Friday, August 5, 2011

Practical Solutions: XT500

Some months ago watching fuel prices rise I decided I'd better be proactive--even though I drive a relatively new Toyota Tacoma frankly it's not infrequent that my work outside the farm doesn't require such a vehicle, and while it can still get 25 or better MPG one could do a lot better. A friend had this old beater Yamaha XT500 that had been wrecked and left in the rain. I figured by the time I got the 100 pounds of rust ground off of it, it would be lighter than stock, fast, and it might be a fine machine. LOL.

It's coming along. This will be an utterly stripped, utterly practical back roads rager designed to run on E85 or higher with a bit of pre-heat(a wick wrapped around the fuel line, high tech!).  Magneto, wholly. Banana juice goes in and smoke comes out. That's it.

All in all these were very fine machines, very ahead of their time and robustly built. Certainly equipped to breathe in an old school kind of way. In the process of lapping the valves out here. The seats cleaned up fine.

Actually, a very exceptionally well built machine--a Paris/Dakar winner back in the day, and perfect to my needs. The gauges and controls actually worked/were rebuildable, which was a minor miracle. The handlebars were bent, but that was fixed with the mapp gas torch and some dinking around. The head stock had a pretty good twist in it but I cut the whole works off with a dremel tool and stuck it back on square to the frame with the wire feed. No sweat! Took a tiny amount of rake out. Am trying to talk myself out of adding some length to the swing arm(and of course the 575 big bore kit--shame on me for even thinking about it! LOL Oh, and the cam, oh and the 49mm intake valve, etc.,) In reality at some point I'll need to replace the stock piston (8 to 1) with a higher compression unit (probably 10 to 1) to be serious about the high E formulations, but one thing at a time.

Hopefully will get new rings and a couple of seals in the mail this week to get the thing running. The spokes on both wheels are complete trash but the rims are passable. These are on their way from KEDO in germany, stainless steel this time around, as well as an oversized jet kit to run on back yard ethanol blends if need be. It's no trouble to get the permit to brew one's own E100, it does take some tinkering to build machinery to process it but certainly doable-- that and an acre or so of bananas or cane will keep a guy on the road in a cost effective manner for years to come. I'll have about a grand in it to have it running. It would be pretty trick for 1500. It would be radical for 2000--restraint! Restraint!

More conversation here. There's a place for a rally of such kinds of bikes. Hows that for hopeful fun?

1 comment:

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