Thursday, 14 July 2011

Well that was short....

A small minor set back.
So I got the bike running and got insurance and registration done last Tuesday.
The bike seemed to be running fine and took it for a small test ride that evening.
Didn't go very far just 5 miles out of town and then turned around.
The next day I did some running around town doing errands and looking for a better helmet.
I have cheap half helmet I got in England but I needed another one in case anyone wants to ride with me.
The only place in town that has helmets is the Harley dealer, a now defunct Honda shop and Wal-mart.
Not a lot of choices. Plus I already have a nice full face shoei helmet at my sisters house. Just need to get her to send it to me. So I got another half helmet for the moment.
I always prefer full face helmets but I'm looking for a good flip up one so I'm still shopping.

Not exactly what I had in mind....

After doing my errands I decided to head north towards the tip of the Peninsula of West arm of Grand traverse bay. Got about thee miles outside of town when I suddenly heard a horrendous clanging noise. Sounded like the entire bike just blew up on me. Scared the crap out of me but I kept my wits, pulled in the clutch and slowed down. All the time very aware of the traffic that was heading towards me. Namely the white car that suddenly looked like it was going to eat me.
Got off to the side of the road and calmed down and killed the engine.
What just happened?
The engine looked like it was in one piece, tires looked ok. Looked at the final drive and the prop shaft for the side-car was dangling lose. The two bolts holding the side-car prop shaft to the final drive had come out. I had used cotter pins before but that obviously wasn't enough. Thus the shaft and the U-joint was spinning at hitting everything else. Didn't do any damage other than my nerves.

I quickly realize this was not something I could fix there. I was looking at the bike when nice gentleman came by on a bicycle and chatted with me. He gave me a bungee cord and I tried to secure the prop shaft from banging around.
Once that was done I started the bike and tried to limp home.
The bike wouldn't budge, in gear but going no where.
I have come to find out the bike is will not move without the side car drive shaft hooked up.
Which is good because I thought I had really screwed up the clutch or something.

Called my insurance, made sure I had roadside assistance on my policy, and spent more time trying to get a tow truck than the entire episode took.
“Where are you at sir?”
“I'm on the M22 going north out of Traverse city, about 3 miles out of the city limits”
“Where is that?”
“Uh.... on the M22 going north out of Traverse city”
“What Town is that sir?”
“Traverse city Michigan”
“Are you near your bike?”
“Where is the Bike located at now?”
“Next to me......On the M22.....3 miles outside of Traverse city”
“Are you on the side of the road and which road?”
@@@%$$!!! flaming fudge muffins!!!

After an hour of waiting, by the way the side car is a very comfortable place to read a book, the tow truck came by and Natasha did the ride of shame back home.

Today I took the tire off and took the final drive out to see if there was any damage inside.
No damage but I did find two screws lose, and not just the ones in my head.

So there is a good side to all of this. Had it not happened I wouldn't have known until those two screws caused some real damage.
I couldn't find the right size or type of replacement bolts to fix the drive shaft so I had to order them. Sucks having a metric motorcycle in an imperial country.

So what happened was not the bikes fault, it was mine not putting things back together right.

Lessons learned:
Next time use safety wire
Carry spare bolts and safety wire
Carry bungee cords
Have a good book with you
Carry a bottle of water and munchies in case you get stuck for a while.
More Loc-tite


  1. Michael, you're truly becoming a uralista wire, loctite and a BFH wil become your constant companions.


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  2. Here's how I found out the FD won't work without the propshaft to the sidecar attached: link

    I had the shaft rebuilt, the steel and workmanship involved will guarantee that all else around it will break before it does.


  3. I'm all for people reading good books, but I hope you will be spending less time reading and waiting; and more time riding.

    From following Dom's blog I must concur get a BFH. When I was growing up in Mid-Michigan my grandfather called a BFH a Michigan screwdriver.

    Look forward to you getting sorted out and on the road. You haven't made me homesick yet, but I did feel a twinge at the mention of M22.

    Thanks for the share.

  4. Hello Mike, how are things with you and Tasha?


  5. Well, I guess this didn't work out so well. I hope I'm wrong and blogging just turned out not to be your cup of tea. If not, I hope the other parts of your life have come together for you.