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Old 04-09-2011, 09:27 PM   #767
xcgates's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Oddometer: 1,782
Huh, just realized I actually qualify for this thread.

My first bike (1985 Kawasaki ZN700) was ~$1k, and aside from gas/oil/plugs/plug wires, I have put on one front, one rear tire, fork seals, front brakes, one set of front wheel bearings, a couple bulbs, used coils, oil pressure sender, and more than it's fair share of bungies and other assorted tie-downs. I bet that other than gas and oil, I have a total of $1400 in her, parts and purchase price together.

Bike #1: Story time (Feel free to skip the wall of text, down to bike #2, I don't have pictures on this computer, I'll dig them out of my backups and post them up.)

When I first got it, to pass inspection it needed new front brakes, front tire, and new fork seals. All of this got accomplished in one weekend where I had a buddy drop me off in the general vicinity of the city my parent's live near with two backpacks, one full of assorted tools I would need. Got quite a few looks while I hung out at whatever fast food joint, as you don't normally see someone dressed in greasy clothes, carrying tools from a breaker bar to spray cans, etc.

My dad picked me up after work, and I set to work doing the things listed above. (bear in mind I'd never really done much mechanical work before, ever) I passed inspection Monday morning, and by lunch, was on the road to school, about 200 miles away, only partly certain the bike was going to make it. I'm talking, my computer backpack was bungied to my tank, my tools and assorted other things (including a desk lamp ) were in a plastic milk crate bungied to the rear seat, I was wearing more than one pair of jeans, and had never gone farther than probably 50 miles in one day, much less left from one location to go to a different place. Not a good recipe for smooth sailing, but a good recipe for fun!

I made it probably 125 miles or so out of the 200 miles, including the arrival of rain, and a 0 mph drop in a Walmart parking lot when I put my left foot down, but tipped right. This was the trip where I discovered my bike didn't like to run for a long time in the rain, and after an executive decision that being on a bike that was loosing power was not a good thing on a limited-access 65 mph highway with lots of trucks. So I pulled off, found a small town (no light town) post office, and found out where the nearest gas station was. I reasoned that if it wasn't a gas problem, the gas station would at least be dry, have food, and be relatively easy to have someone find me.

Never actually made it to the gas station, and stopped for the last time in a muddy driveway. I'm still certain the bike will start up again like it had the rest of the day, which I inform the very nice man who stopped in his pickup. He was the fellow from the post office, and offered me some help. I stupidly assured him that I could get the engine to fire up again, and off he drove. The couple who's driveway I stopped in got home, and asked if I needed help, the gentleman had a few tools in his shed, however anything I knew how to do I was attempting to do with the tools I had on me, more wouldn't help out. I gave up after about a half hour, and brought my computer backback and my soggy self to their front door to ask if I could get in out of the rain and call in some backup. I got ahold of one friend also going to school that night (we had class the next morning), and he started calling around to see who was going to be in the general area, and was willing to help out a bozo for the return of gas money and permanent dirt on the bozo.

As I discover nobody with a pickup is going to be travelling the general vicinity, I am about to ask the nice couple if they wouldn't mind me rolling the dead bike behind their shed until I could fetch it the next weekend, in addition to the very generous serving of pasta, and the drying of my outer layers. As I am warming up and stuffing my face, there is a knock on the door, and there stands a guy in his hunting rain gear, the very same fellow who worked at the post office, had been reassured by me that I would be fine, and after all that, gotten a ramp, and come back to see if I really was okay in the rainy night. I found out that a friend that lived a few miles away had no problem with me stashing my bike behind his parent't garage (his parent's didn't mind either, apparently) until I could get back to it.

So we load up the pickup, drop me off at my buddies', wait for buddy #2 to come by and pick me up on his way through, and make it to school a bit before midnight. Buddy #2 was also willing to drive me back to the bike the next weekend, wait around for me to dick around doing things like dismantling the bike (practically) to use starting fluid, jump the bike, and follow me back to school. It was a year or so until I had similar problems and eventually made it go away by replacing the coils, plug wires, and for good measure, the plugs.

Bike #2: Intro

The other bike is one I haven't done much to, my '79 Suzuki GS850G. Picked it up for $850 with a bunch of extras including extra seat pan with foam, tank, Clymer manual, spare nuts-n-bolts-n-such. has a brand-new front tire, going to go through the valves, change fluids, paint the spare tank for practice and fun (permanent work-in-progress, first going to try painting it with that whiteboard paint.). Gotta do stupid little things, like clean carbs, check valve clearance, bleed brakes, adjust/replace control cables, etc. Then hopefully she will replace my Kawi.

How many people would look to replace an '85 with electronic ignition with a '79 with points and a kick-start? (She does have electric start as well.)
Do you talk to people you meet on the road?

Home is where the skid lid sits.
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