TC Bros. Featured Customer Ride - Lawrence Ballard

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 Lawrence Ballard of St. Louis, Missouri.

In his own words:

"Make and model: 1981 Yamaha XS650

Shop: Mcgehee's 'Poke it with a stick" Motorcycle Barn

I picked up the bike in early 2013 from the brother of a co-worker. It had already been hardtailed and bobbed, and was a really sexy looking bike. I did very little to it besides having the top end resealed and basic adjustments and tuning. In that season I put over three thousand miles on it, and entered it in a couple regional vintage bike shows, namely the inaugural “Kentucky Kickdown”' in Louisville. You couldn't keep me off the bike.  Not surprisingly, near the end of the “good weather” riding season, and after a long Sunday of getting lost on Missouri country roads, I started having engine trouble, but managed to limp it back to my garage. I monkeyed around with it for a bit, but the bike simply wouldn't stay running, and I eventually gave up on it. A few weeks past, and some of the worst winter weather Missouri had ever seen had arrived and myself and few buddies were missing our bikes really bad, so we fired up some heaters, and headed out to the garage to get my XS running again. We discovered that an exhaust valve stay had sheared, and allowed the valve to bounce off the piston and eventually seize.

I thought about parting it out, selling it to another XS builder, and possibly even scrapping it. The cost of rebuilding the engine just didn't seem economically viable to me. We moved from my garage to a local pub. A few minutes passed, and a friend said, “Here’s your motor on EBay for $350”. Sitting in a barn in Pontiac Michigan, and the seller required pick up only. Again I determined that making a trip to Michigan from Missouri to “look at” a 29 yr. old Yamaha engine that had been sitting in a barn for the last 15 years, just didn't seem like a sound economical move. A few more minutes passed and another buddy says: "I'm going home for Christmas and my folks' house is about 15 minutes from Pontiac Mi., I can go check it out for you." I made arrangements with the seller, and 3 days after Christmas I get a phone call from my friend from the barn - "It's got even compression, do you want it?"

The bike you're looking at now wouldn't have been possible had it not been for TC Bros. Choppers, and a group of guys who love spending their free time in a cold garage drinking beer and building bikes. I simply couldn't have done it without either of these two groups of enthusiasts. Thank you!

The springer front end, headlight, throttle assembly/grips, sporty tank, forward controls, seat springs were all sourced from TC Bros.  The risers and Z bars were sourced from Lowbrow, and numerous seals, and miscellaneous hardware were sourced from Mike's. Paint was done in the paint studio at the Leather Trades Art lofts, St. Louis by myself and Adam Reed of Drift STL/Gateway Motorsports. Von Dutch pin stripping was done by Mike Schaffner, Granite City, Ill."

~ Lawrence

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

~ 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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“Engineered for Freedom.”™

Tyler and Tim Cobb | The TC Brothers

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