Rebuilt Yam XT500 hits the road again
minister the the last time simon rode hisxt john major was prime minister…
Well it’s good news on the XT front – after 22 years of neglect, languishing in a host of garages, it’s finally all back together and up and running. It took a bit of heavy-duty kicking first time as I did not have a decompressor cable fitted. I also discovered the timing was too far advanced. Boy, did it kick back! But it started, and I watched in satisfaction as a 22-year-old cloud of rust exited the Supertrapp exhaust.
With four degrees turned back on the timing it now runs and starts sweetly, and with a fresh decompressor cable on its way from Yamaha, life will only get easier.
The XT passed its MOT with flying colours, even with the 24-yearold battery, which believe it or not, charged up after all that time. Now all I needed to do is put some miles on it to bed in the new piston rings.
The last time I rode the XT, 4-star petrol was still in existence so things like pinking were not a problem. I soon found out the engine was not happy on the standard 95 octane unleaded when put under load and I could only feather in the throttle.
For the next tank full I changed to super unleaded. This was not a complete cure, but it has helped.
In two weeks, I managed to rack up 300 miles, enough for a swift oil change and a new filter, as I had plans – big plans. The XT was off on a 600-mile round-trip to the Lake District, with a spot of off-roading whilst up there. Impressively, the XT ran perfectly all the way up, and only required a spray of chain lube and sip of oil throughout.
Off-road the bike felt just as I remembered it but with two big improvements, one being the Continental TKC80 rubber (www. continental-tires.com) which offered up plenty of grip, but the amazing difference was the Ikon 7614 shocks (£455.42, www.ikonshocks.co.uk).
Over all sorts of terrain the shocks kept the rear wheel in contact with the ground, offering almost constant traction, something I had never experienced with the bike before.
Fun over and the ride back complete, I am so pleased to have the XT back up and running, ready for the next adventure, even if it is only down to the shops.
‘The XT was off on a 600-mile round-trip to the Lake District, with a spot of off-roading’
Part sportsbike, part commuter. James loves it
Back on the road after 22 years in the shed With modern shocks and tyres the XT feels better than new OVERALL REBUILD COST