What started as a normal bike project turned into an unplanned secret operation ending with a masterpiece of madness. Ryan Slater came home with a 1981 Yamaha XS650, which I assumed would go into the garage with everything else. However, this would not be a project, this became a mission. He wanted his new bike to be in the basement, so the building would be strictly confidential, details of the bike never talked of outside of construction until Ryan knocked on a stranger’s door.
Ryan had driven by this Metcalf landmark many times, but this time he would stop and ask for help. Luckily, Kyle Moody agreed to help him build a hard tail for his bike. Little did they know the bike building would go far beyond only a hard tail.
Kyle’s creativity and talent mixed with Ryan’s imagination and talent could only mean this bike would be nothing less than extraordinary. All of the metal work was hand forged and fabricated by Kyle. This includes the hard tail, kick stand, kick start, chain guard, handle bars, fender and a brass and copper side piece on both sides of the gas tank, etc.
The clutch lever and assembly, as well as the hand grips, were also custom built one off pieces for this bike. Many long nights were spent crafting all of these pieces. For example, the chain guard was a solid 10 hours of hand forging effort before it went to chrome plating. After much convincing, Ryan managed to buy the headlight, formerly an antique spotlight, from Kyle. The taillight, fabricated by Kyle, was completed with a hand blown yellow and clear glass lens by Gabriel at Springfield Hot Glass Studio in Springfield, MO. Ryan drove 3 hours for a gas tank he had to have, which he himself did the body work and paint. The frame was powder coated yellow with metallic flakes by CrossLink Powdercoating of KC and Jackson Plating in Kansas City, MO did the chrome plating. Bob Bonds’ pin striping accents the tank, headlight, fender and helmet. A leather seat tooled with the inscription of a design and the bikes name, crafted by Kyle, made the bike complete.