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AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/22/21 4:43 p.m.

I grew up on motorcycles. I was riding my friends' Chapparal 80, Honda 50, and CT70 until I finally convinced my mom to let me get my own minibike probably around 1974:

From there my brother and I grew into a variety of whatever we could find and afford. He had a Harley Davidson 125 Rapido,  Kawasaki ? dirt bike, Honda XL 175, and a Suzuki GS 400. All of his bikes became mine at one point except the Harley which he sold. He quit riding in the 1980s after witnessing a fatal deer vs motorcycle accident up close.

My first real motorcycle was a late '60s Moto Guzzi 125. I bought it with a seized engine and freed it up with Marvel Mystery oil. It was a street bike and I wanted the 'Scrambler' version so I hacked up the fenders and stripped it as much as possible. I made a small dirt oval in the field behind our house and learned to slide like the Flat Track guys I saw on 'Wide World of Sports'. At 16 I got my license with my brother's XL 175, as he had moved on to the GS 400. I lived on that bike into my first year of college, then needed a bike that could handle the highway to get back and forth to home on weekends. There was a Yamaha XS 400, then a Norton 850. I put a quarter faring on both of them and would tuck down low behind it. On the highway, I drafted behind trucks, then shot past them when I had a clear view of no cops ahead. I lived for corners - knee, elbow, feel the tires start to shimmy and push on through. I had no fear or restraint.

Spring of 1982 I was moving from New Hampshire to Michigan. There was a week of weather in the 70s and I felt confident driving cross country on the Norton with my worldly goods divided between a tank bag and a duffel bag strapped behind me on the seat. The weather changed. Half way across Ohio, I was in blizzard conditions. I remember knowing that I had to get off the interstate and seeing a sign, "Next Exit 26 Miles". I think it was near Sandusky, riding down the exit ramp in six inches of unplowed snow, I lost all traction and dumped it - my first 'accident' riding on the street. As I was gathering my senses and pulling the bike up, a snowplow almost hit me and buried the bike as I jumped out of the way. The bike and I limped to a motel near the exit. Aside from some minor dents, scrapes, and bruises the only damage to the bike was a hole in the chain case. I patched it with tape and epoxy and when the weather cleared a day and a half later, we finished the trip.

I kept the Norton and gathered a few 2-stroke 360cc dirt bikes until disaster struck; I married my first wife. Slaloming traffic on main street at 85 mph was suddenly 'dangerous'. Money had been free and easy until then, now there was never enough. We needed 'transportation'. I sold the Norton ...I sold them all. I drove a rusty Chevy Luv for a while, then a 4 cylinder Mustang. Life was good for a while, but there were no bikes in it.

In the early 90s my brother wanted to just get rid of the GS 400 and I took it - an economical daily driver. I was in the Army at the time. The Army started getting serious about motorcycle safety then. To drive on post, I had to wear full protective gear, including a reflective vest, and complete a DOD motorcycle safety course. If I was involved in an accident off post/off duty, while not dressed like an astronaut doing a space walk, it would be considered "not line-of-duty" and have serious consequences. I kept at it until, in the course of one week, I was hit from behind by a car at a traffic light and sandwiched into the car ahead of me; minor damage and bruises. Next I was caught in a pop-up thunderstorm and had a dog jump out in the road just ahead of me. Could not avoid it. Quit riding and sold the bike, but have kept my license endorsement ever since.

About five years ago, I took a Kawasaki Vulcan 800 as part of a trade for a car. It was set up as a cruiser. I gave it a try, but quickly learned that it was not my style. Riding it felt all wrong. I had it almost two years and only put a few hundred miles on it. I had no regrets in selling it, but realized that I'd like a light dual sport style bike. I've taken in a few project bikes since then, but they didn't get very far. I have too many project cars... I realized that I want an actual 'buy it and ride it' bike.

Last weekend I bought a Yamaha XT225. Today I got it registered and took it for a first ride. This thread is going to be about that bike.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/22/21 10:14 p.m.

The search for a bike was inspired by a local event I found on Facebook. It looked fun, but cars were strongly discouraged. The GOAT Rally:

G.O.A.T. Rally 2021 | Facebook

 

Mrs AAZCD approved, suggesting that I could get a bike, then sell it after. That was enough to get the gears turning. I figured that any decent running, street-legal bike for under $3k would work, but a dual sport would be best. I was hoping for a KLR 650, but they were all above my target price. The ad for the XT225 looked good with lots of detail, but a 225 cc engine seemed a little small. It wasn't until after I watched a few YouTube videos and read the motorcycle forums that I realized what a great, versatile bike it is. It weighs only 238 lbs (dry), has good low-end torque, and a six speed transmission that makes it viable for highway cruising. These bikes have a loyal following and been ridden on many documented epic journeys across the globe. I decided it was the right bike for me.

