Shed addiction is real. And it’s experiencing huge growth in young demographics, as well as those of a more mature nature, who really should know better. We all know the symptoms, whether it’s you or a close friend, it’s obvious when someone is hiding their habit. We’ve all seen the signs:
– Coming out of that smoke filled room at the bottom of the garden, eyes red from the haze
– Spending money on frivolous paraphernalia to support the cravings
– Avoiding social interactions just to get one more hit from the throttle
But Sheddery is an addiction of the best kind. We know you can stop at any time, you just don’t want to. That’s fine by us. Here at the Bike Shed we empathise with you, support you. We’re here to help feed your habit. Brothers and Sisters, we will get through those dark winter nights together, until you see the light. The light of Spring shining through, drying the roads and warming your hands. Push on through the cold and rain, wipe away those tears with beard or plaid. We will not judge if you waver, but we will endeavor to inspire and engage by waving temptation under your nose. Like this XJ650 by Vintage Addiction.
With a small workshop on the outskirts of Barcelona, Vintage Addiction are a motley crew of mechanics and designers. Last seen around these parts with their truly bonkers moped mash-up, The Bonneville, Xarly and the guys are back with another unconventional build. With the day jobs focused on classic four-wheelers, these bikes are built in their spare time, just for the hell of it. Without have to pander to a client’s desires there is free reign in the design of the bikes and the guys build what feels right to them: the benefits of following a passion, not running a business.
Bought in a package deal with a Ducati Desmo 500 the XJ650 was first on the chopping block. An uncommon choice, the 4-cylinder, shaft drive Maxim might not be the first port of call for a stripped back special. But upon closer examination there are some great benefits to it over other UJMs. Yamaha mounted the alternator directly above the gearbox instead of the usual crankshaft-end location, significantly slimming the engine. And despite the shaft drive, Yamaha family DNA makes swapping the wheels to spoked items a lot easier than other bikes; in this case a Virago was the organ donor.
Almost hovering above the bike, the tank is one-off design, with a hint of half scale Suzuki T500 about it. Recesses fade in and out along the flanks, carrying the V/A logo. Along with the shallow headlight and mudguards, the finished tank received a stunning metallic red and white paintjob. Highlighted with gold pinstriping it looks very ‘hot-rod’, complementing the low slung side exit exhausts. Bouncimg from the tank to the seat, the rear of the bike has been reworked with a lightly kicked up hoop. That stunning paintjob poking cheekily out from under the black tuck and roll seat; the grab strap is a nice touch.
With 30 years of abuse behind it, the engine was sent to rehab and given a thorough going over. Stripped down, checked over and petted a little, it’s a testament to the build quality that little more than new rings, seals and gaskets were needed. Oxidization was blasted away from the exterior of the block, which was then attacked with vigor at the polishing wheel. Keeping the barrels satin black breaks up the visual mass of the engine somewhat. Critisized for lacking smoothness in it’s day, the 4 cylinder lump should proffer some much desired character as it burbles down Las Ramblas.
The original inadequate front brake setup was replaced with some 320mm Yamaha R6 discs clamped in Kawasaki calipers by way of a custom bracket. A new master cylinder along with alloy levers and minimal switchgear adorn the low rise scrambler bars, while the speedo is tucked down by the cam cover giving the rider an uninterrupted view of the road ahead. All the electrics including a Lithium battery are tucked between the frame rails under the seat or under the tank resulting in a fresh, teetotal look to the whole bike. This is a ride with a new lease of life, ready to make the most of the road ahead.