You may have guessed that I wasn't putting the thermostat first.
I'd have thought that 1/8 below center mark was about right. What happens with these bikes is the cooling capacity is extremely marginal. Once the gauge hits half way the thermostat is normally fully open and you are only left with air flow and presssure cap to keep it down. Fans normally come on at about 2/3 gauge. If BOTH your radiators are running evenly hot at the half gauge mark, then your thermostat is fully open and it's a waste of time checking it.
You need to go through a check list to get a few more percent of cooling capacity back:
Remove both rads and flush them through with a hose.
Carefully clean out any muck blocking the fins and straighten any that are buckled or twisted.
Spray the fronts with some black paint if you have a can handy.
Replace the pressure cap so you know you have one that is a good pressure seal.
Replace the coolant with fresh.
NB it is easy to get air locks when refilling (closed thermostat slows filling to right rad.) I now fill with coolant I've boiled first and burp the bottom hoses. Don't fill the left side rad. right to the top of the filler neck first and run the bike at idle for several minutes with the pressure cap off. That also helps to work out any trapped air. Then top off, replace the pressure cap and top off the level in the reservoir.
Gauges can change their accuracy so you should look for other signs of overheating, usually the fans coming on a lot more than you are used to.
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