Recollections from my 350SD ownership.

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Nico Georgeoglou
Cucciolo - the Lil Pup
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2004 2:59 am
Location: Athens, Greece

Recollections from my 350SD ownership.

Post by Nico Georgeoglou »

Hello guys,
I had bought my canary yellow 350SD almost new (2Kklms on the clock) back in 1980. It was my first real bike with clip-ons/rear sets. I kept if for 5 years during which I covered 35Kklms and in 1982 I also had the audacity to ride outside of my home country Greece, to Italy and to (then) Yugoslavia to attend the Moto Grand Prix in Rijeka, two up on this one-and-half seat available.
It wasn't a fast bike, but it was one with manners and during the 5 years in my posession I have good and bad memories.
The good ones first: this small bike taught me to how to ride properly, how to brake, how to lean entering and exiting a curve and most important for my motorcycle future how not to be afraid of or not getting tired of the sporting position the seat and clip-ons/rear sets was offering. It had very attractive looks in its canary yellow livery with the black stripe starting from one side of the tank, going all the way back to the rear end of the seat and finishing to the other side of the tank. All this in combination with gold painted Speedline wheels (which were not as defective as on the larger bevel range). People in general was admiring this bike and only owners of large capacity Laverdas, bevel twins, and Moto Guzzi were snobbing it.

As for bad recollections now: it was a slow bike (but not slower than a Moto Guzzi V35 Imola). During the years I had it, I had three minor and one major let downs. The minor ones was that the single throttle cable had been snapped three times at the throttle control end, at the most inappropriate places or results. First time it snapped when we were with my would-be-then-divorced-wife 80 klms away from Athens late at night. Somehow I tied a knot with the cable end and managed to return with half open throttle back home. Second time was when we went to Italy we got all wet before entering the ferry-boat. Upon disembarking at Ancona port, the now dried-up throttle cable had gone rusty and on the second throttle opening still inside the ferry-boat, snapped. I had a spare cable with me and changed it within Ancona Customs. Third time (and worst) the throttle cable snapped a couple of klms away from home in Athens riding at speed (okay...120 kph!!!) on the nearby avenue late at night. But what happened is that the throttle stuck full open. I started downshifiting and slowed the bike down to 30-40 kph but the throttle was still stuck full open and did not cross my mind to switch off the engine. With full throttle and trying to stop an overreving engine, I experienced a spectacular drop on the tarmac. As soon as bike and me hit the tarmac, we both kept creeping for a few meters, then stopped and the throttle unstuck with the engine idling as if it was laughing at me. Needless to say that my embarassement and shame was larger than the bike's damages. So keep your throttle cables in good condition or even better change this idiot one-to-two cable system with two separate cables one for each carburettor.
My worst (and most expensive) experience was however created by the eccentric chain adjuster. Pls take very good care all you parallel twin and Darmah owners that the eccentric adjuster is positioned as it is shown in the owner's manual, because in my bike the adjuster was 180 degrees off, set in this position from the factory. After once riding about 200 klms in the rain I started hearing a noise from the geabox. I stopped to see what was going on and found the chain, which had no oil at all after riding for hours in the rain, in an excessively tensioned state. I eased the chain and reached home where I washed the bike and lubricated the chain. All was seemingly back to normal, till next weekend that is, that I took the bike out and just a few klms away the gearbox stuck/engine died/wheel blocked and was obliged to a sudden stop without falling thank god. Dismantling the engine revealed that the seat of the bearing just behind the final drive sprocket had been moved backwards by about a full centimeter due to a tensioned chain in the rain earlier. Today one would have to change crankcases, but at these days there was not money enough for such luxuries. So we went to a very competent mechanic who by measuring the correct bearing position from the other engine half, he managed to manufacture an eccentric bearing seat to compensate for the crancase distortion, so the two bearings at the axle end could be again aligned. I rode the repaired bike for many thousand klms like this and this is how I sold it, without telling the new owner anything. But he kept going as well without problem as he used the same service garage as I did. So, keep your chain adjuster as this is illustrated in the owners manual and not 180 degrees the other side, plus keep your chain well tentioned and lubricated at all times.
Another bad habbit this bike had in spite of being a desmo, is that the valve seats were very soft and kept recessing by the minor pressure the valves were putting on them. Imagine how faster valve seat recession would have been if it wasn't for a desmo system, which only minimal pressure is exercising on the valve seats. Anyway we were obliged to change valve seats once within five years.
Finally I changed these rust prone black Lafranconi silencers at least 3 times during the 5 years I kept the bike.
After all these experiences I was happy to sell the bike, but now that years have passed I'm fondly remembering of it, and if I could find it I would buy it back to have it keeping company to my bevel bikes. But I think it should have been scrapped a long time ago.

Happy riding


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Post by DesmoBro »

I'm sure that bike is still kickin somewhere

860 GT / GTS
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Post by ducadini »

what I remember from my 500 SD times : ALL the fun I had : braking later, going through bends faster, filling the tank less.
Never mind the numb feet and hands :-)
Best handling Ducati ever build (just before the RedPantah)
I don't remember any downsides :-)

Nego i ricordi peggiori
Richiamo i migliori pensieri

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