ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Day Trippin'
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-24-2013, 02:27 PM   #1
gearheadE30 OP
Studly Adventurer
 
gearheadE30's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Indiana
Oddometer: 767
Spring Break 2013 - 450EXC, XT350, and DRZ400 take on the Tail

Long time lurker, first time ride report poster. I’ve been riding for about three years now, and have been wanting to do a longer-duration ride for a long time. When one of my friends mentioned that he wanted to do the same thing, we eventually decided that the week we had off from school for spring break would be as good a time as any to do it. Of course, being that we’re both in school, neither of us really had a bunch of time or money; just a week off and a desire to get away from school for a bit (both of us are Mechanical Engineering students at Purdue University, and I should really be doing homework instead of writing this…). That was last semester.


This semester, about a month before spring break (March 11th through the 15th) we finally decided to make it a reality. My steed for the journey would be my 1986 Yamaha XT350 that I had picked up over the summer for a paltry $400 with a major oil burning problem. It was my first off-road motorcycle, and since I had rebuilt most of the engine shortly after getting it, I figured it would be reliable enough to make the trip. The main reason I didn’t take my old Suzuki was that my buddy rides a 2004 KTM 450EXC, so we’d definitely be planning to at least ride some dirt roads.
The initial plan was to ride from West Lafayette down to the Tennessee/North Carolina border to ride the Tail of the Dragon and other fantastic roads in the area. Neither of us has a truck, so we were planning to do the whole thing on the bikes. Problem was, the KTM had been in storage for a year for various reasons, and I only had about 500 miles on the XT since buying it so it was still a bit of a question mark. Luckily around then, a third friend with a DRZ400s expressed interest in coming. Conveniently, he also owns a Dodge Ram, so once we regained our sanity, we decided to change plans a bit.


We eventually decided on this: On Monday of break, we would ride from Purdue down to Seymour, IN where we would meet up with the guy with the truck. He had graduated a few years earlier and works full time, and as such could only get off Thursday and Friday. George (the KTM guy) and I would spend the first three days of break riding the twisties in southern Indiana and figuring out where to ride down south. On Wednesday night, we would load up and drive to the Deal’s Gap area and stay in a hotel for the night. We’d then ride around there for a day, pack up, and drive to Asheville NC to meet up with George’s sister, who happened to be able to hook us up with a place to stay and could show us around town, along with being a cool person to hang out with. On one night, we’d load the bikes up and stay at a campground somewhere, just to get a little “adventure” in. This would really be a week of testing the bikes and finding weak points so that we’d know what to do for future longer rides.



I have a pretty good portion of the RR written up already, but I'll be posting it in chunks like this. Sorry for the dearth of pics; I have some good ones and some video to come, but there will be a lot of words and probably a lot of TL;DR.


Since I know its wrong to start a thread without pics, here are some of the engine damage that the XT came with, and why you should always make sure the tensioner works...






The XT as I got it:


__________________
1986 Yamaha XT350 For Sale
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure and 2012 KTM 200 XC-W
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
gearheadE30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2013, 02:38 PM   #2
gearheadE30 OP
Studly Adventurer
 
