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Cross Country on a $50 bike: NY-SF and back

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by XS500RUS, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    376
    Time for another ride report. Another Temnykh Brothers ride this time, astride our respective first bikes: Vanya on his 1974 Honda CB360G, me on the 1976 Yamaha XS500C. We did our first overnight trips on these bikes, including trips to the Catskills, Adirondacks, and Vermont. This time our destination was the 2010 Bennington Triumph Bash. markbvt here on ADVrider invited us to come up, and we gladly accepted the invitation. Albeit we weren’t on Triumph brand motorcycles, our oil-leaking, hard (kick)starting parallel twins were more like Brit Iron of yore than many Triumphs there.
    Vanya rode up to Ithaca from State College PA on his cross country tested Seca in record time on Thursday. He had tuned up the bikes two weekends ago, correcting a WOT stumble on the XS500, and doing a tune up on the CB360. The Cb360 was still running a little iffy the night before heading out…

    Breakfast consisted of Russian “pirogi” prepared by our mother. We grabbed the leftovers for lunch.

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    8am and Vanya has the carbs off the Cb360, hunting for the cause of the no-idle condition. After checking that the carb boots were sealing properly, and replacing the o-rings on the pilot screw, it was still off, but it would have to do.

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    The GS is tearing at the leash to strike out cross country, but it will have to wait until next summer, it still needs the clutch hub checked out, as well as the fork seals replaced and a few other odds and ends.

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    We set out at about 10am.

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    We did more or less of a straight shot to Cooperstown, 130 miles or so, on some beautiful back roads. We ate lunch in a park by the water.

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    Cooperstown is a very clean and well kept town. The Cb360 was running on fumes, and very poorly at that, it seems that an air bubble got in the fuel line and was making it sputter. I scouted out a gas station and once we filled up the 360 was back to normal. We also noticed the Cb360 was spitting a whole lot of oil from the crankcase breather all over the back of the bike, coating the wheel. Not much we could do about that so we rode on.

    Riding out of Cooperstown, we took Country Route 31, which turned out to be excellent, winding through a very pretty rural part of Upstate NY. No traffic except for a couple of Harleys that we passed. If you’re ever in the area, check it out.


    Next short break was in Ballston Spa. Riding through traffic, our older bikes start to protest. The carbs get heat soaked, the clutches get grabby, etc. I breathe a huge sigh of relief every time we get back on the open road.

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    We gassed up in Bennington at a gas station/gun store combo place, very interesting place. A guy there was talking to me about my 500 “yeah if I had something like that I’d put low bars on it and make it a café racer.”:arg Thanks but no thanks chief, this bike is made for actual riding.
    Got held up in a bit of construction related traffic, sat for about 10 minutes. There was a cute girl drying off in her bikini in near a house by the road, so it wasn’t all that bad (sorry for lack of accompanying pics).

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    We rode route 9 to Battlesboro, where the BTB attendees were meeting for some BBQ. Our bikes immediately drew a crowd, a guy (Kevin, Skidplate865 on here) asks “is that the one that blew up and got fixed in Kansas?” Yessir, and it’s back in action with a new head now, along with a new exhaust, and much cosmetic refurbishment. We also meet Mark (markbvt), one of the organizers of the BTB. The food is good and the portions large. By chance we sit at a table with a great bunch of people, Mark, Kevin, Mike, Brett, and a few others. We decide to duck out early before everyone else hits the road back to the campground. As we’re getting ready to leave, one of the Connecticut “Rockers” sees Vanya pushing the CB360 to where Mark is: “he’s gonna push it all the way back home!” Vanya doesn’t hear him but I do. I pull out the kickstarter and give it a big old kick. The 500 barks to life, the look on the guy’s face was priceless. Sorry pal, your ‘café-racer’ retro Bonneville doesn’t have one of these.:deal

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    The ride back is fast. We do our best to keep up with the Bonnies, the 32hp Cb360 is having a hard time keeping up on the uphill grades, but the 500 has no problem. I slow down and keep pace with Vanya, who’s wringing the CB360 out for all it’s worth, tucked down on the tank. Brett, astride a Sprint 900, blows our proverbial doors off, the Triple booming gloriously through the D&D exhaust.

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    Back at the campground, we shoot the shit for a while, a lot of people want to ogle the old bikes and wax nostalgic about them. Mark also shows us his 2001 Bonneville, it has quite a few modifications, including a fantastic sounding exhaust. We get a site away from the Rockers, and make an excellent fire that burns not only wood, but Kevin’s defective chair and Mike’s worn out hat.

    More tomorrow.
  2. Lornce

    Lornce Lost In Place

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    23,094
    Location:
    Way Out There.
    Great stuff.

    Ride on, young dudes.

    :thumb
  3. mapleleafalumnus

    mapleleafalumnus Demigod

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Frozen Wasteland
    :clap
    Grisha and Vanya simply write the BEST rr's!