 

I emailed the seller that I was interested, but that his asking price was about $250 above the high 'blue-book' value. I wasn't really trying to negotiate, but let him know that if he was firm on the price we would be wasting each other's time. We decided to wait a week. An ice storm was coming and the 1.5 hour drive to see it could be bad. ...and maybe one or both of us would be more willing to negotiate if it was still available then. I spent the week studying them and liking them more. He spent the week without another buyer inquiring.

 

After a short ride and inspection, I offered him $50 over what I felt was my top dollar a week earlier. He said he wasn't really happy with it, but accepted. I asked why he thought it was worth more and he detailed the rebuild that he had done to it 2,000 miles ago because it had had a slight oil leak at the base of the cylinder. He hates oil leaks. He showed me receipts for genuine parts from the rebuild, factory shop manual, owner's manual still sealed in original plastic, and two boxes of spare and maintenance parts. It has around 11,000 miles on it, but it is like a new engine. I softened and changed to a price we were both happy with.

03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
2/22/21 11:29 p.m.

That XT looks good!

Mom never allowed me to get near anything with two wheels, but I got hooked on the whole chopper thing after I left home... I did by a honda 450 to get my license with, and rode it about a year before buying my first sporty. Then a RD 400 while I turned the sporty into a chopper. Several other UJM's and choppers later, I got hooked on my BMW K75. I never really "quit" riding, but after getting married at 45, and my wife's back will not let her ride with me much, after the K75 broke down, I just don't ride much anymore. Prolly only average 600 to 700 miles a year these days.

'Course insurance, maintenance books and Blue Book values used to consider that "average" miles for a motorcycle.

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/23/21 4:49 a.m.

I was hunting hard for a xt225 for the wife when she was wanting to learn to ride. Super good bikes. Watching. 

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
2/23/21 6:07 a.m.

I dont need a bike I dont need a bike I dont need a bike...  I might kind of want one...  This thread isnt helping

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
2/23/21 6:35 a.m.

Dirt bike dirt bike DIRT BIKE! 

Yes it's got a plate and flashy things, but let's be honest, it's a dirt bike, and it's awesome. Looking forward to following along with the thread. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
2/23/21 6:49 a.m.
Apexcarver said:

I dont need a bike I dont need a bike I dont need a bike...  I might kind of want one...  This thread isnt helping

I feel the same way

 

jharry3
jharry3 HalfDork
2/23/21 7:30 a.m.

When I was a teenager there was a bad motorcycle accident on the highway right in front of my grandpa's business.  My brother and I were always there changing tires or whatever needed doing.

So myy dad took my brother and I over to see the guy, not pretty is all I will say, and my dad says "this is why I won't let you  have a motorcycle".  

Every time I thought about buying a motorcycle for the last 48 years I remember this and stop that thought train.  

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
2/23/21 7:41 a.m.

In reply to jharry3 :

Thats the thing.  I live in a (albeit distant) DC suburb. The drivers range from aggressive to oblivious to the point that when we lived closer in there was a road or two that I wouldnt take my Miata on because I saw someone get creamed every time I took that road. Not had been creamed, actively BEING creamed. Add to that, I now have two young kids. 

 

With that said, I got a moped when I was 14 and rode it a lot. I still have it and got it back up and running last summer. I love riding it, but wont take it outside of removed suburban neighborhoods. How slow it is just takes the danger from the drivers around here and makes it a death wish. 

 

If I lived somewhere remote, I would probably go for a bike like AACZD just got.   Keep posting so the rest of us can experience it vicariously!

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
2/23/21 8:07 a.m.

I don't ride on the road for those reasons. Also motorcycles on the road compared to the track or the woods just isn't the same thing, at all. I get dual sports though. Sometimes, in some places it's the best option for playing with a motorcycle. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
2/23/21 8:29 a.m.

I only want one for the current drive to work. 

 

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/23/21 9:58 a.m.