gearheadE30's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Indiana
Oddometer: 767
This post is going to be mostly about prepping the bikes rather than the actual ride, but it’s a decent part of the story so I figured I’d include it.
My aforementioned bike is a 1986 Yamaha XT350 with 6300 miles on the clock. I bought it with a failed timing chain tensioner, which had allowed the chain to flop around and grind about a quarter inch out of the inside of the jug, filling the engine with metal. Luckily it didn’t skip time, but the metal in the oil had completely destroyed the rings, and the bike smoked worse than any 2-stroker I’ve ever seen. All it needed was a new timing chain, guides, rings, and a hone. It turned out to already be bored .50 over. I converted the failure prone tensioner to manual since $50 seemed a bit steep to buy one, put it back together, and broke it in. The bike ran great, and I used it mostly for commuting for the 500 miles I put on it before this trip. It also spent a bit of time in an OHV park. For the trip, I addressed as many shortcomings as I could on a modest budget. 520 chain conversion (16/45 for lower highway revs. It’s a 6-speed), new mirrors, new clutch cable, checked carb boots, added a voltmeter and cigarette lighter, a Shinko 244 on the front and 705 on the rear, an oil change, and generally checked everything over. I also opened up the airbox some and rejetted the carbs, both of which this engine responds really well to. I think it turned out pretty well, as I only needed to adjust the chain once over the course of the trip, and the bike cruised fine at 70 mph at 6000 revs in 6th gear, and I could downshift to pass if needed.
The KTM was a little bit of a question mark. It had been in storage for a year, and the first time we tried to get it to run was a week before the trip. Of course, it wouldn’t start. After charging the totally flat battery and putting some oil in the cylinder and cranking it slowly with the kicker to make sure it wouldn’t score the bore, we eventually determined that the carb was full of crap gas. We drained the bowl, put fresh gas in the tank, and a bit of starting fluid later it fired right up. And idled at 4000 or so rpm. Great. We both had things to do, so we left it at that for the time being.
Among other things, the KTM needed a new license plate mount (a cop didn’t like the one that was on there, which was part of why the bike was in storage), an oil change, air filter, and possibly tires. Pretty simple stuff. The rear tire was also woefully out of balance, so we needed to take care of that. On the 9th, the weekend marking the start of break, we got down to business. George had taken the wheels off to have them balanced during the week, and during that day or two, the bike was lying on its side. We got it upright again and got to work. Most of it went pretty well, and we installed heated grips and a few other small improvement bits as well. The local shop hadn’t been able to balance the rim, though they told us that it needed something like 6 oz. of weight. That’s a lot for a motorcycle. Of course, no one would sell us weights…and then George remembered that he had a massive stash of used stick-on automotive weights in his trunk. Go figure. A little epoxy later and we were in business. This actually worked really well and quelled most vibrations, until one set of weights broke off when we were loading the bike into the truck. We discovered that the high idle was caused by the oversize gas tank pinching the throttle, as well. When we started the bike, the amount of smoke was incredible (remember, it had been on its side for a day. Lots of oil to burn off.).






At this point there were a few problems that we never did end up fixing. The forks leaked quite a bit and the water pump started to leak pretty profusely. Both will be fixed soon, and neither really caused an issue on the trip. We went for a quick ride at 2 in the morning to make sure everything was working, and called it a night.

__________________
1986 Yamaha XT350 For Sale
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure and 2012 KTM 200 XC-W
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
gearheadE30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2013, 10:56 AM   #3
gearheadE30 OP
Studly Adventurer
 
gearheadE30's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Indiana
Oddometer: 767
This is where the riding actually starts, for anyone waiting with bated breath for some action….


Sunday morning, I rode from West Lafayette to Fishers, where I’m from. My girlfriend wanted to spend a day with me, as she was home as well. The first leg went really, really well. Only about 70 miles of riding, but the XT got about 55 mpg all loaded up at ~65 mph. It was even fairly warm at 43 degrees, though I don’t have any heated gear or anything. First leg down.


Pic as I was leaving my apartment at Purdue:


Of course, when I come out of the house a few hours later and go to take my stuff to my house, since it is supposed to rain. I make it to the neighborhood entrance and can feel that the bike is a little wallowy, but I’ve never had it loaded up so I chalked it up to that. I turn into the roundabout and the back end slides out like I’m riding on snow. Lo and behold, my rear tire is flat. Of course, I have a spare front tube but I had neglected to buy a rear. I limped back to her driveway, patched the tube, and reinstalled it. It held.



