Best Cardan Tourer - Yamaha XJ900, Honda NTV 650 or Suzuki VX800?


My search for the perfect motorcycle for 1000 euros as a successor to my Africa Honda Transalp took a long time. Maybe I was just too demanding. After all, I expect what almost no motorcycle can offer today: simple, reliable and low-maintenance technology, no connection to low-durability low-profile tires and enough power with relatively low fuel consumption. In this price range, all motorcycles fall out of Europe. Remain the reliable Japanese. Ironically, fuel-efficient, old vehicles paradoxically no longer in France's inner cities. Of course, it is much better for the environmental economy to produce new cars again and again.
First, I tested the Honda NTV 650 Revere. The engine of this fairly modern machine has been known for years as an absolutely unproblematic cross-country skiers and had in the first years before coming into force stricter noise and exhaust emissions regulations by the EU with 60 hp also to offer some performance before in later years, unfortunately always from the factory had to be throttled more. This motorcycle is rightly highly praised in the issue 11 of the magazine MOTORRAD from 09.05.2014. There is the Honda NTV also with fairing. Then her name is Honda Deauville.
With its reliable shaft drive, the NTV came quite close to my idea of ??a low-maintenance motorcycle. Visually, the motorcycle had a lot to offer with its massive swing arm and silver box frame. Ultimately, only the relatively low seat height and the low payload of this small machine prevented me from buying. I would also have liked a Yamaha XV 750. Unfortunately, these machines with cardan drive are relatively difficult to find.
Next, I drove a Suzuki VX 800 sample. That this Nakedbike descended from the chopper Suzuki VS 750 Intruder, one notices not only at the angle of the steering head and the associated cornering, but also the strong torque that the visually beautifully designed two-cylinder V engine even at very low speed with great sound via a cardan drive to the massive cast rear wheel with five spokes continues. But it also needs to bring the quite heavy VX 800 on tour.
The measured by me quite high fuel consumption of 6 liters per 100 km at a relatively low power of 60 hp in the upper rpm range spoke for me but ultimately against this bike. Also, I suspected that the rather high speed of the massive piston stroke in the long term does not necessarily have a positive effect on the durability of the engine and because it had problems with the ASU.
Next, I drove a Yamaha XJ 600 Diversion Probe. Her youngest sister has just passed the long-term test of the motorcycle magazine with good results. This good-natured motorcycle is available as a competitor to the Suzuki Bandit 600 already used at very reasonable prices, on request also with fairing. It is almost as suitable for beginners as a Honda CB 500, a Suzuki GS 500 or a Kawasaki ER 5. However, in contrast to the mentioned motorcycles, the XJ 600 comes with a little more power and a fuel-efficient inline four-cylinder engine, which works very well for longer autobahns suitable. However, none of these machines comes up with a low-maintenance cardan drive.

If you want more power or if it bothers you that the rear wheel of the Yamaha XJ 600 is powered by a chain, then its the big sister, the Yamaha XJ 900 recommended. Was built the Tourer Yamaha XJ 900 in the versions 31A from 1983 to 1984, as 58L from 1985 to 1990 and as 4BB from 1991 to 1994. In 1985 and 1986, the motorcycle was also available as a naked bike with the appearance of the smaller sister XJ 650th
Then she was revised, got a new face and the name addition Diversion. Over the years she has proven to be very reliable in the motorcycle with its in-line four-cylinder YICS engine and cardan drive, which has often sold it. Only at contacts in the fuse box of older years as well as on the exhaust system rust problems are known. In addition, the starter is so weakly dimensioned that he can not start the big engine at -20 ° C even with a new battery. For the winter you need a Transalp or something equivalent.
However, the big advantage of vehicles with a first registration before 1988 is that they do not have to be exhausted every two years. In addition, most older vehicles are not yet bonded to soft low profile tires (like the Honda CBR and VFR), which only last a few thousand kilometers. A good argument for frequent travelers. (The Bridgestone BT45 with its hard rubber compound in the middle is the longest lasting, followed by the Metzeler Lasertec.)
Although a 58L with its narrow 120/90 18 65V rear tire runs behind each lane marker, but who cares. Anyone who gains a machine with 98 hp just below the insurance limit, after the maintenance is significantly more expensive than about 120 euros per year (+ about 70 euros tax), is certainly no novice driver. The power development of the engine is very uniform. Even at low speeds, there is a lot of pressure, which does not stop at 100 km / h and about 4000 rpm.
However, you should not race with older models of the Yamaha XJ 900. The old landing gear was simply not stiff enough for such a performance back then. Even at 200 km / h, it is difficult even for experienced drivers with low crosswinds to keep the machine on its own lane.
However, as I do not see myself as a racing driver but as a tour rider and I am less important to the maximum speed than the ability to accelerate relatively fast in overtaking, I opted for a Yamaha XJ 900 58L with a smart, black lining, the pressure of the wind keeping well away from the driver's body. The additionally mounted headlights enabled daylight rides even on a dark black night on unlit streets.
