Yamaha Maxim Transformed

Yamaha Maxim bobber from Designs in Cold Steel

Yamaha Maxim bobber from Designs in Cold Steel

The Yamaha MaximThe economy is slow, you really want a new or custom motorcycle but you're short on cash, well, how about investing some time instead? Chris Tschiffely, along with his brother and dad, went to work on an old $300 Yamaha Maxim and turned it into the bike you see here. In my New Year's post I said, "Do you have an interesting bike? Tell us about it and it might become a Reader's Rides feature." The next day I got a note from Chris that said he had something we might like to check out. A few details got my attention and I asked for the whole story. Here is what he sent back and I have to say, I like it, a lot.

Yamaha Bobber from Designs in Cold Steel

Yamaha Bobber from Designs in Cold Steel

Here's what Chris told me:

The bike started out as a $300 1982 Yamaha Maxim 650, or XJ 650. We originally bought it with the intention of making it a mildly bobbed and chopped daily commuter bike for me, simply a different seat, handlebars and head and tail lights were planned. We never intended to invest too much time or money in it..

So, out came the tools to strip down the body pieces, seat, and electrics enough to chop the rear tail section. After I saw the back end shorter and lighter, I really began to dislike the looks of the stock, tear drop gas tank and after encountering a bird's nest of wires in the headlight, something had to be done to lighten the look of the front end.

Yamaha Bobber from Designs in Cold Steel

Yamaha Bobber detail closeup

We just happen to have picked up this really sweet Moto Guzzi gas tank at a local salvage yard for 60 bucks about a year before. It was rust and dent free but was with out a gas cap. I knew this tank would look awesome and would fit the mental sketch I had drawn, however due to the triple tube backbone of the stock frame, this awesome little cafe tank wouldn't work without some considerable frame work. So after converting the backbone to a larger diameter single tube, and connecting it to the front down tubes for reinforcement, the tank bolted up with its new mounting tabs.

Moto Guzzi tank and custom filler cap

Moto Guzzi tank and custom filler cap

The next step was to get rid of the ridiculous stock turn back handlebars, so we chopped them up and made our own clubman style bars to fit the factory top mounts. We ended up using a brake lever/master cylinder and clutch lever off of a mid 90's GSXR, and the new twist throttle from a Honda CR 125 MX bike. This gave us the clean, bare bones look we were after.

As each my ideas were slowly coming to form exactly what I had envisioned, I could see that the project was really straying from the original quick chop idea.. I didn't want to hold back anymore.. So mock-up and fabrication of the rear fender, seat and tail light followed..

This is when the bike really began to take shape, and many new parts including rear shocks, front fork seals, engine gaskets, exhaust system, tires, air filters and jets were ordered.. At the time, my brother Josh was working at a machine shop, and off the clock he was working on many one-off custom pieces such as the very unique billet gas cap, starter button, frame tube plug, foot peg mounts and bolts, a really slick license plate bracket.

I created a custom wiring harness to slim down the look, and hid the battery, starter relay, and fuse panel inside our own custom oil tank look alike. This was definitely the least enjoyable part of the entire project.

I knew from the beginning I wanted a paint job that mixed styles, era's and emotions. I really wanted a Hot Rod on 2 wheels, so I chose a Porsche red as the primary color, with a pearl white and my dads custom mixed gold/titanium color as an accent..

After assembly the bike fired up on the first try (with rebuilt carbs), and after some basic hand carb tuning (no vacuum sync guage for me) it ran like a bat outta hell. The sound coming out of the 650cc 4 cylinder was absolutely heavenly..

We couldn't have been more pleased with the way the bike turned out, and after a few car shows with it, we now have 1 customer bike in the works with high aspirations for more..

The proud builders

The proud builders


Great job guys! This is exactly the kind of build I like to point out because it shows what you can accomplish when you decide to get to work and do something. This bike is unique, it didn't cost a fortune to build, it reflects very well on the skills of the builders, what's not to like? Chris goes on to say, "We are trying to start our own custom bike/fabrication
business here in Westminster, Colorado and call it Designs in Cold Steel." Well Chris, if this is any indication of the kind of work your shop can turn out, you've got an excellent start.


  1. Joe says

    westminster eh? Let us know when you all get started so we can drop by the shop. I like the look a lot and the idea even more. Its every craigslist-surfer’s dream.

