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Old 09-30-2014, 07:16 PM   #1
CoyoteThistle OP
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Location: Ventura, CA
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2 Vintage Thumpers, 2,000 Miles of Dirt - UT and CO

Well, that’s the plan anyway. That’s a long ride and a lot can go wrong, and I expect it will. I don’t mean to be a pessimist, but I have to be realistic - the odds are stacked against us. My brother Al and I (the more or less willing participants in this adventure) haven’t ridden dirt bikes since we were kids. The bikes we have chosen to ride were built while we were still kids. We’re not kids anymore (witness my hair in the photo below ). Will the bikes break down or will the riders? Hmmm, 50/50 proposition I’d say at this point.


Here are the bikes: 1979 Honda XL500s and 1980 Honda XL250s

Al will pilot the 500.




I'll be on the 250.



We went on some good practice rides on the fire roads of our local Santa Ana Mountains and up around Big Bear including a 150 mile day that left us saddle sore and trying to get home without tail lights or brake lights. Anyway, the old skills we honed as youngsters (limited though they may be) came back pretty quick.

We've done some mods on the bikes since these pictures were taken to make them more "adventure ready". Homemade racks, 12v charging (these are 6v bikes of course), luggage, etc. All done more or less on the cheap since this also happens to be a budget adventure.

The route we are attempting is about 90% dirt, including some tough trails here and there connected by lots of Forest Service, BLM and other dirt roads. I laid out the route using tracks from many online sources (especially ADVRider). I think it includes bits of the TAT and the CO and UT BDR’s. We’ll need to average about 140 miles per day. We’ll be slow, but that’s okay. Fun and adventure do not necessarily correlate with speed (or maybe it’s better to say “speed” is relative).

Here’s the route from space:


We leave on the 3rd of October – a bit late in the season for the big mountains. I expect weather will present an additional challenge. We’ll truck the bikes to SW Utah from SoCal and start the loop there. We’ve got about two weeks to ride. We’ll camp whenever we can. Cheap motels when we need to clean up or it gets too damn cold.


So, plenty of ways to fail. Never mind that though, that’s what makes it an adventure

I'm expecting to post brief updates of our progress en route via the iPhone and then do a comprehensive ride report with nicer photos and videos once we return. Next couple days will be busy as we prep to leave.

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Old 09-30-2014, 07:39 PM   #2
backroadrider74
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Good bikes

I did the trans wisc adventure trail on a very tired 78 xl250 without a hiccup.
Hopefully u checked your control cables and adjusted your timing chains.
Keep a close eye on your oil level.
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Old 09-30-2014, 07:49 PM   #3
alfunction
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oh man.. here we go
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:33 PM   #4
The Breeze
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IN
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:36 PM   #5
EnduroRdr
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Subscribed - on pins and needles.

Good luck, hope all goes well and you get back (both bikes and bodies)
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:54 PM   #6
jfman
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I am so in on this one.

And the first thing that came to mind when I read the title is this vintage ride report vid

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Old 10-01-2014, 08:28 AM   #7
CoyoteThistle OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backroadrider74 View Post
I did the trans wisc adventure trail on a very tired 78 xl250 without a hiccup.
Hopefully u checked your control cables and adjusted your timing chains.
Keep a close eye on your oil level.
Very cool! Looks like a custom luggage set up for you? We've spent a fair amount of time trying to get the luggage carrying part of it ironed out. I'll get some photos posted later with what we came up with.

Good advise too, thanks. I put a new brake cable on and we're carrying extra brake and clutch cables (same ones fit either bike - win!). And yeah, the timing chain - after I got the bike I was chasing a top end clatter and kept checking and re-checking my valve/rocker clearance without avail. Then read somewhere about adjusting the timing chain and voila! Nice and quiet.

matt
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:39 AM   #8
CoyoteThistle OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfman View Post
I am so in on this one.

And the first thing that came to mind when I read the title is this vintage ride report vid

Holy crap, how have I never seen this!? Love it
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Old 10-01-2014, 09:13 AM   #9
gravityisnotmyfriend
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Take plenty of pictures! Sounds like an adventure.
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Old 10-01-2014, 09:37 AM   #10
HanShotFirst
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Well count me as the optimist; I think the bikes will do just fine. Yeah you'll experience some incidentals, but those are two VERY solid bikes. The suspensions are rather dated, but that just means you won't be going kamakaze over the big stuff; but you'll get through nonetheless. As for the engines and frames, well they are very similar to what you'd find on a current XR650. Honda got it right the first time with those engines, so if the engines are in good shape, and well tuned, I don't imagine you'll have engine related issues. Electrical, well that's probably going to be your biggest challenge with bikes that old. A recommendation if I may.

If you have the service manuals for those bikes, print out a hard copy of the wiring diagram and put them in a ziplock bag; just in case.

Also, here's a great way to chase down a short.

You'll need a re-setting fuse (I recommend a 10 & 20 amp in your tool kit) and a compass. When you find the fuse that's burnt, look on the wiring diagram to see where that wire goes. Install the resetting fuse and do whatever cooks the fuse, while holding a compass near the wire in question. When the short is made, it will create a larger magnetic field, and the compass will point right to where the short is.

A small multimeter and various electrical tools would be a good idea. My ADV bike is a 20 year old Kawasaki KLX 650, so I'm in the same boat as you.

I'm subscribed to your thread, best of luck to you and have a blast!!
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Old 10-01-2014, 11:35 AM   #11
backroadrider74
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My bags were free just had to modify them to fit my bike. I had a total of 400 bucks in that machine also invest in a new chain and sprockects if needed The funny thing is the stock stator light up a 12 volt headlight just fine

QUOTE=CoyoteThistle;25190126]Very cool! Looks like a custom luggage set up for you? We've spent a fair amount of time trying to get the luggage carrying part of it ironed out. I'll get some photos posted later with what we came up with.

Good advise too, thanks. I put a new brake cable on and we're carrying extra brake and clutch cables (same ones fit either bike - win!). And yeah, the timing chain - after I got the bike I was chasing a top end clatter and kept checking and re-checking my valve/rocker clearance without avail. Then read somewhere about adjusting the timing chain and voila! Nice and quiet.

matt[/QUOTE]
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:55 PM   #12
FlintHillsKLR
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Where can I see the full version of that old ride movie? Looks they are about to get hit by the Durango-Silverton train, I want to know how it ends!
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:08 PM   #13
jfman
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I don't want to pollute this thread further guyz but if you go on youtube youll find all parts of the movie. In Utah/Nevada they even have naked chicks riding the bikes
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:16 PM   #14
gravityisnotmyfriend
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Part 2


Part 3 - Careful! there's Bewbs!



Part 4

Haven't gotten this far yet! Ran out of lunch break!

Part 5


Part 6

Which I think is the last part.


I figure they don't leave for a couple of days. This gives us something to watch in the mean time!
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:38 AM   #15
snoman32
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In!


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