Monday, sunny and unseasonably warm, I insured and registered the bike. Ready for my first ride, I am no longer the unbreakable kid who thought he owned the street. When I had the Norton, I felt that I had to pass every car ahead of me and did. Now it is not about raw speed. Riding is about exploring and being out in the world instead of closed in a metal box. I still want to get the feeling of being one with the machine - smooth and precise - but this machine does not inspire me to break the limits. I know that I can not have a true 'sport bike'. Even at my age, I would do stupid things. I do not have the restraint. I would have to pass All the cars and push it to the ragged edge in the corners. Best not to sit in that seat. I'm already a half inch shorter than I used to be and it takes longer to heal.

 

Helmet, gloves, leather boots, heavy canvas jacket. I had held onto my motorcycle jacket until about a year ago, then gave it to Goodwill. At the first traffic light, a car made a right-turn-on-red. He had no idea I was there and came very close as I slammed on the brakes and veered away. I fumbled to find the horn button and finally made the cute little beep after he sped away. I remembered that I am now invisible to most cars.

 

I have a few strategies for riding in traffic. Rather than staying in a straight line on the road, I migrate the width of my lane. The gradual random movement back and forth keeps me from vanishing. The brain of the other drivers keeps subconsciously assessing me as a potential threat. Approaching a car from the opposite direction that is going to make a left turn across my lane – I drive straight towards it (within my lane) for a short moment. Again hoping that their brain will register a threat coming straight at them and make them conscious of me. Eye contact if possible. Before braking I always assume that there will be a car right behind me. Double tap the brake to make the brake light flash, check my mirrors, and plan an 'out'.

 

 

This bike does not have a tachometer. I looked for a chart to see how the power curve looks, but didn't find one. The specs I found online show max torque ~19 Nm @ 6500 rpm and power peaking at just under 20 hp @ 8000. Torque feels pretty level across the range, but the engine seems to like the low end best and doesn't lug unless you are really in the wrong gear. The shift point chart from the manual does not look like a street bike, but I was keeping ahead of highway traffic and indicating 60 mph going up a long steady hill. 5th gear felt fine to 50 mph and the jump to 6th is pretty broad.

 

On the first ride I realize that I hadn't really checked the bike over. What's the oil level? What's that sound? The chain looked loose when I was buying it and I didn't check it again. There's a little front wheel wobble at 45 mph – what's the tire pressure? I transitioned to the back roads at 30 – 40 mph and everything feels right again. No need to stop. The bike is just warming up after sitting for a few months.

 

 

Out of town, I reach the river and get off the road. Most of the ice has melted, but there is still some frozen at the bottom and edges of the big puddles. Standing up on the pegs and rolling the throttle through the range in first and second gear feels great. The bike is so light and nimble that it rides well off the trail. I got a little too happy bouncing around in the woods and popped the chain off the rear sprocket. Yep, it was too loose.

 

After getting the chain back on, I sent a selfie to Mrs AAZCD to let her know that I was still alive and well. I was having fun, but wanted to get the bike to the garage and give it a proper look before getting further out in the wilds. The ride home was good and I stayed on the main road without trouble. I did keep in mind that the chain could pop off again and lock the rear wheel at 60 mph. No bouncing around, keep it steady.

 

I set the chain play to about 1.5” (1.38” to 1.77” spec) and torqued the rear axle bolt to 85 Nm. Oil level, cable play, no leaks, and everything looks tight. I took it out for a sunset ride circling around the outside edge of town. Everything felt good with it and nobody tried to kill me.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/23/21 10:43 a.m.

Replies...

I have always wanted a BMW motorcycle, but never owned one. In the '90s I borrowed a friend's K75 for a week and loved it. Great bikes.

I would not commute into a city on this bike. I like to keep space around me when I ride and commuter traffic doesn't allow that.

It's not a street bike. It's not a dirt bike. It's an 'Adventure' bike. When I had dirt bikes I didn't ride them as often as I wanted to because of the hassle of trailering them and bringing them to a good place to ride. Trail access from my back yard has been limited over the years. This bike can get me to the trails and be very capable when I get there.

Working in EMS now, I have seen some bad trauma from motorcycle wrecks. ...realized that the boot standing up in the middle of the intersection still had our patient's ankle and foot in it. I have seen more people approaching death after years of neglecting their body and mind. I want to live life well. My stepdad flew gliders and hiked in the mountains into his 80s. I would rather feel the pains of keeping my body active than the steady decline of becoming sedentary. Sometimes it hurts to get out of bed in the morning - might as well make sure that it was worth the effort.

FMB42
FMB42 New Reader
2/23/21 12:23 p.m.