  2. BoilerUp! says

    Wow! Great work! I like how they hid the turn signals in the back of the frame tubes. I really like the battery in the “oil tank” idea. A real inspiration.

  3. Chris @ Designs in Cold Steel says

    Thanks for all your compliments! It was a real joy to build this bike, and even more so to ride and show! We’re working on a website now, and we’ll surely keep everyone posted on our progress!


  4. Tin Man 2 says

    Nice Build, There are thousands of these UJMs out there, With a little more fender this would make a great commuter/daily rider!! Very Stylish, Quick and low cost, Got to love it!! Ive got 2 bone yards within 50 miles and they have parts for all the old Imports, except control levers. Why every company had a different lever is beyond me, I spend more time searching for, or repairing levers than most anything else for these old gals.

  5. dresden says

    That’s awesome. I loooooooooooove early 80’s Yamahas and Hondas, so it’s always a thrill to see when someone has done something extra special with one. I have an 82 XV750 that I may eventually try some of this with. She runs great, but there are a few things I’d like to change.

  6. Paulinator says

    The more I look at the pictures – the more I like what you’ve done. My only hold-out is the turbine mags. Cover them with dishes and the transformation (for me) is complete.

    I bet the value of ugly old jap bikes everywhere just went up 20%.

  7. powermatic says

    Very nice-love the look, and the attention to detail. Very, very clean bike, a job (very) well done.

    One question-pillion pegs??

  8. todd says

    Great job. I recently picked up a free XJ650 Seca. Pretty much the same bike but without the Japanese cruiser styling of the Maxim. I’ve only just begun on mine (not sure how far I want to get into it) and it runs excellent and has great, smooth power.

    I like the bronze wheel treatment. I have been thinking of doing the exact same thing on mine after I saw the new Yamaha FZ1 with its bronze wheels.

    I wish you guys the best of luck.


  9. Chris @ Designs in Cold Steel says

    Thanks everyone, it makes me happy to hear this bike is being taken well, considering the overall design and color choices were chosen for my liking and mine alone…

    Answering “powermatic”s question; I dont know what pillion pegs are, but these are just sport bike pegs, I think for a kawi if i remember correctly.. For the front My brother Josh spun the thread and most of the head off of a couple socket head bolts, making smooth kotter key pins, and shimmed either side of the peg with an o-ring, making a dampened, smooth swinging action, actually nice than stockers.. On the back pegs he milled two pieces of aluminum, with a flat side and a single radius, then again shimmed them with o-rings, allowing the peg to swing upward and stay put when not in use, but won’t allow the peg to drop lower than 180 degrees, just like stock. They looked and worked perfect.. One of the many small things on the bike that really made it unique and rider friendly… (And yes, the girlfriend actually rode on the back a couple times… sorry clearcoat)

  10. powermatic says

    ‘Pillion’ is Brit for ‘passenger’, so when you say “the girlfriend actually rode on the back a couple times” you’ve answered my question-though I’m a little amazed.

  11. PaulN says

    OMFG, that is amazing! I was seriously thinking of selling my 1983 Virago 920 and picking up something newer, but now I’m inspired! You answered a lot of the questions crawling around in my head, like ‘how do I upgrade these crappy front brakes?’ Great build.

  12. FREEMAN says

    Great custom. I’m really digging the clean look. This is how clean all bikes should be.

  13. says

    having hated the ‘coffee grinder’ wheels for years, they’re finally old enough to be a bit cool. Unlike the 5-star Suzuki ones, which indeed should be covered up (in case anyone repeats this project with that old GS in the back of the garage).

  14. Emmet says

    +1 on the reader’s ride section, I’m addicted to reading up on owner’s build threads but it takes so long to go through the dozens of thread pages and comments to see their progress.

  15. joe says

    Amazing ! Its back to the future ! Seems like people have rediscoverd what guys where doing back in the fifties and sixties before the credit card was invented.

  16. says

    I’ve built several Seca based bikes and worked on them in a Yamaha shop during their entire build run. They are a great bike and relaible as hell! Chris has done a fantastic job here and it’s a good example of thinking outside the box and building a unique and classy custom out of a bike that’s usually never customized to this extent. Damn! Wish I’d done it! Great job and it’s not overdone either. Oh yea. And I’m always a sucker for all red bikes.

