About a month ago someone made me an offer...
“You look like an idiot. Would you like to swap your nice 1980 XT250 for a dead 1985 Honda XL600R ‘project’ bike with unknown history?”
I know, I know, that doesn't sound like much of a deal, but being a closet fan of big singles I committed the cardinal sin of trading my road-legal runner for a non-runner with the irresistible added attraction of ‘some bits missing’.
Somewhere in there and a small box of bits is an XL600R. Honest!
And so that honeymoon period of garage time with a new bike project began. That time when you really get to know what you've bought into. Usually this consists of finding all sorts issues that you didn't spot when you actually inspected the thing. "How come I didn't spot the oil dripping out of drain plug because the thread's stripped ?", "Is that a 6" nail stuck in the front tyre?" that sort of thing. Well, so far it seems that karma has something slightly different in mind for me and the XL.
As I said, this XL is a totally unknown quantity. As I haven't heard it running, the first task is to get it fired-up before spending any money on it. Unusually, for this to happen, the engine has got to come out of the frame first! This is because karma obviously wasn't on the side of 'a previous owner', who at some point decided to cut a 6 inch section out of the frame tube, presumably to get around the problem of a seized top engine mount. There were tell-tale traces of engine oil everywhere; possibly because karma hadn't finished with our man yet, and didn't tip him off that the tube he was cutting held oil!
The top engine mounts didn't come with the bike, so before welding a new piece of tube in I needed to know how and where these fit. A transatlantic message or two later and Advrider inmate, Brucifer, very kindly measured his XL frame giving me the measurements I required (he also had the idea of making a thread out of this rebuild - so if you're already bored, take it up with him!)
Happily, the rest of the bike doesn't seem so bad. The tyres are hardly worn. The wiring loom is in very good shape with just a couple of flag connectors to replace. Most of the fasteners are original and not chewed up, though two helicoils are needed on 6 mm stud holes in the cam cover. The first of the missing, but essential, parts - the bracket that holds the coil and CDI unit under the tank and the top engine mounts - have arrived from breakers in Germany and France via Ebay. I've selected some likely looking steel tube to repair the frame and my MIG welder is warmed up and ready.
So, everything is set, you're welcome to come along for the ride, but it might take a while...