1975 Honda XL-350

In retrospect, I should have never brought this one home, for I ended up dumping a pile of money in it, far more than it's worth. But the bike was cheap, at $100, was 100% complete and original, and underneath the heavy layer of dust and pigeon-droppings, was in amazingly good shape cosmetically. So while it was obvious that it had been rode hard and put up wet, I just couldn't resist it's wiles. The fond memories of my '77 XL-350, and the fact that I'd always admired the swoopy down-pipe of the '75 models didn't help any.
I actually got the bike cranked up after cleaning it up a bit, though how I'll never know. Well, actually I do know; it was the 40-mph+ pull-start provided by a helpful neighbor and his 4-wheeler that did the trick! But one short ride was all it took to see that the engine was trashed. :-(
After stripping the engine down, I found that there was a full 1/64" clearance between the piston and the bore, and it was heavily scored to boot. I have never before seen an engine run with that kind of wear! I had to go 2 over to clean it up. As it turned out, the crank was toast, too, as were two shift forks in the trans. Judging by the condition of that motor, I don't think the original owner ever changed the oil. :-(
I rebuilt it using OEM Honda parts, and pardner, they ain't cheap. The crank assembly alone ran $320, so that ought to give you an idea of how badly the engine overhaul dented my pocketbook. The one deviation from stock was a Powroll cam, the "torque" model. The engine is good as new now, though, and I fully expect the s.o.b. to run for another 25 years! As insurance, I've got a complete '75 XL-350 parts bike which a co-worker gave me, so I figure I can keep this bike running forever.
Most memorable moment- and note that I did NOT say "favorite memory"! I used to exercise our dog, Bo, by letting him chase the bikes. One day in '94, I was doing just that. We pulled into the driveway after a brisk run, and I did a little first-gear wheely. As I let the wheel down, Bo ran across my path, and I set the wheel down directly on his back. As he was crossing at a dead run, it sort of rotated the bike out from under me, and I went down hard. Very hard. I suffered a detached cruciate ligament in my right knee, which required surgery. Son, let me tell you that was not fun. And all from a stupid 10-mph get-off in my own driveway. <shakes head> Go figure. Oh, and Bo didn't get a scratch.. though when my knee gets to aching on those cold, rainy days, I'll sometimes give him a swift kick in his ass... ];-)

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