May 20, 2014 - May 13, 2015
In the Driveway May 20, 2014
How I got this
I see this listed on Craigslist at a reasonable price and it's nearby, in Niskayuna. The owner says straight away that the carburetors have leaked gas into the oil and therefore he's drained the crankcase. So it's been sitting unused for over a year. Still, the miles are low (7k), the condition is stock and quite nice, and it comes with some extras. So I offer $1900 and it's a deal. Just small dings in the gas tank. Both tires look new.
It comes with;
- soft saddle bags
- small engine case guards (black, a nice touch)
- 2 in. handlebar risers
- a jacket (that I give away because it's too small)
- good magnetic tank bag
- rear trunk (also given away since it's not the quality of the Givi trunks I've been using on the VStrom 650 and the Blackbird).
the crankcase of the gas that has continued to leak into it and check the
petcock for leaks and it seems ok. But after fresh oil and a
new filter, I still can't get it to start / run. And I see the gas in still
getting into the oil. Now the battery has faded. I find a small
shop in Schoharie that I want to try for carb cleaning and trailer the bike
there with a new battery, plugs and oil filter and tell him the
petcock isn't leaking (wrongly).
I ride back there 2 weeks later with friends and pick up the bike . It runs fine on the 40 mile ride home, stopping at the Winn Preserve and at Thacher Park for photos and to enjoy the day.
All good it would seem. But on the next ride on a very hot day, the bike dies on an uphill after just 3 miles. Can't be out of gas, I reason. It had 3 gallons of gas in it from the repair shop, and should have gone more than the 40 miles back from Schoharie, even allowing for 1 gallon on reserve. I'm stuck and have to trailer it home. Just as a test, I put it on reserve and it fires right up away. Turns out there are 2 gallons on reserve in a 5.2 gallon tank (not one gallon as would be expected), so it needs reserve at 120 miles even with a full tank. But the oil level is looking higher than it should. Not good.
The next time I ride I check the oil level and see that the carbs are still slowly leaking gas after the $300 worth of shop work. This means the vacuum petcock is leaking despite what I had thought.
The petcock repair kit diaphragm, spring and o-rings do not solve the leak problem, yet all of the parts look just fine. So now I'm stumped.
Thacher Park June 2014
Thacher Park June 2014
I get a used petcock from Ebay to try that, but it is defective and not worth even the $30 I paid for it. Full of gray sand-like grit which looks like JB weld. Completely useless.
Next step is a new Suzuki petcock ($150 on line) which I install in the spring of 2015. Runs out of gas on a test ride and have to beg a ride to a gas station and find a liter drink bottle to be able to ride home.
loses its appeal for me because of this and I sell it in May 2015. I never resolve the
petcock leak despite buying a new one. The steering lock stop is bent
but I see no other damage to explain the cause. And, as a result, the
bars are slightly mis-alligned which I also can't fix the way I'd like too.
But the bike looks quite nice, runs solid. It has no other issues and
just 7,250 miles when I sell it.
A year later, I see it for sale on
Craigslist, modified to remove the fairing, LED
lights added and a louder exhaust. Listed for $3,450 with 7,600 miles so I
recognize it as the same bike.
I had bought another Bandit 1200S a few
years before and had a much better experience with that on but sold it
within a month.
From Ware MA. in May 2009
1999 Bandit 1200S
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Edited April 2016