The X650 Storm™ is the newest conversion kit in the world for the 650 Yamaha. By agreement with my former company, Omar's, I could not produce another street tracker or a café kit for the 650. That left the 'sport custom' category. The new kit is based on Craig Vetter's X75 Triumph Hurricane from 1972. The Storm will piss off Hurricane owners...but they'll just have to deal with it. You have to admit the Hurricane is now an iconic motorcycle. Vetter did a sterling job in creating what was in 1972, a break through design. The Storm converts the look of 1977 to 1981 650 Specials and 650 Standards from 1974 to 1979.
The X650 Storm™ was not intended to be a dead-on copy of the Hurricane. The Hurricane had a small and impractical tank. Mine has about twice the capacity at about 3 gallons. The Hurricane rear lacked body mass with color to balance the tank. My kit balances front to rear with body work to achieve better overall visual harmony. Perhaps the best feature of the Hurricane was the swooped seat shape. That I used with relish because most body lines of the period tended to follow the frame lines.
The seat drops below the frame lines and is visually arresting. Although the fantastic seat looks long, I don't recommend two up. It is attached in the front with 6mm and ¼-20 bolts which may not be strong enough to support weight on the very rearward section.
The body parts come to you in white gelcoat--just sand, prime and paint--or you may opt for the orange gelcoat for an additional fee.
The tank is coated to be ethanol proof. The separate tank and tail are designed to look like a seamless one piece body but two smaller pieces keeps the shipping costs down.
I think you will enjoy the crowd attention the Storm will draw, the modest price and ease of installation.
I have seen blog mention that my tank and tail kit price is too high. I went through my cost structure again and discovered when I set up my original prices that my mark up was and is below standard industry pricing. My costs on every part is not cheap—especially the seat cover.
NOTE: The Storm kit can now again be ordered in orange gelcoat for $125 extra. This will save you money—no painting
Instant Storm Makeover
Tom Rosenberg from Union, KY ordered a Storm kit from me with a taillight and graphics (when I was making orange body parts). He received his Storm kit last Thursday and had it on the bike on Friday. He said, "It's great! I love it! I took it to a local charity ride and it was a hit".
He kindly sent these before/after photos so you can ponder whether you want new clothes for your old 650 too. (Just sayin')
|Tank and tail in white - new lower price||$859.00|
|Tank and tail in orange||add $100.00|
|Graphics installed and body polished
Glass from a mold is never perfect. I sand w/ 2000 w/d and polish with 3M Finesette II to make the surface glow. Once this is done I apply the graphics (a nasty job your painter will not be excited to do).
|Graphics, custom colors||add $40.00|
|Beauty plates (more info below)||$69.00|
|Side license plate holder||$79.00|
|Side license holder w/ 2 signals||$102.00|
|Side license holder w/ 4 signals||$120.00|
|Chrome/amber signals, set of 4||$36.00|
|Beach Storm front fender (more info)||$69.00|
|Low western bars||$39.00|
|Napoleon bar end mirror, in black||$49.00|
|Progressive 12 series shocks - black, 75-120 springs||$249.00|
|Storm exhaust||Ascot system from 650 Central
(209) 533-4346 (about $300)
New Cafe/Street Tracker side mount license plate holder
Here is a great way to clear a license plate off café or street tracker tail. This new license plate holder/signal mount attaches behind the upper left shock stud/bolt and a matching side signal mount attaches on right side. A cam action holder positions the plate parallel with the shock so it won't bang into your shock.
This side holder looks stupidly simple but is the result of months in R&D and a bunch of money! The final product is laser cut and jig welded. The license plate is held vertical so it wouldn't slice your leg when you threw a leg over. Of course this makes this an illegal plate presentation in some states. (As if the patrolman could read a motorcycle plate from his squad car anyway).
I send it to you in raw steel. That leaves it up to you what color to paint it and keeps your cost down because I don't have include the cost of paint or a coating.
