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Old 04-23-2008, 12:06 PM   #61
BIG ED XT FAN
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Location: Finger Lakes Western New York
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Thumb Xt 500

Well, Its spring! Just got a XT roller and let the fun begain. Thanks to you guys! will be my 7th Xt 500!!.
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:42 PM   #62
NamibFox
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Location: Cape Town, South Africa
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sand riding

Hi guys. I thought I'd go and do a bit of practicing in some loose sand with my newly acquired XT today. I find that she is all over the show in the sand, even with reduced tyre pressures. There is obviously a trick to sand riding. I would appreciate any tips in this regard please!

P.S. I've been out of the saddle for 15 years now, so it's back to baby steps. What training routine would you advise to slowly build my skill level up so that I can ride on any loose surfaces with absolute confidence?

Thanks
Chris
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Old 04-23-2008, 04:05 PM   #63
DELTATANGO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thumperbill
Actually its a TT500 I made street leagal. Had a blast riding it all over the hills. Should never have sold it. Needed little to be perfect.

I had one identical to yours, same color and everything. It was a great bike. I had the muffler shop make me a straight pipe. Great! it really felt like a thumper.
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Old 04-23-2008, 05:14 PM   #64
TimberlineAdventure OP
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Location: Portland, ME
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NamibFox
Hi guys. I'm new here and have just spent the best half an hour in a long time reading through all your posts in this thread. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful photographs and comments on these truly amazing classic bikes. Just last week I acquired a fully restored '78 XT500 and I am absolutely thrilled to bits with her.
I stopped biking 15 years ago after a major accident on one of my road bikes. Peer pressure forced me to sell and get myself a car. Shortly thereafter, I got myself a 4x4 and this was the start of a love affair for all things offroad. My thoughts have often returned to biking, but not the road bikes that I used to ride, but something that would be more at home in the offroad environment. The XT500 was always in the back of my mind, it was my dream bike as a young teenager in the mid 70's. I've always wanted one, and now at last I have my very own to love and cherish! I'll be posting one or two pics just as soon as I get around to taking them. In the meantime, please keep the awesome posts coming. I agree that this thread should be kept alive! Thanks again!

Best regards

Chris
South Africa
Congrtulations Chris !! I cant agree with you more, the XT500 is one of the great bikes, on or offroad.... of all time. Endless Torque, simplicity and killer good looks. I do basic maintenance at best, and she has never failed me. I wont even knock on wood, I know she will take me anywhere I want to go. Lets see a picture...
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Husqvarna '08 TE-610 Front Fork Thread Only
http://rickramsey.net/TE610mods.htm
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Old 04-23-2008, 05:16 PM   #65
TimberlineAdventure OP
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Wicked

Quote:
Originally Posted by McB
White Bros. used to sell a temp gauge that was basically what you describe, and screwed in place of the plastic filler cap. I had one on my SR.
You can get one from Thumperstuff.com Talk to Mark Apland, and he will set you up with a really slick Oil Temp Dipstick guage.... I think it is about $35 and is billet aluminum...
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:21 PM   #66
SwitchThrottle
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Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Canton, CT
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As good a place as any, so here goes... I recently aquired an sr500 minus the frame, forks, wheels, and seat. The OD says just shy of 11k. Motor seems pretty decent. Was thinkin of a bobber build like they have on www.bratstyle.com. Whaddya think? what would be a proper frame stup for that motor? I thought about an e-bay xt, tt, or sr frame and then tweak it to my liking. I also hear that a Bonniville frame is a close match. I can get the wheels off the old bike (dude was holding onto them, but will likely part with em). I have to do this on the cheep, or the wife will be pissed for a long time (I already have 2 bikes, but like crack head, i am jonesin for another hit).
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:58 PM   #67
DoubleBit
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Location: Applegate, Nor Cal
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I'm new around here, trying to sort out what to go with for a fun streetable ride.. I've seen a couple of xt550s on craig's but there's no forum for them.. I presume it's a matter of small numbers...
Any good or bad things to say about them?

Thanks, Art
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Old 04-23-2008, 08:40 PM   #68
Sycamore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NamibFox
Hi guys. I thought I'd go and do a bit of practicing in some loose sand with my newly acquired XT today. I find that she is all over the show in the sand, even with reduced tyre pressures. There is obviously a trick to sand riding. I would appreciate any tips in this regard please!

P.S. I've been out of the saddle for 15 years now, so it's back to baby steps. What training routine would you advise to slowly build my skill level up so that I can ride on any loose surfaces with absolute confidence?

