Originally Posted by baloneyskin daddy
They're bulletproof and run forever but will use a little oil. Cam chain tensioners were automatic but some misinformed mechanics were known to lock them in one position with the scew and locknut used for assembly purposes. One problem I had with the 650's and 850 shaftys was they were geared to short and were really humming at highway speeds.
These engines are tough but, yes, they use oil. I had two, a '79 and an '81. Both used about 1 qt between oil changes. They ran fine though and one of them reached 100,000 km without problems.
The cam chaim was making a lot of noise so I replaced it, still made a lot of noise...
These heavy bikes are sensitive about tires, lots of weight and not a lot of rubber. Make sure you don't go too cheap on those.
As with all 80's bikes, make sure the forks, shocks, head bearings, and swingarm bearings are in good shape. Makes a huge difference in handling.
Mine had a fork brace and steel brake lines, I highly recommend them. Also make sure to replace the brake pads with newer ones with a better compound, even if they still look OK.