I made it to fit 650 Yamahas but there is no reason why it wouldn't fit other bikes. The mounting hole for the 650 shock stud is 14mm. If your bike uses a smaller diameter bolt/stud, just weld on a fender washer to shrink the 14mm hole. Conversely hog the hole wider as needed.
This is what you see from bike's rear. I have these pink frames if anybody is brave enough--5 bucks.
Below is a picture story of product development
The tail design uses the stock rear fender and taillight. This saves too because I don't have to include a taillight into the design or price. Another thing that will save you a ton of money is the fact that I make the body parts in orange. You won't have to spend 400 bucks on a paint job. I will make the body parts in white for those of you who want to do a custom paint job. I will have a graphics kit which give a professional, finished look to your conversion.
You should be able to install the entire body on a Saturday. You pull off the stock tank, seat and sissy bar. You'll be cutting off some seat rail tabs but the rear loop stays. Once you've sprayed your cuts in black you just slap the body on and hook up the fuel lines. I'll supply the petcocks and gas cap. By Sunday you should be riding.
The photo on the right shows my progress at week 8. The parts have been sanded to 2000 grit and polished to a glass-like luster. The next step is to take them to the glass guy for molds to be built. As of 7/26 the molds have been finished. Now I have to make the tank bottom and work out the graphics kit.
If you would like to get on my 'Up Date' list, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
It's week 9, and the tank top and tail fender molds are done. Next I have to make the tank bottom, seat base molds and mold for the seat foam. I am cheating a bit by painting the inside of the wheels and hubs orange but I think this touch of color will add to what basically is a body dropped on a stock bike.
Most of you will do custom changes beyond what you will see on my showcase bike. My showcase bike will show the basic conversion without many deviations, the kind of bike most of you will build. This basic approach will also show how radical a stock bike can be changed with just a new body on it.
Since I showed the last photos I have been waiting for parts to come out of the mold. That has happened. I am pleased with the overall look but I have to rework the molds. It seems that fiberglass suppliers are not used to precision molded parts. The gap between tank and tail has to be tightened up so both pieces look like a one piece body.
The bodywork is spartan because I have no graphics to define the lines and give the bike a finished OEM look. You can see the swoopy lines for the seat-the seat is really going to help this kit. What with reworking the molds and the other things I need to do-I know the finished kit is some months off. If you put me on the rack, I'd guess December-January.
9/12/12. Today for the first time the new seat is shown on the Storm body. The remaining element needed is the graphics which will be done in two grays-one dark, the other light. Once graphics are done I will have studio photos done for the formal product introduction.
10/1/12. I think this project to develop this Storm conversion kit for 650 Yamahas has taken one year. There are so many little and big pieces to jiggle to make a completed whole. Now for the first time you can get how this kit will look.
You see it with body on, the seat in place, the exhaust system on and a small idea of the graphics we have chosen in two metallic grays. I should have a professional photos to show you here about the end of October.
Before the official product introduction I want to have kits in stock so when you call, I can ship the week you order. I have always been behind so maybe this is wishful thinking but it is my goal. I'll talk at you later when I have more to show.
The section of a Yamaha 650 frame where the foot pegs and axle are located is an eye-sore on all 650 models. I developed Ugly plates for the Omar street tracker way back when but these are different and totally dedicated to the Storm kit. It won't work with a stock bike or any other kind of 650 custom.
The top portion is bent out then in to meet with the bottom edge of the Storm tail piece. Now this is just a prototype. If you don't like it or wish changes, let me know now at email@example.com.
This fender has been requested by Tom Brattskar, my European distributor. He has found it very difficult to find a pristine stock front fender over there for the X650 Storm he is building. He knew that I am going to introduce a new Yamaha 650 kit, the Beach Storm in the winter of 2013/14 and he wanted the fender from that 2014 kit early for his X650 Storm. Here is a peek at it in a pre-mold stage.