Well ladies and gentleman, the bike is finished and I enjoyed my first real ride on it yesterday! For those of you lacking patience to read my entire post, I will summarize it by saying
I $%#*ing LOVE IT!
I grew up riding d-sports and have been drooling over owning a thumper for years and finally have a very strong running XR. It’s fantastic, and I am grateful for all of Steve’s work. If it wasn’t for him reaching out and expressing his confidence in being able to rebuild the completely disassembled engine, who knows how long it would have taken before I found myself on two wheels.
$2361 later I have an XR with a fresh motor and 40-50 mpg transportation that costs me $75 per year to insure. Woot woot! My fiancé retrieved my "new" bike last Wednesday in San Francisco, not far from Steve's place.
Our good friend Lawrence installed the engine, added a battery, new chain and sprocket, changed the brake fluid, performed a safety inspection, checked torques, replaced spark plug, lubed pivots and cables, set front and rear tire pressures and checked brake pads. His only recommendation was to replace the tires within the next couple hundred miles. He also recommended I replace the oil and filter, check screen and retorque frame bolts. Lawrence changed the oil after his first test ride on the bike and cleaned the frame tank and oil lines.
Originally I planned on physically being involved with installing the engine and tying up the loose ends needed to make it a functional ride. Time became extremely scarce and Lawrence is starting up a new venture and couldn’t have the bike just sitting in his garage for indefinite amounts of time just taking up space. So, I had him button it up on his own. After identifying parts that were needed to be replaced and ordering them, he worked on it between other bike jobs and notified us last week when he finished it.
Michael pulled in around 10pm with the XR in the back of his truck, and I was so pooped I so much as nodded at it and crashed out for the night. The next morning I wanted to ride it but had to rush off to work, then had night class and it wasn’t until Friday morning that I swapped out of my jammies and snuck a scoot on it around our neighborhood before work.
It started strong. I turned the gas on, tossed a leg over and precariously tip toed down our steep driveway. I lifted my feet to the broad pegs and tootled down the street into the crisp morning air. The sun was just rising and the air hinted of Fall. Four streets and five minutes later I reluctantly returned to the garage and raced to get to work. It was fabulous. My bike I can ride whenever I want woith no weirdness of borrowing someone else’s bike.
Saturday morning I took it out onto to the open seas; I-80 my first interstate ride – a quick hop to a dental appointment. I was nervous out on the open interstate and had some mental blocks about it being a new engine and keeping aware of proper break-in procedures but everything worked just fine. After the dentist’s dremel or whatever the hell it was he had in my mouth making the high pitched notes that leave you sweating and ringing your fingers, I was much more relaxed to get back on the XR. I shot over the San Rafael-Richmond bridge to meet my girlfriend Shannon off Lucas Valley Road exit.
We headed to Infineon with hopes of riding passenger in a racey car on the big track or riding passenger in one of the autocross cars. Michael was helping instruct auto cross. Longer story shorter we scored rides on the big track! I found a Lotus (hee hee) with a driver named Cappy. Shannon found a Subaru to ride passenger in. Sitting passenger in the Lotus hauling balls was SOMETHING ELSE. My face was stuck in a perma-grin all day from riding my moto for the first real time, from whipping around the carousel 15 or so times in a fast light car - and the smiles continued when I sat passenger with Michael in his Miata around the auto cross track – a completely different experience. It was my first time riding along with him. The track was uber tight. I was thinking “man I am not sure I could ride my motorcycle through this course in 2x the time!
Shannon and I headed off west on Highway 37 and out Lucas Valley Road making our way out to Olema. From there we went to Bolinas and had a beer at Smileys. (Hint, don’t order the “Philly cheesesteak.”) Originally we thought we’d get in some summery swim time at Bass Lake or in a river but it was “freezing” out there, coated in a thick fog. It was such a delight to ride the thump[er over roads I have traversed so many times in a car, my Suzuki SV650 and BMW F800S – absorbing the bumps and taking the twists intuitively.
We took Fairfax-Bolinas Road and headed along a ridgeway towards Mt Tamalpais’ East Peak where we stopped and took in the sights and snapped some pics.
Then headed down the mountain and split paths in Corte Madera. The ride home over the Richmond Bridge was a bit sketchy but only because of the gnarly wind that was blowing. As soon as I realized it was trying to kick my ass I pushed back and stayed steady.
Last bit of news is that the first tank suggests the bike yields 100 miles per tank. I ran out of gas at 75 miles on the trip, whereby I put it in reserve and refueled at the next gas station.
I look forward to many more safe and fun rides ... and panniers!