Kevin Wilbeck's Four Builds
Growing up, Kevin Wilbeck always had motorcycles – a Honda 100, a CB350 and a CB550 in college. He always wanted a 750 Super Sport but didn’t get it until a few years ago when he re-entered motorcycling after noticing how big the vintage motorcycle scene was getting in Des Moines, Iowa. He bought a 1978 Honda 750 Super Sport for $1400 with 6100 miles. He kept it mostly stock but shortened the seat pan by five inches and added lots of goodies from Dime City Cycles. Now 57, Wilbeck recently finished up his first commissioned build, a 1979 Yamaha XS400. The customer? His sister!
“She saw the fun I was having at our monthly vintage bike night,” Wilbeck said. The $600 donor bike was owned by a local college student but, oddly, it also had a university parking sticker on it from South Carolina. The bike had 7200 miles on it, was a bit crusty and dirty with a rotted exhaust and a split vacuum line coming out of the fuel petcock. It started but didn’t go too far without petering out.
“The Yamaha XS400 is my fourth build and, like the other three, DCC is my go-to for almost everything that I need.” Wilbeck said the turn signals, taillight, cables, mufflers, header wrap, mirrors, heim rod ends, and a drag bar were the most important pieces to get the right look. “This is my second build using the DCC 17" mufflers. My sister lives in a little higher class neighborhood so I added the SST sink strainers from ACE hardware to mellow the sound a bit. They fit perfectly under the reverse cone caps!”
For the XS400, Wilbeck shortened the seat pan by four inches and the rear fender by five inches. He also fabricated brackets so he could relocate the horn and tool kit. “I usually spend more time thinking about how to make the bracket than I do making it. If I deduct the ‘staring-at-it and thinking-about-it’ time, I am guessing that I have about 50 hours into the Yamaha.” Wilbeck works full-time as an engineer and uses evenings and weekends to get his motorcycles projects done.
His second and third builds were the most intense fabrication-wise. Both had more pieces that were shortened, lowered, relocated, or modified than the Honda 750 or Yamaha 400. He paid $300 for a Honda CB350 and $700 for the Yamaha XS850. None of these bikes were road worthy when he bought them.
Wilbeck is currently working on a Yamaha 750 Maxim that was given to him for free. It had been in a shed for 10 years. He’s also chasing down a 1971 Honda CB350 that has been in a chicken coop for 20 years. “I have been told that if I can get it out, it is mine!”
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