Hugh’s Handbuilt video: Fire up a Kawasaki KZ 650 without a battery


Check out this video by Hugh Owings of Hugh’s Handbuilt, a small motorcycle shop in Asheville’s River Arts District that is a hidden gem. I profiled the shop a few months back for the Asheville Citizen-Times and was really impressed.

From my story:

How’s this for a niche business: Owings doesn’t work on motorcycles in general. He works on just one type of bike, the Yamaha XS 650. It was a popular model manufactured from the late 1970s to mid-’80s. It wasn’t a great looking bike, and it’s engine wasn’t the smoothest. But it got the job done for millions of riders who wanted to get two wheels on the street and go.

The XS 650 had one asset that appealed to many shade-tree mechanics — it’s basic design was easy to work with. The bike has remained popular with tinkerers, and when the economy tanked five years ago, bikers stopped buying expensive motorcycles and started getting interested in building their own.

That was clear with the college bike, Owings said. It was the first motorcycle he’d ever built, though he had worked on car engines and fiddled around with some metal fabrication and welding.

Hugh’s Handbuilt blog.

Hugh’s Handbuilt on Facebook.



sean July 9, 2013 - 6:26 pm

Awesome job on the kz650. I’m having the same issues with mine, and also just want to clean up all the clutter. I can’t find anymore information on this set up besides this video. Please let me know how to get this for my 78. Thanks!!

River Arts District motorcycle shop seeks public's help after suffering water damage May 9, 2013 - 6:06 pm

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