Old Bikes Long Rides - How to prepare

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by vanislejay, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. vanislejay

    vanislejay Been here awhile

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    I am planning my first long bike trip on an old bike. What does everyone do/check out to prepare their bike for multi day rides?
    I'm going to be taking a 73 Yamaha TX750 around 1200 miles in four days. Not unreasonable and I think enough room for some breakdown time. Most of it will be pretty isolated. I've had this bike for a year or so and I did a ride over 200 miles on it a couple weeks ago. Ill be riding two up and I will probably throw some saddle bags on there for camping gear, but most of the ride will be coastal roads so I am imagining an average of 50mph or so. We are going alone, but it's a busy vacation week here in Quebec so an isolated road side breakdown wouldn't be a complete stranding (I hope).

    Here's the map if anyone is interested. https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=207219115344510082154.0004dffc9523b85ab6d10&msa=0

    The bike has the balancer chain tensioner and the deep sump, so the original design flaws shouldn't cause me any problems.
    #1
  2. hunter_greyghost

    hunter_greyghost XS650 Allroads Traveller

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    I'd treat it like any bike ride if you have faith in its reliability etc., :wink:
    I noticed your pointed out that basic design faults have been rectified so those shouldn't be a problem, :deal
    Have you worked on this bike yourself? what is the history of the bike? original mileage? has it been rebuilt/restored? just a few questions I've thought of :eek1
    [​IMG]
    My XS650s have both been rebuilt but now have 50,000+kms on them,
    [​IMG]
    touring around parts of Australia, 50% dirt roads in a lot of trips, both loaded fairly well at times:clap
    Depends on your gut feelings sometimes too, your faith in your bike like I said earlier, have great time on the trip, :freaky
    [​IMG]
    I've done plenty of remote area rides - always enjoyable, better with company, :lol3
    Cheers
    Baza
    #2
  3. retiredgentleman

    retiredgentleman Been here awhile

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    I have done a 2000 km 5 day trip, on my 1978 XS650, through the rocky mountains. As mentioned, its important to know the history; what components have been up-graded, etc.

    On my bike I had replaced the rectifier, the regulator, the ignition, the fuse panel, and I had cleaned the electrical connectors. Its important to know you have a good battery, and a good charging system.

    You should check that you are getting 14 volts across the battery terminals, when you rev the engine up to 3000 rpm.

    Of course you want good tires and brakes. I have tubeless tires, so I carry a tire repair kit and a small 12 volt air compressor. I guess you have spoke wheels and tubes, so that could be more work if you have a flat.

    A tool kit, spare fuses, a test light, some electrical wire, electrical tape, nylon cable ties, tire pressure gauge, all good to have with you.

    Each day check around the bike for loose nuts and bolts. I had a small bolt vibrate loose inside my headlight bucket, which caused a few electrical problems.
    #3
  4. vanislejay

    vanislejay Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the tips! And that is one loaded up XS!!
    I usually carry a small tool kit with me that enables me to do almost everything, and it has almost everything mentioned above, but it's still good to get some reassurance.
    I have about a month to get the bike ready so I will check out the charging system, and the rest of the electrical while I am at it. I have been a little suspect of the charging system for a while, so no point walking into this trip with a known potential issue.
    I rebuilt the top end last year and inspected the rest of the motor while I was at it. Everything looked pretty solid. I have some valve clack that I need to clean up before I leave and I have a spare set of points and a condenser that will be in my kit. Yesterday one of my exhaust mounts broke on the rear. It was a flimsy little bracket that I am surprised lasted 40 years, so I will bend up new brackets for both sides this week.
    The bike is stock aside form pod filters and some of the baffle has been removed from the exhaust, the jetting has been modified to suit. She has about 25,000 original miles, of which about 3,000 are mine, and it hasn't been rebuilt aside from what I have mentioned above.

    What is best to carry for tubed tire repair? I am a regular cyclist and no stranger to road bike flat repair. Can I use the same patch kit for a motorcycle tube? The pressure is a lot less on the motorcycle tube so I suppose it should work. What do people carry for tire levers? I doubt my flimsy bicycle tire levers would be able to get my motorcycle tire off. I doubt I will have a problem, but a patch kit and levers are pretty light, I might as well put something in my tool kit just in case.
    #4
  5. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    That's a nice lazy pace - you should have a great time. In looking at your route, my preference would be to cross the Gaspe Peninsula on Highway 299 up the Matapedia Valley and through the Chic Chocks rather than following the Cassapedia Valley and Highway 132. 132 takes most of the traffic and is nowhere near as interesting or scenic - trust me on this one!
    Highway 229 is one of the best motorcycling roads in Quebec.

    On your Google map, activate 'photos' then compare the scenery of the two - you'll see what I mean.

    As far as breakdowns, as long as you treat them as challenges, not disasters, you will be fine.

    Have fun

    Nick

    PS Don't bother with a patch kit - take a spare tube, and don't forget some lubricant (shampoo, soap, wd40, ky jelly) to help get the tyres on and off. Buy some proper motorcycle levers otherwise you just won't be able to manage - and carry the necessary wrenches to remove the wheels!
    #5
  6. vanislejay

    vanislejay Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the route suggestion Nick949eldo, I have seen your site and read your ride reports, really impressive! I really want to ride up to James Bay at some point as well. I actually have a 73 Eldo that is next up on the bench and your ride reports have been motivation to get it up and going.