  17. Bob Nedoma says

    ‘coffee grinder’ wheels? [do uglier thigns exist?]
    Wire wheels, single disc (fw), shaft drive => like
    ‘coffee grinder’ wheels => don’t like.
    Nice bike, [but] too many cylinders.!!!
    Great job Chris. I hope you ride it a lot.

  18. Scotduke says

    That’s pretty good work – a practical bobber. The XJ engine is strong and durable and with a shaft drive it’s also easy to live with. What I like about this bike is that it’s relatively simple and unfussy, a huge improvement on the original visually but it looks as if it’d be easy to live with too – a bobber you could actually use to ride to work on as well as cruise with. For Europe you would need a front mudguard (fender) to pass road safety checks and you could probably do with something more substantial at the rear to keep water spraying up your back on rainy days too. The seat pad looks a little thin and you’d want something a bit more substantial if you were going to ride it any distance, which it looks as if it could do quite easily otherwise and some riders wouold want to clock miles on this. All round though, it’s a good use of a practical but otherwise boring and unsightly UJM. I expect the builders will get quite a few customers wanting similar bikes.

  19. Scotduke says

    Just to make it clear, I meant that the stock bike these guys started with was boring and unsightly. What they’ve turned it into is tasteful and yes, I’d have one of these. Seeing this has given me some ideas actually.

  20. says

    great bike.
    love the rear section, tank and paintjob!

    about the blog “load lightnings”

    it used to be the blog of motoyan from japan
    i think it still is…


  21. kneeslider says

    @ lenny bubblevisor: Looks like you’re right, that was just a writeup elsewhere he was pointing out.

  22. David/cigarrz says

    These bikes simply are the future look of customs and are well within the reach of anyone. They meet the criteria that all successful hot rods and customs have set. Abundant, cheap and powerful engines. Styling that is visceral and imaginative. Talent and skill trumps money and catalogs.

  23. says

    Wow, what an awesome-looking bike! It totally doesn’t fit the bobber stereotype either. I see a lot of tracker and streetfighter in there as well. Very nicely done. I love it =)

  24. says

    Wow I came by the site to get ideas for tonights show and this came up. I have been thinking of buying an older metric bike myself to start working on with my sons. I used to own a 78 650 Twin Yamaha so seeing this early 80’s Yamaha done this way has inspiered me. I will talk about it on Hog Radio tonight and get people to come by to see your work.

    Keep up the great work.

    The Producer

  25. Swagger says

    Fan-Friggin’-Tastic! It’s really all been said; clean, uncluttered, visually dynamic while still maintaining some utility (i.e: Not a hard tail). As a huge fan of the XS series of yamahas I’ve been able to deduce that there are other wheel options out there should one be so inclined. If my (personally unconfirmed) info is correct XS750/850 alloy wheels will interchange with that chassis. They are 7 spoke and are 19″ up front and either 17 or 18″ rear. Spoked wheels can be had for that chassis as well.
    Another mod that may or may not be of interest, since this appears to be a shot run, blast around bike rather than one to pull long miles on…….a pumpkin swap can be made to allow for limited gearing choices. I know that the XS1100 final drive is much quicker than the XS750/850. I keep one of each depending on what I will be doing with my 850 hotrod that’s in process. I am fairly certain that some of the other yamaha shafties with yield different gear ratios as well and should be pretty simple to swap in.

    Neat bike!

  26. John Ferguson says

    Youz guyz iz right!

    We only intended for this to be a short hopper for “stylin” around town on, and it certainly drew a lot of attention wherever Chris road it. I took it out one afternoon and ran up to a red light next to a EVO based chopper. The dude on the chopper looked down his nose at me and motored away under full power. I ran tough 1st gear under half throttle, snap shifted into 2nd. and blew by him as if he were anchored to the pavement. At the next light he would not pull up next to me! What a BLAST!! You are right about the seat, but on the short hops we were looking for attitude not comfort.

  27. Chris @ Designs in Cold Steel says

    davidabl —

    Time… Yes lots of time, imagination, grinding discs, cut off wheels, CO2 and welding rod. However the money part is MUCH MUCH less than you would guess.. That’s a big part of why this bike was so impressive after completion..