The next day, I bought a new rear tube as a spare. George showed up at about 4 PM and we ran to a local burger joint to get some dinner. Sometime around 5 we are finally ready to leave my place, and my tire is flat. Again. I fill it up and it seems fine, so we hit the road. We made it 20 miles before it was flat again. Filled up on the side of the highway, and made it another 5 miles. After filling it a third time (luckily my mom had forced me to bring the bike pump when she saw my tire was flat) we got off at exit 103. The Harley dealer there was closed, so no lifts. We went to the Menards across the street and I got some of that fix-a-flat stuff, which didn’t work at all, and eventually decided that I would have to change the tube in the dark Menards parking lot. The guys inside were incredibly understanding, and let us borrow 2 cinder blocks so I could prop the bike up. As this is my first ride report, I totally neglected to get a pic. Of course, it also started snowing while we were there, and George, who hadn’t slept the night before, was about to fall asleep in the lot.


It took about an hour all said and done, and we loaded up and hit the road again. It took about 40 or 50 miles to get to our exit, in 30 degree weather with snow running 70 mph. In case you were wondering, no, I couldn’t really feel my fingers. Even George’s heated grips weren’t doing much but overwhelm his stator’s capacity and kill the battery. We stopped at the gas station (a Marathon that the locals call “the jassy”) to warm up and get some hot chocolate.



Getting back on the bikes in the freezing weather. Yeah yeah yeah, I'm bad at packing.






Off the highway now, we could go about 55 and not get too frozen. Almost as soon as we get up to speed, a few deer run across the road right in front of us. Always a good way to snap you awake and get that adrenaline going… Shortly after that trial, George starts slowing down, and pulls off to the side, citing a feeling of the bike steering from the rear. After a little inspection, the rear bearings on the KTM have a minute amount of play in them. George has a very sensitive ass, apparently. I know I'd never be able to feel that. The rest of the way to Seymour went pretty smoothly, and we pulled in around 10 PM after that ~80 mile leg.

__________________
1986 Yamaha XT350 For Sale
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure and 2012 KTM 200 XC-W
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
gearheadE30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2013, 01:31 PM   #4
klaviator
Beastly Adventurer
 
klaviator's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2008
Location: Huntsville, AL
Oddometer: 5,634
Looking forward to reading the rest. The bike that got me into off road riding was a XT350. I still have it. It has over 19,000 miles on it and still runs great and is a blast to ride I have ridden it through Deal's Gap and the surrounding area many times.

I'm looking forward to seeing you yours does.
__________________
I ride, Therefore I Am.



klaviator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2013, 02:48 PM   #5
laminarflowone
hopeless engineer
 
laminarflowone's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Urbana, IL
Oddometer: 73
I used to have an xt650 but had to sell most of my bikes when I moved out to UIUC for engineering graduate school....sad
it was an AMAZING bike

there are a couple of other engineering students that ride in the area, and it might be killer to do an epic ride down to Tennessee or somewhere
laminarflowone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2013, 05:39 PM   #6
gearheadE30 OP
Studly Adventurer
 
gearheadE30's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Indiana
Oddometer: 767
I have video, and 129slayer got some pretty good pics, so I'll post those later. It did way better than expected, and pretty much convinced me that I may as well keep the bike and do some serious suspension upgrades rather than getting something else.

The bigger XTs were (and still are) everything that the 350 wasn't. they have better brakes, better suspension, they don't have shim-in-bucket valve adjusters, and the frames are a bit stronger. I'm working on updating the 350 to those better specs, since the other real option would be to sell it and buy something already better. Hard to find something else street legal, decent on the highway, and with a massive carrying capacity and a 6-speed though. And the xt is only around 270 lbs with an empty tank, which is pretty decent.

I'm always down for a ride, and I know the other guys are too.... :)
__________________
1986 Yamaha XT350 For Sale
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure and 2012 KTM 200 XC-W
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
gearheadE30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2013, 09:08 AM   #7
jdfog2
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Apr 2012
Location: West Central Indiana
Oddometer: 154
Subbed - like THIS thread after reading just the first installment !

My daughter (and a lot of my money) go to Purdue.

And I have been looking for $400 (or $500 or $600) deal like that on an enduro that is a fixer upper too.

Will be looking forward to the rest of the thread.

Jay in West Central Indiana
jdfog2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 05:46 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014