Steve Baugrud comes from just outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a city full of Harley’s. Which was all the motivation Steve needed to build this stunning XS650 special. When the world zigs, zag.
Steve’s day job is in healthcare and he builds his bikes (this is the fourth) in what little spare time he has. He brought the 1981 XS for $150 on Craigslist and went about tearing everything down, before building it back up again just the way he wanted it. Like a lot of us in The Shed, everything Steve did on this bike was self taught, learned by hanging around in, and asking the right questions on forums.
After vapour blasting the engine and rebuilding the top end, the engine covers were powder coated using iron glimmer. The frame was modified by removing all unnecessary tabs, along with the rear pegs, exhaust mounts and everything behind the rear shock. He then welded (again, self taught) a new rear hoop, and fabbed up an electronics tray so everything could be hidden neatly away underneath the seat hump.
Sticking to his, ‘doing something a bit different to everyone else’ philosophy, Steve decided to keep the original mag wheels instead of swapping out to spoked rims, and went for Avon Speedmaster MKII’s instead of Firestones. The forks were rebuilt, shaved of the extra caliper mounts and powder coated to match the frame. The triple trees were also powder coated and a new dash panel was made to hold the kill switch, start button and neutral light. The brakes were rebuilt using braided lines and a mini speedo and headlight finish off the front end nicely.
The tank was sourced from an XS750 which was modified to fit the frame. The seat was made by Ian at Twinline Customs/ House on Fire Industries and houses a neatly concealed half moon billet L.E.D. Upholstery on the seat pan is genuine leather and was made by the talented Ginger at New Church Moto.
The high pipes, made by Scott at Gordon Scott Engineering, really caught our eye on this build. We’re told they were extremely labor intensive, so much so that Scott says he probably won’t make any more (note the word ‘probably’ – sounds persuadable to us!). The equally eye catching paintwork was done by Todd Carlson using a silver base, silver HOK mini metalflake, HOK lime gold Kandy with black stripes and several coats of fuel proof automotive clear. According to Steve she’ll nearly blind you in the sun.
Steve tells us that from day one he set out to make this one a keeper, hence no corners cut and the meticulous attention to detail.
Go on, you sure she’s not for sale Steve?
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