My Old Friend: The Rebirth of an XT
“Doing is a quantum leap from imagining.” – Barbara Sher
My Old Friend: The Rebirth of an XT is an Multi-Part Series of articles about the restoration of my old Yamaha XT225.
I had always wanted to spend more time on this bike, but instead I moved away from Oregon, where it was left in storage, unused and neglected for several years.
We will explore the first days of wanting to get back on, the disappointment of neglect, and the struggle to pay homage to an old friend. From the first concepts of restoration, to the finished project, giving life to the lifeless silhouette abandoned in the corner.
In Part 1 of this Multi-Part Series, we see the planning stages of restoring “My Old Friend”
“In 1992, my parents introduced me to what would become a good friend of mine for years to come. This friend though, over the last several years, has become old and worn out. For 3 years, she has sat, tucked away alone in a small shop in Oregon, just wasting away.”
In Part 2 we take a look at the current state prior to disassembly.
“I took a couple days off from starting this project overall. I wanted to take the time to research a few things, plan my attack on the project, and think of what I want for an outcome. I spend a lot of time going over in my head, what exactly I would like to perform, prior to doing the job. It helps me push myself through it, to get to the final outcome.”
In Part 3 we start to dive into the project. A short update
“In fact, everything I ordered is back ordered. The Carb Rebuild Kit, the Petcock Rebuild Kit, and the AAV Rebuild Kit is back ordered.”
In Part 4 we go full steam ahead with the disassembly of the XT. Piece by piece we tear into the soul of this machine.
“It started off Saturday, I stopped by Harbor and picked up a new Compression tester. It’s much easier to just buy a new one, instead of bugging your friend that you borrowed the other one from that he forgot to give you the right adapter. Oh well, I really needed to get myself one anyways.”
In Part 4.5 we take some time out to do some more planning and research. This becomes the last update on the project in almost a year.
“As mentioned in my last article, the Steering Stem bearings were shot. I have new ones on order, but now, I am having troubles tracking down the bottom seal. Once I get the bearings in, I’ll take measurements of everything, and call up Columbia Bearing or someplace and see if I can’t track down a seal.”
A year has almost flown by with very little work on this project. After months of set backs, disappointments, and life changing events, I finally pick up the pieces, and continue on my journey to help out an Old Friend.
“So I am still in need of a Carb Rebuild kit. I had purchased a low mileage carburetor from a fellow “Raceman” on the XT225 forums. Sent him the money, and never received the carb. It is the first time I’ve ever been burned on an internet transaction (And I built a complete motorcycle off of ebay).”
What was supposed to be a quick, short update, turned into a very long update. In fact, the largest of all my updates. A lot took place in just a few days time. Lots of good took place.
“Well this is another point five update, which means it is mostly just things that have moved forward, but have not really made any progress.
Some major things that have moved forward.
First off, the Fuel Tank”
A weekend of absent minded mistakes, sand, and molten metal still turns out productive, even if not in the direction originally intended.
“First off, I received a few items this week! The Wheel Bearings came super quick, the air filter came in along with my rear tail light cover, the front fork boots made their way to Oregon, and last but not least, my frame was finished!”
A wet weekend of more time spent driving than working proves that even a little progress is good progress.
“What I set out to do this weekend, was finish what I was unable to do last weekend. Which was put the engine in the frame, swing-arm attached, wheel bearings put in, steering stem with front suspension put on, and wheels so it will stand on its own.
What I did get this weekend, was a lot of sit down, rethink planning, a lot of back and forth driving all over the place, and then just a lot of bull shitting.”
Finally seeing the bike take shape, and getting caught up, we see what stood as a skeleton of bare metal, start to take form of a motorcycle, but not without a hiccup here and there.
“Boy! What a weekend!
I was originally going to name this issue of MOF “The exploady burny” issue, but decided against that… And more on that later. Right now, lets jump right into things!”
Decisions Decisions Decisions. It has all come down to Decisions. The bike is up on its own wheels, carb is in place, exhaust is in place, and the wire harness is somewhat in place. All the pieces needed to start her up, and I just let it set. More time spent thinking, planning, measuring than actual work took place in this update, so it is short, simple, full of babble and a couple pictures to compliment it.
“Any man who believes he controls the machine is in a state of denial that can only be accompanied by his obsession of power over things he can not yet understand. The heart of the machine has the power to take control of our mortal self, with our adrenaline infused hearts pumping in complete rhythm to the stroke of the motor, our minds linked at the wheel sensing every inch of the ground below us, and our souls melded into a single entity that cries into the open night sky, begging for it to never end. Any man, who believes he controls the motorcycle, tossing aside all respect for the mechanical being in which sits before him, will most likely die for his mistake.”
In the final days of December, I strap down, and finish a project I’ve worked over a year on. What started out as a tribute, became a long emotional path as I raced to completely rebuild a part of my past. Now, as this journey comes to an end, I set my sights for many more adventures with My Old Friend.
I realize, as I write this, that this will be the last entry I write in this Project Journal.
Over the last couple weeks, I have watched what was once an old neglected motorcycle, transform into the bike it is today.
I have also, over the last couple weeks, kept you all updated with video updates here and there. So this last journal entry will be a combination of the video’s I have already posted, some pictures, and some other video’s I did not post.
So without any other delay, lets take a step back, 2 weeks ago, and begin.