  28. Chris @ Designs in Cold Steel says

    To the comments on the wheels:

    To be honest, I didnt really like them to start with either.. But after picking the final colors and painting the wheels, I really thought they looked unique.. Honestly I’ve had a few people ask me what kind of wheels they were, were I got the wheels, are those billet wheels; etc.
    Throughout the build, I was loving the idea of the 7 spoke xs850 wheels, due to the street tracker/road racer style, but after getting the bike together I think the wheels helped the bike step out of that “classifcation” of one particular style… Exactly what I wanted..
    I agree, spokes or maybe some Virago 5 spokes would look nice as well, but Im happy with the way it turned out.

  29. Scotduke says

    John – the thing about this bobber tho is that with a softer seat pad, you could ride it for 100 miles, while the trustworthy Yamaha mechanicals mean you could ride it to work every day too. That’s one of the reasons it stands out from the usual crowd of eye-catching but impractical bikes with ergonomics better suited to an orangutan than a human. This scores in both the form and function stakes.

  30. Matt S. says

    It always amazes me the ways people come up with to be original and different.Great job turnning an ugly duckling in to a swan!

  31. Paulinator says

    @ John Ferguson – I know the type. I’m pretty sure we all do.

    Thx man, YOUR COOL!!!

    …and I’m also chuckling bedcause your build probably cost less $$$ than his forward controls – after he paid a shop to install ’em.

  32. John Ferguson says


    Just to let you know, Chris and I had less than $4000.00 in this build. ( That’s parts and labor only.) Much better than paying someone $15000.00 to $20000.00 for something that doesn’t reflect your own personnal tastes. Plus there are huge amounts of personnal pride when someone asks you who built it and you reply; We did! There isn’t one thing on this bike that we didn’t do in our garage shop. The bike has since been sold to a custom bike enthusiast in Evergreen Colo. who owns several award winning customs, and says that this is his favorite bike to ride.


  33. Josh @ J-Tech I.M. says

    Nice bike boys,
    I look foward to helping the next build into the world. For more pics of J-Tech I.M. Fabrication on this Maxim 650 or other projects hit me up on Face Book. Key in Jtechim@gmail.com

  34. LShea says

    Love the bike you guys really did take the best things on the bike and changed the rest. Looks great! Love the way the tank looks perfect per portions, which Moto Guzzi model was it from? So whats next for you guys? Gunna start a bike from scratch or do another bike like this one.

  35. Chris @ Designs in Cold Steel says

    We aren’t sure which guzzi, we bought it simply because it was cool looking, and someone later told us it was a guzzi tank..

    As far as other projects, we’re currently doing a moderate build for a customer using his late 70’s Honda twin, we have a cool little street fighter/bobber buell in the works as well..
    I hope to start the bike I’ve been dreaming up for the past year.. Once we make some space to build a JIG, we’ll bend the frame and do some other real trick pieces.. I won’t go into any details, all I will say is we’ll be sure to send it here for everyone to see..

    • jack says

      Hi everyone I just find out whats tank is it.
      It is coming from seventies european moped peugeot tsa.

  36. Nelson Proaño says

    GUAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU, beautifol moto, hasta ahi mi english, te felicito friend, es hermosa la yamaha, te escribo desde ECUADOR, beautiful country, and litle banana republic, pero aca no hay repuestos para hacer cosas como esta mandame mas fotos y otros works tuyos en other motos ok, un abrazo

    See you later aligator

  37. Chris @ Designs in Cold Steel says

    Muchas Gracias Nelson Proano!

    Dame tu dirrecion para email, y si claromente yo puedo mandarte unos photos de este moto y nuestros otros!

    Hasta luego amigo,

  38. says

    I own the predecessor to the bike they chopped up to make this thing. The XJ1100 is a beautiful bike in it’s stock configuration, and very easy to adjust to make it comfortable. The main thing that scares me about this configuration is the reduction in braking power! Single front disk, and a rear drum?? That’s the setup for a 650, not an 1100. Way too little brakes for this much weight. I am glad they kept the swirly mag wheels of the XJ though. At least it retains a little of it’s original look that way.

  39. Paul Yak says

    Nice to see some ordinary bikers make a bike that has such clean lines. The simplicity of this design really suits the engine/chassis etc.

    I’ve got to admit, I instantly began looking for a similar bike to work on over the next few months for myself. I have always liked very simple/clean designs. Too many designers go overboard and make the bike look heavy and technical.

    As we say in Britain, “One man’s meat is another man’s Poison”.

