Chris Deuchar's Bike Page
It began: ...well quite along time ago really. 1969 to be precise. I was 16 and had just moved house. All my new neighbours were into bikes and, obviously I wanted to join in. The problem was lack of cash - so I ended up with (tan-tara!) a Honda C100. In spite of its model number it was only 50cc - I never worked out the logic of that. Anyway, it taught me a lot and I got the gist of what it was all about. This was still the sixties and mods and rockers still fought at the seaside. Ok, so the C100 had legshields - but it was still a bike - OK?!
Next up was another Honda - an SS50. The SS stood for 'super sport' - well it might have been 'super' for a diminutive jockey with anorexia but it was no good for someone of my size - nomatter how much I crouched forward. I kept it only a few months and traded up for yet another Honda - an S90!
The S90 was a wonderful machine. It could do 45 mph more or less continuously and I loved it greatly. I loved it enough to strip it down and put in a new piston and rings after burning out one set slip-streaming to Hull and back with the GF as pillion. Later, I loved it enough to strip it down, spend days dismantling the knackered big end - only to find that I cold get a complete reconditioned unit for a tenner. Then said GF and I got engaged - the bike had to go (sob) - and that was it for over twenty years...
Commuting across M1 Junction 24 got so difficult that I suggested to Wife No2 (no connection with previous GF) that I might get a motorbike again. She was full of enthusiasm (!) and I decided I needed something pokier than my previous machines. 175cc seemed about right - but there were none to be had. The market had changed dramatically and, with the introduction of the CBT, everybody was passing their test on a 125 and then getting a Fireblade.
So, I ended up with another Honda - what seemed to be a huge CB250 (Superdream). 'Twas very nice and it got me heavily back into biking. However, I now appreciated it far more than just being a commuter. I actually enjoyed motoring again!
Suddenly, 250cc seemed totally inadequate and I went out to buy something 'comfortable and less than ten years old'. After weeks of looking, I came home with a twenty year old Suzuki GS550T. Really comfortable, and yes, it really is a 'T' not an 'ET' - it is an amerian/canadian import and will cruise as fast as I can legally go for as long as a tank lasts. And another one, and...
I have also acquired a Yamaha XV750SE from an old friend, to keep the GS company. Both bikes are in what I have learned is the 'one true colour'. I have dismantled each to a point where I could get the major parts repainted and redo the frames so they are nice and shiny again. Both have been to the TT and survived Mad Sundays. Both have carried our full set of camping gear wherever we wanted.
Anyone who owned an XV750SE will know they can be 'interesting' to start. Typically, they groan, wheeze, clatter, bang - and then generally burst into life. Their starting problems are legendary and the internet is riddled with advice on strange clips and other magic. However, I realised eventually (ie after two batteries) that the basic problem is that there is just not enough 'oomph' in the first place, SO after making sure the starter is really up to scratch and all the leads are sound and well terminated, then the last remaining option is a bigger battery. Yuasa make the best (more plate area = more power = more starting current) so I looked at their site for something that might fit. The Y50-N18L-A (or A2) not only has the same height and length as the standard (YB16AL-A2) battery but also has the terminals the same way round and the drain at the same end. The big difference is the extra 25% capacity and plate area - for only an extra 18mm thickness!
To fit in the extra thickness, I had to cut away the front and back edges of the battery holder tray and also cut away some edging stuff on the top clamp - about ten minutes with a coping saw. I was expecting refitting the side cover to be a major issue - involving completely rejigging the fixings - but no! The cover just went back on - but only just and means I have to be careful where all the leads lie. However, the entire battery changeover took less than an hour.
After a couple of months lying idle since the last battery failed, the newly upgraded electrics made the Beast spring into life on the first tentative touch. No horrible noises, no straining, no stress. I had to stop and start it a few times just to check I hadn't imagined it. After a fifty mile thrash round I stopped for petrol. In the bad old days previously, I would have had to wait 15 minutes for the Beast to cool down enough to restart easily. Not this time - straight off again. I am just so pleased I cannot tell you. Hope this helps someone else.
Ps. Since writing the above, I have found out that the larger batteries are actually the standard ones for the XV920s should your dealer have difficulty identifying/locating the ones I have mentioned.
2020 update: After a few years with the XV off the road, I decided it was time for it to re-emerge and went to buy another battery but found out that everyone had gone 'gel' (aka 'AGM') and I had to re-source a larger battery. Another Yuasa (YTX24HL-BS(WC)) fills the bill BUT, to fit, requires a little more minor surgery of the top bike's holding bracket. Beware, this means that the battery is able to shift sideways and push off the side cover. This is not good - so some form of restraint is necessary. Do not omit this - RH side covers for this bike are almost impossible to find and none are at a decent price!
Latterly we had a Honda CG125 (Makes Sign of Holy Pushrods) on which No2 son passed his test (he has moved on to a Virago 535 on which he travels all over the country) and on which No1 son soon followed...
Finally, all hail the Font Of All Knowledge on UKRM (newsgroup uk.rec.motorcycles ) from whom I have learnt so much...