We've seen it happen dozens of times over the past several years. You've just gotten a Sabre, Magna, or Intercepter, of which you're justifiably proud. You've gone online to find out whatever you can about it. Bingo! You found the SabMag site.

Then you read all of the stories about disintegrating cams and oil mods. Oh, the horror. Suddenly your pride and joy seems as if it's been stricken by some terminal, incurable disease. For one dark moment, it seems as if you've bought that 1972 Vega all over again.

Your first message to the list is a frantic request for even more information on the cam issue, and a plea for guidance through what's sure to be a major mechanical ordeal.

Take a deep breath. Don't panic. Don't freak out.

Don't sell your bike. Don't reconsider your purchase of one of these fine machines solely because of this issue. (A better reason to avoid a V65 is if you're an inexperienced rider. Beware: they'll bite hard. They're tall, topheavy, and have suspensions and frames that are poorly matched to their power characteristics. They made a pretty impressive swath through the ranks of foolish thrill riders in the mid-80s.)

It's true that worn, pitted cams can be a fairly expensive repair. But it's no more of a problem on a sabmag than on many other bikes--it's just much better documented, thanks to this fine group of folks. And it's a much easier fix than, say, repairing the starter clutch on a Yamaha Seca, for example. And it's not a problem that affects all bikes.

Chances are pretty good that you won't have to bother with your cams other than keeping the valve clearances adjusted and, once you've intelligently evaluated the options, perhaps installing some version of the various oil mods available.

The bottom line: Cams wear. Installing an oil mod makes sense if:

--Your bike has already demonstrated an appetite for cams;

--You plan on keeping your bike and putting lots of miles on it;

--You are the type who likes to keep on top of the state of the art;

--Your peace of mind absolutely depends upon it.

But there's no guarantee your bike really needs an oil mod--and likewise there's no assurance that you won't wear through your cams (or even a replacement set) even *if* you install an oil mod.

The most important thing you need to know about your cams: you should be having lots of fun while you're wearing them out.

Phil Ross