The tire change is no problem despite the cardan drive. After loosening the axle nut on the left side, the axle can be easily pulled out using a small screwdriver. Then the brake caliper is released and with the moment support braced upwards. Now the rim for tire change can be easily lifted by the Kardanverzahnung.
When installing, make sure that the appropriate washer is also mounted first on the axle and not between the wheel bearing of the rim and the torque support of the brake. Otherwise, the brake caliper is too far to the right and brakes constantly.
Speaking of brake constantly: Especially in winter, it can happen that the brake cylinder of the two front four-piston calipers or the rear two-piston caliper brakes the constant showering with salt water.
These relatively delicate components, which are rarely thought about as long as they work, then begin to corrode, with the result that they no longer drive properly when the brake lever is released. while driving on a machine with 98 hp, the constant brake at most on the fact that suddenly rises at the traffic lights in the rain water vapor from the hot brake discs. However, if you try to push the machine like a beginner by hand, you will notice that something is wrong and you may decide to fix it.
To do this or to mount new brake pads, first remove the cover of the brake caliper and pull out the two cotter pins that prevent slipping out of the brake pad retaining pins (on many other motorcycles the brake pad retaining pins are allen screws hidden by a slotted disc).
Now you start to scratch carefully and without scratching the brake pistons to clean them. The easiest way is, if you drive the brake piston slightly by slightly pressing the brake lever. Then they are renaturated again and only when they are really clean you can conserve them with a little fat or copper paste, opens the brake fluid reservoir and carefully pushes the brake piston back.
In the specialized trade there are special brake piston return pushers. I usually manage myself with a screw clamp. It is important to make sure that the brake piston did not misjudge.
After all parts have been reassembled in reverse order, the brake will not work! For this reason, the brake lever must be pressed several times before the first drive to drive the pistons as far as necessary. If the brake subsequently does not offer a touchable pressure point but feels spongy, air may have entered the system. In this case, the brake system must be vented. The fork seals must be replaced when oil comes out of the fork. To remove the preloaded spring and pour out the remaining fork oil, you first need a 17mm Allen key to open the fork spar above. If you do not have one, you can either flex a 19 mm Allen key narrower, fold a 17 mm screw with several nuts or simply bend over. Of course, buying a suitable tool would also be an option;)
In order to prevent the 8mm hexagon socket screw from undermining when separating the standpipe and dip tube, another special tool is required. In the detailed repair manual of the 22mm front axle with two countered nuts as well as a matching nut and a ratchet with extension is used to hold against. In the xj-forum people have made a special tool for countering from a 45 cm long 12 mm threaded rod, each with a point-welded 19 mm or 22 mm nut on both ends. Another method would be filling the fork spar with liquid and then squeezing the oil seals out with a jack between a door frame etc without disassembling the fork as described herein. By a friendly workshop master I also got the helpful hint, just to use a wooden broomstick to prevent the 22mm Innenzwölfkantschraube inside the Gabelhomes from turning, while loosening the Allen screw from below.
Now all you have to do is remove the split pin under the dust cap that secures the simmer ring and then pull the two tubes apart with a slight jerk. At the same time, the old Simmerring is loosened and pulled out with it. Alternatively, pierce a few holes in the old oil seal and screw in Spax screws. At this drive out the summer ring.
Now is the time to rebuild the fork spar. First, insert the inner hex head screw with the short spring into the standpipe with a broomstick. Then the aluminum cone must not be forgotten before the standpipe is screwed back into the dip tube (with the broomstick counterhold).
To prevent damage to the new Simmerringes, this is initially oiled carefully. Subsequently, a plastic bag is slipped over the sharp end of the standpipe and the Simmerring carefully attached. The oil seals of a 31A are narrower and do not seal the fork of a 58L. With the help of the old Simmerring, a screwdriver and a small hammer, the new seal is now carefully tapped into its seat until the locking snap ring engages again. Alternatively, you can buy a driving tool from Louis for 20 euros. Now comes the old dust cap over it and the spring back into the spar. Then this is screwed on with pressure on the spring again. Beforehand, fill in according to the factory specifications 276 CCM SAE 5W fork oil must not be forgotten. Abroad, one usually uses cheaper 10W40 engine oil engine oil instead of fork oil and is therefore satisfied. Subsequently, an oil change was on the program. As always, I used car engine oil. 5 liters of 15W40 engine oil are available at Real for 12.- Euro. Update: Now my machine runs smoothly for over 10,000 km. For this price you do not even get a liter in many workshops. See also Frontal21. It does not always have to be branded oil. My opinion on this topic is as always: everyone should do it as he sees fit. I sold the Yamaha again before my year in South America .
As far as my opinion. The brake system is a vital component. If you do not believe you know what you're doing, ask a mechanic for help. Because of many inquiries by email: Actually, the technology is self-explanatory. Everything you need to know about motorcycles can be found in a repair manual. All statements without guarantee.