THOSE WERE THE DAYS!
Hi Guys: I was going through some old photos and came across one of my tricked up Honda XL350 from 1977. This bike is a 1974 model which cost a princely sum of $800 brand new and as petrol was about 13 cents a litre... happy days (24 cents / litre on the Nullabor). Happy hour at the pub you could get 5 schooners for $1. Bring back the 1970s ... but with the current hardware. Some of the modifications on this bike were:
* 410cc kit
* Koni rear shocks
* Power Pipe ( the standard one weighed about 20kg )
* Touring tank + 10 extra litres in a can.
I see from your articles on the best outback adventure bikes that are basically the same configuration, big air-cooled singles (DR650SE), lovely simple technology that hasn't changed in over 30 years, because it works. This bike did over 70,000 miles before I sold it, for not much money, and I know it may be hard to believe that I did the CREB trail with all that gear / tools / spares / extra fuel etc. Most of the travels were with friends who had XT500 Yamahas, similarly kitted out. Most of the roads outback then were dirt, the worst being between Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek where both the Yamaha's cracked their frames. Now this road among many others are tarred (not that it's a bad thing).
I currently own a DRZ250 with all your modifications plus one -- a Barrett's Power Pipe (they work great) and a BMW R1200R (love the torque).
Finally, it's interesting, just like the shark, the adventure bike has reached the pinnacle of its evolution.
-- Steve, via www.trailzone.com.au
PS: Saw the letter from the guy on a 1983 Tenere in the latest issue ... another warrior from the past!
Hi Steve: Thanks for the trip down memory lane, mate. One of my first dirt bikes was a '74 Honda XL250 that was a hand-me-down from my old man, so I'm studying the pic of your bike with a glint in my eye. It came hot on the heels of a Honda SL125, which was the bike I used to get my licence as soon as I turned 16 years and nine months -- precisely! That bike certainly has a lot to answer for...
-- Clubby, www.trailzone.com.au