smooth engagement and disengagement…  No more stalling in traffic (which if you are like me, is a royal PITA because I run Kick-Only, and I only stall on the steepest of hills – haha)

This newest release for your XS650 is extremely simple to install, and we’ve already written the instructions right here with a billion color photos and details…  Because that’s the HHB standard that you’ve come to expect.

The best part, you can purchase this NEW product for only $129 Shipped in the US  other shipping options are listed below. 

Shipping options

March 7, 2012 ·

Got this engine in today from a third party.   The new owner purchased it from Ebay, and had it shipped here…  Poor packaging at it’s finest.. 

Just an FYI, a Cardboard Box is NOT enough protection against shipping damages.  Even though this engine was completely gutted, it was still damaged badly…

Finding all the broken cooling fins sucks…

Along with several broken studs, and many more broken fins, this engine came in looking a bit sad.  Do yourself a favor, and make sure you properly crate your engine when you ship to us… 

A complete engine weighs about 155 lbs, and you should have it crated in a plywood box. I like to use a TC Bros Engine Stand, which I can bolt to the crate as well.  Make sure to shim up the bottom of the engine as well, so the weight isn’t resting on the small studs that hold the engine to the engine stand.

March 6, 2012 ·

Well folks, we’ve come to a decision today about this riding season, and how it affects HHB.

I’ve tried for 2 seasons now to get folks to build in the winter, and test/tune in the spring so that they can be riding all summer…  Well, you know that never works out, and now that spring is here, everyone wants to get their bike builds finished.  The problem is that very few folks have planned out their builds, and we are just swamped with Engine Builds for this season.

As of 4/6/2012, we will not be taking in anymore Complete Engine Builds until the fall.  We are simply slammed full with engine builds, crank/cam mods, frame work, and new product design.  I hate to put off any of our potential customers, so plan to have your engine to us in the next 30 days, or plan on sending it to us in the Fall.

As always, the customer comes first here at HHB, and if we overbooked ourselves to the extent that I forsee possible, we would be adding months to engine building timeframes, and to me that is just not the way to go about it.  Currently, we are 90-120 days out from start to finish, and that number has been stretching longer and longer each day.

If you are planning on building your own engine with our Rephased Cranks and Cams, then you have nothing to worry, as we are still kicking those out 14-20 days from the time we receive them and will be doing so continuously throughout the season  

Quality before Quantity


March 2, 2012 ·

Seeing as how we developed the first Complete Permanent Magnet Alternator Conversion for your XS650, we should supply our customers with only the finest install instructions.  So we are proudly giving you all new and updated install information here! 

So here we go!  All new PMA Install instructions, specific to HHB PMA goodness!

First things first, lay out your Genuine Hugh’s HandBuilt PMA System.  Identify each component, and make sure it is complete before starting.  For this How-To Install Thread, we will be installing one of our PMA systems on an engine that is out of the chassis. 

The beauty of the PMA system is that you can even get an XS650 engine running without installing it in a bike, and charging too!   I could show you how to remove the left side peg and mounts, remove the pipes (if needed) and disconnect the clutch cable, remove the side cover, expose the OEM charging system, unplug the OEM charging system from the OEM wiring harness (if you still have one, most people can justify rewiring a 28-42 year old bike anyhow) unbolt the factory Regulator and Rectifier, and open up your favorite beverage to do so,  but if I had to describe every single part of that, you might just be in over your head wrenching on your XS650.

So don’t fret, this is much easier than you think!  Just remove everything I mention above, and you are ready to go (OEM pipes may not need to be removed, some aftermarket pipes may be, use your own judgement)

You should have all of the components seen here:

Now go gather some tools.

You’ll want the following:

Small Hammer
Small Punch (brass preferably, but any will do so long as you are gentle with your work)
#3 Phillips Screw Driver
5mm Allen Wrench
4mm Allen Wrench
5mm Allen Driver (not required, but nice to have – the one shown is much longer than needed)
Torque Wrench (Not shown in the above picture)
3/8 Ratchet
17mm Socket
Wire Strippers/Crimpers
OEM Rotor Puller (or a 2 jaw puller if you don’t plan to resell the OEM Rotor)
Small pair of Vice Grips

Now, onto removing that old charging system.  But we got a few small things to do first.

Remove the alternator cover from the side cover.  If you haven’t done this in a while, and the hardware is cruddy, it’s MUCH easier to do with the main cover still attached to the engine.  (*Note – the chrome clutch adjustment cover is also removed, not required for this swap, just so happened to be off for this shot)

Now pull the rest of the side cover off

You won’t be so lucky to have the wiring already tidied up like above.  You’ll have to remove the chain guard from the engine, it slips over the shift shaft.  I usually leave them off of my builds, so you won’t see it here.  That will require a 10mm socket and a 12-13mm wrench depending on the year of your engine.

Disconnect all the wiring from the charging system to the bike itself.  You will have a blue wire that goes to the neutral switch on the cases.  Disconnect it as well (you can rewire it later if you want)

You are now looking at something similar to this.  This is from a TCI (80-84) bike, so you will notice a few differences if your bike was originally equipped with points ignition.  On a TCI engine you WILL have to change out to a Pamcopete, Points, Boyer, etc.. ignition.  That’s a good thing – and I prefer Pamcopete myself for a very simple and cost effective igntion system on an XS650.

Now, to simplify a few things down the road, rotate the engine to TDC.  That’s the “T” mark on your timing tab.  Use the ratchet and a 17mm socket to do this part. 

You should be looking at something like this (*Note – if you have a different looking tab on your charging system, that’s ok, just set it to “T” just like mentioned above.   That’s all that matters)

Remove the old alternator housing using a #3 Screwdriver, or a 5mm Allen Wrench (depending on the hardware already installed – feel free to use the vice grips if these don’t wanna come out easy, you won’t be keeping them)

Remove the nut and washer from the end of the crank.  This is a 17mm socket.  I use an impact gun, which makes things MUCH easier.   You will want to keep the rotor from spinning the crank (keeping the engine at TDC) as much as possible.  But don’t sweat it if you end up spinning the crank a bit, we’ll get to that later.  
Now thread the rotor puller on the OEM charging rotor.   (Or use a 2 jaw puller if you like, you aren’t keeping this part anyhow.  Be careful not to damage the crank doing so)

Again, I use the Impact gun to get the rotor off – but you can use 2 wrenches as well.

