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  #1  
Old 4 Aug 2005
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XL600 LMF lots of questions!!!

Hi !! . Being absolutely new to bikes.. I have just bought a XL600 LMF \(the one with the enormous fuel tank).
Before sailing off to Africa to my first trip on a bike (being lots of times but in 4WDs and Trucks) ... I am absoultely ignorant on lots of motorbike-related issues .

Such as :

How much power can I take from the electrical system ? -Is it possible to run=off a laptop (I mean with an inverter , of course) from the electrical system ?

Are chains standard ? or are model-specific . Can I expect to find a chain for my bike in -say - mali ? or Senegal ?

I know that's a stupid question .. but .. Is it safe to assume that nothing will breakdown in 5000 kilometers. How reliable a well mantained XL6000 is compared to a well-mantained modern 4WD ?

Any parts should I take with me ?

and lastly :

Is it possible to find parts and skilled mechannics in Africa.. or should I abandon the bike if it gets seriously broken down .

Thanks a lot for your time.. and sorry to ask too many qustions.\

JAvier
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  #2  
Old 4 Aug 2005
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Hi Javier.
Excellent choice you've made there!Firstly,answers to your questions.....

Inverters do draw a fair amount of power,even small ones,and while the LMF battery isn't small by modern bike standards i would'nt like to hook up an inverter to it for much more than a few moments.I suppose it depends on the power needs of your PC and if you can get a car-type cigarette socket charger for it.Having said that,the XL will start on the kickstart even with a totally dead battery as the ignition circuit is seperate from the rest of the charging system,and is self energizing.One thing you could do is to buy one of the totally sealed gel-type batteries,and rig up a way to charge it from the main battery(as second battery) that way if you did flatten it with the PC,it would'nt matter.The bike's charging system will be able to cope with this especially if you ride with the headlights off for a while.

Chains-well the LMF has a 520 size chain with 106 links as standard.However if i were you i'd fit an O-ring chain and a Scottoiler before you go then you can virtually forget it,except from topping up the oil reservoir.If you set the flow rate up correctly as the booklet says(2 drips per min) then one tank-full of oil will last over 2000km,as mine has just done riding around France last week.Keeps the chain nice and clean too.If you're worried about running out of the proper oil for it,then normal chainsaw oil will do to keep you going.Whilst you're there,take off the plastic gearbox sprocket cover and check the condition of the sprocket,as they tend to get forgotten a bit and will wear slightly faster than the rear.

Reliable-ohhh yes!Give her a good service before you go(oil,filter,sparkplug,check valve clearances,air filter,brakes,cables,etc...).When you change the oil,take off the sump guard,drain the engine(you won't get much out of it...don't worry most of the oil is in the frame!),then undo the oil feed pipe from the BOTTOM of the frame tube,drain the rest of the oil from here.When it's mostly empty,remove the large plug that the pipe was attached to,and behind it there's a oil strainer to clean out.This just stops big bits of crap going into the engine.When you've put it all back together again,put in about 2.5 litres of oil,then start it and let it tick over for a moment.Stop the engine and check the level,it should need a little more to top-up(crankcase says it holds 2.6 litres although i find it sometimes needs a very small amount more.I use Silkoline semi-synthetic oil in mine.As long as it's in good condition to start with,there's no reason why it won't go around the world,let alone 5000km.Several people have,and are doing now.

Parts to take-well i would'nt worry too much about taking loads of spares as you almost certainly won't need what you do take(it always seems to be the bit you DON'T take that packs up!).Saying that,i always take a spare new clutch cable,spark plug,and a few odd nuts and bolts.If the throttle cable does break,you can change over the end of the "B" cable(the one that shuts the throttle) and it should get you at least to somewhere you can get it repaired.Other than that,don't worry! If something does pack-up,spares are available from Honda wherever you might be.

As i said i've just been to France on mine and she avaraged 26km/litre,and with 28 litres in the tank,that's one hell of a good range!I normally run mine for 500km before i start looking for a fuel station.
If you want any more info,photos,etc....just send me an email.
Jon

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  #3  
Old 4 Aug 2005
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As you're going to Africa, you need to decide whether to run your chain dry or wet. a wet chain will pick up dust which can accelerate wear of the sprockets and tear the O-rings. on my trips, I've generally run the chain dry and it has lasted approx 15,000-20,000km.

Do not expect to be able to get spares. Europe is on another planet and no help as a guide. Even tyres can be hard to find. That's part of the joy/challenge in travelling through Africa. Sort your bike before you go and give Dave Silver's phone number to your best buddy in England so they can send you stuff if/when you need it. Make sure they remove the packaging, make it grubby and put a fictitious value on the consignment so that you don't get caught with monster import duties.

I had an LMF and didn't often get 20kpl. Nice big tank, but ill-handling and fragile off road. Replace the gear change and brake pedal with folding ones or you can - as I did - bend the gearbox selector forks in a minor tumble.

As for dumping you bike if it all turns sour ... that depends if you need a carnet. Its the same deal as your 4WD, many african countries either stamp your passport or require a carnet.

[This message has been edited by RichLees (edited 04 August 2005).]
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  #4  
Old 5 Aug 2005
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Hi Rich.
Was your XL a true LMF,and do you really only get 20kpl out of her? The very worst i've ever had out of mine was 22kpl and that was due to doing almost 300km off road,fully laden with my gear(2nd/3rd gear most of the way).Mind you,the French speed limits tend to do the bike a bit miserly on juice...especially as i did'nt fancy an encounter with the guys in the well-hidden blue cars! But even here at home in Wales,i normally get a good 24kpl.And both of my LMF's have folding gear and brake levers as standard(both 1985 vintage).What year is yours?Maybe that explains the difference in fuel use?How long have you had it,and have you had any serious problems along the way? I agree the handling can be "amusing" when it's pushed really hard,but then again with nearly 7 gallons of fuel at the worst possible height i can't grumble really! Don't have any moans about it off road though,and we regularly go out exploring the local tracks of mid-wales.Generally if the Avon Distanzia's will push her along,she'll go there even with camping gear on board.Hard work picking it up tho....LOL.

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Old 5 Aug 2005
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mine was c-reg ... 1983? I bought it in 1992 and it was stolen in 1993.
red engine, both electric and kick, twin headlight and 28(?) litre tank. it had less than 10,000 on the clock and seemed to have been well-maintained. maybe they got folding bits later? I loved it till I rode a Dominator and realised how much the engine had improved. much later, I had an XR400, XR650L and XR650R so I got quite a taste for better and better handling and more and more power.
that said, even dawdling to conserve fuel across Zimbabwe, the best I ever got from any of them was 23kpl on the XRL so my hat is off to your tight right wrist :-) your bike is up there with the Funduro for miserly thumping.
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