Thanks
Chris
Hey Chris

I've you've been out of the saddle for a long time, and you go into soft sand, it's going to feel very weird - like you say, "all over the show". You lose a lot of the control that normally you take for granted, and that takes getting used to.

You can make it a bit better by keeping off the front brake and using the throttle aggressively (give more power when you feel like you're losing it) and keeping your weight back, but basically soft sand has a lot to do with just learning to live with that "almost out of control" feeling, and relaxing.
It gets better and better.

In soft stuff, think of the bike as a boat - you've got to keep the front end light to stop it digging in. That means weight back, and lots of throttle to keep the front up. Cornering is hard - as you slow down, front tends to dig in, and you drop the bike. So corner in a bigger arc, shift your weight to the peg in the direction u want to turn, and keep the power on.


Here's 2 threads with some good tips:

http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=572063

http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=574174


And I'll cut-and-paste this from the first thread.... worth a read:


(Quote)

"...

Everything following is about soft sand....

Like people have said, stay loose on the bike - let the bike jump around and weave around beneath you. It will keep direction. It feels awful at first, just gotta get used to it. Look further ahead than usual - find a line and guide the bike there - forget about micro-steering. First reaction on soft sand is, "this feels all wrong". Just keep doing it, it becomes natural.

Keep your weight back. The idea is to keep the front end light. When the bike feels real unstable, give more gas, it will fix itself. When in doubt, give more power!
Instinct tells you to slow down when losing control. In soft sand, do the opposite. Speed & momentum are your friends - lose either one, and things can go bad.
Watch out when slowing down, try to avoid too much front brake - the front will want to dig in. Try to keep the gas on even when you're slowing. This makes for sudden stops.

You can deflate tires very low - i go down to 8psi if the sand is very soft. Normally 10 psi on sand for me. (Dunlop 908)
Don't sit - bike is more stable on soft sand when standing. It needs to move around a bit. Grip the bike with legs to avoid back and arm fatigue.

If you're doing a lot of soft sand, a steering damper is a good investment.

If you're riding a 4-stroke, keep in as high gear as possible, even if your revs drop low, you have plenty of torque to drive you. Use that low end torque.
Riding in low gear tires you out, gets the bike hot, and digs the bike in. Depending on the bike, you can probably use 2nd gear to pull away and go up from there.

Corner with your weight and with the throttle - put your weight on one peg to shift the weight, this will turn you. Imagine you are surfing on the bike... Sharp turns will dig the front wheel in - no good.

Stay within your limits, try to get a rhythm going.

Riding in soft sand & dunes is very, very mental - think / feel positive and you will ride much better. Try to feel very loose and fluid, and be the boss of the bike, if that makes sense. Let the bike move freely beneath you, don't grip too tight.

Riding with someone experienced and following their tracks is a very good idea, as long as they know your limits and don't take you places that get you into trouble. You can learn a lot by seeing what line they take through dunes.

Dunes...... - start small.
Don't try crossing the face of a dune at angle unless you're very, very good. Always climb and descend dunes straight up and straight down, at 90 degrees to the face of the dune.
When climbing a dune, get some speed up and keep the power on, don't back off. Just as you get to the to of the dune (maybe 1-2 metres before), throttle off a bit, you will lose speed immediately, and use your momentum to carry you over. Use this brief slowing to take a look over the top and see whats on the down side. The bike can handle very steep down-sides, just keep your nerve, go for it and stay on the power.
But its a very rare COMPLETE drop-off (i.e. a vertical fall) on the other side, probably better to jump away the bike at this point Falling down a dune is better without a bike below you.
You don't get much time to make a judgement when going over the lip, maybe half a second or less. It's got a lot to do with instinct. Hesitation can cause you to get stuck, try to keep momentum at all times. That means thinking / sesning things very quickly.

If you need to fully stop at the top of a dune to survey the other side (a good idea if its a very big dune and you don't know what's over the top), using the same technique of throttling off VERY near the lip, just one or 2 metres, and let your momentum carry you over - you want to come to a stop with your front wheel over the lip. This takes practice to judge speed.
If you throttle off a second too soon and come to a stop before the lip of the dune, you'll have a very hard time getting over - bike will dig in when u want to move. Basically always try to avoid stopping on a steep uphill slope in soft sand. If this does happen to you, get off the bike, stand next to it and give power, and "walk" it to the top. Then get on and ride down.

