Touring on UJM

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Prof J, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Prof J

    Prof J Adventurer

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    Anybody tour on a 70's or 80's UJM?

    I tried many bikes but I still think my 82 Seca is great. One day, when I break free from raising my 5 kids, I want to ride across America. In the meantime, I would enjoy reading about ADVs who do it on old bikes. Any RR's out there?

    Prof J
    #1
  2. davidji

    davidji bike curious

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    There are ride reports with old UJMs here on advrider. I remember reading a couple. Start browsing or searching and you'll find 'em.
    #2
  3. rivercreep

    rivercreep Banned

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    In my youth, I did a New England tour on my 1978 Honda CB400 Hawk.
    I.M.H.O. they just don't make good basic bikes like that anymore.
    #3
  4. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    A new Honda CB500 costs about the same (in constant dollars) and is vastly better in every functional way. The good old days weren't that good.

    - Mark
    #4
  5. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    In 1974 I rode from Montpelier VT to Tempe AZ on a Honda 305 Dream. I kind of rushed it, 7 days which included a 2 day stopover in Colorado. Unforgettable.
    #5
  6. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    The good old days didn't have motorcycles as good as today's motorcycles, but the motorcycles worked just fine. I continue to ride my mid-70s bikes a good bit and they are very enjoyable.

    No, they are not maintenance-free, but they're not troublesome either. No they don't have the smoothest suspensions, but they work fine on roads and gravel -- freeway seams are a bitch which is just one more reason to stay away from freeways. Parts for many older bikes are readily available although some parts for some bikes are hard to find.

    If you enjoy riding that particular motorcycle, do it. It wasn't built to sit under a coat of wax under a soft cover in a garage. If you need better performance, a new motorcycle will certainly provide that.

    Riding different motorcycles provides different experiences. There is no single experience that is the "right" one.

    In 2012 I rode my '75 CB750K to Ohio and around there. Lots of good miles.
    #6
  7. sonnystile

    sonnystile Been here awhile

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    This summer I took my 99 Nighthawk 750 from Louisville Ky to Thunder Bay On and back.

    3600 trouble free, comfortable miles.

    Gonna try to make the left coast this summer.

    Yeah, the 99 is a little newer than vintage, but it's a UJM to its core...


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    #7
  8. sonnystile

    sonnystile Been here awhile

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    [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    #8
  9. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

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    You want to be inspired by what can be done on a UJM? Read "Jupiters Travels", by Simon.............:clap
    #9
  10. rivercreep

    rivercreep Banned

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    ...by your perspective.
    To me, the old one was better because it was a simple design (no liquid cooling/plumbing to work around or fail) and my old CB400 could handle saddle bags and a larger windshield with minimal expense.
    Not so with the new CB as it's headlight design prohibits a large touring screen and its side panels will get damaged if you just throw saddle bags over them, without supports.
    To me, the new CB500 is worthless as a practical commuter and if your battery goes dead, it has no kick-starter as back up. (my 78 Hawk had both and I usually used the kick starter as it'd fire up on the first jump, almost every time)
    #10
  11. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    Timely subject for me. I pulled out my old album from a trip I took in 1975, the first trip I took with a camera.
    The camera is a box Brownie Kodak that my mother got upon graduating High School. It uses 128 roll film. You have to pull a bit of the film and start it on another roller to load. To take a picture you open the veiw finder on top and look down to line up with the subject.
    Anyway the ride I took was nearly 6 weeks and a little over 8000 miles. My bike was a new 1975 Kawasaki 900 Z-1.
    I went west to Texas, crossed into Juarez , Mexico pretty much by mistake and was glad to get out, only to have the US border guard make me strip everything off the bike, then act discusted when there was nothing to bust me for.
    I rode around New Mexico into Arizona and hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with a girl I met from Florida. I turned east and spent a couple of weeks in Colorado. When my money ran out I rode straight home 1200 miles. I made it to Louisville, out of gas and money and was able to swap my flashlight for a dollars worth of gas to get home on,on fumes.
    The whole time, I had no trouble from the bike. I changed the oil a couple of time and put gas in. That was it.
    Two years later I rode it to California and back , another 8000+ miles.
    #11
  12. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    I took several long weekend trips on my '78 GL1000, if you count that as a UJM. Burned out a stator on the last trip but still made it another 2 days back home by turning off or disconnecting every single electrical item that wasn't necessary. Otherwise, it was a lovely tourer, though the clip-on bars and chopped-down seat weren't exactly an improvement in comfort.
    #12
  13. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    There are advantages to the old bikes. Simplicity, a big flat comfortable seat that you can actually move around on, sit on the front, sit on the back for a while, put one foot on the rear peg for a while, then the other, then both as you slide all the way to the back... Very comfortable riding position. Once you get all the maintenance caught up they are as reliable as anything new. Brakes and suspensions can be easily upgraded.
    Not as powerful as a big inline four today, won't corner quite as well as a modern sport bike, but do you really need all that on a road trip?
    #13
  14. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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    I spent two weeks on my Seca 750 last summer. :clap
    #14
  15. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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    And they are less apt to be stolen :deal
    #15
  16. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    Buy a UJM for maybe about $1000, (give or take $800) spend another $1000 getting it in safe reliable condition, then maybe $200 a year for oil changes, tires and such.

