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.............


Anonymous said...

have complet bike parts for a 86 xt 350 if you want to know more call 716 904 3080 ask for khris

Gymi said...

Thanks for the offer Khis,

with the exception of a couple of odds and ends,I have about all the parts I need.

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