Keep your eyes far ahead, try to read the dunes. They happen in patterns / waves. Try to spot the patterns, if you're getting into really big stuff and you can't deal with it, get out of that area, don't go deeper, cos its usually going to get worse before it gets better.

Never ride alone out of sight of civilization.
Rider communication is a big problem in desert - if your buddy is riding 50 yards ahead and you keep on losing sight of him over dunes, and he's going deeper into big dunes and you wanna get out....
or, you've dropped the bike in deep sand and he's disappeared - these are bum situations.
So, small 2 way radios are a damn good idea - they have saved me and buddies from many problems. Clip it near your shoulder, you can hear calls above engine noise and u can talk without removing your helmet. Mobile phones just dont work well in those situations.

Try to agree with your buddies BEFORE you start up, about routes, and what degree of difficulty you can do.
Once you're riding it's TOO LATE. You are going to lose 50% or more of communication ability once you are in the dunes. Don't rush to get moving. TAKE TIME to secure your gear and talk - if you're not comfortable about route or what you're gonna be doing, say so and agree on something else. I've gotten into bad situations out there by not discussing the ride beforehand, everybody rushing. Confusion and /or disagreement out there on the dunes is a bad situation. There's a very fine line between having a good ride and things getting out of control.
Agree beforehand about a plan of action, if one of you gets lost or into difficulty. This sounds heavy but take safety seriously. Can't emphasize this enough. COMMUNICATE BEFORE YOU RIDE.


If you drop the bike, first thing to do is turn off the gas tank fuel line, to stop it flooding. Then pick up the bike.
If you drop the bike on the face of a dune (it WILL happen ) and you need to pull it round to face down so you can ride down again, first grab the front wheel (while the bike is still lying down) and drag it round so its facing the right direction, then pick the bike up. This sounds hard, but it's a lot easier than picking up the bike, and then trying to turn it around.

Picking up a bike in soft sand (repeatedly ) can take a lot of valuable energy, find the easiest possible way to do it. Using the very end of the handlebar gives you a surprising amount of leverage and makes it much easier. A good way is to pick up the bike using the handlebar on the "bottom" side of the bike, when it's lying down.

Getting stuck....When the back wheel digs in and you get stuck... just using a bit too much power when not moving, can cause the back end to sink in fast, so the bike is sitting on the bash-plate or bottom of the frame. Basically you're deep in sand, up to your rear axle, if u know what I mean....

In this situation, turn off the gas at the tank, kill the engine, then lie the bike down on its side. This takes time, you need pull and jerk slowly to overcome the "suctiion" of the sand. You might need to move sand with your hands to clear the back wheel. When the bike is finally on its side, fill in the hole where the back wheel was, then pick the bike up again. It will now be on top of the sand again.

Lastly, get fit - riding in soft sand is VERY physical, know your limits especially in heat. Carry a lot of water. When you're overheating and tired, just picking up the bike out of soft sand on a steep dune can be a freak-out. Heat seriously affects your judgment - you become irrational make bad decisions without knowing it.

And very lastly, have fun!!!!! Don't push yourself beyond what you can do. Unless you want to compete - then it's a different story I guess.


Some videos here:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGTQAVWf3I8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAIvNdn5HIs



....."


(End quote)
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Old 04-23-2008, 08:40 PM   #69
haydenslides
K.Flotto
 
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Port Angeles, Washington USA
Oddometer: 94
Question

Hey all you xt afficianados. i picked up a 77 xt500 a couple of months ago for $500. bike had 15000 mi on the odo. she whas in need of a drastic makeover... bars, fenders, brake lite, sprockets, chain, tires, fmf pipe and custom midpipe, case saver, and some general maintenance. the bike runs great, and after a carb clean she's super reliabile. i've got one issue w/ the bike though. on cold starts, she spews white smoke for about 1 - 2 minutes, and then no more smoke. i'm concerned, but it's a good sign it only smokes on start up, right? i've heard there's an oil valve on the frame oil tank that opens on start up to allow oil flow to the engine. i read on another forum that this valve can get stuck open allowing oil leakage from the frame tank into the engine. can anyone confirm this as a possibile cause of the smoking? anything else that might cause this, should i be concerned? i LOVE this bike! i've put about $600 into upgrades, w/ a few more to go. a total of $1100 for a great adv bike. any input on my smoking issue would be greatly appreciated! cheers
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'02 Kawasaki KL250 Super Sherpa
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Old 04-23-2008, 10:08 PM   #70
NamibFox
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Location: Cape Town, South Africa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sycamore
Hey Chris

I've you've been out of the saddle for a long time, and you go into soft sand, it's going to feel very weird - like you say, "all over the show". You lose a lot of the control that normally you take for granted, and that takes getting used to.

