Are these bikes ever really done?

Mailman

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So three years ago, this was me, proudly ( and foolishly ) proclaiming that I had finished my year long restoration of my XS2,
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Since that day, I have managed to put roughly 3600 miles on it, not really all that much. The first year was like being on a honeymoon, it was all smiles all the time, my bike ran perfect and looked pretty darn good ( if I do say so myself ;) ). But since then , there has been a trail of tears leading from my garage. First my gas tank liner melted and ruined my gas tank so I sent my gas tank back for a warranty repair, which they botched badly. This led to me having to source a replacement gas tank and have it painted by @Jim ( which came out brilliantly:geek: )
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Then I realized that the melted gas tank liner had also ruined my motor and gummed up my carburetors, which led to me pulling the motor and rebuilding the top end Again.
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Then once I finally got the gas tank back and the motor rebuilt, I had ignition gremlins that I couldn’t figure out for a long time. During this period, I replaced the coils but that didn’t help,
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and I finally figured out that it was my Pamco ignition which had failed. That led me to installing a Boyer Ignition, and that solved that issue.
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I also had a self inflicted problem, I had removed the brushes from the stator, and also the holder for the brushes and when I put everything back together, not realizing the screws were different lengths, I accidentally swapped locations and ran a screw into my perfectly good rotor, thus ruining it. Leading to me buying a rebuilt rotor from good ol Jim. It was a thing of beauty!
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All of this mayhem cost me nearly a year of riding time, it just seemed endless, one problem after another. So now it’s running good again, I’ve been taking mostly short rides under 100 miles on it.
And……..it now has a pretty steady oil leak coming from the right side cam cover, probably needs a new gasket. And my speedometer which recently has started bouncing a little, is now bouncing wildly and I can only presume it is near failure. Sigh……..:rolleyes:

My other bike, my ‘77D has just been the picture of reliability and civility. I had to sort through a lot of stuff early on, but since then it just plows all day like an old tractor. And it has three times the mileage and has never had the motor apart, and it still has better compression than I’ve ever been able to get out of my XS2!

So I ask you…..are these bikes ever really done?
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It may never be done Bob, but ol' Red is still one of the best lookin' bikes out there. :heart:

And……..it now has a pretty steady oil leak coming from the right side cam cover, probably needs a new gasket.
A green Athena by any chance? Just replaced those on the SG for the same reason.... :banghead:
 
The fact they were pretty high maintenance machines from the factory (in relation to a modern automobile) they always seem to grab your attention in 1 way or another haha.

As for builds go, they are usually a series of compromises which ends in not 100% what we want… always a little feeling of coulda done more. But we gotta stop as some point to be able to enjoy em.
 
As for builds go, they are usually a series of compromises which ends in not 100% what we want… always a little feeling of coulda done more. But we gotta stop as some point to be able to enjoy em.

Truer words were never spoken! I wound up spending a lot more than I had initially intended, but I stopped short of doing everything I would’ve really liked to.
 
I live in a period restored Victorian house; every time I finish a job I turn around and see other maintenance jobs. My bike is the same, it like painting the fourth bridge (in Scotland) So no it’s never finished!
Now where’s me paint brush. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
 
I've been thinking about this same thing. My original bike has been on the lift so long, I can't remember. My mash-up project has much to be done and I have most of the parts to be working at it. I've started on a 78E then put it aside. I also have three 1980 XS1100SGs in the garage. I believe I've probably been in Mississippi for longer than I have left. I left all my kids and grandkids in Georgia. I may need a reality check on these bikes. I need to remain focused on retirement savings and then there's the fact that I have so little time and a poor facility. I'm not investing in a shop here as that's money thrown down the toilet. Maybe I should get more junk out of the garage. I've even considered a newer bike. I've been thinking about this, and Bob's thread has prompted this response. While two or three old bikes to tinker with is a lot of work, six or seven of them is over the top, especially for someone whose time has so many demands. Said another way, having a hobby is healthy, having more crap than you can ever get to..... maybe not so much.
 
My other bike, my ‘77D has just been the picture of reliability and civility. I had to sort through a lot of stuff early on, but since then it just plows all day like an old tractor. And it has three times the mileage and has never had the motor apart, and it still has better compression than I’ve ever been able to get out of my XS2!
If you look at the problems you've had none are really the bikes fault. OK maybe one.
Gas tank liner unfortunate but not inherent to the bike. Aftermarket repair/part of dubious quality.
Ignition problem. See above.
Oil leak. See above. I will say I have used the green gaskets and have not had a problem with them other than they are green. I use red grease on them. Oh check the 3 screws and make sure they have not come loose. Don't ask why I know that can cause a leak.:confused:
Rotor problem, self inflicted.
Speedo problem, ok that could be on Yamaha. I doubt they excepted or cared if the bikes were going to still be running when 50 years old.
Compression. That may have a lot to do with the 72 cam. Loosen up your intake valves to .006 next time you check the valves and see if you get better compression.
I have put almost 12,000 smiles on my 72 since I got it running again. I can not say they have been trouble free. I can say the problems have been worth it. It is a cool looking 50 year old bike that not everyone can keep running. In my case I'm riding a memory of my wasted youth, I would not trade it even up for any new bike.
 
also have three 1980 XS1100SGs in the garage.
Mind you... I wouldn't do this for just anybody.... but I take one of those off your hands if it'd help you Marty. ;)
In my mind I see an XS11 cafe/sidehack mashup that'd be just too cool for school. :geek:

Yeah... I don't have enough projects... yet.
 