You are now looking at the exposed crank end, it’s all naked and bashful, it hasn’t seen daylight in a while, so be nice to it.  Be careful not to knick, pry, or damage the crank.   If you have a bunch of oil back behind the OEM charging system, now is a good time to replace the crank seal as well.

Now, if your crank moved at all during removal of these parts, don’t sweat it.  You can do a “light” reinstall of the OEM components, no need to install the hardware, and using your hands you can turn the crank using the OEM rotor, and see if the timing marks line up with the alternator housing.  Once you have them lined up again, pull it all off.  This is a simple way to keep your timing marks proper, as compared to using a dial indicator, finding TDC using a special stop in the spark plug hole, etc…  As with anything, if you have the tools to find TDC in a better manner, go for it, but this way works for 99% of the folks doing this seap.

Now that you are happy with the engine being at TDC, lets get rid of a few things.

See this woodruff key?  It’s no longer needed, pull that sucker out!  Sometimes it will come right out, other times you will need some pliers/vicegrips to grab it.  I had to use Vice Grips today.

Get that sucker out of there!  (Previous install threads mentioned making a whole new woodruff key, but you won’t need to do so.  All the woodruff key does is locate the OEM rotor on the crank for timing mark reference.  We’ll be making new timing marks, and the taper on the crank matches the new flywheel perfectly for a precision fit.)

 Now, at the bottom of the cases, there is a small round pin. It is a bit hard to see here, since it was painted.  I am pointing at it with this marker.  
Pull that sucker out!  If it breaks, or was already broken off (not uncommon) then just make sure it doesn’t stick up past the engine casting.  If it does, grind it back flush with the engine case.
You have just removed ALL the un-needed junk from your XS650 engine to prepare it for the swap.  If it took you more than about 15 minutes, then you surely need a break.  Always take a few minutes to clean up your work area, gather tools, enjoy a nice cold IPA (or your favorite beverage, you don’t have to share my taste in good brew,  but you  can always mail me some – I love bribes!)

Now, lets get to installing the NEW Charging System.  

First things first, get the PMA Adapter Plate and fit it to the cases.  It should be a snug fit, as they are precision made.  

Just like in the picture above, you’ll want the notches in the plate to line up with the threaded bosses in the engine cases.  Then you’ll want to make sure the threaded holes in the plate are positioned in the same way as above.  1 hole up top, the other 2 below.  
Some cases have grime, corrosion, grease, grit, etc… on them.  If yours aren’t very clean, or if you notice the plate isn’t sitting perfectly flat in the cases, lightly tap the plate into place using a soft punch and a hammer.  Don’t beat on it, just gentle love taps.  This is your motorcycle, love it, be one with it…  

Get the 2 longer socket bolts and the 2 washers, these will fasten the bracket to the engine cases.  You’ll use the 5mm allen wrench.

Use Blue Locktite on ALL hardware on the PMA swap.

Use sparingly, and yes, you have to put it ON the threads.  I wish I didn’t have to say that, but I had a “friend” put it in the head of the hardware thinking it would somehow work its way into the threads – or some kinda crap..  All I know, is that those “Warning” and “Caution” signs that we all think are obvious (like the one with the people taking a bath while using a toaster) are there because someone apparently didn’t know any better.  Ok, Rant Off

Install the hardware in the cases.  You will want to torque these to 7 Ft Lbs.  Do not overtighten them, or use them to pull the plate flat against the cases.

Now grab the stator mount, and stator.

Line up the holes in the stator with the holes in the stator mount.  Make sure all 3 holes in the stator line up with the threaded holes in the stator mount.   The wires on the stator should be coming out of the back of the stator, like below. 

Get the 3 Phillips Headed screws from the hardware kit, and a little more blue locktite.

Install the 3 screws using a #3 screwdriver.  You can snug these up to a good grunt.  Repeat the tightening of each screw a few times until the stator is fully seated against the mount. 

Starting to look pretty good at this point.  You are well on your way if your work looks alot like this.

Get the protective sleeving that comes with the stator, and slip it over the 3 yellow wires.

Slip it all the way up, and then around the stator as far as it will go.

You’ll notice I already positions the stator mount up against the PMA Adapter at this point.  Don’t install the hardware just yet.

Wrap the sleeved and protected wiring clockwise around the backside of the stator, as pictured below.

On your stator mount, you can bring the wiring just under the bracket, and then clock the stator mount against the PMA Adapter to hold the wiring out of the way.  Just like you see below…

Once you have the wiring routed around the stator and stator mount, you can finish mounting the stator mount to the PMA Adapter Plate.  Use the 3 supplied socket head screws.  Do not use washers here.

I bet you already guessed it, but yes, you will be using some more blue locktite here.

Double, then triple check that the stator mount is seated fully against the PMA Adapter plate.  This isn’t as critical if your engine is clean.  Use the same method as you did previously with the soft punch and hammer.

Now, you can install the hardware using your 5mm allen wrench.  Do NOT overtorque this hardware.  It gets torqued to 3 Ft Lbs.

 Now that the Stator is completely mounted, you will want to make sure all the hardware is torqued properly.  All the hardware supplied should be torqued to proper specs. Be careful not to overtighten these.  “Hand Tight and then a tad” is perfect

 Finish routing the wiring on the engine.  I supply a vinyl protected loop for just the job.  I remove the upper middle bolt from the starter gear box cover, position the wiring out of the way, and then install the loop onto the engine.  Routing your wiring under the shift shaft will keep it out of the way of the chain/gear and make your install that much cleaner. 

Wiring on the engine is all buttoned up at this point.

