The venerable Yamaha XS650, with its classic parallel-twin engine and natural good looks, is one of the most popular models on the custom scene, but few builds have such a fine presence as The Rattler by River Rat Cycles.
Based on a 1977 model, the bike can now be described as a combination of tracker and café racer, with street fighter styling cues in between. The builders stripped everything off the bike and started with the skeleton, to which they added a raised rear subframe with a Woods Rotax seat pan covered in a raw-stitched black leather, for some real flat track authenticity. The tank was replaced with a salvaged Benneli and then covered in a splendid sunburst paint, providing a look identical to that of the greatest guitar ever made – Gibson Les Paul.
Other modifications include a rebuilt stock motor (raised from 635cc up to 700cc), the addition of a 2 into 1 stainless steel exhaust system, polished hubs with spoke laced rims, Avon Distanzia rubber, upgraded suspension&brakes, and a single Koso speedo for an uncluttered front end. The result is a clean, race looking bike that also works on the street, and which represents how motorcycling should be: beautiful machines you just want to ride! via