Life sometimes isn’t easy, so when you can find time to hang out in the shop
with your friends and make cool motorcycles — that’s the “High Life!”
A stock Yamaha XS650 engine
will be used for mockup.
Hugh’s Handbuilt is
building us a 277 rephased
short block for the
Here, Duke’s mounting the engine
into the frame and snugging it all
Being we are using a Harley
Softail rear rim, a custom
sprocket was needed to get the
proper gear ratio for the XS.
With the rear sprocket in place
and bolts torqued, it was time
to install the drive chain. I used
a Laser Chain alignment tool to
make sure the chain and sprocket
are in proper alignment.
The laser shines on the links of
the chain when the sprockets are
properly aligned. I roll the tire a
few revolutions and recheck the
alignment with the axle torqued.
When mounting a rear fender, I
use a piece of old 530 chain on
top of the tire. This will allow for
good clearance. Duke and I are
using a piece of welding rod to
work out our sissy bar ideas.
With the welding rod sissy bar
pattern in hand, Duke was off to
Big John’s to make his sissy bar
dreams come true.
Using some ½” nuts on each side
of the tire — front and rear —
the fender was centered on the
tire. The sissy bar was then tack
welded into place using some
bungs and 3/8” fasteners.
Duke wanted his taillight mounted
high in the sissy bar; we decided
on a Model A light and made a
heavy duty bracket for it.
The Model A light is a good choice
with run, brake and license plate
light all in one package.
We made some more bungs for
the sissy bar to mount up the
With the fender and sissy bar
mounted up, Duke said he
wanted to show off those white
walls. So, we needed to shorten
up the sides of the fender. Tools
needed: a mechanical pencil, a 5
gal. bucket and a paint stir stick.
We cut a “V” into one end of the
paint stick. This will center the
paint stick, or radius tool, on the
Drill a hole for the mechanical
pencil to set in.
There you have it, a handy dandy
paint stick/radius tool!
A jigsaw with a bimetal plate works well for cutting
Well, I think we’ve made good progress this
month: engine is in, chain is lined up, fender
mounted, sissy bar made; I think the fender needs
some speed holes though. Check back next month
to see how the “High Life” project is coming along!
Feel free to call or email if you have any questions:
419-576-6812 or firstname.lastname@example.org