Now lets install the PMA Flywheel.

Slip the flywheel onto the crank, there will be some magnetic resistance, that is normal for a Permanent Magnet Alternator.
Hey look, more blue locktite!  

Then use the original lockwasher and nut that was removed earlier, and torque the flywheel to spec.  25-29 Ft Lbs should do it.  Get a friend to help keep the engine from rotating while doing so.  If needed, make a small reference mark between the rotor and the cases while doing this, and then you can go back to where you were after tightening the nut.  We still want to keep the engine at TDC until we make new timing marks on the flywheel.

You are seriously near the finish line now.  Onto the side covers and the timing marks.

Apply the HHB timing Sticker to your side cover.  Make sure to clean the mounting surface with brake cleaner/acetone/etc.. so that the sticker has a good clean surface to adhere to.

 If you are clumsy fingered like I am with stickers, then it will look alot like this.  If not, then you’ve done a really good job!

Mount the side cover back up on our engine.

I like to use a bright paint pen for my timing marks, but you can use anything so long as it is gonna let you know where TDC is.  Make a nice visible mark to match up to the “TDC” mark on the sticker.

*It should be mentioned, that making new timing marks does NOT require you to retime your engine.  I have plenty of customers who’ve never made a single timing mark on their PMA system.  I just offer this bit of tech to help those who want to do so.  If you already have Points/Pamco/Boyer or any other cam triggered ignition installed, and running before the PMA swap, then you can just bolt on and go.  if you are installing a new ignition at the same time – then you will want to re-time your engine, and this makes it MUCH easier than playing a guessing game.  

Button up the side cover.  It’s like nothing ever happened!

Now onto the last bit, the regulator wiring.

Get your regulator, and identify the 3 yellow wires coming from it.

These 3 yellow wires are going to hook up the the 3 yellow wires that come from the PMA Stator.  In no particular order, just make sure each wire from the stator gets it’s own connection to the regulator/rectifier.

*At this point, you will want to figure out where you want to locate your PMA Regulator/Rectifier on your bike.  There is plenty of wiring on the stator, but for a tidy install, you may need to trim down the wiring a bit.  The PMA Regulator will mount in the stock location of most XS650′s, or if you are building a custom bike, you’ll need to locate it somewhere in the open.  Do NOT mount it in an enclosed box, it needs airflow to operate properly. 

Get the 3 male terminals from the wiring kit supplied with the PMA Stator.  Strip back a small amount of insulation from the 3 yellow wires coming from your stator.

Crimp the terminals onto the wiring.  There is a small crimp for the copper wiring, and another for the insulation.  Make sure to crimp both well (I usually solder these connections as well, but this engine hasn’t been installed, and I may need to shorten these wires on final install.  Take that into note)

Now get the female connector housing that is supplied with the PMA kit.  It looks like this:

You will notice that the electrical terminals have a “tab” on them.  Push the terminals into the plastic housing with the “tab” facing outwards.  You will feel/hear them click into place.

 Finish the other 2 connectors/terminals.

If your regulator was installed on your bike (unlike in my how-to) then you would just connect the stator to the regulator/rectifier at this point.  A simple plug and play setup

Ok, so now you have the stator supplying power to the regulator/rectifier – congrats!  But what about those other 2 wires coming from the Regulator/Rectifier?  It doesn’t get any easier than this – red goes to the postive (+) terminal on your battery (or capacitor) and the green wire is your ground.  You can ground directly to the battery (or capacitor) or directly to the chassis.  Just make sure you connect a ground from the chassis to the battery (or capacitor) if you go that route, and you are DONE with your PMA swap!

Here is a simple wiring diagram in case you have trouble seeing the whole picture..
 (the other plastic connector is supplied should you decide to lengthen/shorten the wires on the regulator – I like to supply options)

That is all there is to getting your XS650 charging reliably! If you want to delete the battery, get yourself a good capacitor (I use the Sparx from Lowbrow Customs) and you can run kick-only.  If you want to keep the electric start, you will need to keep a large enough battery to turn the starter.  As for the rest of the wiring on your bike, that is up to you.  There are TONS of different wiring diagrams otu there on XS650.com to help you setup your bike the way you want.  I supply this wiring diagram for your charging system ONLY.  You will want to wire up lights, ignition, electric starter, etc… to your own liking, and everyone does it differently

Well folks, I have written this PMA Tech Article in the past, but a few things have changed now that we market and sell a Complete PMA System for your XS650.   I’ve had a really good thread on the Chopcult and on XS650.com in the past, but unfortunately other vendors started selling PMA’s and pointing their customers to HHB for tech and install help using our How-To’s and Tech for their install instructions.   I didn’t mind it at first, because I genuinely want everyone with an XS650 to enjoy their bike/build to the fullest. 

I wish I could afford the 7-10 hours a week I was spending helping my competition’s sales and offering free tech, but I just can’t do it any longer.   I want to focus on more product design, and offering more parts/services to the XS650 Enthusiasts around the world who are enjoying their machines.  If you have been pointed to this after purchasing your PMA from a competitor, give yourself some time to think why they would point you here?  We have spent a great deal of time and money to make only the finest components and services available to XS650 enthusiasts, because we really know these machines inside and out. 

As always, if you have purchased a Genuine HHB product, and need help/advice/wanna just shoot the bull, shoot us an email at HughsHandBuilt@gmail.com and we’ll take care you you.  Customer service is a major priority for HHB, and you deserve that from a business who you have spent your hard earned money with.

Enjoy building your bikes, and stay creative.  But most of all, have fun with this!  And thanks for your continued support of Hugh’s HandBuilt

Hugh Owings

March 1, 2012 ·

So we had a feller come in here a week ago or so, who has been rebuilding a very nice looking XL250.  Yeah, you know the one with the 23″ front wheel?  Yeah, that one! 

He had the bike pretty close to finished, minus that one hard to find item that most all older enduro/dual sport bikes had issues with.  His OEM pipe was rusted out completely, and the one on his parts bike was worse. 

