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Jack Higday
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1980 XS650 Special II

My XS is a 1980 G Special II.   I purchased it new as a result of a full-page ad featuring this bike.  The moment I saw the ad I knew that it was my next bike.  I called the dealer and told him to prepare one just like in the ad.  I left the office early that day and picked it up. I had always liked the British Twins but not their other characteristics. This XS was my 53rd bike and now I am up to 56. I have ridden scooters/motorcycle since I was 11. Many of them are laughable now, but were ok for the times.

I rode this bike about 5,000 miles and then parked it in my garage until 2002. I continued to ride dirt bikes until 1985 and then quit altogether. I retired in 1999 and after a Florida fishing trip I stopped at Daytona Beach during “Bike Week”. This got the juices flowing again.

When I got back home I then decided to see if I could get the bike running again. I pulled and cleaned the carbs.  Got a new battery, ordered new factory air cleaners.  Well, the bike ran, but not well.  I took it to my local Yamaha dealer and they said they wouldn’t work on any bike over 10 years old.  I don’t know how many times I pulled the carbs and found another issue and corrected and re-installed.  It then was rideable but not quite right.

About that time I stumbled across the 650 website to find there were others out there, plus there was to be a rally nearby (Townsend, TN).

I went to this rally and met several guys that I now consider good friends. Some of the guys that come to mind are Ken Maxwell, Marty Haliburg, later Mike Davis, Al Cooper, Roger Anderson and Greg Johnson.  While riding with the group at Townsend, my bike quit and left me stranded.  Along came Ken Maxwell and Sandra to save the day.  Ken immediately instructed me to get my tools and remove one of brushes, disconnect the headlight and pull the battery. He then installed his battery and started my bike.  Later in the same ride we had another rotor failure which Ken again diagnosed which started a three-battery rotation so we could all finish the ride.  If I remember correctly, Ken was elevated to “UNCLE” status after I related these incidences on the list although I’m sure this was just a couple of many times he had helped fellow members out.  During this rally Marty mentioned a friend of his (Scooter Dude) that was an excellent bike mechanic.  This guy was up to the billing as he went through my carbs, fixed the problem and I was on my way on a bike that ran like new.

That rally was just the first of many XS rallies that I have attended.  Since then I have had the pleasure of meeting many members.  It makes one wonder: Does the XS650 draw a higher caliber of owner or if a higher caliber of people own XS650’s (excluding myself).  At any rate the XS group has got me hooked on biking again.  Since my re-introduction to motorcycling I have ridden both the Natchez Trace and Route 66 from Chicago to Albuquerque N.M.   In Albuquerque I got food poisoning and went home.  A month later I did make it to Santa Monica, CA.  But in my Miata.

Attending the Dogwood Rally, Greg had ridden his newly acquired TDM.  At that time I had a Concours for road work but I deemed it as two heavy, so the search began for a TDM.  I had spoken with Greg and he was able to locate the ’98 TDM that I now own.  Interestingly enough it is a twin configured with a 270 crank.
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