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Old 11-21-2012, 07:42 AM   #1
Sidecar Jockey OP
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My new vintage Honda XLs!

I have been wanting to get into vintage enduro riding for a long time, so I finally pulled the trigger. I picked up a 1975 Honda XL250 with 9,000 miles and a 1976 xl350 with 3,500 miles:

Here is the 250, still on the trailer after arriving home:

It has a pod filter and the airbox is removed (although i got the stock airbox and sidecover too). All it needed was a clutch adjustment and basic maintinance and it rides great!

Here is the 350:

I really hate the stock exhausts on the centerport 350s. The first thing I'm going to do is remove that monstrosity and put a smaller muffler on.

I got two, so that my Dad can ride with me too. We are pretty close to the Frederick Watershed and Michaux, so there should be some good riding!
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:45 AM   #2
Sidecar Jockey OP
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Is it just me (or my bike) but the seat on my 1976 350 seems to slide me forward so that my crotch ends up on the gas tank. This is really un-comfortable...

My 1975 250 does not do this, but obviously the seats are totally different.

Anyone else have this problem with the 76-78 XL seats and know of a cheap and easy solution?
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:00 AM   #3
High Country Herb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidecar Jockey View Post
Is it just me (or my bike) but the seat on my 1976 350 seems to slide me forward so that my crotch ends up on the gas tank. This is really un-comfortable...

Anyone else have this problem with the 76-78 XL seats and know of a cheap and easy solution?
Yeah, soften the rear pre-load so the bike sags properly toward the back...

To the OP; those are a couple of clean bikes. As reliable as they are, they should provide decades of riding fun!
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:02 AM   #4
WeazyBuddha
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Sweet looking bike.

I should not have sold my 80s XL 250.

Someone got a good deal, on the other hand not having the magic button was a pain. Kickstarting gets old.
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:09 PM   #5
High Country Herb
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...Kickstarting gets old.
Funny you should say that, because I wish my Aprilia had at least a backup kickstarter (OK, the button is nice on that one). I dread the day when my starter relay goes out when I'm by myself 40 miles from cell phone coverage on a gravel road.

The XL600 was the only XL I ever got tired kicking, and now that it's sorted it never takes more than a few. The XL185 was a one kick machine always, and the XL250 only took a few easy kicks. The XL's were such wonderful simple machines...

I had a couple of rope-pull start 185 cc 3-wheelers that were the same way. Even though one of them had rings so worn that oil ran out the tailpipe, it still started first pull every time.

Quote:
Originally posted by Sidecar Jockey
I really hate the stock exhausts
I had a Supertrapp spark arrestor exhaust on my XL185 that sounded great on the little thumper. I bet you could find a used one pretty cheap.

High Country Herb screwed with this post 11-21-2012 at 01:17 PM
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
Yeah, soften the rear pre-load so the bike sags properly toward the back...

To the OP; those are a couple of clean bikes. As reliable as they are, they should provide decades of riding fun!
Yeah, I have heard of these bike's legendary reliability.... but:

This weekend, me (on my 350), my Dad (on my 250), and forum member BradyD (on his 1979 xt500) went for a ride up in Gambril park. We came across a park service road, whose gate happened to be open, so we rode down. The road soon turned into a downhill single track, then a rock garden. Pretty soon we were at the bottom of the mountain, with a STEEP rock garen (bowling ball to watermellon sized 'loose' rocks) preventing us from turning around and going back up. About this time, my GPS lost satellite reception...

About 1.5 hrs of riding single track mountain bike trails later (with big drops, logs, rocks, and stream corssings... all with about 2 inches between the end of your handlebars and trees) we were within earshot of traffic. The whole time we were looking for a road. We were close to a real road...!

And then... my 350 dies. Dad is about 100 yards ahead of me, and his 250 dies too! We determined that BOTH Hondas had no spark!! Since the bikes are new to me... I had no spare parts on me.

The road was about 1/4 mile UP HILL through the woods, so BradyD rode his Xt500 up and parked by the road. He was nice enough to help Dad and I push our Hondas out. Dad then rode BradyD's Xt500 home, and got the truck and trailer and picked us up.

Both my 250 and 350 had the condensors fail! On the same ride within 100 yards of each other, what a coincidence (and bad luck)!!

The coil, plug wire, and condensor are sold as a unit for the old XLs (which i think is STUIPID). I went to NAPA Auto Parts and bought two generic 6 volt condensors, cut off the old ones, and soldered the new ones on. Problem solved. I did enough troubleshooting to determine that the coil-condensor-plug-wire assembly was bad on both bikes, so i decided to try to replace the condensors before buying any expensive parts... and luckily that worked!

Now i feel like i know most everything about my bikes. I bought the manual and raed the whole thing. I also went through the whole wiring harness on BOTH bikes, trying to get my spark back. The good news is that both bikes still have un-altered original wiring harnesses, so it wasnt too hard to go through and troubleshoot!

Here is a photo of both Hondas by the road, after bring pushed up hill through the woods, waiting for the trailer to arrive:


Here is the 350 after being stripped while I'm hunting for the source of my lost spark:


While I was into them, I adjusted the cam chain, valves, brakes, replaced the points, condensor, spark plugs, and did an oil change on both bikes. They are back on the road now... and will hopefully show me some of that legendary HONDA reliability!
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:53 AM   #7
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super nice hondas!
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:21 PM   #8
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Ive got at least 2 sets of spare XL250/350 wheels around here,look to be in good shape,maybe some other bits and pieces.
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:10 PM   #9
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Foot dragger View Post
Ive got at least 2 sets of spare XL250/350 wheels around here,look to be in good shape,maybe some other bits and pieces.
I'd be interested in an 18" rear wheel with drum brake, so I can put a paddle tire on my '83 XL600. I'll pm you.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:39 PM   #11
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I Think!

They are both 350s. Don't remember any 250s looking like that top pic.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:56 PM   #12
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That 350 looks way too nice to hack up. Had a '78 XL250 myself.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:01 PM   #13
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Great bike the 350. I had a K3 back in the day which I had alot of fun on but had to rebuild the top end after the the cam chain tensioner broke off from the casing. I opened it up to find the PO had the same problem and had tried to bronze the casing back together. I bought it from a honda dealer who was keen to take my money but would not contribute to the repair costs even though they sold me the bike.....that was 30 plus years ago and I'm almost over it

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Old 11-22-2012, 03:02 PM   #14
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What Would it cost for one of those??? Anything to look out for with the age of them???
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:34 PM   #15
Foot dragger
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What Would it cost for one of those??? Anything to look out for with the age of them???
4 to 500 dollars should fetch one that runs with luck,there's 1 small trick to watch out for,the kickstart idler gear spins the oil pump and the gear is known to break,if it breaks then no oil to top end and that's no good.
Ive taken apart a few that this happened on.
Also the frame/swingarm will break up if ridden really hard,these bikes weigh alot and are built for casual dirt use at most. A 410 kit in the 350 will really wake it up,Ive seen some set up for flattrack that run really well.
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