Saturday, June 7, 2014

I needed a plan

October 2012 was warm. I took advantage of the sunny days and rode my new 1978 XS500E fifty miles from the previous owners garage to my own. It needed some maintenance items but the bike was in good working order. I was told it sat in a basement for most of the 90's before being given to its second owner. "Get this out of here and it's yours." The second owner used it for commuting once a week from 1998-2012. I think the commuting kept the bike in good working order.

If you spend any time looking in the classifieds you'll run across the following statement, "It doesn't get ridden as often as it should." This is often followed by information about his or her new family and other time commitments. I get it. A newborn will leave you in no condition to ride a motorcycle on public streets, with vehicles and other solid objects. With my child on the way, I needed a plan.

I rode a Moto Guzzi for 8 years and was feeling the need to downsize. The idea was to find a small displacement bike that's easy to work on and cheep to own.This would let me get some shop time in, something I enjoy, commute and explore the local roads. I knew I needed to keep my skills up and my stress levels (and cost) down while my wife and I started our new family.

For me, the decision to keep riding was a simple one.

Pike Lake in St Paul.

I really hit the jackpot with the XS500. This bike couldn't be simpler to work on (I hope this doesn't come back to bite me), it handles wonderfully and has enough power to cruise at 65 mph all day. The counter-balanced 500 cc twin was high tech in 73' when it was introduced as the TX500. In it's later years it gained a self adjusting cam chain tensioner, an access port to adjust the tension on the balance shaft chain and better cooling.

I have a new-found jealousy for EX500 and GS500 owners, the counter-balanced twin is a rev-happy setup.

Perfect perch for a short trip.
The majority of my riding is commuting on city streets and evening rides. On occasion I can pull off a one or two day ride, parenting is give and take.  

HWY 108 north of LaCrosse, WI
My first long day on the bike was a 330 mile trip in 90 degree weather. I was a little worried that the high temps and sustained 65 mph would put a strain on the 35 year old bike but it did great. I ran it from 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM stopping only for gas and a little lunch. No problems.

Early fall in Minnesota 2013

Lake Pepin

More on the XS500 at Motorcycle Classics.

Everything you need to know about the TX/XS500 at

No comments:

Post a Comment