Left Hand Cycles Yamaha XS650SE Makes the Most of Minimalism
When customizing a motorcycle, builders often focus on tweaking and refining the existing components. Other times, they add pieces in the name of giving a bike their personal touch. Sometimes these alterations work, and sometimes they just make a dog’s breakfast of a bike’s looks.
So we were intrigued when we heard about Left Hand Cycles’ take on a classic Yamaha XS650SE. You see, the Dutch custom shop didn’t concentrate on adding or altering parts on this two-cylinder standard; rather, much of the custom work centered on removing unnecessary bits and bobs. And after careful study of the photos, we’ve concluded that this simplification surgery was a rousing success.
Rechristened with a name that also qualifies as simple (LHC #3), this vintage Yamaha – which was apparently quite tattered when LHC principals Richard and Lex got their hands on it – has been shorn of such extravagances as mirrors, fenders, airbox, turn signals, and the electric start system. The wiring that’s left has been tucked under the custom-fabricated seat, and is now connected to a smaller Bates headlight and Texas taillight. The stock handlebars are replaced with low-slung clip-on pieces, and the top clamp is moved lower to make the rider adopt the classic café racer riding stance. Almost everything except the gas tank (which is painted satin red), engine and exhausts are powder coated satin black, including the stock wheels wearing retro-chic Avon Speedmaster tires.
As for the engine, it seems like little has been done to the air-cooled 654cc parallel twin, other than get it running like new. But with 53hp and back-to-back AMA Grand National speedway titles (with Kenny Roberts in 1973 and ’74) to its name, were upgrades necessary? We’re thinking “No.” The 5-speed transmission is also unaltered.
Do you really like LHC #3? You know, enough to make it your own? Well, good news, friend! Richard and Lex are offering it for sale. Just give ‘em a holler through , and while you’re there, be sure to check out the three custom bikes they built before this one. You’ll notice that these guys seem to have a thing for restrained, minimalist customs.
Source: Left Hand Cycles