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Longleaf

XR200, friend-zoned.

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It began with a vague ad on Facebook Marketplace, showing an old Gas Gas enduro bike that didn't run.  The seller wanted $1000.  


That was less than my Trump Check. 


Three days later we were in a trailer park in the middle of nowhere, loading up pieces of what was supposedly a Gas Gas.  The reality of the bike--the stripped-down, faded, abused mess that it was--had tempered my enthusiasm and left me wrestling with my good sense.  I had talked the kid down to $500 and his mother assured us of the VIN-less frame, "hell no, it ain't stole!",  so we rolled out of the trailer park with the most miserable looking bike I've ever bought in tow.  


The first order of business was finding the VIN number.  Remarkably, it was intact under the powder coating.  It wasn't just the frame that was powder coated, either: the handlebars, linkage, footpegs, skid plate, triple clamps, wheel hubs, swing arm, subframe, brake pedal, shifter, and expansion chamber were painted too.  It was well suited to be a rust-free boat anchor.  


A VIN check produced confirmation that our disaster project was, at least, not stole.  So my husband embarked on an 8-month long "6-week rebuild."  Neither of us knew it was possible to hold a European motorcycle together with nothing but over-sized Home Depot hardware, but 17-year-old dirt bikes are often full of wonderful surprises. 


As the Gas Gas rebuild progressed, I continued to ride the worn out XR200 that has been my partner for the last four years.  We had long ago quit maintaining it, since all efforts were going into the Gasser, and over the months the bike smoked more as the brakes worked less.  The suspension creaked like an old seesaw laboring under two chubby youths.  And yet, as much as I was ready to put my XR days behind me, it just wouldn't give me an excuse.  Hot, cold, flooded, crashed…the damn bike just wouldn't. stop. running


Last month, by good fortune (in other words: a loan), I added a third beast to the stable by acquiring a Beta trials bike.  In stark contrast to the Gas Gas, the Beta was a low hour, all-original beauty.  I parked the XR in the most inaccessible corner of the garage, realizing that it was now third in line for my affections.  The Gas Gas, albeit temperamental and injury-prone, had been restored to an athletic, aggressive race machine and was the bike I drooled over.  The trials bike--refined, clean, and preppy--was pure eye candy and always gave me a good time.  


When these hot shots let me down, I know the XR will still answer my call.  I tried to make the relationship work when he was all I had, but deep down, I knew it would never lead to anything more.  Reliable, easy-going, and patient though he is, he is "the nice guy": a bike that I could only ever like, but never love.  


The XR has been officially friend-zoned.   

 

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The author and the XR200, in the height of their relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Longleaf
Added photos!
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Congrats on the new rides! What model is the GasGas?
 

You may have found a new love for the time, but if you take your time and rebuild that old friend, you may find new interest in it. If not, somebody will love it. 

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LoL, that was a good read.  XR's are indeed wonderful companions.  Seja_offroad has some damd impressive OR race vids on IG, all their riders are using CRF230's.

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3 hours ago, Longleaf said:

It began with a vague ad on Facebook Marketplace, showing an old Gas Gas enduro bike that didn't run.  The seller wanted $1000.  


That was less than my Trump Check. 


Three days later we were in a trailer park in the middle of nowhere, loading up pieces of what was supposedly a Gas Gas.  The reality of the bike--the stripped-down, faded, abused mess that it was--had tempered my enthusiasm and left me wrestling with my good sense.  I had talked the kid down to $500 and his mother assured us of the VIN-less frame, "hell no, it ain't stole!",  so we rolled out of the trailer park with the most miserable looking bike I've ever bought in tow.  


The first order of business was finding the VIN number.  Remarkably, it was intact under the powder coating.  It wasn't just the frame that was powder coated, either: the handlebars, linkage, footpegs, skid plate, triple clamps, wheel hubs, swing arm, subframe, brake pedal, shifter, and expansion chamber were painted too.  It was well suited to be a rust-free boat anchor.  


A VIN check produced confirmation that our disaster project was, at least, not stole.  So my husband embarked on an 8-month long "6-week rebuild."  Neither of us knew it was possible to hold a European motorcycle together with nothing but over-sized Home Depot hardware, but 17-year-old dirt bikes are often full of wonderful surprises. 


As the Gas Gas rebuild progressed, I continued to ride the worn out XR200 that has been my partner for the last four years.  We had long ago quit maintaining it, since all efforts were going into the Gasser, and over the months the bike smoked more as the brakes worked less.  The suspension creaked like an old seesaw laboring under two chubby youths.  And yet, as much as I was ready to put my XR days behind me, it just wouldn't give me an excuse.  Hot, cold, flooded, crashed…the damn bike just wouldn't. stop. running


Last month, by good fortune (in other words: a loan), I added a third beast to the stable by acquiring a Beta trials bike.  In stark contrast to the Gas Gas, the Beta was a low hour, all-original beauty.  I parked the XR in the most inaccessible corner of the garage, realizing that it was now third in line for my affections.  The Gas Gas, albeit temperamental and injury-prone, had been restored to an athletic, aggressive race machine and was the bike I drooled over.  The trials bike--refined, clean, and preppy--was pure eye candy and always gave me a good time.  


When these hot shots let me down, I know the XR will still answer my call.  I tried to make the relationship work when he was all I had, but deep down, I knew it would never lead to anything more.  Reliable, easy-going, and patient though he is, he is "the nice guy": a bike that I could only ever like, but never love.  


The XR has been officially friend-zoned.   
 

Friends with benefits from time to time??

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3 hours ago, Longleaf said:

It began with a vague ad on Facebook Marketplace, showing an old Gas Gas enduro bike that didn't run.  The seller wanted $1000.  


