This is longer than I'd planned, and probably boring for most. A little story of what you can be in for if you neglect your bikes
I took the opportunity while my wife is out of town to tackle the carbs on her bike...yet again. I think I've hinted at the issues I've had with it, but never gave the story.
2 years ago (almost exactly!) my wife and I were prepping the bikes for a ride after they had sat for far too long. Hers wouldn't start, so first thing I did was open the gas cap. There were 3 immediate indications that we would not be going for a ride: the cap was initially stuck and didn't want to open; the smell (bad gas); and surface rust everywhere above the gas level.
That weekend I tackled the tank with diluted phosphoric acid, and managed to clean it up pretty well; fortunately it wasn't rusted badly. I decided to forego using one of those tank sealing kits since the rust wasn't deep, and just keep it full of gas. 2 years later it is still doing fine, thankfully. The cleaning was a PITA, but it turned out to be easy compared to getting the carbs sorted.
The carbs were crusty from the combination of bad gas/evaporation. At the time, I wasn't aware of the gallon cans of carb cleaner the auto stores have, so I cleaned them up with a spray can of cleaner and paper towels...which took a bit of time, not to mention the process of getting them off the bike in the first place (I'm much faster at it now, BTW).
When I first put her all back together, she ran like a champ. It wasn't long, though, before it started coughing and sputtering (like 2 weeks). Took it apart again, and the pilot jets were clogged again. I started running Seafoam and other gunk removers in the gas, but the cycle continued until last fall when I'd finally had enough. I bought rebuild kits as well as other parts I'd decided to replace (slightly larger pilots that don't clog as easily, for one!), and got a can of the carb dipping stuff (nasty stuff, BTW). I stripped both carbs and gave them each a good soaking. Once all cleaned up, I installed the new parts, set the floats (I thought...doh!), and reassembled everything. Fired her up and synced the carbs....
She ran okay, but not like I thought she should. This was late November last year; at this point, I said 'screw it'...or something along those lines
My wife's ridden it a few times this year, and while it's rideable, it has been funky. Backfiring at times, mostly when cold, and not holding a steady idle. When on the throttle, though, good and smooth power.
I'd finally had a long enough break from tearing that bike apart that I could stand doing it again. Cleaned carbs (again), re-jetted based on reading several forums, and finally got the float level set correctly (I admit, I mucked it up last fall). They were off, which is likely explains the idle/backfiring issues.
Put her back together again last night, and what a difference! Had to re-sync the carbs, but once I did she idled great. There's an occasional hiccup, but I wonder if that's normal for carbs? Doesn't really bother me at this point. Went for a quick spin and was pleased. The rejetting made it pull harder from mid to redline, though I think I might've lost a little on the bottom... Gonna have her ride it when she gets home and see what she thinks.
I took 'er out for a nice ride this evening, and she ran like a champ. After 2 years, I think I can finally declare victory!
Admittedly, it could probably have been fixed a lot sooner if I'd taken it to a shop
1. I'm cheap.
2. Opportunity to learn, though I should have quit after 5 or 6 opportunities