So we made him a new one – designed to fit the OEM frame, and use the Supertrapp muffler from his parts bike.  

Machined a nice fitting sleeve to fit the OEM headpipe, and cut slits in it for a clamp, bent the rest of the pipe in one continuous piece, and then fitted a slightly larger OD tailsection to fit the larger muffler. 

Lots of small, out of plane bends, but it worked out very well.  Great fit, and looked pretty good too. 

Here are few shots of it on the bike.  He left the seat at home, but you get the idea.  The Supertrapp Muffler fit up nicely, and i bet it sounds pretty good too.

Fit without trimming any of the OEM mudgaurds or heat shields.  A tight fit at that. 


All said and done, this was a nice challenging break from shipping out parts, and building XS650 goodies…  I love that too, but every now and then, something like this comes along and I just can’t pass it up. 

February 21, 2012 ·

Did a little custom machining today.  Modified a set of OEM XS650 Trees and Steering Stem to accept the CBR600RR Upper and Lower Fork Clamps.  Complete with Tapered Bearings, this will bolt up and fit like OEM, with no need for shims, adapters, etc.. 

You’ll have to forgive the ugly headtube, I use it for such things as this. 

The customer supplied a set of used CBR600RR trees, which I modified using an old XS650 Steering Stem, All Balls Tapered Bearings, and a bit of patience. 

I’ll leave the prettying up of the paint and such to them, but this should be a sweet swap for an old machine. 

February 17, 2012 ·

Alot of Japanese, British and French bikes have those funny little rubber mounts under the tank.  I wanted to reuse the OEM tank mounts on my Motobecane tank, but I had to get a bit creative making that happen.

Here is what I am describing.  You can see the half cup mounts, that typically ride on rubber pucks on the frame.

So I took some measurements, and found the GM Hood Adjusters would do the trick quite nicely!  I like finding things to use on my projects that others might be able to find easily.  Most auto parts houses can get these for you, or in my case, I found them on the shelf at Fastenal.  At $1.33 each, they would work quite well.

I went to work on the lathe, making a nice mount for them to nestle into the fuel tank with.

If you don’t have access to a lathe, you can make these with some tubing and a couple of 5/16-18 bungs.  Always try to think of what you can do using the tools you have/have access to.  I built my first major project with only a 110 Flux Core Welder, a Hand Drill, and an Angle Grinder…  Having the tools is nice, but not required. 

I trimmed down the bolts on the Hood Adjusters, as my mount would be narrow and they were a bit too long.

It goes together a little something like this:

It fit into the tank cups perfectly!

Got the front tank mount onto the frame.  Had to make the mount angled to clear my coil mounts, and I plan to run my wiring through the frame here.  
Then onto the rear tank tab.  I started with some flat stock.  I don’t care for a a flat stock tab over a round tube, so some work had to be done.  
First, I got the tank fitted up where I wanted it.  
Then I took some flat stock, and shaped it over my vice.  You can do this yourself, by setting the vice jaws a bit narrower than the material, and working it over with a Ball Peen Hammer.  

 Starting to take shape.  


Drill a hole, and weld it onto the tank.  I’ll add a 5/16-16 Bung under this tab onto the frame.  I usually leave this hole a bit larger to compensate for tank alignment and position.  My tank in particular is NOT perfect left/right so I will have to cheat the eye a bit. 

So there ya have it.  I did make my coil mounts at the same time, I’ll be running 2 Dyna Coils.  They are small, pack a punch, and will work well with my rephased engine going in this thing.   The best part – both coils will be completely hidden under the tank.    All in all, this was a good productive day on an otherwise very slow going build…

February 13, 2012 ·
To all my customers: We are expanding our production and parts line, as well as our services offered. We have just doubled our shop space, and will need to take some time to get reorganized, get some new equipment in place, and get our new office finished. We are still in the same location, just getting more space. As a part of this growth, we will be taking the next week “off” to get these things done. For those of you who have orders pending shipment with us, they should go out on time. New orders, or those from mid-last week may be delayed. I will do my best to continue answering emails/phone calls/forums but please be patient with us.
 New Office Being Built

A Dedicated Engine Building Area
And a few other things going on, soon to be announced. 
We have tried to continue our daily operations while expanding, and it has proven to be just too much.  We will continue to offer the same great customer service, and excellent products as we always have, it might just take us a week or so to get back with you via email/phone/etc.. 
This is going to be a great thing for the XS650 community! Thanks as always for your continued support as we expand our operations – Hugh Owings
February 11, 2012 ·

So I am thinking about putting this 5 Speed Kreidler engine into my Briton Bees Moped.  I’m thinking yes! 

Thanks to Briton Bees for the 5 Speed Lower End.  

No more slipper clutch!  A real clutch will be a nice change from the Moped clutch.

Thats ALOT of cooling surface area.  I can dig it.

Huge Cylinder Head?  Check!

Gonna have to bore the cases to make this one fit.  Talk about some cool small cc radness.  This is as far as the cylinder will fit onto the cases without some machine work.  

February 11, 2012 ·

I’ve been slowly hacking away at my digger project.  Knowing I wanted rearsets complicated matters even more.  I spent ALOT of time on Ergonomics when I build a bike.  A cool looking bike is worthless if it isn’t comfortable. 

We spent a few nights tacking up some round stock, mocking in possible peg locations, until the bike felt just right. 

Tevan helped out a bit, so I snuck in a pic.

Once we had the location, then I had to figure out my rearset controls.  Most people run forwards controls, or even mid controls now, but I’ve always liked my speed chops to feel like a sportbike when I am on it.  This limits the available aftermarket controls drastically, and seeing the price of aftermarket rearsets, I decided to tackle a set myself.  This way, I could control the appearance and function 100%, without any compromise.  Something about repetition of form, while keeping function – designer words to make me sound smart… 

So I came up with a sketch or 2, and started machining out some parts. 

Countersunk mounts will fit nicely on the frame, avoiding issue with chain clearance, and allow for flush fit hardware.  Slick huh?