That was less than my Trump Check. 


Three days later we were in a trailer park in the middle of nowhere, loading up pieces of what was supposedly a Gas Gas.  The reality of the bike--the stripped-down, faded, abused mess that it was--had tempered my enthusiasm and left me wrestling with my good sense.  I had talked the kid down to $500 and his mother assured us of the VIN-less frame, "hell no, it ain't stole!",  so we rolled out of the trailer park with the most miserable looking bike I've ever bought in tow.  


The first order of business was finding the VIN number.  Remarkably, it was intact under the powder coating.  It wasn't just the frame that was powder coated, either: the handlebars, linkage, footpegs, skid plate, triple clamps, wheel hubs, swing arm, subframe, brake pedal, shifter, and expansion chamber were painted too.  It was well suited to be a rust-free boat anchor.  


A VIN check produced confirmation that our disaster project was, at least, not stole.  So my husband embarked on an 8-month long "6-week rebuild."  Neither of us knew it was possible to hold a European motorcycle together with nothing but over-sized Home Depot hardware, but 17-year-old dirt bikes are often full of wonderful surprises. 


As the Gas Gas rebuild progressed, I continued to ride the worn out XR200 that has been my partner for the last four years.  We had long ago quit maintaining it, since all efforts were going into the Gasser, and over the months the bike smoked more as the brakes worked less.  The suspension creaked like an old seesaw laboring under two chubby youths.  And yet, as much as I was ready to put my XR days behind me, it just wouldn't give me an excuse.  Hot, cold, flooded, crashed…the damn bike just wouldn't. stop. running


Last month, by good fortune (in other words: a loan), I added a third beast to the stable by acquiring a Beta trials bike.  In stark contrast to the Gas Gas, the Beta was a low hour, all-original beauty.  I parked the XR in the most inaccessible corner of the garage, realizing that it was now third in line for my affections.  The Gas Gas, albeit temperamental and injury-prone, had been restored to an athletic, aggressive race machine and was the bike I drooled over.  The trials bike--refined, clean, and preppy--was pure eye candy and always gave me a good time.  


When these hot shots let me down, I know the XR will still answer my call.  I tried to make the relationship work when he was all I had, but deep down, I knew it would never lead to anything more.  Reliable, easy-going, and patient though he is, he is "the nice guy": a bike that I could only ever like, but never love.  


The XR has been officially friend-zoned.   
 

I felt like I was reading something my wife watches on the lifetime or hallmark channel. 😂

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I miss the old ‘91 XR200 I sold a year ago. Nothing is more fun than riding a slow bike fast. Just wish it had brakes that didn’t require the rider to call ahead to reserve a stop. 

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Your story of your XR is somewhat familiar. A good friend bought an old one to get back into riding after 20 year absence. As can be imagined, many years, many pounds and loss of athleticism took its toll on his trusty steed. It made many trips to my shop for tires, blown trans, rings, suspension upgrade, etc but kept going only to be replaced by a brand new 250x. But the little xr was sold for more than its purchase price to another just getting in to riding

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21 hours ago, PopWill said:

Congrats on the new rides! What model is the GasGas?
 

You may have found a new love for the time, but if you take your time and rebuild that old friend, you may find new interest in it. If not, somebody will love it. 

Thank you!  It's an EC200.  The original ad just said it was an "EC," and since it was red, I assumed it was a 250.  Come to find out it was a 200, which actually suited me a lot better.  

That's the plan with the XR, tear it down and do a light restoration.  If I find enough excuses to ride it I'll keep it around, otherwise, it would make somebody a great woods bike. 

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Great read.  You are a gifted author.  I hope you are in the business of writing somewhere, even if only a side gig.

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22 hours ago, Longleaf said:

Three days later we were in a trailer park in the middle of nowhere, loading up pieces of what was supposedly a Gas Gas.

Was the theme from "Breaking Bad" playing in the background? 

Score any wholesale deals on Meth that you could sell later to finance the rebuild of the Gas Gas? 🤠

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On 12/20/2020 at 4:31 PM, Longleaf said:

  Neither of us knew it was possible to hold a European motorcycle together with nothing but over-sized Home Depot hardware, but 17-year-old dirt bikes are often full of wonderful surprises. 

Ah, you know nothing of GasGas. Whoever picked the bolts and screws used was crazier than a pregnant hippo on crack. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason behind fastener selection in GasGas's.   

Try explaining a 6mm bolt that can have three different head sizes.🙄

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Nice write up.  I actually was expecting a xr/gas gas hybrid build when i started reading. 

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My bike in the “friend zone” is a 1973 XL250 > the thing just keeps going and going and I will never get rid of it cause it’s so easy to kickstart. My XR not so much(2-3 kicks) . Are the xr250 as hard to start as the 600 or 650?

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1 hour ago, beaviss said:

My bike in the “friend zone” is a 1973 XL250 > the thing just keeps going and going and I will never get rid of it cause it’s so easy to kickstart. My XR not so much(2-3 kicks) . Are the xr250 as hard to start as the 600 or 650?

They’re easy to start from my experience. I had one old XR 250 that was so worn out you could start it by hand, without pulling in the compression release!🤣

4 hours ago, Longleaf said:

Thank you!  It's an EC200.  The original ad just said it was an "EC," and since it was red, I assumed it was a 250.  Come to find out it was a 200, which actually suited me a lot better.  

That's the plan with the XR, tear it down and do a light restoration.  If I find enough excuses to ride it I'll keep it around, otherwise, it would make somebody a great woods bike. 

I’ve been fixated on the 200’s lately. (Not the little XR’s) The bigger 200’s seem to be the best kept woods secret there is. 

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