That's a great machine to get your 'feet back off the ground'. I myself got back into motorcycles in 2020 after a 30 year absence (I rode on and off road bikes for nearly 20 years). Edit: And it has been a blast so far. Should have gotten back on 10 years ago.

Have fun and be safe!

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/23/21 1:34 p.m.
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) said:

The search for a bike was inspired by a local event I found on Facebook. It looked fun, but cars were strongly discouraged. The GOAT Rally:

G.O.A.T. Rally 2021 | Facebook

 

Mrs AAZCD approved, suggesting that I could get a bike, then sell it after. That was enough to get the gears turning. I figured that any decent running, street-legal bike for under $3k would work, but a dual sport would be best. I was hoping for a KLR 650, but they were all above my target price. The ad for the XT225 looked good with lots of detail, but a 225 cc engine seemed a little small. It wasn't until after I watched a few YouTube videos and read the motorcycle forums that I realized what a great, versatile bike it is. It weighs only 238 lbs (dry), has good low-end torque, and a six speed transmission that makes it viable for highway cruising. These bikes have a loyal following and been ridden on many documented epic journeys across the globe. I decided it was the right bike for me.

 

I emailed the seller that I was interested, but that his asking price was about $250 above the high 'blue-book' value. I wasn't really trying to negotiate, but let him know that if he was firm on the price we would be wasting each other's time. We decided to wait a week. An ice storm was coming and the 1.5 hour drive to see it could be bad. ...and maybe one or both of us would be more willing to negotiate if it was still available then. I spent the week studying them and liking them more. He spent the week without another buyer inquiring.

 

After a short ride and inspection, I offered him $50 over what I felt was my top dollar a week earlier. He said he wasn't really happy with it, but accepted. I asked why he thought it was worth more and he detailed the rebuild that he had done to it 2,000 miles ago because it had had a slight oil leak at the base of the cylinder. He hates oil leaks. He showed me receipts for genuine parts from the rebuild, factory shop manual, owner's manual still sealed in original plastic, and two boxes of spare and maintenance parts. It has around 11,000 miles on it, but it is like a new engine. I softened and changed to a price we were both happy with.

Wow. Is that all on dirt roads? That would almost be worth a drive up there from Dallas with my CRF 230. 

Brett_Murphy (Ex-Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Ex-Patrón) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/23/21 1:46 p.m.

I've wanted to get into moto rally, and that thing looks about perfect for it.

 

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/24/21 10:33 a.m.
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) said:
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) said:
...

G.O.A.T. Rally 2021 | Facebook

...

Wow. Is that all on dirt roads? That would almost be worth a drive up there from Dallas with my CRF 230. 

It would be fun to meet up if you make it. You should contact the host, Dan Sawin through Facebook. When I first saw the event and asked him if my 'Gambler 500' car could participate, he answered me within an hour. https://www.facebook.com/events/3501607576731190?active_tab=about

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/24/21 11:03 a.m.

I'm starting on a week of 7 am to 7 pm shifts now, so not much riding planned. That means that it's time to look at accessories and mods. The first thing that comes to mind is a GPS/Nav system. Starting out, I think that I'll use a cell phone with the OnX Offroad app. That might end up being all that I need, but there are some nice purpose built GPS units ranging in price from around $300 to $1,000 that I may look at eventually. A unit with a 7 inch screen would be nice, but I don't like being locked into proprietary software and updates. The bike has a 12 volt electrical system, so wiring in a standard cigarette lighter outlet should be pretty easy. It has been mentioned that a higher AH battery may be needed to handle accessories. I know that my bike has a new(er) battery, but I don't remember the specifics.

 

Heavier springs and shocks might be good, but I really need to evaluate the current set-up over time and a range of terrain before I commit. Wearing my gear, I weigh about 200 lbs and the current spring setting feels soft. Adding spacers to preload the spring is mentioned in the forums and seems to work well. There's also an upgraded rear shock (Modoc) that is well reviewed.

 

The gas tank holds just under 2 gallons. For local rides that is plenty, but when I do a full day trip deep into the Ozarks, a larger tank would be nice. The Clarke Tank looks like a good option at 4.1 gallons for under $250. Another option may be one or a pair of gas cans mounted as saddle bags.

 

I picked up some worn bags on FB Market, $30 from a KLR 650 that will mount on the back without much trouble. They have enough capacity to carry a light camping kit if I ever choose to do that, but more likely they will be used for lunch, fresh clothes/rain gear, and my camera drone. I still have to do some minor modification to get them mounted firmly, so they don't bounce around.