Some layout fluid, and a quick couple of lines gave me an idea of how my control levers would work.  These will go nicely with my wheels and girder.  Off to the milling machine. 

Making blue chips!  *Note, this is a good time to make sure your pant cuffs come over your boot/shoe ankles.  That, or you might end up looking like you are trying to Dubstep (whatever that is) in the shop, and people will stare at you .
One lever down, then you get the fun of duplicating it.  Nice to take measurements, and make drawings before going straight to the materials when you have to duplicate a part.  So keep that in mind when you are out there in your garage making cool parts for your scoot.  A little bit of cleaning up with a file, and you are good to go on this lever.
I had never made a set of folding peg mounts before, resorting to using random parts off of stock bikes, but this bike required a bit more effort from me apparently, and wanted to torture my brain.  Doesn’t look like much, but figuring this piece out on a napkin, and making it work properly (in theory) is a whole lot different than actually making it. 
A few lathe operations, some drilling and tapping, and then a few Milling Operations, just to make a simple little folding peg mount!  I might just be a glutton for punishment, and then I remembered I would have to make 2 of them!  3 Actually if you count the one I ruined on the final milling operation, but that’s another story.  
Those with sharp eyes will notice that this is 2 pieces.  You’ll see why in a bit.  
So how does it go together?  Well first, take a crappy picture so people understand – sorry bout that folks.
I had to make a set of pegs to work with my folding mounts, just as challenging, and requiring several operations on the lathe/mill as well.  And yes, I had to make 3 of these too!  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, you’ll learn from them – that’s the fun of building bikes if’n you ask me.
I came up with a simple design for the pegs that I thought would compliment the bike.  Remember the KISS principle, Keep It Simple Stupid.  Less is more, or something like that.
Remember that little piece above, that’s the pivot for the lever.  Here it is welded up.
Now you are getting the idea right?  All fitted up.
Once I had the rearsets fabbed, I used a universal linkage kit, and made my shifter linkage.  
How it fits, from inside the chassis.  Nice and clean.
When making your linkage, don’t forget to make sure your feet and legs will clear.  I only had to make this once – what a relief!
In your planning stages, you’ll want to make sure EVERYTHING clears, including the kickstart lever.  That poses a real problem for most folks running rearsets.  I tucked mine in nice and tight to the frame, allowing an OEM kickstart lever to clear just fine.   This bike will be Kick-Only, so I couldn’t take any chances on this detail. 
Close, but this will work just fine. 
About that time, my best shop helper ever came over to check on things.
After a brief discussion, and some chasing each other around the shop, Roxxy gave me the nod of approval.  
I still need to make the short sections for the toe nubbs (that’s the technical term, in case you didn’t know), and I won’t make the other linkage until I know what master cylinder I will run for the rear brake.  All in all, a very good day in the shop, tinkering and making cool stuff. 
I get emails all the time from people who read the blog, and appreciate the information we share.  My goal is to share in the things that we do here, and to provide you with enough information that you might try to do some of these things yourself.   I know not everyone has access to the machining equipment that we have here in the shop.  But, if you are creative, you can use various sizes of DOM tubing to achieve the pivot, a threaded bung for the mounts, and a set of off the shelf pegs to create a very similar setup.  Take your time, be creative and have fun. 
February 10, 2012 ·

Pretty lame winter so far.  I rode my wife’s Hot Rod Rebel to work on February 1st, if that tells ya anything. 

It has been hard to get into the “winter build” groove when the weather is soo nice outside.  So we started taking Friday’s off from customer work in the shop, so we can focus on our own personal builds…  Call it an employee incentive, I call it good living – Hugh

February 10, 2012 ·

This is headed to Brunei, and if you are like me, you’ll wanna Google that – haha…..

We’ve been slammed at the shop, but look for more updates soon!
February 2, 2012 ·

Great day in February to take a quick spin!

January 26, 2012 ·

We’ve got a customer who likes our work so much, he couldn’t have just 1 engine!  He wanted 2! 

We built these on our cores, using all new bearings, clutches, upgraded parts, Heiden Tuning 750 kits, 277 Pamco Ignition, Stainless Valves, HP Valve Springs, 5th Gear OD, ported heads, and all the other little goodies we do here at HHB.  

The cases were bead blasted, hot tanked, and then Powder Coated, along with the heads and cylinders.  We’ll use all new stainless hardware throughout.  These things look great!


January 3, 2012 ·

2011 was a great year for Hugh’s HandBuilt – So lets do a Year In Review of HHB. 

We started the year with only 1 product, which was our PMA Adapter Ring for the XS650.  With its huge success, we were able to start designing and building more products and offer more exchange services…

We started off the year with some work on my Father In Law’s Chopper project, modifying the off the shelf fuel tank into something a bit more of our own.  

Mounting the tank provided another problem that allowed us to develop a simple new product.  Our DIY Tank Bungs were born out of necessity as no one on the market offered them at the time… 

We don’t even make money on those things after production and shipping, but they make peoples builds that much easier, so we continue to keep them on the shelves.  We were starting to learn more about what keeps this industry alive.  Yeah, cool parts and shiny paint are great during the summer, but what we were finding, is people like you and I were having the time of our lives building our projects during the off season.  We don’t have a “motto” or anything like that here at HHB, but we have been making huge efforts to keeping that “Do It Yourself” tradition alive and well.

Not everything here in the shop has been about making money.  Trust me, we are no where near reaching Fame and Fortune (so keep on ordering parts/services!!) yet…  But without pushing ourselves to do new things, we could never share with you folks our “How-To” and Tech articles.  And it goes without saying, here at HHB, sometimes we are even proud to show you our mistakes, so you don’t have to repeat them. 

They say there is “Nothing new under the sun” and I agree to an extent, but doing something yourself for the very first time is still just as rewarding as you would ever think.  We did a quick article using a bit of tech help from Jay at Special 79′ on how to re-work a trailer fender.  I’ve had so many emails this year about that little blog post from people doing this themselves, that I expect to see a TON of modded fenders at the shows this next season…

We weren’t the first to do it by any stretch of he imagination, but it still looked cool! 

