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Yamaha XT500 – “Single Naked Chick”

Posted on October 24, 2012 by Andrew in Tracker. 34 comments

Some people dream of a day when time travel becomes a reality. Of course, for those who spend their time fiddling with bikes in garages, it’s obvious that the ability to warp time and space already exists. It’s what happens when you “just pop out the back for 5 minutes,” and wander back into the house three hours later with dirty hands and a shirty partner. Now, if only we could somehow reverse the process so that those three hours becomes the five minutes that we originally had to spare. If we could do something like that, then we’d all be able to build a bike in no time at all, just like Doug “Hawkins” Devine and his three week wonder – “Single Naked Chick.”

Here’s Doug. “This Yamaha XT500 was taken in about a year ago on a partial trade from a friend. I sold my Yamaha R5 earlier in the spring when I received an offer that I couldn’t refuse. Meanwhile, I had no bike to ride so I spent the later part of last spring and early summer tied up on a ton of projects for other people.

About mid-summer, I got the itch to ride and made the simple decision to just buy a good riding bike and enjoy it for the rest of the season. After searching online listings for two weeks, with no luck I might add, inspiration hit me. Early the next morning, I went to my shop and starred at the Yamaha XT frame and motor sitting on the floor like an old pair of shoes put away wet. I already knew that the CDI was bad and that Rex’s Speed Shop in East Sussex, England would be gaining a new customer so I grabbed my notebook and wrote the header, 3 weeks.”

“I started with a list of parts that desperately needed to be replaced after 35 years. The top of my list included an order placed with Mark at Thumper Stuff in Monroe, Washington. My buddy, Scott Hableib, provided the XS650 front end. In one day, all the necessary parts were ordered except the exhaust and seat covering which were ordered within the next couple of days.

My next step was to build the complete bike back to stock except the front end. Then, I determined what was going and what was staying. All the unnecessary tabs were removed and, instead, I welded in a cross brace for the newly formed seat pan. I wanted the simplicity of non-painted tins and my goal was to maintain the character that was part of this bike’s history.”

“Finally, I had to figure out the exhaust which was difficult because I wanted a high mount left exit exhaust, and I knew it would have to be custom-made by 7th Phase Inc. in Hesperia, CA. I also made a teasing comment on Instagram to a certain upholster in the Pacific Northwest inquiring whether she could cover my seat in a ten-day turnaround. To my amazement, Ginger at New Church Moto was game. Ginger is the best to work with, by the way.

The rest of the parts and frame were painted and reworked in my own shop. The bike was in roller form in a week and a half only waiting on the two custom-made pieces. When the parts arrived, they were the cherries on top! The XT was finished and inspected within three weeks (75 hours). By the way, thumpers are as fun as you would think!”


  • Guest

    pictures of left side…?

    • nick

      first two?

  • itsmefool

    I like it! Colors, disc/drum combo, big ol’ skid plate…coolness! Well done!

  • revdub

    Bike looks as rad in person as it does in the photos. And sounds as mean as one would expect! The frame color, minimal look, polished tins, and custom seat make this bike a standout. Each bike keeps getting better. Doug is helping to put Louisville on the custom map and I’m looking forward to seeing what he builds next!

    • Yeah, I dig that frame color as opposed to basic black.

  • Rob

    Lovin’ that fender/bum stop seat combo.

  • well I may be a little partial, but IMO this is where it is. minimal, mechanical and a blast to ride. the motor’s are wicked compared to the old CBs, Xss, etc. the high stance, high bars and cushy suspension make it the perfect hooligan bike around town. and with that exhaust – it’s bellows hooligan from a mile away.

  • Gavin Flynn

    Those pipes + that skid plate. Wow, I gotta find me one of these.

  • Barnes

    that seat! I want one for my xl250. nice work.

  • That’s pretty cool. The welds in the last pic look a little iffy.

  • Wonder

    love it, that bike is a keeper!

  • DougDevine

    @tony, those are factory welds.

  • blackbird

    Holy last weeks bike Batman! lol….

  • Nice bike – I like the over all look with the silver frame. This bike should be able to go anywhere.

  • Oldnbroken

    Seeing that makes me feel a faded memory of pain in the right leg. I had a XT500C way back when and they were so much fun with all their grunt. Good luck starting it and may the kick back gods be on your side.


  • AndrewF

    Very nice! I would love to see (and hear) it in action… preferably in person but I’d settle for a youtube clip, hint, hint…

  • Moppo710

    Love it!! any idea wot tyres are on that?

    • Dougd

      Bridgestone trailwings.

  • Jape Sinisalo

    Seat looks too thin to really ride on but other than that, I absolutely love everything about it. I might mount some mini blinkers too.

  • cagivarider

    Some nice details, but the flat seat together with the big rear loop and fender look a bit misproportioned in my eyes. Either more upholstery or less fender might cure that…

    Best regards

  • Mike

    Shout out Hesperia! 760 sonnnn. Dope bike, too.

  • Mercury Kid

    What was required for the front end swap? Looks like the XT trees were retained and the XS legs were simply swapped in. Just that easy?

    • dougdevine

      i used 1/2 mm brass shims 2 per leg opening, makes up the 1mm gap and has held like a rock.

  • Shaba

    One the best bikes I have seen. Now I want to build one. Doug any chance you can throw a build list together for this bike?

  • puffin

    very cool all us guys at the xt forum love it

  • I saw this at Ace’s Corner at Barber last year. It was pretty slick. I was working on an xt café at the same time. Its taken a little longer than 3 weeks to finish it though, its funny how little things like joining the Air Force get in the way.

  • Hermanus Bosch

    what year model is this xt?

  • Joshua Martinez

    I know it’s been a bit but can some one help me get in contact with this builder. I have an xt that is almost a clone to this one. Just missing a few parts and would love to pick his brain. Thanks
    Mountain home Idaho

  • Nick Dreyer

    Awsome bike,

    does anyone have some advise on how to get the front wheel in this condition as the original rim size of the xt is a bit bigger?

    Any advise will be helpful..


  • Tobi Pronk

    What did you do to the front suspension??
    My das had the same bike, only the front springs are way longen on his
    It looks absolutely perfect!!

    • Doug Devine

      It is a complete xs650 front end swap..

      • Hans Kwiotek

        Hi Doug, just got a tt500 and am planning on working on her soon. Love what you did with your xt! What did you do to the frame to give it this look? any other advice on what you did would be great!
        cheers, Hans

      • Hans Kwiotek

        found a xs front end but the seller says the diameter is 33mm instead of 34. How did you make this work?