Jamie Ireson works for RB Kustoms in Coolham, Sussex, in the UK, where he and owner, Russell Brown, do all the fabrication work for Warr’s Harley Davidson, plus they build bikes for private clients… So, you’d expect Jamie’s own bike, a 1979 Yamaha xs650, to be a bit special – and it is.
Jamie wanted the bike to have a lot of detail and clean lines, where the hard work and components stood out rather than just a ‘flashy paint job‘, and with D-Luck producing a simple flat primer-grey across the tank and frame your eyes are drawn to details like the leather tank logo and matching upholstery, the dayglo green pedal-cycle kickstarter and the anodised gold details on the suspension and front brake caliper.
Close-up, the bike is also about textures and materials. “I love leather on bikes, as was found on old English bikes. Hence the use of Brooks parts. I’m also a lover of push bikes, BMX’s from my youth and mountain biking.” But all these interesting touches do have their downsides: “The bike is very tactile, which was very evident at The Bike Shed event, as everyone kept touching the bike – which to begin with I wasn’t really happy with. Never touch another man’s bike. One of those unwritten rules, but the bike is so tactile with the paint and leather, I got over it ha ha.”
The fuel tank is from a BSA and was modified in-house. The front-end was donated by a Yamaha R6 while the rear is held up with a pair of Ohlins shocks. The lovely black spoked wheels were built by Talon with Excel rims, who also supplied the front and rear discs, and front sprocket.
The swingarm was custom built in-house, as were the bars, the yokes and the stainless steel downpipes. The guys also built their own linkages, bar ends and the centre stand. The Brembo levers were kindly donated by a Ducati Hypermotard and the rear brake caliper is also a Brembo item. As mentioned the leather grips are Brooks, and that pedal kickstart is from DMR, made for a mountain bike.
The hand-stitched leatherwork on this bike really stands out too as not only is the seat upholstered in brown leather, with that broad tank-strap, but the Yamaha triple tuning-fork logo is also matched in leather, with the work being done by Leather Mark 69.
Jamie’s bike was one of the most popular builds at the Bike Shed Event II and the attention was well deserved. It was also interesting that it was one of those machines that seemed to appeal to everyone, from the down and dirty brat-style lovers to the shiny-chrome custom crew. What everyone really appreciated was all that detail Jamie was so keen to show off. So, job done.
And the ride? “The bike really is great fun to ride. Has the usual XS vibrations, but that’s part of the appeal.” Thanks for sharing, Jamie, and we look forward to seeing more from you and RB Kustoms. Also, big thanks to Bike Shed regular Merry Michau for the moody photos.