So as more and more work continued on the FIL Chopper project, it came to my attention just how badly the stock rubber bushings in the triple trees were for anything with tall bars on an XS650.  I even went so far as to just order new rubber replacements for them, and they sucked just as bad.  So again, out of necessity, another HHB product was born. 

Our Solid Riser Bushings were originally scheduled for small production runs, but since then, we have had soo much demand for them, they are now a regular item we keep in stock.  Everyone from Cafe’ Racers, to Chopper and Brat Bike builders have been installing these things and love the results in handling and steering, as well as just cleaning up the front end.  We can’t brag on ourselves, we just let you folks do it for us…  And for that, we are always thankful. 

We started offering frame services due to overwhelming demand…  It was a tight squeeze in our shop for an 8′ long frame jig to stay in operation, but somehow we made it happen…

Of course, all this time we were offering our famous 277 Rephasing Service for crank and cams.  Keeping with the DIY crowd, we were the first shop to ever offer Rephased Crank and Cams so that most anyone could enjoy the benefits of building a Rephased XS650 engine for themselves… 

Of course, along with offering great parts at a reasonable price, we had to start offering even more tech advice and articles.  We have been slowly finding that Customer Service is very lacking in the motorcycle industry, and have kept at it to keep you folks happy.   I spend almost 3-4 hours a DAY answering phone calls, emails, PM’s and forums to make sure that my customers get every bit of attention they deserve while building their projects.  It’s not easy, but it is something we have come to take great pride in.

Quick articles like this have seen amazing amounts of traffic here on the blog:  Rephased Goodness

Along with video’s and other quick little tips to keep interest, we have stayed busy! 

In February (thats right, all of the previously mentioned stuff happened in January!  Talk about busy, I can’t even believe the amount of stuff we have been able to do!!) we started to take a look at a few different things.  One of which was a write-up on my wife’s Honda Rebel Build that has apparently gotten many folks convinced to build their better halves a bike of their own.  I can’t say thats a bad thing!  We love seeing family get involved in this hobby/lifestyle… 

My Father In Law’s Chopper was coming right along, and not quickly enough!  Trust me, some of this Quality Time can really test ya – but as we were working on that we found another much needed solution to a very common problem.  “How do I install the rear brake linkage and pivot?”

Our extremely simple and cost effective  XS650 Rear Brake Pivot Kit has answered a problem that most folks didn’t want to spend $100 fixing.  And again, it was completely DIY friendly if you have a welder at hand (and you should, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it once you know how to use one…)

Starting to see a trend here?   We love the DIY stuff, thats what building motorsickels is all about!!  Well, that and a good 6 pack of beer to share with some friends while doing it, and then you’ve really got it made… 

Ok, enough about boozing and hanging with friends, lets get back to the bikes, and what HHB has managed to get done this past year.  By mid February, our PMA Swap Brackets were in such high demand that the market for used parts to finish the swap was completely tapped out.  In response, we started carrying Complete PMA Swap Kits so that more of these bikes are out there killing the pavement, reliably…   We’ve since added timing tabs, more tech, and higher quality components at an even substantially lower price than our original $399.00 asking price. 

We’ve worked VERY hard with our suppliers, taken huge risks with buy-ins and had to test every component to our liking before offering the kits to you.  And after all that work, we managed to bring the price down too – most people would think we’ve lost our minds! We were able to bring the price down to $319.00 shipped in the US!  Lots of work, mostly behind the scenes and un-noticed, goes into making the XS650 market happy with our products.  We work really hard behind our desks and in the shop, so that you don’t have to spend any time on the side of the road with nothing more than a paperclip, an old shoelace and some bread ties trying to fix your charging system (another story for another time).

Realizing that $319.00 is still a chunk of change for alot of folks, why not do a $1.00 Cheap Trick tech tip?  A quick write-up on a starter delete has been very popular as well, and at only a buck, its definitely budget friendly.

After all that time doing paperwork, talking with supplies, fighting over pricing and trying to get the best products available to market for you folks, I must have been feeling a little suicidal.  I started the first link to my latest build, working on the Death By Wheel part of my Digger Project… 

The jury is still out on the long term testing of these, but I can say they look killer!  
Later that month, my best friend and his dad were bitten by the “Bike Bug” and hard…  We had spent many nights, days, and weekends building Rockcrawlers and such together, so it only made sense to tackle a bike project together as well.  Not alot of progress was made that weekend, but we did manage to ruin a perfectly good sportster. 
We had grown large enough my March to hire my first employee.  Tevan got on with us, and has been killing it ever since.  He really learned the ropes turning some ugly OEM parts into the shining beauties you see here.  Plus, if I could get him to polish parts for 8 hours a day without any complaints, I knew he’d be a keeper.  
I started taking on a few engine builds for those who were patient enough and willing to pay me…  I really enjoy building these engines, so this was a pleasant process for me.  This engine was one of the first I ever wired up to run on it’s own stand…  
It turns out the work we were doing in our tiny “shop” was inspiring others to do more with less.  I found this picture online, and it really put things into perspective.  This dude actually has a “shed” that is soo small he has to open the door just to work in it.  If you look closely, he has a shot of my first bike on the wall.  Thats rad, and to see others getting passionate and building bikes on their own is what it’s all about.   Guys like this are keeping it true to Backyard Builders everywhere.

With all the reviews and such on our 277 Rephased Engines, there was always someone stating that there is no need to do some of the things we do to these engines.  So I drug out a stock crank to show the weaknesses inherent to ALL XS650 engines…  Building a Proper Crank has had over 20,000 views by itself here on the blog alone.. 