    Pretty darned inexpensive for a motorcycle.

    They are not vastly better. Quite a bit faster, better brakes, some have nicer suspension, some don't. Maybe ABS. Some newer bikes are lighter, but a lot of them are not. The suspension and brakes can be upgraded on the old bikes, quit inexpensively. Newer bikes require less maintenance, but they are not more reliable. (unless you choose not to do the required maintenance)
    One day a year is enough to do everything an old bike needs. Maybe twice a year if you ride a lot.
    Not much more than what a new bike needs really.

    New bikes are fine, I have a few, a KTM, a BMW and a Suzuki. I ride the old ones more often.
    #16
  17. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    True, I never even pull the key out of mine when I park it.
    #17
  18. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    Look, I'm an old bike fan too (I have a CB750K1 and a CBX), but I don't think anybody riding a CB400F back-to-back with a CB500F wouldn't came away absolutely astounded with how much better the new bike is. It's like night and day.

    BTW, I owned two 400Fs too, and it was a great bike to look at and trundle around on now and then, but by today's standards, it was a total POS with miniscule power, a wooden disc brake in front and a hair-trigger drum in back, terrible suspension (especially fork compliance), etc. While it was one of the smoothest bikes of its era, it has the characteristic inline-four buzz and would be considered a relatively vibey bike if sold today.

    Old is great and if you like the simplicity and basic nature, go for it - a bike like the CB400F can certainly be an everyday bike or even a touring bike if you want. But it just is not even on the same page in overall functionality.... a CB400F compares to a CB500F about like a 1975 Honda Civic compares to a new one.

    - Mark
    #18
  19. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    OK, buy a new bike. You have my permission.
    #19
  20. bwringer

    bwringer Gimpy, Yet Alacritous

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    Geez, I didn't know you weren't supposed to load 'em up like mules, go places far away, and ride real fast on old bikes.

    For example:

    Tennessee/North Carolina (you know where... :D ):
    [​IMG]

    Iowa. That's Wisconsin over yonder:
    [​IMG]


    Pick a good bike, fix it up right, and you'll be fine. I've flogged the shit out of my GS850 for over 90,000 miles. It's got over 125,000 on it, and I plan to keep it pretty much forever.


    Bonus loaded 1991 VX800 somewhere in Wisconsin. I sold this one a few years ago.:
    [​IMG]

    Resting, unloaded, outside a cheap motel in Illinois. Note vintage tourers in the background. This was a GS rally -- buy yourself an old Suzuki and head over to http://www.thegsresources.com/_forum/index.php
    [​IMG]
    #20