Friday, December 14, 2007

You’ve Got to be Kidding Me

Now I Have heard just about everything, but this new product just about takes the cake. I have heard all the usual warnings about the dangers of riding motorcycles. From everyone that has a friend or relative that has been killed or injured by just looking and thinking about riding a motorcycle, to being called a organ Donar by a local law enforcement official.

But now I can add cancer to that ever growing list of worries. There is a guy out there who has written an book to promote his invention of a shielded motorcycle seat to keep your bits and pieces from becoming a slow cooked blue plate special. Man, if I don’t have enough to worry about as it is. Ths guy comes along and is telling us all that it isn’t the cell phone talking, SUV wielding, whopper eating, makeup applying driver we have to look out for. No, no, nooo, it is that we have been micro waving our genitalia and if we don’t do something fast like buy his book and seat we are all on a rocket sled to chemotherapy.
Now I guess a new never ending debate about motorcycle emf’s and their fricasseeing of our nether regions is just around the corner. What will they come up with next, I for one can hardly wait to see.

Till Next Time..................

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Six for the price of one

I just bought six tires for sixty bucks off an ad on craigslist. I hate to keep going on and on about craigslist, but I just find way too many deals there. The tires were one use take offs from the sellers KTM’s. He explained to me that they never use OEM tires. That is just fine with me because I am a notorious cheap ass and am not above the use of not only OEM tires but used tires to boot.

The tire sizes are, two 80/100-21, one 90/90-21, two 110/100-18, one 100/100-18, as luck would have it, these tires fit both of my bikes. The tires on my bikes are completely shot and I was just about to order me a couple pairs of new tires when I spotted this ad. So it’s back to craigslist to see what other deals I can find.

Till Next Time.....................

Sunday, December 2, 2007

At Least it Looks New

The XT seat had seen better days and I really wasn’t crazy about the color. I was looking into recovering it when I spotted some SEM color coat at my local paint supplier, GNE paint. I inquired as to the durability of the paint and was told it was developed by SEM for refinishing auto upholstery. And for changing the color or touching up auto carpeting, and is extremely flexible as well as being very durable.

They suggested I pick up a can of SEM’s plastic adhesion promoter along with the color I was planning on using on the seat (black). So with my billfold a few bucks lighter and a plastic sack filled with newly purchased SEM products, I set sail to try this miracle paint out for myself.

After following the instructions on the paint, I can say that I am completely satisfied with the results. The seat looks like a new seat. After throughly cleaning the surface to be painted the whole process took only about forty minutes including paint flash times. The finished product looks fantastic, time will tell on the durability side of the equation.

But if what my paint guy tells me is true, this stuff will hold up longer that the seat will. The only drawback I can see is you have to go to a auto paint outlet to buy this stuff. It isn’t sold at your local auto supply, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Most towns have a auto paint supplier nearby. Then there is always the internet if all else fails. Check out SEM’s website for a supplier near you.

Till Next Time....................

Monday, November 26, 2007

The New Look of Cycle Trader

Those of us in the market for a new or used bike will be pleased that Cycle Trader has revamped their website to make it more user friendly. Go on over give it a look, you just might find a bike you didn't know you needed.

Till Next Time..................

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Oh No, Not Again

While perusing craigslist for XT parts I came across a ‘78 YZ250E that seemed to reach out to me. Like that Christmas tree reached out to Charlie Brown, I found this bike some how in need of my help. It will be ok Linus, it just needs a little love. If we just get her home and hang a few parts on her, everything will be right with the world. So I made contact, worked out a deal (got her for a buck fitty), and next thing you know, I am the proud owner of another turd that needs a bit of elbow grease.

That is the problem I am finding with browsing criagslist, there is an never ending supply of derelict motorcycles for sale there. See the main problem is, the XT project has awoken in me a addiction I have. I can’t resist junk bikes that others have left to rot. I thought I had this problem licked when I sold off my last RD. But seeing all the nut filled turds that are on the pages of craigslist has poked this creature within with a pointy stick and he is wide awake now.

This is a monster that takes all of my will power to keep in it’s cage. It needs to be in it’s cage too, because the next thing you know, I’ll have a whole garage filled with bikes in different states of repair and no money left to repair them with. Not to mention Mrs Gymi really likes to park her car in the garage on those cold Michigan nights, and motorcycles using up the space where her car is normally parked can cause a bit of marital friction. We have to make certain concessions to the ones we love so they don’t make too much noise about our idiosyncracies.

