Wednesday, 31 July 2013

A Yamaha XT660X called “Tango'd”

Standing in the 660 sellers garage looking at his bright orange Yamaha XT660X I had mixed feelings.

Yes it was a good price, confirmed the following morning by a quick call to Keith, and yes, it was exactly what I was looking for. 

“I’ll check out insurance quotes and give you a call in the morning” were my parting word’s. Not exactly what the seller wanted to hear but I needed an evening's 'cooling off period'.

A quick call to my insurer confirmed adding the 660 to Mr T’s insurance would cost £83, Bonus! Annoyingly £35 of that was their ‘Admin Fee'. 

True to my word, half an hour later I called the seller.

“Hi there, Ray here. Can you give me your bank details and I’ll transfer the money over. Will you give me a call when the money arrives? I’ll organise collection when you have the funds."

“That’s brilliant new’s” replied the seller.

A couple of days later Jeannie dropped me off at the sellers house and drove away just as he rode the 660 around the corner.

'Tango'd' arrives home

So why an XT660X? And more importantly why “bright orange’

Well after having an absolute ball on Nick Sanders XT660R on the Expedition Centre Experience  I had started looking into this fun bike more seriously.  Doing quite a bit of research into the bike on the forum. 

A Fathers Day Prize
Never to be forgotten!

As for the colour, well that’s really simple to answer, this bright orange Yamaha XT660X just made me smile. In fact it still does every single time I see it, let alone ride it. It’s got that all important “Grin Factor” I like to have when buying something. No grin no buy, what's the point. 

As soon as I got the 660 home I got stuck in. Here’s a list of the things that needed immediate attention.

  1. The front brake was almost useless even though it had new brake pads fitted recently!
  2. The left hand grip just spun around on the bar.
  3. Handel bar cover needed removing as it was disintegrating under which I was surprised to find a nice set of Renthal bars which was a bonus!
  4. Original hand guards were scratched to oblivion. (Apparently caused by catching the house and fence on the way in and out of the shed by another previous owner, or so I was told)
  5. Front nearside tank trim or “wind deflector” as Yamaha call it was broken inside. The fasting bracket was snapped clean off causing it to flap about when ridden.
  6. Front mud guard was scratched near the tip.
  7. Chain was totally ‘goosed’ rusty and stiff in parts.
  8. Fuelling was all over the place, it was like riding a Kangaroo all the way back.
  9. Rear brake was spongy and pads were well worn.
  10. Front tyre was ‘fried’ at the edges. Apparently it was an ex race tyre recently fitted in order to pass the MOT in February.
  11. Finally the seat had a fine coating of black mildew all along the orange section because of the damp storage conditions.

I knew the bike had be dropped on the nearside at some point  due to the damage. This was confirmed when I removed two brand new stickers. The sticker on the nose cone was covering up a few scratches to the near side and the sticker on the nearside tank panel also covered a nasty set of scratches. I found out later that the tank sticker alone had cost over £50 when a new panel was only £38!

Very new and very purple

To be honest, non of this bothered me because I'd have it all fixed within a couple of  days anyway. What was more important to me was the fact that the 660 had only done 8800 miles since new and the milage was backed up by the service book and MOT certificates.

The 660 had covered 4338 miles from new in 2007 up to 2010, followed by 3516 up until 2011. I have no record of an MOT in 2012 but 900 miles were added up until the MOT in February this year, 2013. 

The Service Book confirms that I am the fifth owner. The 6 Week service took place at 592 miles in London, followed by the first service carried out at 4764 miles in 2010 in Melton Mowbray. The final service stamp in the book was carried out at 7856 miles in August 2011 here in Manchester by Philip Youles. 

