Here are some more details on the TT500 I picked up. The more I get into this bike, the cooler it gets. Everything about it seems overbuilt compared to the various Honda CB’s and CL’s I‘ve had over the years. One very cool detail is the aluminum tank. One of the most pain in the ass thing about old motos are The mild steel tanks. A trick is to add a bit of two stroke oil every few tanks to keep rust at bay, but if you leave the tank empty for a bit they will develop rust even in the driest environments. No worries with an aluminum tank.
Notice the “premium” fuel requirement. According to some of the old timers, that means 93-97. Mine is running much higher compression than stock, so I’m going to grab some 100+ stuff from a station in Scottsdale. Another cool detail is the oil system. It’s a dry sump system which stores oil in the frame and delivers it to the head via oil lines.
This bike also has a lot of magnesium components. My CL450 had magnesium cases, but Yamaha actually labels everything as magnesium. The vase covers and brake drum covers are magnesium.
Power wise, this thing rips. Besides being bored out with a performance cam, it has a Mikuni VM36 carb which has a cable, rather than vacuum operated slide. Much more abrupt power delivery than the Hondas I’ve had, and it delivers a good amount of torque low in the rev range. Feels a little disconcerting at first, as the smallest crack of the throttle pulls the bike out from under you pretty hard with the front forks reaching for the sky.
As I mentioned before, this being a kick start only single with pretty high compression, the starting procedure is a bit involved. Basically, the cylinder has to be in the right stroke position or either the bike won’t start or you’ll break something or hurt yourself. You don’t want to try and kick through the compression stroke of a 500cc+ cylinder. The engine is equiped with a decompression lever which opens up the exhaust valve and lets you get the cylinder in the right position. On XT’s, there’s a little flag that pops up on the cylinder head to let you know you’re there. Mine doesn’t have that, but the PO told me just to kick it three or four times. You then find TDC by feel, use the decompression lever to drop the piston just a touch, return the kickstart to its top position, then kick that mother as hard as you can.
Cold start take a few tries, but hot statts are pretty easy. In the vid below I initially dropped the cylinder too far, so I had to get it back into position.