    I have also drooled over the pics of your 750S more than once haha.
    #6
  7. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    Thanks for the kind words. By now you've undoubtedly heard of the chrome bore issue with early Guzzis - but its worth mentioning just the same. Lots of info on line, and easy (if a bit expensive) replacements are available.

    Quebec is one of my favourite places to travel: the roads, scenery, people, cheese, wine - all fantastic!

    Nick
    #7
  8. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    Legs, man you need LEGS! 17t countershaft and 38t rear sprocket. I've had two TX750's, back then and now. Bring extra contact points, in case they get oiled then burnt. You have the sump extension and balancer chain adjust mods, yes? Verify your charging system before you leave, voltmeter should go to 13.6+ when revved up (headlight on). And check your oil FREQUENTLY!!! They can push a lot out at highway speed.

    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    I did a trip of similar length last year on my '78 GL1000. I rebuilt that bike from the frame up, replacing everything that needed replacing, and it ran great for years. Then I went on the trip and on day one, the stator burnt out. :cry Fortunately, I had previously wired in a switch so I could run without a headlight and the stator somehow had enough life left in it to keep the battery from draining if there was no load from the headlight, so I was able to complete the trip.

    I guess the point of this is that no matter how well you prep the bike for the trip (except maybe short of a complete teardown and replacement of all wear items) there's still a decent chance that, on your 40+ year old machine, something will go wrong. Just try to take it in stride if something does happen, and hopefully it won't be a trip-ender either. There is definitely something special about touring on a vintage bike that you don't really get from more modern rides. Maybe it's the extra excitement from not knowing when the next thing is going to break? :lol3
    #9
  10. vanislejay

    vanislejay Been here awhile

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    I have used that to explain to my co-workers why I only have old vehicles. The first is that you can almost always get them back up and running at the roadside, the second is that knowing you will make it to your destination everytime is too boring.:rofl
    #10
  11. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    #11
  12. hunter_greyghost

    hunter_greyghost XS650 Allroads Traveller

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    Gotta agree with that statement, dunno about the second part of that sentence though! :lol3
    Cheers
    Baza
    #12
  13. vanislejay

    vanislejay Been here awhile

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    I'll pack 'em, but don't be so sure about that. I limped about 30km home once with a string tied to my right leg at just the right angle to actuate the carb slide. It was a single carb bike though, and obviously not push/pull. If I had lost a clutch cable at the same time I would have looked like lord of the dance.
    #13
  14. hunter_greyghost

    hunter_greyghost XS650 Allroads Traveller

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    [​IMG]
    Just load it & go, I'm off up to the Abercrombie River area again, little village called Tuena, old gold mining spot, :freaky
    and don't forget to photos! :deal
    Cheers
    Baza
    #14
  15. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    When I used to do long trips on old bikes (not so old at the time) I knew what was likely to need attention having had the bike a while.

    What I did was to buy all new cables, and wire tie another set of new cables to them and install on the bike. Its a place to store them, and if one breaks, you just switch the ends, no removing the gas tank.
    I stuffed spare bulbs inside the headlight shell, and took enough tools to tear the motor apart. If you bring something, you will NOT need it.
    Tire irons, patch kit, small pump, money.

    9000 mile trip on a 1979 Bonneville special and I had one flat at the grand canyon which I fixed.

    After having the bike a while, I knew the weak points, the speedo drive was crap, and the key switch wore out.
    Both lasted the trip, but a week after the trip my rear brake master cylinder rusted up.

    A spare regulator is likely a good idea on any old bike, they are small and easy to pack.
    Start with newer tires, brake pads and battery.
    #15
  16. Sniper X

    Sniper X De Oppresso Liber

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    Good luck on the ride.
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  17. woodgrain

    woodgrain In-Dented Savant

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    Nick's right about riding through the Matapedia Valley.As you carve through the curves on 132 you can watch anglers trying their luck at catching Atlantic salmon in the Matapedia River.You may have a difficult time getting a room from Mont Joli to Campbellton NB, as they get filled up this time of year quite early.There are two Tim Horton's in Campbellton NB and the best place to eat in New Richmond is Le Fin Gourmet.Check out the salmon museum in Cascapedia. Riding through the "Park ", on 299, as the locals refer to it, from Ste. Anne des Monts can be a lonely ride.Do not ride at night! Have fun.

    Woodgrain
    #17
  18. vanislejay

    vanislejay Been here awhile

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    I edited the map a bit to show the two possible routes, one in blue, one in red. I'm a little confused, Nick and Woodgrain you guys seem to be saying opposite things. Unless I am misunderstanding the portion of the routes you are suggesting, or Woodgrain, possibly you looked at the map while I was in the middle of editing it? I messed it up for a little bit, I am still just figuring out how to modify saved maps on google maps.

    The old map link still works, but here it is again to make it easier.
    https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=207219115344510082154.0004dffc9523b85ab6d10&msa=0

    We are actually going to be camping, so I'm not too worried about hotels.
    #18
  19. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    Yep - the red route is the one I meant as the most scenic and least traveled. I think I got the river's names transposed in my head. Good camping in Gaspesie National Park.

    Nick
    #19
  20. chasbmw

    chasbmw Long timer

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    Electrics electrics electrics
    #20