TC Bros. Featured Customer Ride - Jon Helm

TC Bros. Customer Rides – a series dedicated to the fabrication ingenuity and creativity of our customers and featuring their rides they've shared with us.

Sent to us from Jon Helm of St. Cloud, Minnesota.

In his own words:

My 1977 Yamaha XS650 Bobber

My best friend Troy Roelofs was building an SR500 Street Tracker and was looking for an XS650 rear frame loop - knowing my Dad had an old XS650 basket case got my wheels turning. I figured I would get that from my Dad, give Troy the rear frame loop and have the perfect excuse to make an XS chopper! After getting the whole thing home it was soon discovered the motor was stuck and in otherwise rough condition from being outside for some time in a previous life. At this point I was committed to building the bike I had in my head so I started the search for another donor bike or at least a motor. I got a text one day from my friend Tom suggesting I contact a friend Jake, who now had the XS that my friend Gary previous owned, that bought it from my friend Greg that got it from my friend Josh... it had been around. I got a hold of Jake and we each drove a couple of hours to do the deal.

I started in on the donor bike pretty much right away, getting it down to the frame the same day it came home.I had decided early on to run the TC Bros. hardtail, there just simply isn't a better looking option out there for XS's in my opinion. Soon the hardtail arrived and after measuring a few dozen times, and then once more, the frame was cut and new hardtail tacked in. From there it became a roller pretty quickly. I shaved the front forks and lowered the front end 2" via the Hugh's Handbuilt lowering kit. Swap meet risers were matched to a set of old 1" bars I got from my friend Donnie that passed away a couple of years ago. Donnie was a hell of a guy and a true "biker" from the old school. After narrowing the bars a few inches inches they fit just right. Donnie's wife saw a picture of them on the bike, not knowing they were his, and commented that he had a pair just like that on a Super Glide and loved them. That certainly helped solidify the decision to run those bars! The tank is a Frisco style Sporty tank I got from MPLS Cycle Supply. I had really been building the bike around the idea I had for a seat. I wanted a king queen seat but not really your typical king queen seat. After doing a little bit of research I pretty quickly determined it would be best if I just made the seat pan myself. So I did and  got a hold of a local upholstery guy named Auggie Pruesser. I brought him the pan, gave him the best description of what I wanted and left it in his hands. Needless to say, he nailed it! It came out even better than I could have imagined.

The paint was done by my friend Mike Stodolka. He had previously painted another of my bikes and I knew that he was the guy for the job, even though I didn't know what I wanted yet. With the last bike that Mike painted for me I gave him a very general idea of what I was looking for and let him work out the details, in this case I gave him even less to go with. As I recall it my only instructions were the confines of my budget and that I didn't want bright yellow. To no real surprise he nailed it! The detail is phenomenal, lines are crisp as can be and there's even a slight flake in the black that jumps out at you on a sunny day.

This bike was a lot of fun to build and a really great experience for me. I've been riding motorcycles since I was a kid so of course there is a long list of different bikes I want to own and this one was pretty close to the top. I had a very specific idea in my head and am very happy with the results. Of course it couldn't have been done without all the friends that contributed their time and talents, and for my incredibly patient wife. I started this build when we were engaged and finished it shortly after we were married. If ever there were a test for the strength of a relationship building a motorcycle and trying to plan a wedding at the same time may be it... I don't recommend it.

I got the PMA kit, electronics tank, hardtail kit, brake anchor rod, brake light switch, rectifier, starter block off plate, cables and various seals, gaskets, etc.  from TC Bros.

Also, a huge thanks to companies like TC Bros. and Hugh's Hand built. If it weren't for companies like TC and Hugh's guys like me wouldn't be able to build bikes like this. TC's availability and range of parts is huge and the quality of Hugh's parts as well as the knowledge he brings to the XS world is beyond compare. 

Thanks again for featuring my bike!

Jon Helm

On behalf of TC Bros. Nation… Thank you, Jon!!!

~ Tyler and Tim

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Send us an email to with some GREAT pics of your masterpiece. [NOTE: >>> the higher quality of the image resolution, the better your bike will look!] Thx.

Please include:

1. Your name, hometown and email address.

2. Make, model, year - technical details and specs.

3. What TC Bros. parts you used.

4. Any and all personal notes about yourself and the build that you feel will add to the enjoyment and experience. Where you grew up, who introduced you to and how you got into motos, your first bike, your inspirations, your favorite ride in your neck of the woods and why… interesting personal thoughts and feelings you experienced during the build, etc., etc. - Essentially a slice of your world. You get the idea… have fun with it!!!

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Tyler and Tim Cobb | The TC Brothers

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