by Joe Monzo (2002-6-2)
On 18 May 2002 i became the happy owner of a Yamaha YX-600 Radian motorcycle. The Radian has an inline 4-cylinder 600cc engine, dual disk front brakes and drum rear brake, and dual 2-into-1 exhaust system. This is the fastest motorcycle i've ever had -- it takes off from a red light like lightning, and it's hard not to lift the front wheel off the ground in first gear!
an aggressive-looking shot of the right side, in the sun -- i like this pic a lot.
Anyone familiar with the Radian will notice that mine doesn't have any of the pretty plastic and chrome-plated side-covers on it (... which would make it look like this one). Originally that was because i'm missing some of the screws and rubber grommets that hold them in place, but i've grown to like the scrappy look of the bike without the "makeup", and will probably leave them off.
a pic of the left side of the bike, with details hidden by the shade.
This particular bike's previous owner had it sitting for about a year, and i can see that it had also been dropped several times, so it's been requiring quite a bit of my time and money to get it working properly and safely.
By the middle of June i had it running pretty good, and began using it to drive to my student's houses for work. I've hardly touched the car since then.
This is my third motorcycle, and it sure feels good to be riding again! It just so happens that both of the other two were also Yamahas ... a 1972 XS-1 650cc (2-cylinder) which i owned in 1984 when i lived in South Jersey, and a 1981 Maxim 750cc (4-cylinder) which i owned in 1996 in Philadelphia, and which was also red and in fact looked an awful lot like this Radian except for its bigger size. I only owned and rode each of those bikes for one summer.
I'll be getting much more riding out of this one! ... it helps that the weather is so often beautiful in San Diego. (In only the first month of riding i've logged about 2,000 miles on it, which is far more than the total mileage i put on either of the other two bikes.)
a photo of me sitting on the Radian -- the sun was in my face and the shot was snapped just as i happened to blink my eyes.
in my driveway, almost ready to go
in my driveway, fully suited up and ready to go
Besides the great SoCal weather, another thing that also helps keep me more involved in motorcycling than i used to be is that i'm interacting a lot with other bikers now: i've become a subscriber to the Yahoo Radian email list, and a member of a motorcycle club: the San Diego chapter - Southern Cruisers riding club.
me on the right, putting on my gear outside Karl Strauss brewery and restaurant in La Jolla, getting ready to go home (the slow scenic route!) after a great SCRC ride ... apparently i'm talking on my cell-phone. that's Tommy ("Skull") on the left, sitting on his bike.
Here is a list of online magazine articles about the Radian.
Here is the list of Radian specifications, as printed in the May 1989 article from the above link. Note that my bike (as with the original 1986 model) has a 44-tooth rear sprocket; it was changed to 45 for the later-year models ('88 to '90) as listed in these specs.
OK, now the geek in me comes out. Anyone familiar with the rest of my website will know that i love to draw diagrams and graphs to visualize data. Here's one that shows the gearing and speeds of my Radian, with a comparison (in purple) of the lower RPMs given by a 17-tooth front sprocket (to which i'm thinking of changing) for my usual freeway speed range. These numbers are slightly different from the ones in the published specs (those are for the '88/'89/'90 model years -- the '86/'87 models had a rear sprocket one tooth smaller); in addition, my figures are much more accurate.
My speedometer has a pretty serious margin of error, so i taped the graph and table on the right to my gastank. (... "honest, Officer, i know exactly how fast i was going!")
(thanks to Brett Zeller and SCRC member Paul Cofrancesco for most of the photos)