EXCLUSIVE When he was 13 years old, John Ryland was obsessed with BMX bikes. And his favorite was the legendary P.K. Ripper from SE. “It was the pinnacle of cool and I was sure that if I had one, I could get 15 feet of air. Or bunny hop a Mini Cooper.” Thirty years later, John is running Classified Moto and has finally got a P.K. Ripper. He’s also built a custom XS650 to match.
The build didn’t start out as a BMX-inspired project. “At the outset of every project, we create a Photoshop rendering—so the new owner can sign off on the direction,” says John. “This time, the rendering got thrown out the window soon after signoff. A lot of piecemeal suggestions came in. We felt like we were executing someone else’s vision, and it wasn’t looking very ‘Classified’.”
One day, the new owner said he wanted “a powder blue frame”. And John then remembered the powder blue frame of the early ’80s Ripper. “So I proposed an homage to the P.K. using the XS650 as a platform—powder blue frame, black mags and stripped down. Plus a few gold highlights, and a Classified logo in the Thrasher magazine font. The owner said he was on board, and we were all back to being excited.”
John told Todd Lyons at SE Bikes of his plan. Lyons sent over factory graphics files, tons of throwback pads, jerseys and swag, and most importantly, a 2010 P.K. Ripper Looptail. John tore the P.K. down, and powder coated the frame ‘80s style to match the XS650. “We replaced the spoked wheels with a set of iconic Skyway Tuff II mag wheels, added some retro grips and suddenly I had the BMX of my childhood dreams—forty years and a hundred extra pounds later!”
Back to the XS650: “We wanted it to feel ‘Classified’ even though the blue frame is an unlikely element for us,” says John. “We tried to create a skeletal look by relocating and minimizing the battery and other components. I guess the bike has a street-tracker feel, but that wasn’t our original intention. It just has a fun stance. Not sure what you’d call it.”
Just as everything was getting back on track, the owner-to-be called. He told John he’d changed his mind, and he wanted to know what his options were.
“I know what most builders would have said … I wanted to figure out a way to keep everyone happy. So, in a flurry of trades and negotiations, the customer ended up with my trusty Ducati, I got photographer Adam Ewing’s now famous Yamazuki, and Adam scored the XS650 Ripper. The headache is finally subsiding, and we couldn’t be happier with the way the bikes turned out.”
Bike: 1981 Yamaha XS650
Front suspension and brakes: 2007 Suzuki GSX-R 750
Wheels: Rear: stock Yamaha. Front: GSX-R 750, powder coated wrinkle black
Tires: Metzeler ME880 front 130/80-17, rear 140/90-16
Frame: Shaved and modified to accommodate relocated battery and new seat configuration. Powder coated Ripper Blue.
Lights: Bates-style 5.75″ headlight with Triumph taillight
Seat: Custom pan and foam, upholstered by Roy Baird of Richmond, VA. (Fuse box mounted under seat.)
Bars: Unknown MX bars powder coated to match other black bits
Chain: DID O-ring chain, gold
Kicker: Modified with old school BMX platform pedal
Grips: SE Bikes two-piece throwback grips in SE brown and blue.
Exhaust: Down and dirty pipes bent by our friends at Hendrick’s Muffler Shop. Mufflers were taken off the late “Lefty Lucy”, our friend Cindy’s wrecked XS650. Shortened by about four inches and fitted with baffles we made from scratch out of perforated metal and batting. Not very scientific, but they sound good.
Air/Fuel: Stock carbs jetted for pod filters and modified exhaust.
Extras: Anodized gold aluminum plates for mounting Go-Pro cameras on either side just forward of the exhaust tips. Powder coated perforated metal inserts on the tail section. Stealthy ignition toggle switch mounted in Classified location.