    I think the Gs1000 is feeling lonely and underappreciated stuck in the corner of the garage.
  4. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,169
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    Ha, awesome write-up! The CT Rockers are great guys, actually; they just get a little mouthy sometimes. :rofl

    I ended up taking over that campsite on Saturday night. You should have seen the fire that Kevin built (aided by three superheated citronella candles). It could probably have been spotted from space.

    --mark
  5. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    376
    I awoke at 4:40am to the sound of thunder and a mist falling on my face. It was already getting light out, I looked up and though I saw the rain fly, but wasn’t sure. Vanya was also awakened by the thunder so I asked him what the deal was with the rain getting through the tent. “I dunno man, I guess the tent is just really old.” About an hour later we realized that the rain fly had been poorly secured and had blown off during the night. The rain drops were hitting the mesh of the tent and being dispersed into mist. Vanya fixed the rain fly but the rain intensified, our ancient Coleman tent would start leaking in a few hours at most.

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    We started to pack up, we figured we’d get wet any way we sliced it, so since we were awake we might as well get an early start. Kevin had already left, when we finished showering/packing so we rode down to Bennington with Mark. As we pulled out of the campground, Vanya signaled to pull over but then changed his mind. Apparently one cylinder started to cut out (wet coil?) but Vanya just nailed the throttle and that seemed to fix the problem.

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    After a hearty breakfast at the Full Bellies Diner (good biscuits and gravy), we rode over to the Hemmings Motor News Museum, where the group rides were to start out from. Here are a bunch of photos Vanya took:

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    We joined Mark, who was leading a ride into the Adirondacks. There were a total of about 25 bikes: Mark in the lead, then me, then Vanya. I thought it might be a bit selfish slowing the newer bikes down by riding right behind Mark, but this was hardly the case. I’d never ridden in a large group like this, but riding 2nd in formation it was no big deal. Also, Mark was doing a great job stopping the group to let people catch up after traffic lights and what not.

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    The pace was quick once we reached the backroads, but not excessively illegal. After lunch we ended up on some VERY fun roads, roads that will remain unnamed for the sake of their continued lack of traffic and squids (although a few t shirt wearing Gixxer riders have already found it). Vanya and I let a pair of new Triumph Sprint 1050s ahead of us just to make things interesting. Our group of five bikes in front held together, our 32hp and 48hp air cooled twins keeping up just fine with the newer machinery, although I’m sure we worked our bikes much harder to keep the pace, the pavement rash on my MAC 2-1 is evidence of this (much worse clearance than my old Hooker exhaust). The ‘fast’ group from the BTB pulled up and everybody relaxed after the adrenaline rush and checked for chicken strips. Thankfully there were no spills, although one guy did end up off the pavement in a corner, I assume he got on the brakes and stood the bike up. I think it was a real eye opener for a lot of people to see our two sup 50-hp 70s Jap bikes loaded down with camping gear holding the pace with 100+hp sport tourers. That’s not to say if they really gave it their all they wouldn’t have totally smoked us, but I think Vanya and I got more of a rush pushing our bikes to the edge of their performance envelopes rather than the guys on new bikes using maybe 50% of their bikes’ performance.

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    At this point Vanya and I broke off from the group and set off for Forked Lake to spend the night and then ride back to Ithaca. We took a detour to check out a ‘ghost town’ (read: 5 old houses) in the middle of no-where. Nothing special in my opinion, so much so that we didn’t take any pictures of them. But the ride there and back on a totally unpatrolled road made up for it. I wish I had my KLR here, the sand in the corners and frost heaves would be better dealt with.

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    Just outside of Long Lake the Cb360 rolled to a stop, out of gas. I rode ahead to scout things out and discovered there was a Stewarts’ Shops gas station quite literally 1 mile away. Vanya tipped the bike over to get the last few drops of gas on the side of the tank with the petcock, and we made it no sweat.

    We set up at our favorite campsite, and proceeded to be bombarded by some sort of huge blood sucking gnats and country music being played by our ‘rural’ neighbors across the water. Luckily I’m OK with country, but the gnats really got on our nerves.

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    Dinner consisted of things that can be found in a gas station convenience store:

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    After dinner we tended to the fire (which we had used to cook our food, Vanya took the minimalist approach and didn’t bring his gas burner). The gnats were still around so we retreated to the tent and fell asleep to the sound of Brad Paisley asserting that “I’m still a guy” for the third time.
  6. n2omike

    n2omike Adventurer

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    Spencer, WV
  7. mapleleafalumnus

    mapleleafalumnus Demigod

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Frozen Wasteland
    Grisha, that is some beautiful scenery! Did anybody pack any tackle to catch dinner? It's easy enough to dig up some nightcrawlers...
  8. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    376
    No I decided against bringing fishing stuff along with me. However, I did go fishing out on Cayuga Lake with a friend yesterday, we caught a good 20 perch and did a fish fry.

