On the 990 removing the snorkel has less of an effect, and other than exhausts and mapping to suit, the most common ‘tuning’ work is aimed at smoothing out the delivery rather than building bhp.
There’s a bunch of what we’d describe as ‘emissions gubbins’ fitted to the Adventure, and a lot of owners look to ditch it. However, it is worth noting that removal of the Secondary Air System alone does nothing to the performance of the bike (unless you count the small weight saving) as its function is simply to introduce air into the exhaust to help reduce emissions. It’s claimed that removing it makes the exhaust gases cooler and therefore kinder to aftermarket cans, and if the bike’s still running the stock, cat-equipped silencers then it’s better to keep the SAS in place as it helps prevent premature failure and aids them in their job. Perhaps. One thing that removing it should do is lessen the popping ‘n’ banging you get on the over-run.
Finally, if you’re heading off around the world then the EFI’d Adventure has the capability of being set-up to run on poor quality fuel. Remove the seat, and look for a brown wire on the left-hand side. Find the connector on this wire, split it and you’re all ready to go on whatever bizarre concoction the ‘bush garage’ is masquerading as petrol that day.
What Goes Wrong?
The LC8 is inherently strong and capable of seeing some very high mileages. That said, there are a few points which are worth knowing; a couple of areas which require regular maintenance and certain parts which are known to give trouble.
Perhaps the best documented of all these is the failure of the clutch slave cylinder, located down by the front sprocket. More prevalent in hot conditions, you’ll know when it’s on its way out because the clutch lever will lose its pressure and you’ll ultimately be left without a functioning clutch!
If this occurs, most people whose bikes are out of warranty opt for an aftermarket unit rather than replacing it with an OE component. UK-made Oberon parts are probably the most common over here, with Evoluzione another popular brand. These generally offer an increased piston size (for more reliable action) or an extra seal (there’s only one on the standard part) for added reliability.
Sticking with the clutch side of things, 30,000-40,000 miles can see the clutch booster start to wear. This is a centrifugal ‘dog clutch’ which helps prevent the clutch from slipping, and if the bike judders twice when pulling away from cold, yet is fine when up to temperature, then there could be a problem. Catch it early enough and it’s a couple of hundred quid fix. Let it get progressively worse and it can lead to problems with the clutch itself… and a far bigger bill!
Some early Adventures had starter clutch issues. You’ll know when this is playing-up because of the horrendous clanking noise when you thumb the starter button - not a problem that’s easily disguised!
Waterpump shafts, and their seals, on 950s and early 990s have been known to go, usually once the bike has clocked up around 20,000 miles. If a bike’s losing coolant, yet there are no obvious leaks, and the temperature gauge is fluctuating more than usual (these bikes do run hot in traffic) then it’s probably the waterpump seal. Another sign, if it’s been on its way for a long time, is the oil light flashing on start-up. This is because the coolant/oil sludge can start to clog the filters and cause low oil pressure when cold.
Because the oil/coolant gloop rarely shows up on the dipstick the best way to check for this is to whip the clutch cover off, as it’s inside there that it seems to collect. Will a seller let you do this? Probably not, so ask if there’s been a problem and think about budgeting for its replacement if you’re looking at an old bike. The good news is that the shaft was given a new coating on later machines, so once the work’s been done (and it’s not an expensive fix) it shouldn’t give problems again.