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Old 05-02-2007, 03:40 PM   #1
Mr. Vintage OP
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Location: The Palouse
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Talking My free SL350!

The other day I overheard a coworker trying to give away a motorcycle to one of the ladies at the front desk. Of course I perked up, and went running out and managed to score this surprisingly straight '72 SL350. For free! 6200 miles, manual is still under the seat, and short of the exhaust and side covers, complete (at least until I rode it and the tail light lense ejected somewhere). The PO had planned to rebuild the thing (not sure why - compression is good) so it also came with pistons, rings, gaskets, and a basket CB350 engine! I did a full tune up, flushed out the icky gas, and replaced the battery and plugs ($25 net investment) and it runs pretty well. The suspension actually works and has damping, which tells me it wasn't abused too much. Gotta dig magnesium engine covers, aluminum fenders, and the double-leading shoe front brake!

My plan is an ultra low cost commuter/ADV bike - I need to rig up mufflers somehow, and I'll probably krylon the tank, headlight, and the ammo-box panniers I have planned. I should really buy tires if I'm going to ride it to work.

And since this is my first post (been lurking), I live in the rolling hills of the Palouse in eastern WA, I'll be 34 next week, and also have a CB450 and a MT250 Elsinore. Come to think of it, I didn't pay for them either...


Cheers!

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Old 05-02-2007, 04:48 PM   #2
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Neat bike. I had a CL350 for a little while. The SL is much cooler that the CL.
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:13 PM   #3
bykpimp
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Built like a hammer!! One of the toughest bikes ever made.
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Old 05-03-2007, 05:53 AM   #4
Boojum
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Location: Ringgold, Ga.....Saaalute!
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A FREE SL-350???? Keep us posted on what you end up doing with it!

Boojum!
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:11 AM   #5
RocketJ
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When I had a new SL70, One of my brothers freinds had a new SL350.
He used to let me (12) thrash it up on the aquaduct. We'd ride dirt all the way to Ace mc track in Modena That thing sure was fast in 72.
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:25 AM   #6
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Samething happened to me with an old CB....but I was about 3 sec. to late.
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:55 AM   #7
markjenn
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The SL350 was a surprisingly good dirtbike for its day. A great platform for what you're talking about.

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Old 05-03-2007, 10:42 AM   #8
Pally McGee
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Location: Monadnock Region, NH
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Hmmm... I wonder if I could squeeze a kz1000 motor in an SL350 frame?

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Old 05-03-2007, 10:57 AM   #9
yooperbikemike
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Location: The blue groove
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When I met my wife I had been bikeless for a couple years. After we had been going out for a while, I started to get the itch and started leaving bike mags lying about and sighing heavily a lot and mooning over friend's bikes -- the usual behaviour for a junkie that never really gets the drug out of his system. I broached the subject of getting one and she said "I have a motorcycle in my Sister's garage" We went out to her sister's house and there it was -- a 1971 SL350 in all it's gold metalflake glory. Long story short, I fixed it up, rode it for a while and haven't been without her or a bike since.
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Old 05-04-2007, 07:04 AM   #10
Cordless
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Jeff51, Welcome to ADVrider. I grew up in Endicott so your photo of the Palouse makes me a bit homesick.

My father was storing my '78 XL350 in Spokane until his neighbor offered to take it off his hands for free--so my old 350 became someone else's spectacular find. I didn't have the heart to tell my father he'd done the entirely wrong thing. (I was away from motorcycles for a bit in grad school).

Good find. Gread riding on those E. Washington curves.

Post some bike atop Steptoe Butte photos.
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Old 05-06-2007, 12:46 AM   #11
bykpimp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yooperbikemike
When I met my wife I had been bikeless for a couple years. After we had been going out for a while, I started to get the itch and started leaving bike mags lying about and sighing heavily a lot and mooning over friend's bikes -- the usual behaviour for a junkie that never really gets the drug out of his system. I broached the subject of getting one and she said "I have a motorcycle in my Sister's garage" We went out to her sister's house and there it was -- a 1971 SL350 in all it's gold metalflake glory. Long story short, I fixed it up, rode it for a while and haven't been without her or a bike since.

That's a very cool story!!
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:11 PM   #12
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Resoration

I've been working on the SL, so I thought I would post an update.

First order of business was to sell this:

And what does that have to do with anything? Some background: Mrs. Jeff51 quit work a year or so ago to be a full time Mom for my boys, leaving little or no play money for the forseeable future. The idea with this project is to get the bike roadworthy for daily transport and some adventure with nearly no out of pocket expenses. Anything I spend on the bike will have to come from selling stuff.

I won the Bose for hitting a hole in one at a golf tournament, which is particularly amusing since I don't golf. (Golf is too slow, too stuffy, and they won't let you use an Elsinore for a cart.) I can count on one hand the number of times I have played a round in my life. I believe some higher being wanted me to play with bikes more, so to ebay it went. And these radios are nice, but $500 bucks for a clock radio?

$425 in hand from ebay, the second order of business was to get the bike in my name. The previous owner lost the title that went back several owners, so I borrowed a truck and it was off to the State Patrol.

In Washington, title-less vehicles can be inspected and registered in your name. After three years, you can apply for a title. The numbers didn't come back as stolen; if not they confiscate the bike. Gloria, the nice gal from the WSP, said that on more than one occasion she has had to confiscate bikes after folks had put significant time and money in them. Everything checked out, so $95 in inspection fees and it's (mostly) mine.

I did some online shopping, and a few weeks later I have all this stuff:


Sorry for the blur, but I got new Kendas, tubes, fork seals, engine oil seals, mirrors, signals, and a replacement for the aformentioned ejected taillight lense. I also bought a pile of metal to start building some pannier mounts. Stay tuned.
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Old 11-21-2007, 06:34 AM   #13
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" ...they won't let you use an Elsinore for a cart."


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Old 11-21-2007, 09:10 AM   #14
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Panniers

I spent a long time head scratchin' on how to best build some pannier mounts for the SL. An SL350 has nearly no frame behind the shocks, just a loop to hold the rear fender on, and mine shows evidence of being busted off and rewelded previously. So I designed the panniers to rest almost entirely on the upper shock mount and the muffler / buddy peg support.

At this point everything is just tacked together to mock up. The all-thread through the fender mount is just to keep things from flapping in the breeze.

Note the gas can - the whopping 2.5 gallon tank and 40ish fuel milage is not one of the SL's strong points.

Once I welded everything up, I still wasn't convinced that the weight wouldn't end up on the rear frame loop, so I added a diagonal. (Should I run soft bags, this will also help keep things out of the wheel.) It's welded solid at the top and threaded on the bottom, so I can preload it some and assure it's doing something.


I'm not sure how impressed my shop partner is...


Once I had both pannier mounts built, I built a rack to mount between the two.


This involved a bunch of welding and even more filing, but I'm happy with the way it turned out. It's surprisingly robust. Total added weight from the two mounts and the rack: 10 pounds.

You can see I also built mounts for the turn signals - the rear to the taillight (drilled for lightness of course), the front to the triple clamp.

Next - exhaust system.
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Old 11-21-2007, 09:32 AM   #15
yooperbikemike
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Nice work!
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