WHEN RIDING TRAIL BIKES WAS A TRUE ADVENTURE!
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 '74 model which cost a princely sum of $800 brand new and as petrol was about 13 cents a litre then, talk about happy days (although it cost 24 cents per litre on the Nullabor), while during happy hour at the pub you could get five schooners for $1! Bring back the '70s, but with the current hardware.
Some of the modifications on this bike included:
* 410cc kit
* Koni rear shocks
* Power pipe (the standard one weighed about 20kg)
* Touring tank plus ten 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 (like the DR650SE) with 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 outback roads then were dirt, the worst being between Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek where both the Yamahas broke their sub-frames. Now this road among many others are tarred -- not that it's a bad thing.
I currently own a Suzuki DR-Z250 with all your modifications plus one -- a Barrett's power pipe (they work great) and a BMW R1200R (love the torque).
Just interesting, 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 a previous issue -- another warrior from the past!
Great email and photo, Steve: that old XL of yours served itself well, for sure! Bet you wish you still had it, huh? If you did, you could sign up to join us on the Classic Adventure Bike ride to Suzuki Classic Dirt 8 at Conondale, Queensland, in June. For anyone interested in a taste of classic trail riding hardware, check out the www.offroadexplorer.com web site and register for more details. Ride on!
-- Clubby, www.trailzone.com.au