    I'll definitely try carrying a rod on my KLR though.
  9. LashLarue

    LashLarue Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
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    Dallas
    You don't have to pack a rod to go fishing. I see a lot of "survivalist" fishing videos on YouTube that are not much more that a few feet of fising line and a hook. You can store it small like on a sewing spool and put the hook into the ends. Another video has it all, with lures, in an Altoids tin. A big rod is just too easy to break when riding.

    Find an old empty soda can and wrap it with the line and toss out a hook with a dug up worm, the fish will hit it just like a $400 rig.

    Thanks for another RR on the old bikes. Keep them coming.
  10. LashLarue

    LashLarue Been here awhile

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    Jul 28, 2009
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    How do you handle vibration on the CB360 and XS500? I quit riding my SL350 at over 50mph cause I was getting so much vibration that I was losing feeling in my hands after only 30 minutes. The only thing I do now is wear padded gloves. Is there any mods you made or do those bikes not vibrate as much as the older Honda 350s like mine?
  11. Kingsqueak

    Kingsqueak Wannabe

    Joined:
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    Middlesex County, MA - Nawth Shoa
    Nice job on the RR's , thanks for appending this to the original....you were right, it caught new attention ;-).
  12. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    Jan 23, 2008
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    You're absolutely right, the Honda vibrates like no other. Maybe Vanya will chime in but he told me his solution is to ride faster. At 70mph indicated (64 ish?) and 6k rpm, he said the bike smooths out significantly. Foam or gel grips help somewhat.

    In constrast, the 500, with it's counterbalanced engine is dead smooth, atleast by my standards. I was perfectly comfortable doing 100 mile stretches, except for some slight butt and back fatigue (due to an overly soft seat I suppose).

    These bikes can't eat miles like a modern sport tourer, but 300 miles on the CB360 and 500 mile days on the XS500 are doable numbers.
  13. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    Well, Grisha, it probably also helps that you're in your early 20s. Those of us who are well on our way to geezerhood can't tolerate quite as much fatigue and abuse anymore. :oscar

    --mark
  14. LashLarue

    LashLarue Been here awhile

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    Jul 28, 2009
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    I just told my SL350 that we needed to go faster and that would help vibration. It just stared back at me like an old mule.:huh
  15. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    Well the SL350 is a single, so it's an entirely different animal altogether.
  16. LashLarue

    LashLarue Been here awhile

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    No, it is a twin like its brother, CB350. You must be thinking of the XL that later replaced it.
  17. mpanther

    mpanther KotW - Just Ride!

    Joined:
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    If you have no vacuum leaks and the valves are set right.
    You might try getting the carbs balanced.

    Of the first 8 bikes I owned, 6 were early Honda 350cc twins. (2 CL's, 1 SL, & 3 CB's) 1 was a 75' XS500.
    I thought all the 350 twins just normally vibrated that much, and was very happy with how smooth my XS was by comparison.
    Then a friend was balancing his carbs on a 750f. said it was to smooth the motor back out. so I had him balance the carbs on the XS.
    Noticeably smoother. really nice.
    After that bike died I got my last CB350. #6 (Bike 8, lol) and it was just as buzzy as all the others.
    But i got the carbs balanced and it cut the buzz by about half and shrunk the "bad" zone by at least 5 mph.

    Still not a very smooth running bike at freeway speeds, but a ton better IMO.
  18. Seca750RUS

    Seca750RUS Touring minimalist

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    State College, PA
    Haha that's part of the reason I didn't take the CB 360 cross-country :lol3
    These bikes were made as simple as possible, and vibration damping was done by some rubber bushings here and there, that usually lose their effectiveness after 35 years :D

    All I can suggest is keep the engine and muffler bolts tight, get a softer seat, and some cushy handgrips. Then keep the rpm's higher or lower than the 5k "vibe-zone", and the bike becomes very rideable for hours at a time. As for carb balancing...that makes it idle and respond better, but would do little to smooth out anything at cruising speeds.

    As I said to my brother, the three-day Vermont trip on the 360 felt like going cross-country on my Yam 750 Seca...at least you fondly remember every mile! :deal

    Vanya
  19. mrt10x

    mrt10x Dumba$s Jarhead

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    Found this from a post in Olds Cool. .thought I would bump it up for more folks to find.. great RR.. looking forward to next summers epic journey.. try and do the RR as you go this time.. that way everyone can post their "if you travel through...." posts.
  20. mpanther

    mpanther KotW - Just Ride!

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    Yes, it does help smooth the idle and the throttle response.
    But on every bike I have ever done a balance on, if the carbs were more than a little out of sync, it has smoothed out the vibrations at freeway speeds too. not just at idle and lower rpms.

    But that is what I have felt.