Last week, I put a deposit down for the bike I’m going to ride on this trip. It’s a 1978 XS650 engine, rephased to 277 degrees, in a one-off custom hardtail frame. The guy who built it lives up in Washington State, north of Seattle, where he runs a little custom shop, making all sorts of cool stuff. He originally put the bike together for himself, as a lightweight, long-distance machine, so it’s set up with an air shock on the tractor seat, a decent size gas tank, sissy bar and luggage racks. Better still, it’s got highway pegs, a comfortable riding position and even an accessory socket to charge my phone!
I’m hoping that something this simple, that’s been carefully put together and well looked after is going to be a pretty good bike for the trip. The tyres have got four thousand miles in them and I’ll take some tools and basic service items so I can do an oil, filter and plug change half way to New Orleans.