Owned for 33 years, Relphy’s 1981 Yamaha XT deserves some attention
YAMAHA XT500 1981
Go back three decades and you’ll find me riding my Honda XL250S along the south circular past Streamline Motorcycles, which is when I noticed a bike in the window. There it was, a mint two-year-old Yamaha XT500. I had to have it!
Deposit down, the XL was sold to a mate, a small loan from my grandad was secured and the XT was mine.
For the next few years the XT was my only means of transport, taking me off-road at weekends, on holidays to the Lakes, trips with my girlfriend to Scotland and even into Europe. Nothing could stop me! Or could it?
Working in my college summer holidays, I parked around the back of Oxford Street one morning. When I returned to the bike bay, there was only a space left where my bike was parked. I was absolutely gutted.
I bought a Honda XL500R to fill the gap, but it wasn’t the same. All the time I had spent on that XT, gone, I was just left with fond memories.
Some two years later I had a phone call from the police, ‘Hello, is that Mr Relph? We have your bike down at Bexleyheath station.’
Over the moon, I immediately went to the station. Out in the yard, looking very sad for itself, tyres flat and side panels missing, there it was, my bike.
By the look of it, it had spent more time sitting around than being ridden. A bit of time and effort and it was back up and running and straight back into service. I did another 20,000 miles on it over the next few years until the time came for a the piston rings to be changed and the barrel honed.
With the engine overhaul done it was time for a test ride. All was going well until there was a funny noise that just got worse and worse. I stopped the engine and thought about what it might be. That’s when I remember poking a piece of rag where the oil pipe located to stop it leaking onto the workshop floor. Unfortunately I don’t remember taking it out. Bugger!
I pushed it into the garage, infuriated with myself and that’s where it has stood until now. With fresh enthusiasm I feel ready to bring it back to life!
Ready for some care and attention, and a good clean
Looking neglected in the police pound
In 1985 when the XT was at its best
Forty one years experience, on and off road. Passionate bike-builder. HEIGHT 6ft 1in WEIGHT 98kg