Later that month, I started a new friendship with John Dills.  A relationship that has proven to really be a pain the ass.  I only say that, because JD would appreciate it…  Dills Paintworks does all the paintwork for Wheels Thru Time Museum, so I felt pretty honored to have him spray the tins on the FIL Chopper that was getting near completion.  (On another interesting note, I have seen this tank in more magazines than ANY of my other works, but only once has it appeared on the actual bike… )

Speaking of making friends.  This new job was taking me places, and letting me do things I had never though possible before… In building the engine for one of these bikes, I have made more roadside croanies than you can shake a stick at…  Some cool cats, with some really wicked tastes in motorsickels… 

The above bike was the first totally stock 277 Rephased Engine I ever got to ride…   It was soo quick and smooth, that I started to realize that even a “stock” Rephased Engine was a total blast to ride…  We must be on to something here – haha… 

Jason took this quick video:

We met up with Wesley Ashley from The Carolina Rider, who did a nice interview on the shop.   Since then, I’ve hung out several times with Wesley, and I look forward to it everytime…

The interview might give a little more insight to what HHB is, in case you still need a dose of the obvious…  Still a cool article anyhow:  The Carolina Rider’s Interview on Hugh’s HandBuilt

My Birthday is in April, so I got a little selfish that day, and built myself a new frame.  This frame has been in the work on napkins, sketchbooks, and in my head for about a year…  So I treated myself to some bent tube and a few welding burns. 

Realizing that I was being a bit selfish in building my own frame, I decided to throw a “Hugh’s Birthday Discount” on the blog, which held our record sales for the whole year!  I’ll probably do that again, so stay tuned.

Since we did so well with sales that day, I celebrated by getting a bit of a mock-up done on my latest project.  I was in love!!  I am learning that if you are in this business, you don’t get time to work on your own projects.  So every now and then, I’ll shut down the phones and turn off the computer to get some work done…  Sorry folks, gotta do it from time to time, or I’ll forget the true joy of why I do all this in the first place…  But onto that killer mockup!

May came, and that meant the BMR was just around the corner!  I will miss alot of events during the year, but I will NEVER miss a BMR if I can help it…  That being said, I took a week off and went riding…  The BMR is what riding and building cool ass bikes is all about.  I usually travel with my good friend Joel, we break down about a dozen times, sleep in the rain under tractor trailers, visit the same gas station 6-7 times, and have a damn good time…  So yeah, plan on seeing me there!

Since we took so much time off, we hit June with a vengeance.  While keeping up with normal orders, engine builds, rephasing cranks and cams, we still managed to sneak in some time for a few new cool tricks. 

The 8 Pack Clutch was machined and fitted to one of our engines (and still being tested successfully in a race bike up north)


My friend Staton Carter came over and did a nice photoshoot on the FIL Chopper.

And yes, I like wheelies, even on choppers!!

We managed to drop the prices on our Solid Riser Bushings, and then release the new XS650 Speedometer Deletes all at once… 

Then we took a weekend, and headed to the Smoke Out East with a few new found friends:

That trip wasn’t without it’s own mechanical failures.  Lessons learned, NEVER install your wiring/switches in the most obscure place to work on…  But thats the fun of it all, if you can’t hang out on the side of the road with friends, then where can you hang?  

After getting home, we started selling Lectron Carbs…  These carbs are badass!  You’ll never understand until you’ve run them, so trust me on that..

I was pretty sure Tevan had the Biker Bug itch too, after hanging out at the Smoke Out, so we found him a project all his own…  Man, what a mess to start with…  At least it was cheap!!

Tevan would go on to tearing this thing completely down to the frame, and making some sweet mods to the chassis while rephasing his very first ever engine build.  People keep saying I spoil the kiddo, but I can’t have him rolling around on a boring stock bike, so there ya go…  He’s keeping this one very old school Cafe’ while giving it a few modern tweaks to make it really stand out from the “Clubmans and an Off-The-Shelf Seat Section” builds you see so often…  It’s gonna be sweet!!!

Once we had soo much work, we were turning away customers, I knew I could get a bit picky.  My Engine Rebuilding Services were being officially offered to the general public, but only if the General Public could meet my demands…  Read them, and enjoy.  I get more comments on “Hugh’s Engine Building Philosophy” than you would imagine.  Even larger shops have called and said “I wish we could get away with that!!” – well at least I started it early in HHB history, no going back now! 

Then the biggest news of the year hit – we would be moving shops!!!   Life was grand – and by grand, I mean 3X larger than my old basement “Shop”

It’s all been a great ride until this point, and since I know no one likes long blog Posts, I’ll continue this on another day…  Until then, stay tuned, and thanks for all the continued support


December 30, 2011 ·
We have a HD Kick Starter Kit sitting here in the shop, never installed.  It was for a project that never materialized. 
Baker F5K Factory 5 Speed Kicker Kit.  Brand New, Still in the original box.  Part Number 578-56MP-K 

Retail is $1264.00 – Asking $1,000 – Open to Trades on XS650 Bike,  Goodies or parts… 

December 19, 2011 ·

We have made very little progress on Tevan’s Cafe’ build in the last 6 weeks or so.  So we started tackling small things in our spare time. 

I made Tevan sit down with a sharpie and start marking up his front brake rotor.  After about 5-6 different designs, he settled on one he liked, so we took it to the computer to lay it out properly. 

This pattern will make sure that the brake pads are fully swept across the holes.  This pattern is more than just ornamental, and will look nice on his vintage style build. 

We printed off the pattern, and seeing as how the pattern is larger than standard printer paper, we had to tape 4 sections together.  Then we taped that pattern to the rotor.

In the drawing, I made sure all the holes had a center location, which we then used to locate and punch the hole centers into the rotor through the paper.  Auto punches are NICE for this kind of work, seeing as how we have 100 or so holes to punch.

All punched out, and ready to drill..

Let the drilling commence!  *it is worth noting, that these rotors are stainless, and hard as can be on your tooling.  Get a supply of GOOD drill bits before attempting this, keep some oil on the bit, and slow down your drill press to the proper speed.

All drilled out, and ready to finish.  We will be deburring all the holes, and surfacing the rotor in the next few days. 

