Monday, August 2, 2010

The SR500 Rides Again

It was this month a year ago that I shared with you the maiden voyage of my SR500 on her new engine. A year later, and today I took the bike on her second ride. Hopefully it is the first of many.

The SR had been off the road since May 2009, when the drive shaft (the axle, coming out of the gear box, that holds the front sprocket which turns the chain which turns the rear wheel) was stripped. I spent my Rudd Stimulus Package on a used SR400 engine which bolted and plugged straight in, meaning that the engine is now 400cc, and not 500. Marlon and I then went for a successful ride, but very quickly after that I found the carburettor grossly (and unsurprisingly) out of tune for the new engine. While I was scratching my head over fixing this, the registration became due but I could not afford to pay it. So the bike sat there unregistered from December till now. I offered it to a friend for sale, then came to my senses and withdrew the offer. So I slowly spent any spare money I had on getting the SR ready for a 'road worthy' inspection, and a few weeks ago I finally, after all this time, had enough money to go ahead and do that. After some hassles with Vic Roads, I got the bike registered on Friday, purchased roadside assistance , took it for a test run on Saturday, and today took it for its first country ride.

I did 'plug chops' throughout the day, to check the air/fuel mixture tuning at the spark plug, and I have never seen such a perfectly tanned tip. I am borrowing my friend Marlon's carburettor, which is tuned for the same free-breathing air filter that I am using, but for a more open pipe than mine, which means a slightly rich mixture - just right! 

Today's was a short ride. Out the Eastern Freeway to Kangaroo Ground, then on to a back roads through Christmas Hills, knowing the tar ends at a certain point and leads me onto dirt roads that weave past the large reservoir. These further roads are both winding and hilly - steep inclines and declines. With gravel and recent rain, the steep declines were the sort that find me invoking a multitude of deities as my knuckles turn white, but the SR handled them with ease. So much so that I rode through everything confidently, at ease, and with speed. The vintage-pattern Dunlop K70s (see the photo below) were an excellent choice for these surfaces.

My route took me from Kangaroo Ground to the outskirts of Yarra Glen, over which I looked from the hills.

At the moment my focus with the SR is technical - I am assessing how it runs, what it can do in the dirt, what improvements I ought to make. But I was joyed also to experience that sense of the bike which gives me so much pleasure: the thump of its big single cylinder and the classic and vintage look and feel - its beauty, its evocation. I feel that I am home again.

1 comment:

  1. Looking great mate. What's more, have you noticed how much your photography has improved since starting this blog? Looking fantastic. Can't wait till you start putting some maps up too!