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Old 02-03-2014, 09:32 PM   #36
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Madison, WI
Oddometer: 331
Old reliable

Not sure where the problems are with carbs. I know the FI on my autos has always been stone reliable, and may be on new bikes, but I have never had any carb problems, other than one sucked in choke gasket (for which I made a replacement from a paper bag; it's still there 20 years later) and replacing diaphragms preventatively every ten years or so. That's in about 250,000 or maybe 300,000 miles on airheads and slash twos. The only carb that let me down (stopped me) was on a Honda 350, from pinholes in the floats from sitting, and even then I could boil out the gas on the head (once I got it running by regulating the fuel level with the petcock), and it lasted another 1500 miles til I got to California.
Old airhead FDs don't fail (though rotors do, but so do many others), and it may be noted that Joel Rappoport finished the IBR on an airhead with over 500,000 miles on it (though I heard he rides an FJR these days). Although I see airheads from the 70s and 80s reasonably often, I just don't see any other 70s/80s bikes, and I live in a state capitol and college town. I never see first generation Japanese 4-cylinder bikes (CB750/500/550/350 or KZ UJMs), nor CX500/CX650 Hondas that were supposed to be terrific. They are even kinda rare at the Slimey Crud run, where everything comes out of the woodwork. I think serviceability on a lot of them was not so hot, and spare parts have become non-existent. As for being concerned about taking the old bikes on the road, my son and I rode an R69US and R75/5 on a 2700 mile one week trip to Quebec City, and the only problem was getting high test for the R69US. Otherwise, they were as reliable as my Corolla. They did those kind of trips reliably years before, and established a solid reputation by doing so, when other bikes would not, and will do it now. The miles have not gotten bigger and the parts for airheads are still available as much now as them- maybe even more so with the internet.
So now I'm just rambling. And have no real experience with new bikes, but it certainly seems they are reliable. I just don't see any real reliability advantage over what I have; and furthermore, what I have, and perhaps also the OP has, is something that is paid for and working well, and is likely to continue to work well. It's the devil I know and love.
Over to you.
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