Saturday, 28 August 2010

Street Trekker

From John in America.

Hi, Gary,
My mate Greg (from NZ) and I just finished a 5,580-mile trip around the American west on a pair of '81 XS650s. One of the attached photos is from Death Valley, where it was 110 degrees F when we went through (we caught it on a moderate day; it
was forecast to be 122 degrees the following weekend). There's a ratty street tracker under all that gear, believe it or not.

Repair was a daily event. One good scare was coming off I-80 to the Bonneville Salt Flats after a few hours of running at 70 mph, and Greg finding the swingarm pivot shaft sticking out a few inches; the threaded end, nut, and locking tab had broken
off somewhere. It was a happy accident that we had happened on Speed Week. When Greg rolled to a stop he landed next to the camp of Guy Warner and his dog Buddy, who attends the events just because he likes them, and brings a trailer full of tools and parts in case anybody needs them. We borrowed the stuff to drill and tap the remaining stub of the shaft for a bolt that held it together for the next few thousand miles. Guy refused any kind of compensation, just telling us that if we saw anybody that needed help, we lend a hand. A low-key guy, and one of my current heroes.

We saw Jacqui van Ham, a friend of yours, at the informal car show outside the casino just over the Nevada state line that night. I wondered why anybody would be taking a picture of my loaded up bike with all those nice cars was the Sideburn sticker on my lid. Proof positive that Sideburn attracts the right sort.
And, Sideburn #6 was waiting for me when I got home; thanks!
John Bishop


Dai said...

That looks familiar in both ways Furnace Creek (did you go for a swim in the fresh water pool nearby?) and that bloody bolt that keeps snapping on my SR.

Nice Ride thx for sharing.

central park bike tours said...

Great section guys. Great blog. I appreciate you sharing this info with us.

jbbishop2 said...

Didn't go for a swim, though it would have felt pretty good right then... sells a replacement swingarm pivot shaft for the XS650 and they say, "Bolt with full size thread (replaces undercut original).
Fits: XS650's 1974-84. Check your original for cracks at the threads." It sure was an unexpected failure to me, but the bushings are worn pretty badly on both bikes so that may have helped it along. I will say that riding with really worn swingarm bushings makes it more interesting.