That night I jumped on eBay and got started by buying:-
  1. One near side panel or “wind deflector” £38
  2. A pair of new mirrors from Hong Kong £36
  3. K&N Air Filter £33
  4. Carbon Pin Stripe £3
  5. Nitro X Fuel Commander £34
Followed a week later after having the back wheel out by 

     5. EBC Brake Pads £16
     6. Set of four Cush Drives £38

Then after pricing  up an Akrapovic SP Series Exhaust System at Keith Dixon’s which came in at a staggering £795 I bid on and won

     7. Akrapovic SP Series Exhaust System £500 (Bargain!)

The following morning I took a ride over to the Rocket Centre in Blackburn as I knew they have a very good “Off-Road Bike department” and bought 
  1. Acerbis Rally Pro Black Hand Guards £75
  2. ProTaper Grip Glue £8
  3. Oxford Tax disc Holder £ £15
  4. Oxford Brake Bleeding Kit £12

Then it was round to Keith Dixon’s in Accrington to pick up 
  1. Oxford Heated Grips £80
  2. Yamaha Emblem £6 (which I hope to return soon as it's the wrong sizes)

Finally I called into AllBikes of Rochdale  on my way home for
  1. R&G Fork Protectors & Swing Warm Protectors £60

Once home I called B&C Performance Tyre's to order a pair of Continental Road Attack 2’s and an X-Ring Chain and sprocket set which came to £330, ride in fitted ride out.

So with my head in full on “fix-it” mode I wheeled the XT660X into the ‘Walton Chop-Shop’ as my Manc Rider mates lovingly call my garage and got stuck in.

It took me an hour to strip off, front mudguard, hand guards, hand grips, seat, tank panels, bash plate, Air filter and rusty wing mirrors.

I made a start by fitting the heated grip’s, followed by the mirrors, Hand guards, followed by the freshly Carbon covered front mud guard. I also fitted the R&G Crash Bobbin's and Optimate hook-up whilst I was at it.

Not good....

Now that's better

Looking rather sexy if I say so myself


And After

Next up was a little TLC to the tank before re-fitting the ‘wind deflector’s then it was time to replace the old tax disc with the new one.

I'm rather pleased with the finish
What do you think?

I bled both the front and rear brakes, the lumpy tea coloured fluid that came out was full of bubbles and bits. The front break was instantly better as it had the new brake pads fitted but the rear only improved with the addition of new pads and another flush through. 


Clean n fresh

All in all I spent about 6 hours in the garage that day, cleaning and sorting svarous job’s along the way.

I cut the air intake rubber down as I'd seen on the XT660 Forum and fitted the K&N Air Filter. Fitting the Nitro-X Fuel Commender took all of 15 minutes especially when I attached to small metal connectors that i had spare. This was followed by 100 fun filled miles dialling the commender into the original exhausts. It made an instant impact running at 70% power output (according to the paperwork that came with it).

I didn't remove the scoop totally
Just to retain a little protection from dirt

Little box of tricks running at 90%

Nice and tidy just the way I like it

I got the call to say my tyre’s, chain and sprocket set were in whilst I was down in Spain so they had to wait until I returned the following week.

Driving back from Spain I received an email from eBay to say I had won the Akrapovic SP Series Exhaust System much to my delight. Lucky for me I had preempted this and contacted the seller in Scotland to explain I’d be away when the auction finished. Good to his word he posted the system as arranged and we both arrived home on the same day.

Fitting the Akrapovic SP Series Exhaust System took 30 minutes from start to finish and that included unpack g the new system. The impact on the bikes power and in smoothing out the remaining 'Kangaroo' effect was massive. I initially took out the baffles but the noise was too intrusive and replaced them straight away. I'm now running the fuel commander at 90% power but finding it a little rich when the engine is cold.

From this....

To this....  A 'No-Brainer'

Needless to say after the guy’s at B&C Performance Tyre's did a great job fitting the tyre’s, chain and sprocket set. They even dropped the new Cush drives and rear brake pads in whilst the rear wheel was out. 

Now that's what I call 'Tidy'

Even the front end got
'The Carbon Touch!'

I’m now riding a silky smooth, power house of a machine that makes me laugh out loud every time I get onboard. 

All that's left to do now is to take the mileage up to 12,000 miles and get 'Tangoed' professionally serviced and the book stamped once again.

Now you may just be wondering how ‘Tango'd’ came by it’s name. Well those of you who know me know that I name all my bike’s. It just saves on garage confusion.

I’d planned on calling it Mr X due to it being an XT660X! The Manc Riders, in particular Lefty, had other idea’s calling it ‘Tango'd’ from the start and so “Tango'd” it is!

Brothers in Arm's


  1. Nice machine,I presently own and cherish tango,very orange very loud you made an excellent job ,she only comes out to play at weekends in knaresborough