New Chopper Build, getting started on a 2020 Indian Bobber and a two-for-one Signature Series bike reveal.

Purpose Built Moto has definitely dipped our toe on the realm of Choppers before, and. But after a few years it’s about time we dive right back in. We’re building an XS650 Chopper of PBM proportions. Doing it our way, with no one to answer to but ourselves. That’s a long way of saying it’s my bike. 

The Idea of this Chopper build will be to flex our muscles, showcasing that we can in fact build these bikes. Sharpening our fabrication skills and putting them on show through the finished product. It’s going to be light, fast, and stunning to look at whether it’s moving or sitting still. 

This episode will see us start the project in our new shop, going through: 

  • XS650 chopper tear down, 
  • Making Jigs + Fabricating the hard tail 
  • Fitting a swing arm mount fender to the 2020 Indian Bobber
  • Revealing our 2 signature series builds – XS650 Café Racer + ADV Sportster #2

Starting a custom bike shop you will inevitably start to be put into a box by your clientele. Its not a good or bad thing, it’s just human nature. A client sees a wild Harley Davidson Adventure bike, and we get to build another one, we build a few vintage Hondas, and all of a sudden we have a shop full.
You will always get more of the same work you’re doing (if you do it well). I noticed this very early on with Purpose Built Moto, and that’s why I’m consistently pushing to get different jobs in the door.

This helps us test and improve our skills as bike builders, and keeps it interesting for us as humans! With that in mind, lets get into our first ever hard tail Chopper build. The donor bike is an early 80’s XS650 I picked up as a bit of a wreck. It did run, but had been stored under a house on the beach for a few years. It was leaky, corroded and just generally neglected.  Soon after buying the donor, I had to give the motor away to a customer that bought an overpriced bike and had his engine blow up. I swapped my running engine, for his dead one because I was going to completely rebuild it anyway. 

And that’s where we are right now. Rolling the heartless frame onto the bench to get started on the chopper build. Its not hard to see just how bad of shape this bike is in, the frame is covered in rust, and the electrical connections are a mess. 

First job is to get the wheels off and measured so we can get a set of Jonich specialty wheels on the way from Italy. A bit of fine measurement here to make sure we get a perfect fit. The chopper will be running a 21” front wheel and a 19” rear. To make sure we can fabricate the bike without the correct wheels, I make sure to write down my tyre diameters and set that up on the bench properly as we fabricate.

With all the extras torn off, we’re left with a bare frame to start trimming down. Before the major cuts are made, Dylan has fabricated an engine jig to make sure the frame doesn’t move as we cut the bottom corner of the engine cradle out. With that installed we remove the rear section of the frame and clean it up ready to start laying out our new hard tail. With the ½ frame mounted in our next jig, I set the rear axle post on our table at a -35mm overall length. Making the XS chopper a little shorter than your run of the mill hard tail kits. Which to my eye always look a little too long. 

Now usually you would use 1” or 7/8” tubing for a hard tail to match the current size of the tube frame. I don’t really like that Idea, I want this tail to be slim and light looking. I’ve opted to use a 19mm tube (3/4”) 2mm wall 4130 chromoly tube, utilizing the XS1 or TX650 axle plates. The top line of the hard tail wont be an issue, the bottom however will need to be reduced from the 1″ tube on the standard frame by way of a few turned slugs and a sheath to make it all look pretty. 

With the separate pieces in place its time to link them up, we break out a few lengths of filler rod, and start bending to make our shape. Going with a drop seat configuration that adds a few angles to the tail. This should offset nicely with the suspended seat I’ll make later on. Measure, set angles, measure again and start cutting. Throwing the lengths of tube through the Speedwerx bender, before tacking in place with our new SWS alumtig 200. We’ve also added some hooped cross bracing for strength and to give us a fender mounting point when the time comes. 

The first couple of days both Dylan and I could be working on the XS650, but as we got into the finish welding stage, there was only room for one. I jumped outside and got to work on a fender and wide wheel conversion for our Indian Bobber project.  Giving Donny the run of the fab room to get the hard tail welded up. 

This episode and series took a bit of a stall during the middle of the year, Covid restrictions were put in place and we had to focus our energy elsewhere for a while. Coming out of that we decided to throw a community event with Burleigh Brewing, our new neighbours. Purpose Built Moto had just finished up 2 of our best builds for 2021. These 2 signature series builds are very different but share that same Purpose Built Moto DNA. 

The first, a 1973 Yamaha XS650 Café Racer, the next a 1998 Harley Davidson Sportster Scrambler inspired by our Wide Of The Mark build. 

Because so many of us had been locked down, and living through Zoom meetings and Facetime, I wanted to throw an event to bring our community together again. The idea was simple, release these bikes in person rather than online and have our mates around for a beer to check them out. 

With the beer and venue supplied by Burleigh Brewing, a good crew of riders around and some epic bikes on display you couldn’t really go wrong. 

With episode 2 wrapped up, we’re looking forward to the next one. We’ll be giving you all an update on the Chopper build, running you through one of our photoshoots with our mate Brandan and I’m sure we’ll fit in some general motorcycle mischief too. If you have any questions send them my way, I’m always happy to answer your comments below. 

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