In the near future I may be able to aquire a yamaha SR500, and was wondering if it is worth having. I don't know the year. My plans for it would be in the cafe styling and at least a top speed of 100 mph. Let me know if this is a good idea, thank you.
I think it depends on what your needs are. The SR is a kickstart only and not the easiest starter, especially when warm. It will stall at a stoplight and then when you go to restart it you will not get the piston in the right position and it will kick back, firing your right knee into the bottom of the throttle assembly and it will really really really hurt and leave a mark and everything. In the mean time, the light has turned green and all the cars behind you are starting to get pissed, so you hobble to the curb, which you can barely see through the tears, and have to wait until the pain goes down a little bit before you can even attempt to kick it again. It will then start on the first kick and smirk at you while you get on and ride away like nothing even happened.
Other than that, it is a nice bike that lends itself well to some cafe treatment. It responds really well to a carb, cam and pipe. I did not like the 540 big bore kit. I just didn't like the way it slowed down the revs. Others like the 540 a lot. I don't like the cast wheels on them since I don't like 19" fronts and they are too narrow. It will need rear shocks, progressive fork springs and new fork oil. Some good tires and you should be ready to roll. They are a popular bike for the cafe or Street tracker treatment so Google images is your friend.
If anything, kickstart only makes the bike cooler for me, and if it can hurt you if you do it wrong i think that is kind of cool. I found quite a few aftermarket parts for it, but did not see any wire wheels. I do not like the cast wheels and will find some way to get wires. is there an easy way? I don't really have a preference to diameter or width at the time, because if i get this it will only be my second bike.
I finally sold mine because I ws afraid to stop for gas and be strnded for God knows how long. OTOH- little kids from the neighborhood would drop by ans yell, "Hey mister, can you let my friend start your bike, too?" It seems to be a matter of art over technology...
It looks great with an aluminium tank, and responds like to other bike I've ever had to the most basic of mods. I had wire wheels, but it's been so long, I can't remember how they got on the bike...
While it looks the part in high heels and lipstick, keep in mind that it's still the downstairs maid. It's not a Goldstar. However, you should be able to compensate for it's lack of an etheral top speed with it's excellant handling.
You must have been in that line of traffic behind me in 1979...........I got rid of my brand new SR500 with less than 800 miles because of the exact scenario you described, which happened constantly.
I have a friend, in his late 70's, that bought one new and still has it. If his son isn't around to start it for him, he puts it in the trailer and his wife takes him up to the top of a long hill. He coasts it down the hill to start it, then sticks to roads with no stop lights. He tells me he only rides it a couple times a year now, but won't sell it. Rides his Goldwing all the time though.
My story was from personal experience. I traded that bike even up for a Fiat 124 Sport Spyder. I still don't know who got the better end of that deal. 2 years later and no muffler and no synchro into first and no heater core and no parking brake, I sold the Fiat for $800, which is what I paid for the SR00. I am one dealin' son of a gun.
God some have had some bad luck! I've ridden over 6 different SR's in the past two years for differing periods of time and never had one stall on me. Some were bad starters, but each had it's own little intrinsic method, and once hot I found it kicked right away.
Top speed of 100mph? Hmmm good luck. I've only ridden one 500 and the gearing is pretty much the same as the 400. Top absolute speed limited by it's gearing is 90-92mph. Fiddling with the sprocket might raise this but you'd be sacrificing it's acceleration. OR you spend a bunch of money wacking different gears in there.
I'd also say get on the SR forum if your really keen.
I've had single most of my life and for some reason they are all the same startingwise. Cold start, first kick. Hot start, first kick. Most anything in between can drive you nuts. The last road going single I had was an SRX and a Honda 600 single. Simplest bike in the world to start with their arrangement. Sorry I sold it. I think the SR had a compression release as opposed to the SRX set up. Single are not like two strokes. Every two stroke I had required them to be kicked up to idling speed and then they caught. Would I recommend an SR? You bet! That is unless you want something that terrifies old ladies and sets your pants on fire with its accelleration and top speed.
A lot of them so called starting problems are fairytails, with the valves spot on and the carbs set up well they are ok. I can start my TTR 600 (ABP carb and head setup) with two hands. But valves are due every 2000km. If your SR is hard to start, two bottom seals do wonders and you wont loose a lot of HP.
There are not really that many cold start issues, just the rider and mechanic, thats what my Gramps told me and I believe him to this day.
My Buddy had an ol'BMW that he complained about all the time. Cold starting Piece of shit was his complaint until I figured out he swapped exhaust without rejetting and tuning. Really! but just to come to find out 98% of all BMW dudes dont rejet and tune when fitting new parts go figure. I think it goes for allot of people. Clean your carbs, balance them once in a while, change out the jets or clean them up real good every year, you will notice that your bike will be running pretty smooth on a regular basis.
XT's and SR's will kick back if the ignition timing is too far advanced. It's a fine line.....
I ride my XT to work every day. It took me a week of experimenting to work out what it needed for a first kick start (cold - 3/4 choke and the high idle button, hot - just the high idle button), and since then it starts first kick every time.
And once I got the ignition timing right (again through trial and error), it doesn't stall at the lights anymore.
The real problem is that (as for a lot of bigger ac singels) its no good for every day short distance rides. It needs its temperature. Or it will die fast. Heat is no good either. But if you treat them well a piston will last 60k km. The rest is good for more than 100k km or 60k miles.
I actually just picked up an ascot last night and got it to pop over and run for a second tonight. I will be pulling out the engine tomorrow to look through it. Could any of y'all help me find a kick starter? I've been told the XL 250 and 500 starters will work. Thank you for your help so far.