‘I needed to use my brain after a stroke’
John Connor’s XS helped him recover
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?