Part one of the High Life Project The Tattoo Duke Miller XS650 Build by Pandemonium Custom Choppers Daniel Donley.
named Nekked Hayla. He said, “Man, I’ve been thinking about building something like this to beat around the streets on as a birthday present to myself.” One thing led to another, and we started on Duke’s XS650 build. It was then that I decided to show it off here in Cycle Source. We are gonna use some stuff from Acme Choppers, Hugh’s Handbuilt and Red Tail Leather, just to name a few. It should be pretty cool so stay tuned for the months to come and check out The High Life project.
First, the donor Yamaha XS650 is stripped and the frame is cut and prepped for the Pandemonium hardtail. A mock-up engine block is bolted into the frame to keep the engine mounting locations true.
The axle plates are then bolted to the frame jig. The jig is then checked to be level and square in eight different locations. This is a necessary step for a quality built frame.
The upper and lower hardtail tubes are cut to length from .120 wall DOM tubing. Witness marks are scribed on to the tubes for locating them in the bender.
Using a degree cube, the upper and lower tubes are bent to their specific degree.
DOM tubing is again used to make the adapter from the original frame to the new hardtail. The adaptor is the same wall thickness as the hardtail tubes. This will allow the frame to flex as it did stock. A solid slug here would not flex and it would break. (Thanks Paul – BKC)
The lower hardtail tubes are then
fitted to the frame. Duke’s frame is
built with four inches of stretch in
the length of the hardtail.
Where the lower tubes meet the
original frame, plug weld holes are
drilled to weld the adaptor, stock
frame and hardtail together for a
very strong joint.
To set the distance between the
lower rails, the adjustable crossbar
is put into place and tensioned with
a turn buckle to hold in place.
Many clamps, vise grips, and even
zip ties hold the hardtail tubes in
place while mocking-up the fitment
of all the tubing.
This is a very cool tool my dad came
up with. It’s a piece of PVC plumbing
pipe that was turned to size in the
lathe and the correct fish mouth
angle was then transferred to it. This
one is used for the upper hardtail
tubes that meet the backbone seat
Slip the tool over the tubing, scribe a
line, remove and cut, and then grind
the tubing to the scribe line.
At this point, your joint will be very
close and will only require minor
adjusting to fit perfect.<
Now the hardtail is mocked-up in the
jig. All the tubing joints have been
cleaned with acetone to be oil free
Before any tack welding starts, the
jig and frame are checked for level
and square and then laser aligned
down the center of the frame. Also
check with “Trammel Points.” All of
these checks should be done during
the welding process to keep the
frame true and straight.
This is a cool tool my friend Rodger
Demland made for me to install the
rear axle adjuster bosses. It locates
off the axle slots and is super slick!
Hope you like it Duke! This is the
beginning of your new sweet ride.
I want to say thanks to my dad for
all his help in building this hardtail for
Duke. Couldn’t have done it without
Stay tuned till next month when we
will start the mock-up!
If you have any questions please feel free to email or call