Get Upside Down on a Vintage Motorcycle

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There’s an event called the Vintage 1000 whose stated goal is to get a dozen people to ride 1000 miles of the Trans America Trail on 1981-and-older motorcycles, with an extra (optional) challenge of putting that bike together for under $1000 total. I did it. The bike was a 1972 Honda XL250, the first year … Read More

Why we stopped repairing Chinese scooters

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In the fall of 2014, Nashville Motorcycle Repair stopped working on Chinese-brand scooters. Here’s why. Imagine Sisyphus, sweating away in Hades, pushing his rock up the hill every day, only to watch it roll back to the bottom, where he’s forced to start over. Now imagine the rock is actually a poorly-made machine that’s always … Read More

On replacing complex parts

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Lots of motorcycle problems require us to replace the affected parts. Worn out tires, chains and sprockets, crash-damaged levers, leaking fork seals, etc. But there are two items people seem inclined to replace that rarely actually need it: the carburetors and the wiring harness. Both of these assemblies are pretty complicated, at least in comparison to a tire, a … Read More

Buying a used bike: Honda 599

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In June 2012, I bought a new-to-me Honda 599, roughly one week after finding out they’d been sold in the U.S. for two years. In The Rest of the World, it’s called a Honda Hornet 600. Here, it’s the 599, because, supposedly, somehow the old AMC Hornet has a permanent claim on the name. For … Read More

2003 Honda VFR800 running problem

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I’ve been making a lot of “cobbler’s son” jokes this week. Of the three motorcycles I own with unexpired tags on them right now, exactly zero are running properly. One of them is a 2003 Honda Interceptor VFR800 with 7,000 miles on it. I bought it from a friend who bought it from a coworked … Read More

1977 Kawasaki KZ400, Part 3

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I finished the oil and filter change at approximately 11:00 am Tuesday morning, about an hour after I’d promised Michael I’d get to his house. There, we loaded our bikes into his truck and headed out to Rogers, Arkansas for the start of the Ozark Mountain Scramble. We had agreed about three weeks earlier to … Read More

1977 Kawasaki KZ400, Part 2

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I’ve lost track of how long the KZ400 spent on the other side of the shop, collecting dust, before I got back around to working on it. I do know that I finally got back to it on a Monday, eight days before the event I was preparing it for. The last minute work included … Read More

1977 Kawasaki KZ400, Part 1

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I’ve decided to participate in the Ozark Mountain Scramble, a three-day event/ride in June that has just three simple rules: Your motorcycle must be from 1980 or earlier, 750cc or less, and cost no more than $1000 complete. This appeals to my sense of practical motoring. I’ve chosen two bikes for the OMS. (Yes, I … Read More

New Shop Hours

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After nearly four months of testing Tuesday-Saturday hours and after one brief conversation with Roy, a nearby, long-time mechanic, I’ve decided to change the shop hours to a traditional Monday-Friday schedule. Okay, 11am-6pm isn’t all that traditional, but Monday-Friday certainly is. I’ll still be available most Saturdays by appointment. Why the change? As Roy told … Read More

Genuine Buddy

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We’re working on a Buddy 125 scooter this week, and it’s quite impressive, especially in comparison with the cheap no-brand ones we’ve seen previously. Buddy is manufactured in Taiwan for Chicago-based Genuine Scooter Company. Reading the service manual online, it’s clear Genuine let the factory do the English translation: One of the items in the … Read More