    Well Done Guys!

  40. lostboy1 says

    love this bike…building and owning a cool bike just got a hell of a lot cheaper
    will be looking at old jappers in a whole new light now

  41. John @ designsincoldsteel says

    Thanks for the nice comments guys,

    The whole idea of this build was to keep the bike bare-bones. I have always liked the compact nature of this engine and wanted to make it the focal point of the bike. From the comments that we have received we seem to have hit the mark! I know that it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but no build ever is. So we will take what we get and move on to the next project. As far as the front brake issue on an 1100 I’m fairly sure that there is an easy swap for this, just get creative and think outside of the box!

    John at:

  42. Brian says

    WOW! I guess I need to bust out the tools and do some work on my xs1100! Your bike rocks! What rear shocks did you use? How about a pic of the front? What do you have for a headlight?

  43. Punes Tepist says


    What can I say? I’m looking for a Maxim already! :)
    Well done guys! Absolutely stunning!

    I wanted to ask the same question as Brian.
    What rear shocks did you use?

  44. yes!havesome says

    I started a chop job on my 81 XJ650 a few years ago, I knew these things could look cool if they were cleaned up, but then I discovered the rats nest of wires in the headlight. I tried my hand at rewiring but couldn’t get it quite right, do you have a diagram for the wiring you did on this bike?

  45. John @ designsincoldsteel says


    The answer is yes! My son who was the proud owner of this bike has it somewhere in his birds nest of a bedroom! I will have him search it out this weekend if he shows up.
    Stay tuned!

    John at

  46. John @ designsincoldsteel says


    Somewhere in Chris’ bedroom he has a schematic for this bike. I will have him search it out this weekend and post here with a link.

    John at

  47. Michel says

    Beaucoup d’idées, de savoir adapter pour parvenir à un resultat simple et de bon gout. les couleurs vont parfaitement avec cette réalisation.
    Revanche de l’esprit sur l’argent.

  48. John @ designsincoldsteel says


    The shocks are new pieces for upgrading those small Chinese imported motocross bikes. Can’t find the link for them as my laptop had a imbedded virus that wouldn’t allow me to log on to it. Have since bought a new laptop but unfortunately lost all the info off that laptop. When I originally found them I Googled … Mono Shocks/Chinese Motocross. Might take a bit of time to find them, but they offer several styles averaging $30.00 to about $50.00 a piece.


    p.s. If anyone has a project using any of the Maxim’s/Seca’s or other 4 cyl. Yamahas I would be very interested in seeing them.

  49. Jose says

    Actually I have a yamaha radian 600 1986 and I am trying o do something similar to your maxim. I will send you pictures once I start the cutting process. I really liked your project.

    Thank you.

  50. John @ designsincoldsteel says


    Looking forward to see what you have in mind. Keep us posted as your build progresses!

    John @ DesignsInColdSteel

  51. Mark says

    Absolutely stunning. I have returned to this page again and again just to enjoy the beauty of this bike. I am not in any way skilled to do a job like that, nor do I have a workshop, but you guys have inspired me to find something similar and work on my own bike. I’ll probably have to do it in the kitchen!

    I don’t understand why bike manufacturers still come up with such ugly bikes when such stunning designs can be made by ordinary bikers. Total respect to the guys who did this, it must have been heartbreaking to sell it because I would never want to let it go!

  52. Terry Neumaster says

    That is the only bobbed cafe racer I have every seen that I liked. I have looked at several. I am impressed and inspired at the same time. You are a true artist of metal.


  53. darren hales says

    hi i own a yamaha maxim 650 82 and im also thinking about cutting the back down i have a question on the shock absorber when you remove the strength rail [the bit where it has the helmet holder and release the seat] did you just mount the shock back where it was and just used spacers to replace where the strength rail was or did you modify the top shock mount as without the rail it seams to me a bit weak to rely on a single bolt tread to put up with bumpy roads by the way nice bike im hoping mine will look great like yours one day so as much advice wont hurt please thank you

  54. GI Joe says

    John/Brian. I join everyone else in saying: AMAZING, inspiring job. Tasteful and well executed for pennies on the dollar. Like Brian, I have a SX1100 that needs a second life like this one. I’d like a beefier modern fork that will fit with no neck modifications so I can just put some clips on and go. If some YZF forks will fit I can probably find them cheap on Craig’s list. What straight swap do you think will fit on these?