So with checkbook, debit card and credit card in hand, I will set out on a new journey to acquire the bits and pieces to bring the 250E back to some semblance of her former glory. While this bike is remarkably intact, and runs like a raped ape, it will need quite a bit of work to get her back into her wedding gown. I have to finish most of the XT first though, wish me luck.

Till Next Time.......................

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Paint or Powder Coat

I was thinking about powder coating the frame and some odds and ends on the XT. I decided to go with paint, mainly because I have it already on hand. And because I want to keep the budget on this project as low as possible. I plan on spending less than six bills for the whole enchilada. The powder coating would cost me about a buck fifty, and that would take a quarter of the parts budget. This bike needs quite a bit of bodywork and a truck load of little items, so to stay under budget, I am going to need to be very diligent with the cash allocations.

So paint it is then. I decided to paint the frame red as Yamaha had originally intended it to be. I went with a little darker red than the original shade. Seeing this bike has no collector value whatsoever, I will be tending to stray from Yamaha’s chosen path from time to time. Went with silver for the swing arm, and will be going with black for various trim pieces and the seat. I am also going to go with white with red and black trim for the body work.
I have also began the process of ordering parts to get the rebuilding phase of this project on it’s merry way. The internet has made it almost boring to find parts for your project bikes. I kind of miss the old days of bumming around swap meets, finding purveyors of hard to find bike parts in the backs of motorcycle and collector rags. I guess I could still go down this road and probably will for a few items for this rebuild. But the internet with eBay and Craigslist has made it far to easy and made me way too lazy.

So in the next few weeks I will again build a personal relationship with the UPS driver as well as those who toil for the USPS, FedEx and DHL. I will be eagerly awaiting the packages as the begin to arrive, making every week into a Christmas like holiday. I have some ordering to do so,

Till Next Time.........................

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Making a List

The Grocery List.

After the tear down, you get the grocery list of the obvious and not so obvious. Shall we cover the obvious first. Good, let’s get to it. As you may be able to tell from the pics from the first post, this bike has a few items missing. It still ran as a off road only bike until put away and forgotten (although limited use). The components that made this bike a dual sport in the first place had all been removed and discarded by the previous owner. Including the wiring harness and all lights. Next the side covers, air box, intake runners, speedo, tach and rear fender decided this was a party they were not going to attend. The tires are also shot, although the rims and spokes are in good shape.
Now the not so obvious, although the motor ran when this bike was put away and still has good compression, I am still going to tear it down and replace what needs replacing. There is no telling if it is a hand grenade about to go off, so to be on the safe side I’m cracking her open and having a go at her innards. Plus it looks like oil changes and regular maintenance where not part of the plan on this bike. Then comes the carb, it is a funky one at that. One that can be quite temperamental if not treated properly in your rebuild efforts (or so I’m told). Tear down the left side, but don’t separate the right and left side if you don’t have to.

Then comes the old girls suspenders, they are almost twenty one years old now and I suspect I will be spending quite a bit of my rebuild time in this area. There are worn shock and fork springs to consider, not to mention all the bearing, bushings and spacers that will need to be replaced. At least I know most of what grocery list will contain, and have a pretty good idea what other goodies will be making the list. Then we all have to be ready for a knuckle ball or two. There are always surprises waiting around the corner. Time to see what kind of hit my wallet will be taking.

Till Next Time.............

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tale of the Tape

I realize that the XT 350 isn’t exactly what you would classify as a collector bike. I’m not going to bring it back to life to put it on the auction block, I doubt I would get very much. I’m doing what thousands upon thousands do to pass time during the cold hard winter. Taking a turd and giving it a good buffing, cause I can’t bowl worth a damn. The XT remained basically unchanged trough out it’s entire production run (1985-2000) I don’t know the production numbers, but it is safe to say they are far from rare.