You can make it a bit better by keeping off the front brake and using the throttle aggressively (give more power when you feel like you're losing it) and keeping your weight back, but basically soft sand has a lot to do with just learning to live with that "almost out of control" feeling, and relaxing.
It gets better and better.

In soft stuff, think of the bike as a boat - you've got to keep the front end light to stop it digging in. That means weight back, and lots of throttle to keep the front up. Cornering is hard - as you slow down, front tends to dig in, and you drop the bike. So corner in a bigger arc, shift your weight to the peg in the direction u want to turn, and keep the power on.


(End quote)
Hi Sycamore. Many many thanks! That is exactly the kind of info I was looking for! Looks like the rest is upto me now. Guess the XT is going to have to get used to being dropped a few times until I get it right

Thanks again
Chris
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:07 AM   #71
Hektoglider
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Location: Lone Pine Ontario (or travelling)
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carb data

I was able to resource some specs from a Yamaha Factory manual.Thought I would post for other XT / SR owners on this thread.

#210 main jet --- pilot #35 (mine has a #25)---- #60 starter jet --- jet needleVM34SS ---needle jet Q2-----air screw 1 -1/2 turns out----float height 22.5 mm +/- 2 mm
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Old 04-24-2008, 01:49 PM   #72
plugeye
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Location: Garland, Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haydenslides
Hey all you xt afficianados. i picked up a 77 xt500 a couple of months ago for $500. bike had 15000 mi on the odo. she whas in need of a drastic makeover... bars, fenders, brake lite, sprockets, chain, tires, fmf pipe and custom midpipe, case saver, and some general maintenance. the bike runs great, and after a carb clean she's super reliabile. i've got one issue w/ the bike though. on cold starts, she spews white smoke for about 1 - 2 minutes, and then no more smoke. i'm concerned, but it's a good sign it only smokes on start up, right? i've heard there's an oil valve on the frame oil tank that opens on start up to allow oil flow to the engine. i read on another forum that this valve can get stuck open allowing oil leakage from the frame tank into the engine. can anyone confirm this as a possibile cause of the smoking? anything else that might cause this, should i be concerned? i LOVE this bike! i've put about $600 into upgrades, w/ a few more to go. a total of $1100 for a great adv bike. any input on my smoking issue would be greatly appreciated! cheers
i thought mine was going through a little oil on startup too
but.......
i have 2 carbs & it ONLY does that with XT carb, not the TT carb.
so oil is not my issue, its the XT carb suckin air or something, the idle is extremely erratic. the TT carb idles great, but wont take much throttle past 1/2 twist. got more things to check but thought i'd share.
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Old 04-26-2008, 07:06 PM   #73
haydenslides
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Location: Port Angeles, Washington USA
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plugeyes- thanks for the response. i don't think my start up smoking is a carb issue, as the bike runs great w/ the stock carb. unfortunately, i'm thinking piston/rings might be on the agenda for my xt...
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Old 04-27-2008, 05:40 AM   #74
montesa_vr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haydenslides
unfortunately, i'm thinking piston/rings might be on the agenda for my xt...
Time to pull out the compression tester. No sense tearing the poor thing down before you check it.

Help me out here guys, I haven't done this in a while. The old drill was:
1) remove plug
2) insert compression tester
3) be certain gas and ignition are off
4) hold throttle wide open
5) kick engine over until compression reading on guage stops rising
6) record results
7) remove tester
8) insert a few tablespoons of engine oil in the cylinder
9) repeat test
10) compare results

Every compression tester seemed to be a little different in the old days, so we tried to keep a record for comparison. For bikes of unknown background we tried to find a sound example to use as a baseline.

If the reading goes up after you add the oil, the rings aren't sealing very well. If the reading stays very low even after you add the oil, the valves aren't sealing very well.

A cylinder leak down test, where you pump air into the engine and measure how long it takes for it to escape, is a more sophisticated measurement. I've never done it.
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Old 04-27-2008, 05:54 AM   #75
plugeye
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i think you got it. just tested comp on the 79 xt500 friday, 120#.
its running much better now since changing the k&n clamp-on to the stock airbox & running stock tt500 exhaust. i'm using tt500 carb, vm34ss with 340mainjet. the 310 flattened out too quick & the plug looked pretty clean.
so i had a 340 & thats what i'm using for a while. now it runs like a normal machine.
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