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From the Owner

The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle

Stuart Hayashida's 1976 Yamaha XS650C

Rider: Stuart Hayashida, Saratoga, Calif.
Age: 56
Occupation: Tech industry manager
Rides: 1976 Yamaha XS650C, 1989 Honda Hawk GT, 1986 Yamaha SRX600

Stuart’s story: “I thought that you might be interested in my 1976 Yamaha XS650C. I bought this in December 2011, sight unseen (well, aside from online photos), and had it shipped from North Carolina to California. The bike had 8,500 miles on it, and was in pretty good shape overall, particularly for a 35-year-old bike. Pictures don’t lie, but they don’t always reveal the truth either. There was a fair amount of surface rust, and a minor oil leak that required elbow grease and top end gasket replacements to bring it up to snuff.  A few more items were replaced/repaired — carburetor rebuilds; fork rebuild with Progressive springs; All Balls seals and OEM dust covers; Progressive Series 14 shocks/springs; Bridgestone BT45s front and rear; Pamco1976 Yamaha XS650C electronic ignition/coil/plug wires; replacement rectifier and alternator brushes; new O-ring chain and sprockets; new seat cover; custom stainless brake line with custom front brake switch (stock hydraulic brake switch takes too much pressure to activate); new mirrors/grips/handlebar. I also drilled the front disc and added bar-end weights to the handlebars along with 8-inch steel rods inside the handlebars to help quell vibration. The bike still vibrates and the mirrors are not clear at highway speeds (well, any speed for that matter), but the bike is comfortable enough to ride all day, even with stints on the freeway.

“Now I have an original bike (including the dealer sticker on the chain guard — Flummerfelt’s Yamaha in Auburn, N.Y.) that is (so far) reliable, reasonably quick and handles quite well, and will pull my friend’s 2012 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic in a top gear roll-on. It does eat rear tires though — they’re only good for about 4,000 miles before the center is down to the wear bars. All in all, it is a fun addition to the stable.

“As a returning rider in 1992 after a 6-year hiatus (starting our family), I figured I would never be the fast guy on a bike and started thinking more along lighter bikes with torque as opposed to high RPM power. I settled on a 1982 Honda FT500, then bought the Hawk GT. The SRX followed in 2004, and the XS in 2011.” MC