Hopefully we will make some more progress on the Resto-Mod Cafe’ in the next few weeks.  Stay tuned!
December 19, 2011 ·

This frame was never meant to be…  At least not from our hands.  This frame came to me from a good customer who has been waiting over 6 months for a weld-on hardtail section from another supplier.  Unfortunately, this feller was out his cash AND still didn’t have a frame to put together.  We don’t do alot of frame sections here at HHB, but from time to time, we’ll make it happen. 

This is a great example of one of our tail sections.  A subtle mix of 1″ and 1.125″ tubing, factory lower frame rails tweaked for nicer lines, and no oddball “plug” from the backbone to the lower frame rails. 

There are many differences in one of our frame sections, when compared to some of the popular tail sections on the market.  I get asked all the time “Will you offer a Weld-On Hardtail?” and the answer is constant.  I will not supply a weld on tail, but I will gladly build one for you in my JIG, ensuring proper installation, and a straight riding motorcycle.  Plus, then you can have any specs you desire and I can work my magic on the stock frame loop to make it more natural appearing rather than an “addition” to the stock frame. 

This frame is 3″ stretch, with 4″ of ride height and should look great when finished.  I know this one is getting a nice rephased engine, PMA swap, and some of our Shaved, Polished and Lowered forks…  Can’t wait to see it done!

As always folks, thanks soo much for your continued support and encouragement.  I wouldn’t change what I do for anything in the world when I see happy customers getting their bikes together like this. 


November 23, 2011 ·

Had some folks make the drive down to Asheville NC from Canada this past weekend…  We had spoken several times on the phone and after several back and forth emails, these folks decided to make the drive to deliver their XS650 Engine for a rebuild/big bore/rephase…

They somehow managed to find the shop, it’s not very well labeled (as of now, I have a friend from Shop 102 in Georgia making a sweet new sign for us).   I scrambled over from the Christmas Parade with my wife and some other friends to meet them.   They sent us these photos, and I thought I would share them with ya’ll.

We do have our collective “The Hive” sign up, but that is all that lets you know what may or may not be behind that door…

The engine to be built, stacked next to a recently finished engine… 

We hung out, chatted, and had a great time.   These folks win the “Longest Drive to Hugh’s HandBuilt” to date!


The coolest part about this whole thing, is not that I get to build another engine, or anything to do with me at all really.  This is going to a Father and Son build.  They both drove down together, spending time with each other, and enjoying the trip.  We all headed over to Barley’s Tap and Pizza, enjoyed a great lunch, shared stories, had a few local brews and then they were off.  There was a whisper of Smoky Mountain Knifeworks, Cigars and Beer in Ohio, and a few other stops on their way home.  I was slightly jealous.

It was a pleasure to meet them both, and I’m excited to be a small part of their build…  Sometimes it is more about the experience and the journey than the final outcome.  These folks reminded me of that, and it has made my week all the better…

November 22, 2011 ·

So I needed to test run a new engine for a customer..  My old stand was clunky, heavy and fairly hard to use.  So we scrapped it…

This new stand is fairly simple, just a furniture dolly, a regular XS650 engine stand, and a set of “handlebars” to hold all the miscellaneous wiring…  I set it up with 2 Coils (required for testing rephased engines) a PMA regulator, and a Sparx capacitor.  Along with a “On/Off” switch, I can now test fire an engine, and test the PMA system before shipping it out to customers.

And just a quick video for this particular customer..  You’ll not that this engine is NOT even bolted to the stand, it just has a few lengths of metal rod holding it to the stand, hence the rattles and looseness…  These carbs are only to fire up the engine and test it, and do not belong to this engine either…  I just needed a set to fire up the bike, so I stole them from my Street Tracker Project…  The pipes are stock headpipes that were laying in my pile…  
This particular engine was just fired up about 2-3 minutes before taking this video.  I will be breaking it in over the next few days, re-adjusting the valves and camchain, changing the oil and then sending it to it’s new owner.  

Well folks, engine building season is upon us – I have 6-7 engines lined up for new builds, so stay tuned, and get yours here FAST if you want on the list – Hugh

November 10, 2011 ·

Taking a break to spend time with my family in Missouri until next Tuesday. We have an annual hunting trip up there every year.

We are hoping to give Roxxy (The Infamous Shop Dog) a few more “Chew Toys” this season!  But until then, please be patient with us as I will not be answering emails/phone calls until next Tuesday at earliest… 

Thanks as always – Hugh

November 6, 2011 ·

I finally had some T-Shirts printed up for all those who have been begging for them. I had a very talented fellow down in Georgia create the design for these, and if you look closely, you’ll recognize the images (Bike/Helmet/etc…) to be inspired by Hugh’s HandBuilt’s First Build.  

Available in Black or Charcoal, and currently available in M, L, XL only (sorry folks, email me if you really want some in other sizes, and I’ll try to get some made up).

Front (*Note – This is the Charcoal color)

Charcoal (Image is on back)

Black (Image is on Back)

Limited Quantity of Womens Teal Tanks available as well (*SOLD OUT )

As with ALL purchases from Hugh’s HandBuilt – Free Shipping in the USA!  (Email me at HughsHandBuilt@gmail.com for other shipping inquiries)


November 3, 2011 ·

Doing a little bit of work on Tevan’s Resto-Mod Cafe Project in the last few days in between customer work…

I’ve been showing Tevan how to bend and notch tubing, but it was finally time to let him try it out for himself…  Armed with some 7/8″ OD tubing, an angle finder and the bender, he managed to get the upper truss/brace bent up in one shot… 

The notching took a while to make it all fit properly, but his patience has paid off…  I think he may have practiced on about 4 feet of tubing before he was finally comfortable with his notches…

Careful consideration was given to proper chain clearance and shock clearance.  We had to double/triple/quadruple check the frame clearances as we went…

The factory had some fairly gnarly looking welds, so we cleaned up what we could…  Welding 40 year old material is always a challenge.

All in all, this should be a nice compliment to the rest of the bike, stay tuned as we design and build the seat and the tail section mounting…