As dual sport bikes go, the XT like most, makes a better road bike than a dirt weapon. You won’t see a whole lot of them lined up to take a time at your local hare scrambles. But as always, there will be exceptions to that rule. I sure someone out there is taking time slips on one of these things. They do make a great commuter bike and hold their own on the trails. I’m starting the tear down of my ‘87 today. So it’s time to get busy, I will leave you with the specs of this bike (which are pretty much the specs for them all)

Model: Yamaha XT 350
Year: 1987
Category: Enduro / offroad
Engine and transmission,
Displacement: 21.11 cubic inches (346.00 ccm)
Engine type: Single cylinder
Stroke: 4
Power: 27.00 HP (19.7 kW)) @ 8000 RPM
Compression: 9.0:1
Bore x Stroke: 3.4 x 2.3 inches (86.0 x 59.6 mm)
Valves per cylinder: 4
Fuel control: DOHC
Cooling system: Air
Gearbox: 6-speed
Weight incl. oil, gas, etc: 330.7 pounds (150.0 kg) Chassis and dimensions
Front tire dimensions: 3.00-21
Rear tire dimensions: 110/80-18 Front brakes: Single disc
Rear brakes: Expanding brake Speed and acceleration
Top speed: 83.9 mph (135.0 km/h)
Fuel capacity: 3.17 gallons (12 liters)

A nice unrestored example that recently sold on eBay.

Till Next Time......................

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Back in The Saddle Again.

We all need our projects to keep us busy. I haven’t rebuilt a bike in over twenty years, and back then I was really into two stroke street bikes. So I always had a garage full of RD’s and H2's. I loved working on those bikes, but life comes along and you kind of fall out of it.

I started (like most do) my life long love affair with motorcycles on old Wildcat minibikes and then graduated to a Honda 50 followed closely by a CT 70. My first "real" dirt bike was a ‘77 RM 125. I can’t tell you how much fun that bike was, you couldn’t get me off of it.
But as local riding areas began to disappear and not being able to head up north as much as I would have liked to, I turned to road bikes.

Like most baby boomers, I can get a little nostalgic, as the auto and motorcycle marketers are more than aware of. You can’t open a car or bike rag without coming across the latest throwback designs. As much as I like the new designs, I find that I am drawn to the real thing. That is old dirt bikes. They may not perform nearly as well as the modern bikes, but they have a character that is unique to them. Plus the are literally thousands of them out there rotting behind garages, in backyards, and barns. Most can be had for a song, it will cost you a bit to get them to their former glory, but hey, we are not in this for the money. On the plus side you will be giving a used up bike a second chance.

After a recent trip up to Mio Michigan, I was once again bitten by the dirt bug. So I thought I would get dirt bikes for myself and my Son. I bought my son a Yamaha TTR 125. I chose this bike because it is a four stroke and has a tractable power delivery and while he may not ride it for long before moving up. I believe it provides an excellent platform for learning. It was a bit on the dirty side, but after pulling it apart and a good cleaning, it was ready to roll. BEFORE


Now my turn, It has been a while since I have been on the dirt and I was not planning on resuming a nonexistent motocross career and will not be doing any freestyle for a while. So I started looking at XR , DR, and KLR 650's none of these bikes were going to fit the bill I am a bit short in the in seam and these bikes had me searching for the ground every time I stopped. Since I ride a ZRX 1100, I figured I would go with on open class thumper as well. I was going to need something with a bit less travel.

After looking at a myriad of KLX’s DR’s XR"s and the like, I saw that a buddy of mine ad recently reacquired his first bike, A 1987 Yamaha XT 350. When he brought it home he was pretty excited about getting the first bike he ever owned back in his possession. But he seemed less that enthusiastic about the prospect of bringing the old girl back to here former glory. This guy is a really busy and does not have a whole lot of time available for projects like this. So after thinking about it a while, I decided to give my Ol’ Buddy a ring and see if he was will to part with the bike. He was open to the idea of selling his misused steed, so I told him to take a couple of days to come up with a price he thought was fair. The next day he asked if I was still interested in the bike, I said yes, he said open your door and come out to get this thing. I opened the front door to see him standing there with the XT on a trailer. I said, how much do I owe you, He said it is yours if you want it. He would not take a cent for it. So I went out and got him a prepaid gas card for his act of kindness, if he wouldn’t take money, maybe gas was the way to go.

So I am starting the restoration of this bike and others and will be documenting them on these pages. If I had the time I could probably finish this bike in a month, but due to time constraints, I will probably not be completely finished until spring. My brother and son are joining me in ths project and a couple of others we have lined up. She has been rode hard and put away wet, but she has loads of promise.

Till Next Time.............
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