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  #1  
Old 12 Nov 2010
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Vintage XS650's heading to South America in January 2011!

Hello everyone! I'm very new here but had been reading some of your posts for a couple weeks.

My buddy Mike and I have been riding bikes since we were both children. So now that were getting mature... LOL we figured it's time to really get out of dodge!

We have been planning a trip to Mexico/ wait, TALKING about a trip to Mexico for a year and locked in on the idea late this summer. Our original plan was to ride in and out of Mexico.

Well after a nice summer trip from Minneapolis to South Dakota to meet a biker friend over a great burger and we decided to fix up some old Yamaha XS650 and appear to fly under the radar given all the hype about Mexico. Hey great idea, lets build some cheap bikes and ride as far south as we can!

So, I had this old XS I was going to build a bobber out of and Mike had one as well. Mine is a 1977.

Yes we could simply take our nice bikes or go out and buy some fancy touring bikes, but that's no fun!

So yeah, We plan on leaving Minneapolis January 27th,2010 with the bikes in the back of a truck. Park somewhere in Texas when we feel it is warm enough, stop and see some friends in Texas and off to South America.

Yes we have some planning to do. No we are not fearful and generally d not care what the news or TV has to say. We live in Mpls... if you lived in Mexico and watched our news you would not come home. So we get the be careful.

We might ship the bikes and fly out, not sure about those details yet. May even ship across the gap before we fly out and try to find them in a year and continue south in 2012.

Should be fun. Our planned vacation is a couple weeks and we will see where we end up. Maybe take a few extra days but we are not mentioning that to our wives just yet...

Not really looking for any advice yet, but I'm sure we will have some questions as we get further along with our plans and route.

We are looking for fun stories of xs650 adventures and or just fun stuff about others who have done this before.

Thanks and I will try to keep you all posted as I learn my way around this site.
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Old 12 Nov 2010
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Sounds great !
It's always good to hear of someone using an older bike instead of going the new BMW/Touratech route .

There are a few diehards that use these bikes for touring long distances ,
the biggest problem that you may have will concern the alternator .
If you replace it with a permanent magnet alternator ,you should be fine .

There is a ride report from the seventies of a guy riding one to Ushuaia , I tried a search but it seems it's no longer available .Anyway the bike was very reliable ,which is the main thing .

If you search on advrider you will find lots of info about these bikes and how they are being used .

Good luck ,keep us posted !
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  #3  
Old 12 Nov 2010
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You might enjoy reading this story:

Cross Country on a $50 bike: NY-SF and back - ADVrider

Across the country on 50 dollar motorcycles.

If I read your post right, you are planning a two week trip. I think your original idea of heading down to explore Mexico and back from Texas is more realistic. But don't listen to me. Obsessions die hard. You could probably make it to Panama in two weeks if the bikes hold up. Best luck wherever your travels take you.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831076
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  #4  
Old 12 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodger View Post
Sounds great !
It's always good to hear of someone using an older bike instead of going the new BMW/Touratech route .

There are a few diehards that use these bikes for touring long distances ,
the biggest problem that you may have will concern the alternator .
If you replace it with a permanent magnet alternator ,you should be fine .

If you search on advrider you will find lots of info about these bikes and how they are being used .
Main problem with the old 650's is that the alternator rotor shorts out and it stops charging. It happens with a lot of older Jap bikes - the wiring just seems to give up (someone else may know why). 4 out of my 5 old Japs, including an early 650, have had to be rewound but the rest of the Yamaha system is pretty reliable if you sort out the usual rusty connections.
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Old 13 Nov 2010
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Yep ,it's the windings in the rotor that usually give up the ghost .Nothing lasts for ever .
The insulation breaks down due to old age and vibration .You can get new replacement rotors from Mike's XS but they look a bit dodgy.
Better IMHO to buy a Sparx permanent magnet rotor conversion and do away with the electrically excited original and all the original reg/rect gubbins ,especially if you are preparing the bike for a long trip.
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Old 13 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodger View Post
Yep ,it's the windings in the rotor that usually give up the ghost .Nothing lasts for ever .
The insulation breaks down due to old age and vibration .You can get new replacement rotors from Mike's XS but they look a bit dodgy.
Better IMHO to buy a Sparx permanent magnet rotor conversion and do away with the electrically excited original and all the original reg/rect gubbins ,especially if you are preparing the bike for a long trip.

I hadn't heard of the Sparx conversion but it sounds like a sensible alternative. I got all of my rotors rewound for about £80 each so I don't know how that compares with the Sparx setup - I don't even know if they're available this side of the atlantic. I'll have to look them up later.

Apart from the electrics I wouldn't have too much concern about the 650 engine for a long trip. The one's I've owned or had access to have been pretty good. The ADV link to the guys doing coast to coast on a bunch of old Jap stuff shows how much fun old bikes can be, although it does help if you've got the ability to grind valves in with toothpaste during a coffee break. I thought it was only old Brit stuff that needed those sorts of skills
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Old 13 Nov 2010
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Tri-Cor England Yamaha Alternator

A bit more expensive than a rewind , but you do get a new high output stator and a rec/reg unit .
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"When you come to a fork in the road ,take it ! When you come to a spoon in the road ,take that also ."
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  #8  
Old 17 Nov 2010
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Were getting pretty pumped!

Thanks for all the responses!


Well I get these are old bikes, but we are very familiar with them and there like a trusty old lawn mower and easy to repair. I think I could rebuild the motor on the side of the road. We are both riding one and also know how to use a tow rope!

Anyway, we are working on planning a route. We are hauling them down to texas somewhere with our truck since it will be very cold here in MN. We are looking for other options to get to our starting point if anyone has any great ideas. (Maybe you great uncle Al lives here and you want him to come and visit you in Texas January 27th.

So the plan for now is to drive down and ride to wherever. we are following a couple groups on here now and are deciding on the route we will take.

Since we are taking these old bikes, we really don't care if they come back with us. One idea is to ship them beyond the "gap" and see if we can have them stored for a year and return later and continue south.

How could we sell them or leave them there. I think the rule is they cn charge you 3 times the value if we leave them? Not sure. Anyone with first hand knowledge in this area would be great. We think they are worth $500 bucks a piece here in the states. It would be nice to fly back to Texas somehow and fly back to Minneapolis. (Or drive if we find no other way to our starting point)

So for now we are working on bike visa questions etc. What happens if the bikes die and we come back without them. I know not likely since we can repair most anything, but think hypothetically? Can we sell and pay a smaller fee than the 3x what they are worth?

I'm sure we will figure out.

I read the great link someone sent (John Downs) about the 5 college guys crossing the states. Reminds me of my college trip alone. I wish I had documented as well they did.

Anyone else take a vintage bike down to say Panama?

I will try to post a picture (might have figured this out) of my bike as soon as I learn more about using this site. My 13 year old daughter has painted the tank, side covers and complete helmet. It looks pretty cool. (who lets there kid paint there bike...) ME!
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  #9  
Old 6 Feb 2013
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we made it no problem

https://www.google.com/url?q=http://...giVIN9_aWbzrbg
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