Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dave Griffin's '81 XS650

Hey kids, time for another Ride to Born Free build! This time it's David Griffin and his 81 Yamaha XS650 project. For anyone complaining about not having time to finish a build, talk to Dave - besides trying to get his chop done in time he's also been burried in a home remodeling project and taking care of a newborn. That's some serious dedication...

What are you building?
The bike is an '81 Yamaha XS650 that I bought off Craigslist. I brought the frame to G&L Choppers down in Colo. Springs for their rigid tail section, bought a few odds and ends off the internets and then I've pretty much made the rest myself.

How long has the build been going for?I bought the donor bike in September of last year. It's now April and I'm getting pretty close to finishing up so I would say 8 months total (albeit I'm not finished yet). I'm also just recently had a kid and am doing a pretty large scale remodel to my house so my time to work on the bike has been limited to what I can squeeze in really late at night.

What inspired you on this build? How did you get the idea for the build?
I've been riding motorcycles most of my life but have never really thought of actually making my own. Last summer I rode down to Santa Rosa NM for the Smokeout show with an awesome group of people who all rode the coolest old bikes that each one had either made or modified themselves. The Denver Dirtbag's DIY and creative spirit is pretty much what inspired me to do my own. I like the look of the British motors a lot but wasn't really into spending that much money on another bike so the XS seemed like the perfect solution. There must be a million XS choppers out there so finding some designs I liked wasn't too difficult.

Is this your first build? If not, what was your first build? How did that go?Definitely my first go around. Its gone pretty well for the most part and I'm totally satisfied on how its looking so far.

What's been the hardest part of the build?
I'm a pretty handy guy but building a machine that I have to trust to not kill me has been tough. I've tried to keep it simple but I have a tendency to over think stuff and obsess over structural adequacy. I really don't want to be the guy with the broken down shit 1000 miles from home, or that becomes roadkill.

What other builders inspire you?
I'm really into skateboarding so I would have to say Max Schaaf and Jasin Phares. I don't pay attention to "the industry" per se so I actually didn't even know they had turned to motorcycles until a skating friend told me to check out what Max is up to. Those guys rip on skateboards and have made some pretty sweet machines.

What do you love most about choppers, building bikes, riding, etc?Riding down the road for hours just taking it in and thinking.

Any thoughts about choppers, the state of the industry, BF3, etc?
Just looking forward to the Born Free ride. By the looks of it this is going to be a massive ride. I can't wait to see all the creative stuff and meet some new people.

Awesome build Dave - can't wait to ride with you in a couple weeks!

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