 

Last night it was pretty gusty when I went for a ride. It occurred to me that I have a good size scrap of Lexan in my garage that will be easy to form into a small windscreen. That would also help to keep some of the rain off.

 

Here's a great forum thread. It's XT250, but almost everything applies to the XT225:

https://advrider.com/f/threads/yamaha-xt250-thread-all-things-related-to-the-xt-from-riding-to-modifications.1341366/#post-35991999

 

I realized that this video has most of the mods that I'm thinking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17OtoZPrDrU

As another motorcyclist who un-quit riding and has enjoyed every minute since, I wholeheartedly endorse this thread! I'll follow along with interest. Keep having fun; small dual sports are great!

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
2/25/21 6:37 a.m.

If you want to pick up some safe road riding skills watch a few of DanDanTheFireman's videos on YouTube. He dissects GoPro videos of accidents and near misses and I've learned quite a bit from him.

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/25/21 6:52 a.m.

If I'm not mistaken most bikes are set up for a 175Lb rider from the factory. 

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/25/21 8:38 a.m.
ddavidv said:

If you want to pick up some safe road riding skills watch a few of DanDanTheFireman's videos on YouTube. He dissects GoPro videos of accidents and near misses and I've learned quite a bit from him.

Thanks. I just watched a couple of his videos. Great narration and presentation.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1iNF4BnIucCD7J2QGZYkjg

Rodan
Rodan Dork
2/26/21 6:09 a.m.
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) said:

I have a few strategies for riding in traffic. Rather than staying in a straight line on the road, I migrate the width of my lane. The gradual random movement back and forth keeps me from vanishing. The brain of the other drivers keeps subconsciously assessing me as a potential threat. Approaching a car from the opposite direction that is going to make a left turn across my lane – I drive straight towards it (within my lane) for a short moment. Again hoping that their brain will register a threat coming straight at them and make them conscious of me.

 

First, glad to see anyone back in the saddle, and that XT looks perfect for the task!

I just wanted to point out one thing with the strategy you outline above.  Moving around in the lane is not a bad tactic, as long as it's not excessive, but don't drive straight at a left turning driver.  The brain has a tendency to 'erase' stationary objects, and driving straight at another vehicle makes you appear stationary.  A brief, gentle 'weave' breaks that tendency and allows the other driver's brain to better process that you are a vehicle coming at them.

A car turning left in front of a motorcycle is a very high percentage of motorcycle crashes that involve another vehicle.  In other parts of the world, they call this a SMIDSY crash (Sorry Mate I Didn't See You).  The tactic above is called a 'SMIDSY weave', and is generally considered to be pretty effective.

Many other drivers do not process motorcycles visually very well.  They aren't able to judge closing speeds well, so anything we can do as riders to grab their attention helps.

Sidewayze
Sidewayze Reader
2/28/21 12:29 p.m.

I picked up an XT for my girlfriend to ride,and I have a KLX250, after selling my KLR 650 a few years back.  Nice bike.

My advice is be careful with the hard side bags.  They have a nasty tendency to cause injury in falls.

I have always run soft bags, (converted bicycle panniers), even on extended trips with my KLR.

Have fun with it!

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/28/21 2:34 p.m.

Thanks, I really think I'm going to be happy with this bike. Good points by Rodan and Sidewayze. I think that the KLR bags I have will be okay. They are firm enough to hold their shape, but they are not hard. If you poke them with your finger, they deform.

I sent a link to the first couple posts to the seller, to let him know how it was going. He emailed me back a great reply and it turns out that he is a fan and reader of GRM magazine.

He also included this info which is awesome:

...

Air filter oiled (Bel-Ray filter oil)    9,551 miles
Spark arrester cleaned 9,551 miles
Spark plug (NGK) replaced 9,551 miles
Oil (Yamalube) and filter (OEM) replaced 10,153 miles
Valve clearance adjusted    10,153 miles (I used new O-rings to prevent any oil leaks)
Steering stem bearings repacked (Mobil 1 synthetic grease) and adjusted 10,893 miles
Forks rebuilt (new slide bushings, seals, Bel-Ray oil)    7/1/2017
Fuel line replaced    8/1/2017 (I always replace these every 4 years as a precaution, probably overkill)
Battery replaced 5/30/2020
Brake fluid (Bel-Ray DOT4) replaced    6/9/2020
 
After the cylinder and head rebuild, my son broke it in in accordance with the service manual...
This is the kind of seller that you want to buy from. (Thanks Bill)
 
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