I was just reading an article in Classic American Iron from a year ago posing a question about one of Joe Petrali’s flat track race bikes. I’ve been on a bit of a flat track kick lately and was just posting a few cool photos over in the forums, so I thought I’d answer it for them (since I know the answer).
They ask about the double down tubes on Joe’s bike (seen in the photo to the left) and ask why the bike same bike, which is on display at the Indiana Motor Speedway Museum, has only a single down tube (seen in the photos below).
The answer may be obvious to some, but it’s an interesting bit of history so allow me to explain.
I know I know, another Yamaha XS1100 post. Thankfully many of my readers are into them just as much as I am. To the others, please bear with me.
Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows I have a predilection for Yamaha XS1100’s. I’m not sure how it developed, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important are the bikes!
I recently stumbled upon this spectacular custom built example and thought I would share.
I haven’t had a Kawasaki KH100 before and never paid much attention to them. But I just stumbled across this example being sold by a gent in California who used it as a display piece in his dealership. It only has 17 miles on it!
A lot of the road going 2 strokes of this vintage pull the fuel and oil directly into the crank. This creates a nice long lasting bottom end, but sacrifices performance. I suppose there isn’t much use comparing the 2 stroke technology of yesteryear to that of today because they are so sharply divorced, so I’ll spare you that for now. But what interests me about this particular model is the orientation of the carburetor. Where is it?! Do you see it?
Since I’m already on the topic of late 70’s Yamaha bikes and mentioned my sorted history with XS1100’s yesterday, I figure I ought to dispense a little information about how to build one properly into a long distance touring bike.
This is my 1978 Yamaha XS1100 that I picked up in Arizona.
1978 is the first year of the XS1100 and also the best in my opinion if for nothing else than they came with a kickstart shaft. They do not have a permanently affixed kicker, but one can be easily bolted on. They instead came with a small kickstart lever hung under the seat for use in emergencies. The later year XS1100’s did not come with a lever or shaft in the engine. The hole for the kickstart shaft was plugged and the space for the mechanism inside the cases was left empty.
A reader recently wrote in a question addressing my apparent lack of interest in the Yamaha SR500 singles.
Just stumbled upon your site, awesome.
I just can’t understand with all of the great motorcycles that you’ve chosen, how you don’t own an SR500. The xs650 is fun, the XS1100 is fast, the XS400 is cute, but the SR500 is just plain cool. Get one.
Well Todd, I certainly hope I haven’t given off the impression that I don’t dig the SR500’s. I am a man of all stripes and don’t hold prejudice against any motorcycle (well, I can think of a few…), and certainly not any single cylinder vintage ride.
The Yamaha SR500’s are wonderful bikes in both stock and modified form. They actually still produce them in a 400cc variety sold overseas – if only the American consumers would get their heads out of their asses and wrapped around a bike that doesn’t weigh 600 pounds.
I was just flipping back through the blog and realized I never wrote up anything about my 2002 Honda XR650R.
I’ve had a lot of XR600’s and other Honda singles, but I always wanted to have a go with an XR650R. The aircooled XR600R was retired after it’s final production year of 2000, the same year the XR650R was introduced. It was a long time coming as the XR600 was certainly behind the times in terms of technology, both performance and manufacturing. Honda’s Baja race team was still using the 600 through 1999 and it just didn’t have the mechanical advantage it used to. The outdated 600 was performing well in the races during the mid and late nineties only because Kawasaki had pulled it’s support from Baja and was no longer racing the KX500, which trounced the XR600’s earlier in the decade.
This post won’t really pertain to the typical street bike repairs I report on, but hey – this is my site, I’ll write about my bikes regardless of convention! Dirtbagz are a saddlebag luggage system built for off-road bikes. They consist of two brackets designed to mount onto the side of the bike which are then used to secure the bags. Like this:
I used to have a set of the Dirtbagz racks on put on my previous XR600R, a 1996 model. I used the racks, but modified an existing set of bags to fit them. The install went seamlessly and was done in about 15 minutes.
I get emails from readers quite regularly looking for service manuals for their bike. I always try and help as best as I can. Over the years I’ve amassed quite a large collection of motorcycle service manuals for all sorts of bikes. I have factory repair manuals, part microfiche manuals, setup and tuning documentation, owners manuals, etc, etc. The last couple days I’ve posted about 280 documents to this site which will hopefully help out a lot of home bike mechanics with a new project. I have some more, but that is most of it.
There are many sites out there selling these same documents and taking advantage of those willing to shell out some cash. The large bulk of these manuals are factory provided to dealers or come with the bikes as service supplements. The sites selling these same manuals have no authority to do so. Just grab them here.
You can browse them by clicking on the brand you are looking for in the Categories menu on the right. Or you can search by using the search box. Keep in mind I don’t have every bike model.
If you have any manuals in digital format you would like to contribute I’d be happy to post them and give you a big thanks!
If you have any questions about the files themselves just leave a comment or post a question over in the forum.
Soon to come – My collection of wiring diagrams!
* It is not my intention to infringe upon any copyright laws. If these factory offered service manuals are determined to be questionable I may need to remove them.
I get a lot of questions about wiring motorcycles. Sometimes people are just trying to fix their blinkers and aren’t familiar with how motorcycle electrics work – but more often than not I get requests about trimming down electronics for custom riders.
An essential part of building any sort of chopper, bobber, cafe racer, brat bike, or rat rod is getting rid of all the unnecessary items. These days I just grab my wire snips and start trimming away with no regard for common sense and caution – but if you are working with your first wiring loom I’m going to try and give you some guidance right now.
You might have checked the wiring diagram for your bike already and seen something like this:
The above diagram is from a Honda CB750 Custom dual cam bike. Lots of 70’s and 80’s bikes will look the same, especially the four cylinders.
I get a lot of questions via email from visitors of this forum. I’m always happy to help with motorcycle service questions and like giving others a hand. However, the emails are sometimes overwhelming or they get lost in the daily shuffle of life. So I’ve decided to try getting a little motorcycle repair forum started. This way people can post their questions on the forum and I can answer them directly there.
So here it is – the new companion to this blog, a
MOTORCYCLE REPAIR and SERVICE FORUM!!!!
Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear from you all.