  55. mike f says

    in a world of “more expensive” is better this bike is a huge breath of fresh air…i would ride her with pride..only one and using a nice solid power plant that doesnt need a download just to tinker with…in 30 years of riding this is one of my all time faves..thanks

  56. R. Griff says

    I love the simplicity and budget. Just pick up a 82 XJ750 for $500. Trying my hand at making it unique. What tires did you use???? I like the tread pattern and this bike because of the 16 inch rear limits the choices. thanks for friending me on FB. I like all the pictures of the bike that you posted. got any more. one last thing my bike had air over oil front end. Did yours? did you keep it or swap out a different fork?

  57. Chris @ Designs in Cold Steel says

    @ R. Griff- Yes the bike had the air front end as well! We utilized it and lowered the front end by simply sliding the tubes up through the top clamp.

  58. rick falstreau says

    your bike inspired me to do something to mine. your ideas all around are awsome and hard not to mimic if the cration of mine. i hope you can understand and i will send you a picher soon. thank, awsome job

  59. John @ designsincoldsteel says


    Knock yourself out! The idea of our builds is to inspire others to think outside of the box and get away from the cookie cutter bikes of the last 10 to 15 years! You don’t need a Harley based bike to have something cool, just a lot of imagination and the willingness to take a chance and challenge your abilities. After building several bikes I’m not really interested in Harleys anymore, they are just to common for me and offer no particular challenge. I would much rather take a bike that most would see no promise in and create something most unusual. Lately we have been experimenting with classic 2-strokes and have about 6 in our shop in several stages of disassembly. Thinking on the order of a custom cafe bike of some sort. Hope to post Chris’ Moms bike soon. A very low budget CM400 Honda bobber

    Stay tuned
    John at: deignsincoldsteel@yahoo.com

  60. says

    hello I congratulate bikers as good creations and ask them to look for alluden I get the four carburetors and a regulator 750 maxim that where I live and not get the parts I have family in california think that Angelos half of them provide me with the payment of replacement parts and shipping if I can I thank you in advance alludar expect your prompt response …
    Proponer una traducción mejor

  61. Fabio Andres Tascon Nuñez says

    Su moto es de lo lo mejor en lo que aqui en colombia le llamamos custizar una motocicleta ,uoffffffffffffffffffffffffff es de locos esa moto felicitaciones a todas las personas que tuvieron que ver con la trasformacion de ese maquina demencial.Esto es motivante para realizar a futuro mi motocicleta que tanto la e soñado y su moto concuerda con las caracteristicas como siempre yo me la imaginado. enjoy your beast !

  62. chris waite says

    Hi from Australia,

    Was just searching on the web for flat trackers and a link to your project came up. Thats one of the best bikes i have ever seen. I might be in Denver late 2011. wouldn’t mind checking your bikes out. Definately want that one. We have a company in Aus called Deus -Ex Machina your bike is very reminiscent of those bikes……Damn awesome…….
    Wish i had the skill to build one……..

  63. John @ designsincoldsteel says


    Always wanted to visit Australia. My oldest son Josh, who made our gas cap and several other bits on this bike, was a pit crew member on a ChampCar team that raced at Surfers Paradise every year until they merged with IndyCar a few years back. But honestlly it takes more commitment than skill to tackle a build such as this. Yes, you need a clear vision of the end product before you start but it is not as difficult as one might think. Just find a cheap starter bike ( it does not matter what style, bobber, chopper, steertfighter, sportbike or even an everyday commuter), just make it your own,and jump into the deep end! If you come to Denver send us and e-mail and the hospitality mat will be rolled out.

    John Ferguson
    Chris Tschiffely

  64. Jesse Agnew says

    I love the artical about the Yamaha Maxma Transformed. I have a 83 Yamaha 650R and its bone stock, and that is what i want to do to mine. Do you know where i can get a build sheet of that bike. Thank You for your time Jesse Agnew

  65. John @ designsincoldsteel says


    Tell me what you want to know? Most everything on the bike is either modified stock pieces or one-off built. Obvious pieces like controls, pegs, air filters are easy enough to get at any performance bike shop and can be tailored to your specific tastes. If you send me your e-mail address I can send you some pics of the bare frame and other stages of the build that will give you a general idea of the build and give a jump point to start!

