Pancake Customs Hard Tail
By Gareth Charlton - 13 Oct 14
Whatever your line of work or hobby may be, the hardest thing to do is continually improve, to develop, to always better what you have previously done. Boy Janssen from Amsterdam chose to embark on a new career, hobby and lifestyle all at once when he built himself a motorcycle in his living room before he had even taken his test. Next he built a Honda CB750 from a donor that arrived in his newly acquired workshop in cardboard boxes. This beautiful XS650 bobber is his third build, it attests that Boy is a man who has mastered the art of never resting on his laurels. From the early days of his lounge based wrenching Boy branded his bike building enterprise as Pancake Customs, since then he has taken his skills and his company a long way, culminating in this bike and its appearance at MotoKouture's Belgium based Cosmic Nozems motorcycle show. Boy wanted to modify a Yamaha XS650 after being a long time admirer of its beauteous engine, he wanted a hard tail and he knew exactly how it should look. "Most hardtail XS650 choppers and bobbers use the same wheelbase and that's something I don't really like. It makes the bike look too short and high for my liking." The neglected project that Boy purchased as a donor had already received the hard tail treatment but it was of the short variety that he deplored, so out came the grinder. "I got my buddy at Tincan Customs to weld on another hard tail, one that's a little bit longer than usual." That stretched tail is core to the bikes image, Boy wanted it long and low, "Inspired by the salt flat racers, but for city use." With the frame complete the plan for the rest of the bike was to keep it minimalist, as clean and simple as possible, to showcase that engine and hard won stance. The rear wheel is the stock 18' rim but at the front a 21" wheel from an old DR350 was fitted, both are shod with Avon rubber. The forks are from a more recent XS650, they were rebuilt, shaved and lowered by 3". The engine top end was rebuilt along with the carbs before a permanent magnet alternator was installed along with solid state ignition. It now runs without a battery and can only be kicked into life. Any remaining "essential electrical spaghetti" was housed in the bespoke leather box that sits behind the engine. That nifty box, complete with buckles and lightening shaped cut outs, was crafted by Silvermachine, it also caters for a chain tensioner, essential for such a long set of links. The small peanut tank features a deep tunnel to maintain the machines low profile, it is finished to match the rear fender in glorious bare metal. That mudguard is Boy's favourite part of the bike, he found it at a swap meet and it fit the build perfectly, he fabricated the elegantly curved stays to hold it in place. A simple black sprung saddle and minimal lighting complete the bike. In true Bobber style this bike is as much about what is not there, as what is, and is all the more glorious for it. Next in Boy's workshop is a commissioned CB750F, clearly his developing builds are catching customers eyes as well. We look forward to seeing that next machine and adding it to Boy's ever improving Pancake Customs Bikeshed page.