XT550 The Bike!


The Story!


Motorcycle Adventure Trip on a Yamaha XT 550


I went on this great motorcycle trip in the 1990’s but I can’t recall the exact year. What ever happen to my memory?..... It must have bounced off my bike somewhere along the way…. Don’t really need it anyhow. I think……..

 I started from my Family Cabin at Sheridan lake B.C. A beautiful spot to start from as it is always a relaxing and comforting place to be. My mother was properly ensconced at the cabin for her usual summer time stay and as always the cabin was impeccably clean and the fridge full.

My goal was to ride to Bella Coola B.C. had no real time limit and did not plan the trip out except for the aforementioned destination. When asked by my Mother how long I would be gone I had no answer, but what I did have was a good back road map.  As you can well imagine….. she packed me a lunch.

Let’s go back a bit here…. The Bike.

1982/83 ……I was living in Tuktoyaktuk NT. Hector Campbell, Rick Ziegler and I bought a $1000.00 ticket in a CFL Grey Cup pool. The pool was set up through the DEW line folks (Distant Early Warning) and we did not win first prize which was $75,000 but won $5000. Happy Days.

Let’s do Math…. $1000 / 3 = $333. Jay’s investment in CFL pool ticket.  Won $5000 Dollars / 3 = $1666.00 my share – $333.00 Jay’s Investment = $1333 winning “Cash Buckaroos” so I bought a Motorcycle. No idea what the bike cost, but less than $1333. The initial motorcycle was red.


General information


Yamaha XT 550




Enduro / off-road


 3.3  Check out the detailed rating of off-road capabilities, engine performance, maintenance cost, etc. Compare with any other bike.

Engine and transmission


558.0 ccm (34.05 cubic inches)

Engine type:

Single cylinder, four-stroke


38.0 HP (27.7 kW)) @ 6500 RPM Really…… 38 HP

Top speed:

149.0 km/h (92.6 mph)   ……My goodness, I never went no 150 Km/h



Bore x stroke:

92.0 x 84.0 mm (3.6 x 3.3 inches)

Valves per cylinder:


Fuel control:

Overhead Cams (OHC)

Cooling system:




Transmission type, drive:


Chassis, suspension, brakes and wheels

Front tyre:


Rear tyre:


Front brakes:

Expanding brake

Rear brakes:

Expanding brake

Physical measures and capacities

Weight incl. oil, gas, etc.:

145.0 kg (319.7 pounds)

Fuel capacity:

12.00 litres (3.17 gallons)




Had that bike a long time. Worn out many sets of tires. Put on three fuel tanks as they kept rusting through because of the misty Vancouver climate…… This very expense little “Black Box” that lived under the seat kept taking the pill over course of my ownership; I must have installed four of these “Mystery Black Boxes” at $350.00 each. (My most major Peeve). I took the high mounted front fender and fashioned a low mounted front fender so in high winds and highway speed I wouldn’t blow myself off the highway to a certain death. Redoing the front fender was a huge safety plus. The seat was very hard so I mounted one of my mother’s “Hand Made Wool Hooked Rugs” to the seat, which made it bearable. I installed my dad’s over the shoulder WW II canvas bag to my fuel tank with Velcro and bungee cords. I don’t think “tank bags” had been invented yet. The last modification to the bike was a spitfire wind screen but unfortunately I have no pictures of that. Sadly, I sold the “One Lung Yamer” in the early 2000’s at some unremembered point…… As we all say…. “Wish I still had it”…

Best Memory of that trip; was putting my feet on the passenger foot pegs and laying down on my tank to give my aching ass a rest. Got good at going high speeds on gravel and laying out.

Unbelievable happening of that trip; I was catching up to a RV van-conversion which is kicking up clouds of dust. As I get closer I see a hubcap launch off the vehicle and land in the ditch. I stop go back get the hub cap. It’s huge. I lay the hub cap on my tank and speed to catch up. Major effort; I get up beside the RV and the lady driving looks at me like “what the fuck is this” and I can see her passenger person (I’m assuming the husband and he is stretching over to see what is going on). With the cap rattling on the tank and me pointing to it with my left hand; which to her looks like I am pointing at my dick.

She did not pull over; she probably did not see or recognize her hub cap...... and why should she …..I am sure all she sees is me racing beside her pointing at my dick with great enthusiasm.

So to make my point….. (Mistake)….. I grab the “huge hubcap” with my left hand while we are side by side doing 80 km/h on a gravel road and pick the hub cap up to show her…… which then catches the full force of the wind and slams violently into my face. (Full face helmet thank goodness).

I stop and collect myself…. they stop up ahead of me. I pull up beside her; she rolls down the window just enough for me to side the hub cap in; they say nothing……they take off.

It seems I was into “Adventure Bike Rides” before there were “Adventure Bikes”…. Who knew… Build your own back then.


Here are some pictures of that trip.


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