‘I needed to use my brain af­ter a stroke’

John Con­nor’s XS helped him recover

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

The Yamaha XS650 is a firm favourite in the cus­tom scene due to the sheer ver­sa­til­ity of the en­gine. As stan­dard the par­al­lel twin op­er­ates on a 360-de­gree fir­ing or­der, so you can op­er­ate it on one huge car­bu­ret­tor for sim­plic­ity while giv­ing the bot­tom end a huge boost. The other pop­u­lar mod is to have the crank re-phased to make it 270-de­gree fir­ing, which gives the bike a bur­bling V-twin sound­track.

The XS250 has never achieved the same dar­ling sta­tus as its big­ger brother, but that didn’t put off John Con­nor, who was look­ing for a way to re­ha­bil­i­tate him­self af­ter hav­ing a stroke.

“I had to get back to us­ing my brain so thought I’d try to build a bike,” says John. “I was look­ing for a low mileage spec­i­men and found this ex­am­ple which had 11,000 miles on the clock and was as tight as a nut.”

The Yamaha XS250 made a great base bike thanks to its de­cent en­gine. The bike is a 1978 model but it’s been fit­ted with the tank from a Suzuki GN125 which has been cut to fit the Yamaha’s frame. The seat was hand-fab­ri­cated and the al­loy side­pan­els have been en­graved. A pair of mega­phone pipes make a noise that be­lies the en­gine’s mod­est dis­place­ment. John also short­ened the sub­frame to sharpen up the stance and mod­ernise the lines. It took John a few years to com­plete the project but he’s re­ally pleased with what he’s achieved: “I like the end re­sult and it seems a lot of other peo­ple do too judg­ing by the at­ten­tion it gets when it’s parked up.”

The sharpest ever 1978 XS250?

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