    Good Luck!
    John Ferguson

  66. Carlos Lopez says

    Hello guys, I just want to say thanks for inspire me with this amazing job, it’s just perfect,
    I love every detail and I wouldn’t change anything about this bike, te escribo desde Mexico, and i saw you writing in spanish and a bit of french thats nice bro, I’m gonna start a project like yours and I would like to more pics of your works this is my email csjaguar7@gmail.com thanks guys and I wish you the best luck…

    Carlos Lopez a big fan from MEXICO…

  67. kevin says

    just bouhgt 2 650s 81&82 was searching for info and run across this inspiring bike .i have started my on build .will up date u ,have a? where did u get a battery that fits in the oil tank or did i miss read ,thanks for the insperation . keep the shiny side up

  68. Frédéric says

    Votre réalisation est Absolument magnifique.
    Une source d’inspiration pour redonner vie à une moto des années 80.
    Pourriez vous m’envoyer quelques photos du châssis nu et des étapes de la construction ?
    Mon adresse mail : vieux-boulons@hotmail.fr
    bonne continuation.

  69. John @ designsincoldsteel says

    It is a nickel ferrous battery from Maviryk 260 cranking amps $160,00

    • Pitt says

      Hi john
      I am very interested in your project of your yamaha maxim
      I have a picture of your installation and electronics baterry
      thank you in advance

  70. Brian says

    Dude, I have been a huge Yamaha fan for decades, been riding R1’s for a long time….because I like to ride a bike that way – lol!! I would ditch them all for your bike. I love the Yami colors, what you have done to the frame. The lines on this thing are freakin crazy! It looks like it could be a production bike from an alternate reality. You took (per me) a really dorky bike and made a modern masterpiece. I think you should send this over to Yamaha and have them start pumpin these off the line!! Well done brother!! I hope your business does well, get a website up and start pushin this stuff out!! You have fans man!!!

    • John @ designsincoldsteel says

      Thanks for the props. Been a tough year financially but we are still making progress as far as opening a shop. As of now we have about a half dozen shop projects that we are working on, most at no profit so that we can show potential customers what we are capable of. Not actively looking to do choppers as I feel that interest is declining and leaning more towards stripped down bobbers, bar hoppers and custom cafe racers; but will build whatever a customer wants. Not really interested in using a purchased aftermarket frame but modifying and using the original pieces of of the bikes the customer brings in. With some imagination there is a lot that can be done with the factory pieces. Also just finishing up a frame jig so that we can experiment with some new designs that we have in mind. Trying to find a trade for a 550, 650, 750 or 900 maxim/seca as I have an affinity for these motors, they are extremely smooth and are one of the most compact and esthetically pleasing motors ever produced. If one looks at more than the obvious flaws in most early factory machines you can build something desirable out of most any bike. Keep in touch and feel free to e-mail us directly.

      John Ferguson
      Chris Tschiffely at

  71. MattTheHat says

    I’ve been wanting to do something like this for years. The pics of your bike have given me the motivation to get off my butt and do it. Awesome work!


  72. Jesse says

    So how did you guys construct the seat? And is the tail a shaped piece of metal welded onto the frame? I really like the styling of it, the curve upward is a nice change from always seeing the tail curving down. The tank and the tail really make the bike in my opinion…I can only hope to make something as beautiful some day!

  73. John @ designsincoldsteel says


    The tail is a piece of 16ga. that was slip rolled and then welded to the seat rails. Took some considerable massaging but was well worth the effort. Thanks. Stay tuned for a neat TL1000S that is running but not completely finished yet, about another 3 weeks.

    John at:

  74. Greg Thompson says

    Sweet bike!! and right down the road from me in Colorado.
    For those of us like me with no fab or building skills, how much would a build from you for something like that run?

    Also: at 6’6 would it be way to small?

    • John @ designsincoldsteel says


      At 6’6″ your almost to tall for any bike. Saying that though you can tailor any bike to fit your dimensions. Money is the only limit, so have at it!!

      Designs in Cold Steel

  75. Nick says

    That’s an awesome looking bike, lookin to do something silmilar with my XJ650. I was wondering what size tires those are, they look beefier than stock. Also did you powdercoat the engine or is that just regular engine paint?

  76. says

    Nice bike Nick. I like that you made use of many of the stock components but still displayed originality in the build. Shows what can be done on a budget using your imagination!