Done? You bet it is.:thumbsup: My wallet`s hidden money, my checking account, My secret tool box cash stash, my desire to finish my last tracker build, Glenda`s patience, their all Done! The good news is someday I might think about finishing that stupid ass motorcycle build I shouldn`t have started in the first place. (Not really):shrug:
 
Done? No. I have just recently come to terms with this problem. I've gone through almost everything on my bike (as best as a backyard motorcycle mechanic hack can) and now the Athena gaskets are plaguing me. I have the same right side cam cover leaking problem. I foolishly thought that I could rebuild this once and be good for years, but then it is 48 years old.
This is why I have another newer motorbike, completely different being a dual sport, and I can thrash it and drop it and keep it dirty if I want and it's all good.

I'm learning to have more patience with my TX650A, which is probably a good thing overall. And, it forces me to ride a slower speed, which is also a bonus.
 
I can not say they have been trouble free. I can say the problems have been worth it. It is a cool looking 50 year old bike that not everyone can keep running. In my case I'm riding a memory of my wasted youth,

I’m not blaming the bike really, it’s 50 years old and original components have worn, aged, and petrified ( like my speedometer). I am also reliving my youth with these bikes, having had one when I was 19 and lusted for an XS2 since I was 16. And I also enjoy knowing that it takes a certain amount of skill to keep one of these old beasties road worthy. It’s just been more than I anticipated last year.
I am reminded of an old friend of mine who restored a Jeep, when he was done that Jeep looked and ran great and was so much fun, but it kept breaking on him, one repair after another , until he finally got tired of the constant repairs and he sold it to his neighbor……..who never had a single problem with it. :laugh2:
I realize things like this are random and hard to predict. You’ve either got to accept it as the cost of ownership or move on.
 
I’m not blaming the bike really, it’s 50 years old and original components have worn, aged, and petrified ( like my speedometer). I am also reliving my youth with these bikes, having had one when I was 19 and lusted for an XS2 since I was 16. And I also enjoy knowing that it takes a certain amount of skill to keep one of these old beasties road worthy. It’s just been more than I anticipated last year.
I am reminded of an old friend of mine who restored a Jeep, when he was done that Jeep looked and ran great and was so much fun, but it kept breaking on him, one repair after another , until he finally got tired of the constant repairs and he sold it to his neighbor……..who never had a single problem with it. :laugh2:
I realize things like this are random and hard to predict. You’ve either got to accept it as the cost of ownership or move on.
Yes, cost of ownership. Pay back to the bike for the privilege of the ride. You know they have a soul.

Scott
 
I can't complain too much about my '78. I've been running it since 2005 without any major issues. In 2007, I went through the topend. I didn't bore it, just new rings. Now, 15 years later, it seems the Athena head gasket has failed on me, leaking pretty badly. This being my 1st 650, I don't know if that's normal for a 650 head gasket, or if it's because it's an Athena. When I go back in, I will bore it this time and use some other brand of head gasket, lol.
 
Yup; early speedometer failure is a when not an if.
Good thing you are patient and meticulous so will follow @TwoManyXS1Bs how to repair article and have it working like new over the summer oven season.
(With a perfectly illustrated how to follow on thread)

On the other hand;
I split the case on a 70 speedo, oh look a squirrel!
:cautious:
 
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. . . I am reminded of an old friend of mine who restored a Jeep, when he was done that Jeep looked and ran great and was so much fun, but it kept breaking on him, one repair after another , until he finally got tired of the constant repairs and he sold it to his neighbor . . .
This is a great thread, got everybody philosophising.

My Triumph 650 was supposed to be a keeper. But there were issues, oil leaks, wet-sumping, trials and tribulations of a kickstart-only bike, grew fed up and sold it.

Then decided to buy a more reliable old bike, Yamaha XS650. If I knew in advance how much time, work and money that would take would I have bought it? No.

But ask me today, was it worth it? Yes!

Is it finished? Well, I'd love to fit wire wheels, and maybe an old, XS2 style tail light. But neither is very likely, so yes, it's finished. Apart from maintenance and I think we just need to accept that if we choose to ride around on a 44 year old mechanical contrivance it's going to need a lot of preventative work or a lot of fixing or both.
 
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