I just got a 1986 Yamaha SRX600 and all I can say for myself is: please help. The running joke at Jalopnik — emphasis on running, unlike our shitboxes — is if we formed a support group, we’d be the absolute worst. Instead of helping each other cope, we would enable: egging one-another on to be reckless, to abandon good sense and caution. If Dionysus had poured gasoline not wine, we’d have danced all night. It’s like Max said, “let the wild rumpus [kick] start!”
In that spirit, I ended up buying a Yamaha off Craigslist that’s three years older than me, twin-carbureted with a single-cylinder 595cc engine, and missing an electric starter. As in: you wanna ride? OK. You gotta kick it!
I haven’t mastered kickstarting it, nor have I made up my mind about it. Is it a curse? Or a mild inconvenience? I’ll let you know after I stall at a busy stoplight. Also missing on the Yamaha, are any modern safety features. Things like traction control, adaptive lighting or ABS. There’s isn’t even a gas gauge!
OK. So the SRX600 does have disc brakes front and rear, at least. That helped me feel less shaky about no ABS, but I’m well aware that’s a small consolation.
The thing is, other than ABS, most everything else the SRX600 lacks is what drew me in. It’s the epitome of the UJM. There’s no fairing, no windscreen, no oil- or water-cooling. Not many aging electrical systems to render it inoperable. And there’s not much weighing the thumper down, with its 388-pound wet weight per Cycle World. It’s also not really fast (40HP,) but I’m used to that.
The few times I’ve ridden it so far, along Texas backroads on routine Sunday rides (about 120 miles there and back,) I’ve already discovered how nimble the SRX600 is. It’s basic in the best way; not much on it is superfluous.
Of course, I’ve also discovered things I should fix. That’s why I need help! Here’s a laundry list of items I think are upcoming maintenance:
- The tires need replacing. I don’t know when the previous owner did, and it’s best to be safe.
- The throttle sticks. When shifting, I have to roll the throttle forward a bit. It doesn’t snap shut like a new(er) bike.
- It needs chrome mirrors. The original mirrors on the SRX600 are chrome. I lucked out because they’re in a box that came with the bike.
- There’s play in the kickstand. While trying and failing to kickstart, I noticed the stand moves. I’m leaning hard on it, so will retighten it ASAP.
I’m also not looking forward to our corn-sweetened gas (E10) messing with the fuel lines, which emeritus deputy editor and carburetor savant, Norman Mayersohn, tells me to keep an eye on (Thanks, Norman! Pats for Poe!) It’s a good thing I have this support group, after all. No one ever said cars or bikes have to make sense. It’s romance, really. It’s falling in love.